The following interview was conducted via email in March 2006:
Extreme Kid Rock recently caught up with ex-TBT bass player Michael Bradford (1999-2001). Michael is known best among Kid Rock fans for the time he spent out on the road with Kid as a member of the Twisted Brown Trucker band. He also produced/co-wrote all of Uncle Kracker’s albums, including the song “Follow Me” which was a worldwide smash-hit. A big thanks goes to Mike for agreeing to answer these questions for us!
1. You have collaborated with many artists, both mainstream and underground throughout your career. Who did you have the most fun working with and why?
MICHAEL BRADFORD: The most fun was probably Gibby from the Butthole surfers. He was insane, but also a really nice guy, without one hurtful bone in his body. Most of the artists I work with are fun, though. Real characters. If not, I just turn the job down. I don’t need the aggravation.
2. Did you have any idols growing up that influenced you to go in the music industry?
MB: All of the Black Rockers, like Jimi Hendrix and Phil Lynott from Thin Lizzy. Also Roger Glover of Deep Purple and Mel Sacher from Grand Funk Railroad, because of their distorted bass sound.
3. We hear you also play guitar, drums and keyboard. Which instrument did you find the most challenging to learn?
MB: Pedal Steel Guitar is the hardest, because it has so much body english, plus you’re working pedals and the slide at the same time. Bass is my most natural instrument.
4. Do you prefer working in a studio producing music or performing live on stage?
MB: I need to do both. When I’m in the studio, I wish I was jamming in front of a large audience. When I’m on tour, I miss the perfect sound that you can only get in a studio.
5. What are your interests outside of music? If music wasn’t an option, what would you be doing now?
MB: I used to design computers, but even then I had a music gig on the side. If I did anything else, I’d be wishing I was doing music. You don’t do this job unless you really need to in your soul, because the hard times can be really hard.
6. What was your most memorable moment whilst part of Twisted Brown Trucker?
MB: The best part was being there when Bob and Matt went from being two guys working the club circuit to each of them being successful in their own right. Even better than that was being able to say “I told you so” to all of the so-called “Experts” in the music business who said they would never make it.
7. What was your favorite Kid Rock song to play live and why?
MB: “Fuck Off” was fun, because it sounded huge. Also, Early Mornin’ Stoned Pimp, because that was probably my favorite Kid Rock album of all time.
8. Why did you always wear shades while performing?
MB: Because of the stage lights. They can really blind you, and you don’t want to be blind when there’s tons of pyro blowing up around you. Also, it looks cool, right?
9. What are your thoughts on Uncle Kracker going back to his rap roots on his next album?
MB: It will be some rap, some singing. I think it’s good to remember how it all started. When we made Double Wide, the “big surprise” was that the DJ could sing, and have a massive, worldwide pop hit. Now the “big surprise” will be the return of his rap and DJ skills.
10. Finally, what are you currently working on? Are there any projects you would like to mention?
MB: Well, I’m in Nashville working with Kracker in between dates of his tour that he just started with Kenney Chesney. I’m also writing with a great new Country-Rock singer named Cole Degges, who has a CD coming out on Sony. Plus, I’m going to finally put my own band together, called free form radio, and do some touring with Deep Purple, who have become great friends of mine. The best part of my job is having the chance to make friends with your heroes once in a while.
For more information on Michael Bradford, please visit his website http://www.michaelbradfordmusic.com/