Native San Franciscan, pop/rock singer and songwriter, Brendan Getzell, will be releasing his second album, "Better Late Than Never" physical release tomorrow night at Brick & Mortar Music Hall with Mr. Kind and Miss Erma.
Getzell has been a staple in the San Francisco open mic scene, hosting one of the city's most notorious and eclectic open mic's for three years at Hotel Utah Saloon. He was given the hosting opportunity when previous host JJ Schultz handed the reins to Getzell. Getzell says of the Hotel Utah Open Mic night on Mondays, "It became not only a place full of musical opportunity but also my hangout, something to look forward to, something that made Mondays so much more bearable."
Although, lately, Getzell had a non-musical adventure, recently landing a spot on national television as a contestant on Jeopardy back in March, and charming Jeopardy fans with his dapper style, wearing a bow-tie on the show.
'Better Late Than Never" is available on Bandcamp, iTunes, Amazon and most online retailers. The pop/rock album's most notable songs "No Reservations" and "Serenade" are worth checking out with physical CDs available at tomorrow night's party.
I was able to ask Getzell a few questions regarding his upcoming release party, his experience on Jeopardy and surprises for the show.
ELENA OVALLE: I see that you have a previous album out on CD Baby. How is the new album "Better Late Than Never" different from your past works?
BRENDAN GETZELL: In just about every way imaginable! I have a lot of affection for "A Season Intertwined," which I put out in 2007, but at the end of the day it was me in the basement working through a little Pro Tools rig. For "Better Late Than Never," I hooked up with a really great producer (Ashif Hakik), some solid musicians (Cliff Tune, Jonathan Kirchner, and Andres Vera, to name a few), and added another shade of sophistication to my songwriting. The arrangements are crisp, powerful, and at times majestic. The bigger difference, though, is that my first album was essentially a compilation of songs written over several years, while the songs on the new one are much more closely connected, and representative of a particular period in my life.
EO: For the new album, did you have any inspirations or interesting/funny stories on working on any of the songs?
BG: I didn't mean for it to work out like this, but it ended up being a de facto concept album on shyness and the inability to communicate one's desires. It's extra ironic because the sound is so big on some of the songs. The funniest aspect of the album is really how long it took; I worked on the record, off an on, for right around 3 years. It was at the tail-end of mixing that I realized what the title of the album should be. ("Better Late Than Never" is the opening lyric of the album's penultimate track, "Fortinbras Strikes Again," a song that is less about a minor character from Hamlet than the title would suggest.)
EO: How would you sum up your experience on Jeopardy?
BG: It was the ultimate Willy-Wonka's-factory experience, a lifelong dream realized. Ever since I was a little kid I've been a sponge for facts and trivia in a wide variety of sujbects, so it almost felt like fate that I got this opportunity. Though I wound up one question short of becoming a champion (on a politics question, and I was a political science major in college, ugh!), I had an unforgettable time, looked smashing with my bowtie, and even made Alex Trebek laugh on national television.
EO: What make you pick Mr. Kind and Miss Erma to open for you at the CD release party?
BG: Oh I'm thrilled to have both on the bill. Mr. Kind is a great local rock band, one that manages to sound both lush and sparse at the same time, both comforting and challenging. Oh, and they performed an entire Wilco album at one of their shows not long ago (and my favorite one to boot), how can you not love that? Miss Erma is a friend of mine who's been a frequent performer at the Hotel Utah Open Mic going on four years, is a masterful musician on many instruments, and is even more versatile in her sound. Neo-soul, blues, jazz, rock, folk, even klezmer -- you name it, she can perform it.
EO: Any surprises, things to look for at the event?
BG: Oh, but then they wouldn't be surprises would they! The band will have a, "some of you I know, some of you I'm meeting for the first time" charm to it. As for other things, I may be unreasonably excited about selling my first ever t-shirt at the show.
Brendan Getzell CD Release Show
Brick & Mortar Music Hall
1710 Mission St (near Duboce), San Francisco
Less than 3 blocks from 16th/Mission Bart
Wednesday, May 21st
Doors 8pm, Show 9pm
Advance tickets: $7
Tickets available at the door for $10
You can follow Brendan Getzell on Twitter at @refsunbrendans,
Preview the album here
Be sure to check out the Hotel Utah Open Mic's website