Spotlight On ETA Brent Freeman
First and foremost, I wish to thank Brent for participating in Sideburns Magazine online interview. I have recorded Brent’s answers in tact, with slight editing for clarification. I appreciate Brent's candid responses, and thank him for providing his own photos. Brent’s humourous take on life definitely shines through. I invite you to enjoy The Interview...
Q. Has music always been a part of your life?
A. It does seem that way.
Q. When did you first perform in public?
A. I lip-synced to “Jailhouse Rock” in the grade 7 talent show at school.
Q. Did you practise doing different voices when you were a child?
A. Yes. I can remember making my own “radio plays” with an old Lloyds stereo complete with sound effects…lol.
Q. Describe your high school experience.
A. I really liked high school. I was actually pretty popular in high school…believe it or not…lol. I was never part of a “clique” like the jocks or the tough guys. Really quite a geek.
Q. What circumstances led to the formation of the Tiger Sharks band?
A. I love rockabilly music and when Brian Setzer and the Stray Cats came around in the early 80s, I wanted to do that too. So I taught myself guitar and formed a band. ("The inside sleeve of the Tiger Sharks first CD signed by Scotty, DJ Fontana and the Jordanaires!!")
Q. What are your strengths as a performer?
A. Well, I’m pretty comfortable on stage and can be funny, or so I think…lol. I can sing pretty okay.
Q. What would you like fans to remember about your performances?
A. I’m uncomfortable with the word “fan”. I like to think of people that come to shows more as friends that I haven’t met yet or friends that enjoy my take on music. I’d like people to have a fun time and enjoy themselves. If they leave saying, “Boy, he sung the heck outta that song,” that’s always good too.
Q. Do you have a particular age, gender, and accent that you enjoy doing in voice-overs?
A. My favourite jobs to get are character jobs—when you’re more voice acting than just reading. You know, goofy stuff.
Q. Other than being a performer, media personality, and business owner, what career would you choose if you could do it all over again?
A. I have no idea.
Q. What 5 adverbs or adjectives best describe your work day?
Q. Have you won an award or title that has special meaning to you?
A. Winning the early years non-pro in Collingwood 2014 was pretty surreal. It was pretty cool.
Q. What do you do on your days away from work? How do you relax?
A. Since I sold my company (Cinema 1) 3 yrs ago, I’m generally relaxing all the time…lol. I love doing voice over work and performing my radio stints, so there’s lots of time for relaxing in there. I like playing guitar (not as much as I should) and believe it or not, shopping.
Q. Describe your favourite audience.
A. I always said, even when the Tiger Sharks played A LOT, I’d rather play to a small crowd that loves you, than a big one that is indifferent. If the crowd is responding to you, you’ll be that much better.
Q. What makes you laugh?
A. Literally…almost everything.
Q. What is your greatest fear?
A. These questions are hard! Um…I dunno…I’m not fond of the idea of dying.
Q. What would you like to tell us about “King Attractions”?
A. Well, we’ve been a little quiet lately as my partner in crime (Matt Cage) has been very busy with MDQ (the play, Million Dollar Quartet) but we WILL get back to doing more in the near future!
Q. What is your association with “Cinema 1”?
A. I started Cinema 1 in 1992 with a friend of mine from the radio station. I like people to think I’m a big goofy moron, but I did start and run a company that at its height had annual sales about 8 million and 70+ employees and I was the President! But big goofy moron keeps people’s expectations lower.
Q. Describe a perfect future.
A. Independent wealth would be alright.
Q. What will you do in retirement?
A. Likely exactly what I’m doing now…except for the performing. Nobody wants to see an old fossil up on stage, but I’ll keep going as long as I can.
Q. Are there particular people you would like to thank? Why?
A. My children…who are wonderful, and Suzy (girlfriend) for putting up with me. Both stepdaughter Alexya and my oldest child, Myra love going to Elvis events, which is a blast. My musical brain-washing has really worked too well on them. But I’m glad they share the same love for Elvis music as me.
Q. What advice do you have for ETAs just starting out?
A. One thing I see a lot of guys doing is copying other ETAs. Find your own take on Elvis, you’re an ETA, not an ETATA (Elvis Tribute Artist Tribute Artist)…lol.
Q. Does putting on a costume change your personality?
A. No. I believe it was Laurence Olivier who once said to Dustin Hoffman on his "method acting"…”Why don’t you just try acting?” I mean, there is a certain amount of “getting into character” that one must do, but those guys that walk around most of the time acting like Elvis? They are likely certifiably insane.
Q. Do you have a collection of Elvis related memorabilia?
A. I have a Lot of albums from when, that’s what you bought…lol. I do have pictures/art and other collectibles too. It also wasn’t just Elvis responsible for his sound, particularly early on. I have several vintage guitar amps and a Gibson Es-295 and Gibson L5-CES…the two guitar models Scotty Moore used from the Sun years until the 60s. ("The black guitar is my L-5. The gold one is the Es-295.")
Q. What do you treasure?
A. Family and friends.
Q. What circumstances led to the photo of you and Mike Holmes?
A. I have many friends in high places…lol. Actually, he’s dating Suzy’s sister, ;)
Q. Do you have information about upcoming concerts that you would like to share?
A. Not any particular ones…just keep watching my facebook page. I try to put everything there unless it’s a private show.
Thus concludes my interview with Brent Freeman. I second Dragons’ Den alumni, and Shark Tank panelist, Kevin O’Leary’s quote that appears on Brent’s website, “Absolutely fantastic!”