Nathan Shot

Brian Sutherland is a confident intellectual, a teacher even if not by trade. While talking with him, I laugh somewhat awkwardly as I struggle to match his wit. He attempts to show me his answers to my questions by writing/drawing them on the white board. If he spells things out for me I might understand better. And I do!

Which instruments can you play?

Cello, guitar, vocals

When did you start playing/singing?

Sixth grade – age 10/11

Who are your influences?

My first influences were Santana, punk/hard rock growing up and in college, Stevie Ray Vaughn, BB King, John Mayer, Jason Mraz.

Where have you studied music?

I began guitar and cello in middle school in Fort Myers. I played through high school and worked at the University of Miami’s Frost School of Music during their summer programs. After high school, I studied cello with Anne Parrette at Florida Southern College. My undergraduate degree is a Bachelor of Music degree in Music Performance, Cello.

Your dream gig?

That’s a really hard question. For me to be happy, I’ve only ever had a couple criteria:

Good music. I’ve always wanted to make good music and not settle when it comes to quality.

Sustain a family comfortably.

Brian tells me about when he took the opportunity to play stand-in guitar for the Beach Boys in October 2013. He talks passionately about experiencing that level of touring.

So have you already had your dream gig?

I think I had a taste of what my dream gig might be. The Beach Boys thing was great – good money and among many other perks I got to have a push-up contest with John Stamos. When I got back after a month of touring, I was so hungry to put all this stuff that I learned and all this eagerness to work. This is it. This is what I want to do.

You win a Grammy, who do you thank first?

God and my wife for putting up with me and giving me strength.


Mean tweet yourself.

@Brian_BSuthBand What makes you better is alcohol and uppers. #RealTalk

This answer was carefully structured out on the whiteboard so as to follow the proper format of a tweet. The inspiration for the tweet was sparked by an original song titled What Makes You Better, which can be found on the Brian Sutherland Band album.

Write a time capsule message to your future self.

Quit taking your life so seriously. Sometimes you need to take a day and eat an entire pizza, by yourself. I’m talking a Dominos extra-large.

Why are you part of the Brian Sutherland Band?

Can we just go ahead and move forward on that one then? …Truthfully because I suck at everything else.

Someone said to me recently: “Nobody expects a band to change the world.” Comment.

I agree, no one expects them to… but if they do, that’s great that a band has that power. (Quick lesson, including diagram on the white-board, about Nietzsche, aliens and Hitler) Nietzsche said: ‘Without music, life would be a mistake.’ If that’s true then it should be no surprise that a band could change the world.

Class dismissed.

Interview by Amber Grubb