Biram brings variety, energy to the stage
BRATTLEBORO — One of Scott Biram's earliest memories was staring at a King Crimson album cover that belonged to his father. The otherworldly artwork must have altered the chemistry in the wee lad's brain. Soon his dad took him to a record store where little Scotty skipped over the kids section and instead reached out for the latest Lightnin' Hopkins record to purchase. "That was probably around 1976 or '77," recalled the native of Lockhart, Texas. "When I was 2 or 3 years old."
As he grew, Biram soaked in a wide variety of music in his home, with lots of classic rock mixed in with a bit of Leadbelly, Doc Watson, John Prine and Merle Haggard. But it was a soul singer who inspired Biram to pick up his first instrument. "I became interested in playing keyboards when I heard Stevie Wonder's 'Superstition.' I didn't really start playing guitar until I was 14, though I had fooled around with my uncle's acoustic guitar since I was 6. I didn't really expect, when I was young, that I'd eventually become a serious working musician."
Biram eventually involved himself in punk, metal, and bluegrass bands throughout high school, and college. "But it wasn't until '98 that I did my first tour; I've probably been on over a hundred of them since then. Somewhere along the line it started paying the bills, and I've been on the road, screaming into a mic ever since."
The never-ending road will take Biram, (aka "The Dirty Old One Man Band"), to The Stone Church in Brattleboro on Wednesday.
Biram's eclectic and somewhat eccentric approach to making music is evident on his 10th and most recent record, 2017's "Bad Testament" which he described as "Landing somewhere west of the Old Testament and south of an AA handbook."
I had Biram - a true DIY artist who plays all the instruments on his CD - explain his adventurous m lange of sounds. "Most of my records kinda come across as music collages. I patch together straight old times Blues songs with what I call Trucker Rock and Punk Blues. They usually get a little punk and metal inspired sounds in there. There's almost always a singer songwriter feeler and a straight country song or 2."
After a couple of listening, two of Bad Testament's tracks stuck in my brain, "Trainwrecker" and "Crippled & Crazy." I asked Biram about what inspired those standout songs. "Obviously the punk/hardcore thing is what I was going for with the song "TrainWrecker." Kinda tryin' to throw some Black Flag/Motorhead feeling in there. With songs like "Crippled & Crazy," I think I was going for a Freddy Fender/Roy Orbison feel. Sometimes I know what I'm going for when I start. Sometimes I just have to see where piecing them all together takes me."
As for his approach to playing live? "I always try to bring energy to the stage. Try to give them something to rock out to. But I also always want to show off all the styles I know, so there's a lot of variety. It's not all for everyone, but there IS something for everyone in there somewhere. Mostly it's about having a good time"
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