Interview with Ben Morrison of The Brothers Comatose


The Brothers Comatose have been burning rubber across America for the past couple years. The brothers have made a name for themselves as a boot-stompin’ americana roots bands that brings an incredible energy to their live shows.

HYPE editor, Phil Sunkel, got the chance to do a quick interview with Ben Morrison (one of the brothers in The Brothers Comatose) about their new album, food and doing dishes.

HYPE (Phil Sunkel): Start off by telling me about the Brothers Comatose summer and kinda what you guys had going on this past year?

Ben Morrison: Let’s see here. It has been a really crazy year, a road dogging sort of year. Earlier in the year we went out on some pretty big tours, which was awesome. We did a month with the band Devil Makes Three, that was incredible.

HYPE: Nice.

Ben: And then, we did a month with Yonder Mountain String Band, which was also awesome. We’ve just kinda been playin’ non-stop, traveling all over the country. We’ve been to the southeast a couple times, east coast, Midwest, up and down the west coast.

HYPE: I was reading on the Brothers Comatose blog and I saw that you guys lost Gio this year. What has it been like without him?

Ben: Gio has been a buddy for a long, long time, so it’s kinda like not having one of your best buds in the band anymore. So that was hard, but you know, we have a really great bass player right now. He’s kind of stepped in and filled in that role really well. You know the rest of us are all playing well and getting along with each other and it’s been nice to have somebody else that can step in and do a great job.ChicoliveshotHYPE: And now you guys are all working on a new record together, right?

Ben: Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah. Probably, um, early-ish 2015. Most likely spring 2015? I don’t know. All that stuff takes awhile to actually get out there, so, we’re working on tunes right now and setting up recording dates. Things like that, so that’ll be happening over the next couple months which is pretty exciting for us.

HYPE: How would you say the new album differs from Respect the Van?

Ben: It’s kind of hard to say at this point in the game really, cause we’re compiling tunes that we’ve all written or worked on together, and uh, but you can’t really say until you’re in the studio and you see the direction that it’s going. It can take a whole different life of it’s own depending on how you end up doing the recording process and what songs you end up keeping and what songs get shelved for now. There’s definitely some of that same sort of vibe that’s on Respect the Van, but I think schematically it’s a little bit different. It’s kinda like a portrait of where we’re at in our lives. I’d like to maybe re-answer that question when we’ve been in the studio, and have a better take on it at that point.

HYPE: Sounds good to me. Now I want to ask you about the beginnings of The Brothers Comatose at the Morrison House. Could you tell me a little bit about that?

Ben: Sure. My brother’s in the band as well, he plays banjo, and we’re the only two siblings in our family that ended up as musicians. Our mom was a musician when we were growing up, she still is I guess, but she was in a band when we were little kids. It was a cool little group, four-piece, very vocal and harmony heavy, quartet, folk group, you know. They were kind of doing the Crosby, Stills, and Nash sort of stuff. We used to sit at our house and watch them rehearse when we were kids. That was really, really inspiring for us. Then as we got a little older we started playing ourselves. They started throwing music parties, kind of on like Sundays or whatever, you know off days where the band wouldn’t necessarily be playing gigs or anything, maybe once a month or something like that everybody would get together. It was pretty informal. Everybody would sit around, playin’ songs, and everyone would just jam on the songs. It was like, “Oh, cool. You wanna play this song? This is kinda how it goes.” And everybody would learn it real quick. It was kind of like going to school, you know?

HYPE: That’s a pretty amazing way to learn how to play.

Ben: Yeah, so I think that kinda like led us down the path that we’ve chosen.

HYPE: Sure seems like it.

Ben: Yeah, so we blame our mom for that for sure.HYPE: Haha That’s pretty awesome. Next I’d like to ask you about something on the blog again, food. I notice that you guys are definitely foodies. Could you tell me a little about some of the best places you’ve been to, maybe in the past couple months?

