“My cousin turned up the volume when Springsteen’s version of ‘Santa Claus Is Coming to Town’ came on the radio. I had never heard anything like it. That was it for me – I knew that I had to become a musician.” In those days before karaoke machines, Brian spent his spare time singing along with his favorite artists as his boombox blared through the house. He picked up the family’s old acoustic guitar at age 14 then bought his first rhythm guitar, learned harmonica and joined a band as lead vocalist.
“No one else wanted to do the vocals, and my friends convinced me I should do it,” he explains. At age 18, he formed his own band and called it GB Leighton, using a turnaround of his own name. His first release in 1994 was One Time ... One Life, followed by four other albums, including the 2001 CD It’s All Good, a 12-song disc representing GB Leighton’s honest, soulful, rock ‘n’ roll style. With hits such as “Most Important Night,” “Fly My Plane,” and “County Road,” the style of It’s All Good has been compared to the likes of John Mellencamp and Bruce Springsteen. The energy Brian brings to his music is reflective of his idol – Springsteen.
“He’s the guy who got me going,” says Leighton. “I guess it was about the attitude of having a good time in life...and so that's kind of what I've always tried to have my music be - just different aspects of life.” Despite the band’s demanding schedule playing five nights a week during the past ten years, everyone involved in GB Leighton works and plays together. “We love the schedule, and there’s a lot of camaraderie among the band members that you don’t always see. We actually like to be around one another.” The current incarnation of the band includes Luke Kramer on guitar, Randall Baugher on drums, Gary D.
on keyboard, Jason Perri on saxophone and violin, and Junior Flom on bass. Their 2003 tour spans the Midwest, from small clubs and bars to larger venues, and Brian has lent solo support to national/international tours with The BoDeans, Joe Cocker, Boz Skaggs, Chuck Berry, and Jonny Lang. Brian still calls the Twin Cities home, and makes as much time as possible for his wife and young son. The new album, This Life, on the Liquid 8 Records label marks a new path in GB Leighton’s career, with high-energy original songs and a rousing new version of the hit song “Come and Get Your Love.” Leighton is proud of his collaboration with Bobby Z in this production. “I like to say that each album gets better, and this one is no exception.
This one feels like a fresh new pair of blue jeans – you just feel good trying them on. -Bio taken with permission from http://www.gbleighton.com/ ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- -Added on 11.11.08- Guitar, Vocals, Harmonica More than 200 shows a year. Jubilant fans who follow him from Minnesota to Mexico. More than 70,000 albums sold. A crushing live-performance DVD.
And now even a state-of-the-art nightclub named after one of his songs -- all without the support of a major record label… Meet GB Leighton, a band named after one of the region’s most incendiary live performers and consistently solid songwriters, Brian Leighton. Through more than a decade and nine studio albums, Leighton and his six-piece band have been tearing up rock clubs, church fundraisers and even a few fan’s living rooms with a slew of songs that connect with the heart and couples singing along out on the dance floor. “A man of the people” is a phrase usually reserved for statesmen and politicians, but for Leighton, whose politics are more conservative and libertarian, it’s a fitting description when you see him in action working a joint, or on his 2006 DVD, Live at the Minnesota Music Café. Where have we seen this phenomena before? Springsteen in Asbury Park before he lit out for New York and the wider world; Mellencamp back in those anonymous Indiana bars; Hootie and the Blowfish lightin’ up the southern circuit…Leighton delivers that same inescapable rock ‘n’ roll spirit night after night. “If I hadn’t heard a bunch of Bruce’s bootlegs or seen the videos I’d be a much different musician,” he says today.
“He’s always been a great songwriter and performer, like a preacher almost who commands an audience. That’s the place I’m coming from. But at the end of the day, I’m just a common guy, a working class kid from a Twin Cities suburb who loves to put on a good show and hopefully write some good songs in between.” In Acapulco or Pickle Park, connecting with people still privy to a pretty good rock ‘n’ roll thing Leighton’s countless live gigs have that golden glow of legendary status about them throughout the Midwest. But he’s also done his share of non-conventional gigs at the Minnesota Governor’s Mansion, church festivals, in fan’s living rooms and at a special show in March 2006 for Minnesota National Guard troops who were shipping-off to serve in the Middle East from Camp Shelby in Mississippi.
In January 2006 GBL also began the first annual trip – with fans – to Acapulco. More than 120 people joined him and the GB Leighton Band for a week. The group played two poolside shows by day and rocked a local club by night. “In between we hung with the people on the trip, which was surprise to a lot of them: We were right there next to them by the pool with family and friends having a drink and relaxing.” This year he’ll reprise that adventure, playing the Acapulco Hard Rock Café at night, and giving people who love his music another chance to connect in a manageable rock ‘n roll setting that’s still a pretty good thing for a rocker and his audience. When approached to have a first-class, high-tech nightclub – not far from his house in New Brighton – named after a song on his first album, “Pickle Park,” Leighton was in.
Not since Prince opened Glam Slam in downtown Minneapolis has any Minnesota musician opened a club where fans can expect to see a hometown rocker and his band play live and hang out “to catch a Vike’s game and just kick back.” He adds that “‘Pickle Park’s in some ways a lot like the new record – it’s another way to keep fans happy – and to share a space with them,” Leighton notes. “It’s something I’ve wanted for a long time, and when club owners Tom Tomaro and Mike Tupa approached me about the idea, I was all over it. It’s really going to be a way for people to see another side of me, just like Shake Them Ghosts is.” His tenth album, ‘Ghosts is Leighton’s finest effort to date. Longtime fans wonder if this is the one to break him out nationally.
And his new management team, Murphy to Manteo, the same group that launched Hootie, Cowboy Mouth and others, is working on it. But in the meantime, Brian’s doing what he does best, rock the house. People might wonder how a big national audience might shake things up. But one thing’s sure: Brian Leighton was born to it. “This is the only thing I ever wanted to do.
I don’t see stopping or changing it up no matter where it takes me and the band.” Read more on Last.fm. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply..
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