Meet Flashlight Brown – Their bio claims that they were united by boredom and a natural frustration towards the politically correct thought-police of a small college town. So how did they kill time? Bandmembers Fil, Matt, Mike and Tim decided to makes some noise. Their earliest efforts may have lacked order, but it made up for itself by blindly offending the group's scholarly peers.
And Flashlight Brown should get a Grammy just for sheer balls: the band couldn’t get gigs in the beginning, so they made up a fictitious booking agency – the Harry Wells Booking Agency—with themselves as the sole client. All of a sudden club owners across the country started taking their calls, their shows began to wow the kids in their hometown of Toronto, and the rest, as they say, is history.
Haven’t heard of them? Neither had NT until we happened upon their impressive set on the Maurice stage of Warped Tour 2003.
Their sound is a punk-pop mix with cool guitar riffs and catchy tunes. Their debut album, My Degeneration [Hollywood Records] was released earlier this spring and is available in stores now. From Toronto, Canada, Flashlight Brown is: Mike Conroy: lead guitar, Fil Bucchino: vocals & base, Matt Hughes: vocals & rhythm guitar, and Tim Thomson: drums.
NT caught up with drummer Tim Thomson and asked him a few questions:
NT: Where did the name Flashlight Brown come from?
Tim: At first we were just called Flashlight, but there was another band with that name in the States, so we took Brown from Ween, our favorite band.
NT: Is this your first time playing Warped Tour?
Tim: We’ve played Warped Tour in Canada, but this is our first time on Warped Tour in the States.
NT: Has anything crazy happened to you on tour?
Tim: A lot of crazy things have happened. Once our van blew up when everyone was sleeping. We were running across a snowy field in socks. We had to rent a U-Haul for the rest of the tour.
NT: You guys have said on your website that survival on no-frills road trips means sleeping on floors, cooking canned food on the engine block and begging for beers after shows. Do you have any advice for aspiring musicians?
Tim: Give up while you can and get a life! (Laughs.) If you don’t enjoy it, don’t do it.
Summer of 2002 turned everything around for Flashlight Brown. The band was flat broke and sleeping in the van on a Calgary parking lot when they got a call from Rob Cavallo (Green Day, Alanis Morissette, Goo Goo Dolls) who wanted to record two songs with them. The next thing they knew, they were recording in LA and it quickly snowballed into the full album, My Degeneration, a culmination of a 6 year career of living on the edge between a dream and despair. Fueled by the energy of punk, the power of the great guitar bands, the irreverence of the Simpsons and the surprisingly profound, this album reaches out to everyone who's ever struggled to find their place in a world of borders and cliques.
NT: What are your goals throughout the rest of the year?
Tim: To sell ten million records.
NT: Stranger things have happened.