Brandon Jordan is an LA-based musician and founding member of Columbia-signed punk rock band, ‘Killradio,’ having opened for Henry Rollins and toured with Green Day and My Chemical Romance, among others, however, he is also currently Regional Director at ‘Rock To Recovery,’ helping people in treatment, with the healing powers of music. His thoughts about lockdown reflect a hopefulness that we will get through this, and what better way than through the power of music.
Before the lockdown happened, I was visiting 18 treatment centers a week. We suddenly had to change our whole approach to playing music with clients. Zoom became the new app that everyone was using and we followed suit. Instead of writing music with my clients, I began teaching people how to write lyrics. I am a firm believer that “great songs are simple conversations,” so we start off our sessions with a specific question that leads to a larger conversation.
I mostly teach people how to listen to each other and write down any phrase or idea that feels important and conversational. People laugh when I say this, but I mostly teach people how to eavesdrop on conversations they hear. Most people find it really easy to write a set of lyrics for a song if I present it like that. Much less anxiety or intimidation is felt by the clients when I present the creative challenge as an experience they have already had. Some of the lyrics that my non-musician clients have written are absolutely timeless and heartfelt and it gives people a confidence boost that they haven’t felt in a long time.
In addition to playing music via Zoom with Rock to Recovery, I have been able to connect with a bunch of my musician friends who still wanted to “play”. Home studios are so powerful now and file sharing is so easy and quick, that I’ve actually played more music with my friends than I had in the previous couple years. We took iPhone videos of us laying down tracks in our respective studios and uploaded the edited compilations online. People are really enjoying watching our collaborations, and I feel like I am still getting my music fix right now. I think the newness will wear off down the line, because there is nothing like a live audience, but it’s been a nice substitute for a life-long stage performer.
For the last 18 years, I have been the singer of the political punk band Killradio. We spent last year writing and rehearsing for our upcoming album, “Election Year,” so when COVID hit, we had to ditch all of our practice sessions and we settled for one day in the studio to record the entire drums and bass for the record. Luckily, our friend’s studio is huge and we all sat in different corners of the 50 foot room and just played our parts. Our drummer works in the restaurant biz, and when the restaurants were closed, he had nothing but time to practice his parts for the upcoming recording date. I would say 75% of his drum parts were all first takes. We set up, recorded, and tore down in less than 5 hours. We all kept our social distance, and we went our separate ways.
It was a very nervous recording session, but this record is going to be our best work so far, so I’m very proud of the focus my individual band mates held onto while they were in isolation. This record has exceeded all of my expectations that I had going into it. Of course, being in a political band is interesting every year, but this year has been especially interesting. We have added some acoustic tracks to the album that deal with our current events. They will remain as acoustic tracks because the band cannot fully rehearse together.
I have stayed really busy during the lockdown with Rock to Recovery, Killradio and all my other music projects. My wife and son have been also very supportive, and we have creatively come up with new ways to entertain ourselves. Currently, everyone in my house is obsessed with Hot Wheels, mainly because my 2-year-old son is obsessed with them. We watch YouTube videos of Hot Wheels, we make tracks in the living room, we make ramps and see how far we can get them to fly.
Sometimes it is the simple things in life that allow us to stop trying to control what is out of our control.”