Interview with Jack O’Brien from The Bright Light Social Hour – Performs at MOTR Pub on 6/2

bright light social hour
Bright Light Social Hour

Photo by Scott Melcer
Interview by Scott Preston

The Bright Light Social Hour w/ Morning Teleportation
MOTR Pub, 1345 Main St, Cincinnati, OH
21+, FREE

Austin-based The Bright Light Social Hour hit the road in support of their debut full-length album, ‘The Bright Light Social Hour,’ released in late 2010. Having recently swept the 29th Annual Austin Music Awards during SXSW 2011 with six wins, including Band of the Year, Album of the Year and Song of the Year (“Detroit”), the band is eager to take their unique brand of fistsup rock and roll meets muscular deep-funk on the road. Having grown their reputation through exhilarating widely-acclaimed live shows, the unabashedly wide-screen rock group displays a fun-loving and innovative brew of American music of varying types – hard rock and roll, indie, rhythm and blues, psychedelic, dance and soul.

Cincy Groove: What was the inspiration behind your debut album? Was it a long or short recording process?

Jack O’Brien: We wrote the album over the course of two years, so it’s hard to name a single inspiration. As a quick answer I’d say community, hard times and love-making. It was about two months of recording and mixing between a few Austin studios.

Cincy Groove: How did the group first get together?

Jack O’Brien: Curt and I met in college. He was looking to start an experimental art-rock collective that we called The Bright Light Social Hour. After a few lineup changes and some time abroad, in late 2007 we finalized the lineup with drummer Jo Mirasole of the local high school drumline and prolific Austin singer/songwriter/keyboardist A.J. Vincent.

Cincy Groove: Tell me about your SXSW experience this year.

Jack O’Brien: It was Megaaa! A ton of killer shows culminated in 6 wins at the Austin Music Awards. We made a short documentary of our SXSW, you can check it out here:

Cincy Groove: What is one of your favorite things about being on the road?

Jack O’Brien: Spreading our dirty rock gospel to new beautiful people across this big beautiful country.

Cincy Groove: Do you enjoy making promo/blog videos for the fans?

Jack O’Brien: Honestly, it might be more fun for us than for anyone else. Definitely.

Cincy Groove: What has been one of the weirdest things you have seen on the road? or strangest place you have had to play?

Jack O’Brien: The other night in Savannah we played at a great little bar, The Hangfire, a mustaches and miniskirts party, and it got good and wild. By the end of the set the window had been smashed, fire alarm was blaring and the cops showed up with the paddywagon threatening to throw everyone in jail. And the staff was awesome about it; they cooked us lasagna.

Once in Austin, we played a clothing-optional university co-op with naked people swinging from rafters and stage diving, and some chick was beating Jo’s cymbals with a 17-inch rubber dildo. That one’s probably still the craziest.

Cincy Groove: Did you ever have any other thoughts of being anything other than a musician?

Jack O’Brien: Sure, we’ve all wanted to be different things at different times – poets, professors, politicians, bakers, garbage collectors, sound engineers, vagabonds – all the things we once thought were more reasonable career choices than music.

Cincy Groove: Do you remember the first time you heard one of your songs on the radio?

Jack O’Brien: Oh yeah, we were so psyched. We called up the DJ to thank him and we’ve been good pals since.

Cincy Groove: Is there one band you would like to open for above all others?

Jack O’Brien: Dead: Muddy Waters, Alive: Daft Punk

May 24, 2011 The Middle East Cambridge, MA
May 25, 2011 Mercury Lounge New York, NY w/ Black Taxi, The Click Clack Boom
May 26, 2011 Up Or On The Rocks Hartford, CT
May 27, 2011 The Saint Asbury Park, NJ
May 28, 2011 The RatHaus Philadelphia, PA w/ The Click Clack Boom
May 31, 2011 The Lemon Grove Youngstown, OH
June 01, 2011 The Village Idiot Toledo, OH
June 02, 2011 The MOTR Pub Cincinnati, OH
June 03, 2011 TBA Madison, WI
June 04, 2011 Fine Line Music Cafe, Minneapolis, MN
June 05, 2011 Double Door Chicago, IL
June 08, 2011 TBA Dallas, TX
June 09, 2011 8.0 Bar Ft. Worth, TX
June 10, 2011 Warehouse Live Houston, TX
June 11, 2011 The Mohawk Austin, TX