THE BREAKDOWN ROOM - Rock. Writing. Redefined.


Brother Cane Comes Alive...Again

By BRIAN HEATON

Brother Cane will play its first gig in six years on Friday, April 15, headlining the 2011 Dallas International Guitar Festival in Texas. The show also will mark a new era for the band, as lead vocalist and guitarist Damon Johnson plans to make Brother Cane a priority in 2012.

Based out of Birmingham, Ala., Brother Cane's lineup for the Dallas show will consist of Johnson and original member Scott Collier on drums. Johnson said a couple of his friends would play bass guitar and rhythm guitar, in place of former band members Roman Glick and David Anderson, respectively.

When asked about the group's lineup moving forward, Johnson was non-committal about his former bandmates. The frontman said that without MTV exposure, Brother Cane was generally "faceless," during its initial run from 1990-1998, with fans falling in love with the songs and not the guys who played them.

"After a long period of time, people might say 'if it's not going to be all four, then what's the point?'" Johnson said. "But I wrote those songs, I've played those songs and not a day goes by that I do not get asked about Brother Cane. That is so humbling and powerful. I've finally come to a place where I want to give the fans what they want."

Johnson admitted that some people might question whether the lineup should be considered Brother Cane, but he was confident that he could successfully perform under the band's name.

"Not everybody in the band maintained a relationship, life brings changes," Johnson added. "I don't want to be held hostage to perception or to the guys in the band in the past."

Known for the hit singles "Got No Shame," "And Fools Shine On" and "I Lie in the Bed I Make," Brother Cane released its self-titled debut in 1993 and a second record, Seeds, in 1995. A third album, Wishpool, followed in 1998. A two-DVD set titled Come Alive Again was released in 2009.

Despite its success on the radio, Brother Cane's popularity peaked and the band found itself unable to sell enough tickets on the road to justify staying together. The group decided to part ways after Wishpool and aside from a two-show reunion in 2005, its members focused on other musical projects.

Most notably, Johnson currently serves as lead guitarist for Alice Cooper and has had a few side projects, including the popular country band Whiskey Falls. He also was part of Slave to the System, which featured Glick on bass, Scott Rockenfield of Queensryche on drums and Brother Cane collaborator and producer Kelly Gray on guitar.

In addition, Johnson found success as a solo artist, most notably as a songwriter. He has penned tracks that have been recorded by the likes of Stevie Nicks and Carlos Santana.

Given all his creative outlets, Johnson was careful not to over-commit to Brother Cane, saying it wouldn't be a full-time thing. But the singer is determined to give his old band another shot, even if the result is just another project.

"I need to make a rock record and there is no better vehicle than Brother Cane to do that," Johnson maintained. "I think its time to dust off the Les Pauls and the old speaker cabinets."


Copyright 2011, Brian Heaton. All Rights Reserved.