Fowler & Branca
"When we were playing in Vegas, we used to go out at night and drive into the desert and sit on some mountain and wait to see if we could see UFO's," laughs Steve. "Oh sure, I'd be scared to death, but I think if one landed . . . I'd like to take a ride." Other than that, Bob Fowler & Steven Branca are perfectly normal guys. It was over 15 years ago that Fowler & Branca met in a band, specifically assembled to perform in Las Vegas. Zero alien adventures and two successful albums later, Bob and Steve are beaming to the top of the NAC radio charts.
After playing tag in opposite bands in a circuit that extended from New York to Virginia and just west of Philadelphia, Fowler and Branca agreed to join forces to write and sell songs. It seemed to work. Their first published song, a dance/vocal, appeared on Tim Eyerman's progressive jazz recording, East Coast Offering, on MCA Records. Number two soon followed which was an instrumental jazz composition recorded by Michael Pedicin Jr. on his album City Song. It was, however, in the free time between composing tunes for other people that the individuality of Fowler & Branca emerged. "I would play an idea for Steve and visa versa," says Bob, "and we started to find out that our ideas and opinions really seemed to work together. To this day we've rarely ever had an argument over a composition." Steve interjects laughing, "We've had fights about other things, but we've never fought about the music." Their latest Silver Waveproject, Etched in Stone, certifies their compositional strength.
Bo Fowler - engineer, producer, Birthdate: Halloween, October 31, 1954 in Philadelphia, PA
I think the hardest thing about this type of material, especially back a couple of years ago or more, when we first started, was It's hard to sort of put yourself out on the line. I know a lot of people in this area who are real talented musicians, and it's hard to say, this is who I am. verses this is how I play or this is how I represent myself as a player. When you actually start writing, I think you start finding out who you really are inside. really sincere. and some people like the way that looks and some people don't like the way that looks in terms of themselves.
I'm either a student or teach the "course of miracles" in this area, popular in L.A. Marion Williamson has popularized it. Meditation.
The one thing that I'd like to add is that you always dream that you'd find yourself in this position, I just think we're really lucky and blessed that we find ourself in this position because both of us know an awful lot of gifted musicians that wound up having to leave the business because of not being able to get gig. Steve-We never started out on this project with the idea that we were going to make a lot of money, I know that might sound cliche, but we went into it knowing full well that the potential for being successful at it was probably a longer shot than continuing commercial music, but we just felt it came so much easier for us because it was the truth.
I think the biggest kick we get out of it is knowing that not only do other people hear out stuff but other get inspiration from hearing it. I get the biggest charge out of thinking that when it's plays in L.A. on the Wave or something that someone who's really stressed out in their car from a bad day in the office and they hear something that we wrote and it chills them out. To me that's a real miracle that you can do that for somebody, and put them in a different mental place for awhile and make their life a little easier for a couple minutes. Steve - for me, the idea that somebody on the other side of the world is picking up a song that we wrote and purchasing it someplace or listening to it in Korea, England Germany and Japan that flips us out. The first time we saw our album at a record store 20 miles away was really strange.
Steve Branca - artwork, producer, Birthday: March 27, 1952 in Philadelphia, PA
"we've known each other for [a long time. we've played in bands...] about 17 years now. bob always had some recording equipment of some sort...and has a small studio in his home and he would occasionally ask me to come over and lay a guitar track down on a tune. I was working in and out of the music business I am an artist, I went to school as a commercial artist and I worked for an advertising agency and wanted to stay involved in music. so I approached Bob about putting a studio together and writing some songs together. We grew up pretty close together, I'm originally from Vilinova, outside of Philadelphia"...Bob "I was born in Philadelphia and was raise most of My life in Jersey"
"I played guitar since I was 10 years old and I studied for a short wile with a teacher but than I went on to Philadelphia college of art and I got my degree there...but even before I graduated I went on the road playing in original jazz bands and went out to California and played a few things out there and came back and pretty played at the clubs between New York and Virginia and just west of Pennsylvania, that whole circuit. so Bob and I played in opposite bands and kind of knew each other from that same circuit." and hooked up in the same band eventually in 1979 and we've played together since than" on and off in different club bands and then we joined forces as a writing team more than 11 or 12 years ago.
Some of the songs you'd be surprised to hear how they started out and where they went to but I think we try to treat each one as a painting. And it really changes, it takes different forms and it goes through a whole metamorphosis before it comes out to where we're satisfied. Some came easy and other ones were like a labor, like having a child they just took forever until we were satisfied with the point they were useable on an album.
We both enjoy progressive jazz and really all kinds of music: classical , folk and even country but it just came to us a lot easier because we weren't trying to write for a specific market we were just writing what we felt.
I draw a lot on my sad times, bob will tell you that, I'm a manic depressant. So when things were only cherry you wouldn't have the same depth to your music? He'd find something to be depressed about, pipes in Bob.