Ben: Oh man. Past two months, sure. You know, traveling a lot can be difficult. You’re in a van for hours and hours and hours, and then, you don’t necessarily, being in a band, you don’t necessarily like get to see the sights of any particular city ’cause you’re rolling in, you’ve gotta go to the venue, and you play. Then it’s dark and then you go to the hotel. Then you gotta get up and drive again tomorrow, but we do try to make time to go to food stops that are specific to that area or city, or whatever our tour manager is really, really, big, uh, big about, he’s really good about that. You know there’s this place called Prince’s in Nashville, and it’s like super spicy fried chicken, like greasy, spicy fried chicken.

HYPE: Oh, yeah. I like the sound of that.

Ben: It’s basically thrown on a piece of Wonder Bread or something like that and it’s amazing. So that was really good. Actually, one of our hosts, we crashed with a friend’s mom in Nashville, and she’s from Louisiana and she made us some incredible gumbo.

HYPE: Oh, wow.

Ben: We have our favorite spots for sure, but yet a lot of times people will give us recommendations. Like, when we’re in the southwest, certain like green chili spots we have to go to, um we also have our favorite sandwich shop up in Seattle.

HYPE: Let me guess, is it Paseo?

Ben: Oh, yeah. You know it?

HYPE: Well, there’s actually anotehr Paseo down in Key West, FL.

Ben: No shit.

Phil Sunkel: Yup. Same menu too. It is probably the best damn Caribbean roast I’ve ever had in my entire damn life.

Ben: Yeah, that’s what we get every single time.

HYPE: I had a friend who I told we were getting Paseo. I said, “Yo, we’re gonna go to lunch in Key West.” He’s like, “Where?”, I say “Paseo.” and he says “Grab me a salad.” And I’m like, “Dude, I’m not grabbing you a salad at Paseo.”

Ben: Yeah. Definitely not. Like, just try it. Just try the Caribbean Roast and you’ll understand.

HYPE: That’s what I told him haha.
brocowebsite2Ben: That’s pretty exciting actually, like to have your spot that you go to, and you know, cuisine is just different all throughout the country. We tend to be kind of spoiled being from the West Coast, ’cause it’s like, you know, fresh veggies and fruits, and good restaurants. It’s not always that way when you’re like traveling around though, but each individual area usually has its thing. Like if you go to Memphis you’ve got to have barbecue, or St. Louis, you know you’ve got to have the ribs, the dry rubbed ribs. So, we’re pretty good about seeking all that stuff out.

HYPE: I’m the same way when I’m out there on the road. Getting towards my last questions here. This one’s kinda been a new one I’ve been throwing out there. What’s something you’ve learned about yourself over the past year?

Ben: Oh man. Good question. I guess it would have to be in relation to being on the road, because (laughs) it’s funny, what I’ve learned about myself is that I enjoy doing dishes.

HYPE: Haha really?

Ben: Which is totally a strange thing and I’ve recently found out, like within the last year, that I’ve enjoyed doing that. You know, I used to hate it when we were kids and my mom’s like, “Uh, you gotta cook dinner or do the dishes.” But I have discovered that I really like it. It’s kind of really strange, you know ’cause this year when we’ve been out on the road like non-stop, and you know, you stay in hotels every night, you go out to eat every meal. I realized that not only is it calming and sort of meditation like to do dishes, but I feel like it’s like a, uh, it’s like a little bit, what’s the word I’m looking for, like domestic, right?

HYPE: (laughs) Yeah.

Ben: t’s weird because its sort of a taste of home. kinda like what being at home is like, ’cause it’s like you have to do the dishes, you know.

HYPE: Oh definitely, I mean, if you don’t do it, it wont get done.

Ben: So, I feel like when you’re on the road, it’s so chaotic. You don’t get to cook, you don’t have the opportunity to do that, but having some dishes to do, to me is calming and it kind of reminds me of being at home, which is totally weird, but that is something I’ve discovered.

HYPE: I think that’s totally reasonable when you’re on the road all the time.

For more info about Ben and The Brothers Comatose visit TheBrothersComatose.com

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