Interview: David Brookings on the the release of ‘Scorpio Monologue’
David Brookings and the Average Lookings recently released their second album, Scorpio Monologue, and a documentary of the making of the record. I recently sat down to talk to frontman David Brookings about the release of both the album and film.
The Bay Bridged: What was the catalyst for this album?
David Brookings: As soon as I finish one, I start on the next one. The only catalyst is I am always making music. When I have 12, 13 good songs, I know I’ve got an album.
TBB: Can you tell me about the title, Scorpio Monologue? On stage, the Average Lookings are such a collective…the term monologue seems so much about the individual and not the group.
DB: It is a collaborative work in a sense, but I write all these songs in a garage (laughs). I mean, in that way, it is a monologue. Honestly, though, the album title is always the last thing to come. I was going to title it Monologue, but there are a couple of other albums out there already titled that. So, I figured I’m a Scorpio, Scorpio Monologue sounds cool, so I went with it.
TBB: Your work does tend to be somewhat autobiographical.
DB: Some of my stuff is probably too autobiographical. I try to write “you too” type songs, ones that could apply to anybody.
TBB: I like the personal touch, but I do think it’s very relatable. I’d imagine a lot of folks relate to “She’s Mad at Me Again.”
DB: You think so? I wrote that one when
[my wife, Shelby] was truly pissed at me. I went off and wrote this song, and I was like, “Hey, I think I’ve got a song here.” She was still mad, but she liked the song so that mad started to wear off. That one is fun to play live.
TBB: I’ve always loved seeing you all perform your cover of “Girl from North Country” live, and I was thrilled to see it on the new album. I’m not a Dylan fan, but your version of that song really slays me.
DB: Yeah, we have never had covers on an album before.
TBB: What made you decide to include covers this time? You also covered Badfinger’s “Without You.”
DB: “Without You” came out a month before the album, actually. We were asked to be on a cover album of ’70s power pop songs. I love Badfinger, and I was really happy with how we covered that song. So, I thought, why not put it on the album? You know, we usually play covers pretty straight — pretty true to the original. I really felt like with “North Country” we put our own spin on it.
TBB: The guitar on that one is really amazing.
DB: Yeah, our lead guitar player, Patrick, does some amazing things on this album. I mean, on the end of “Sleep to Dream” he does something I can’t even do. Some Van Halen stuff. He’s amazing.
TBB: I heard your recent show at Art Boutiki was something else.
DB: It was amazing! I am not used to…well, that place seats 150. They were turning people away at the door. We showed the documentary. It was surreal seeing people watch me on the big screen. My daughter, McKinley, came up on stage and sang “Rainbow Baby” with me. It was a really great night.
TBB: What made you all decide to create a documentary of the making of this album?
DB: There’s a guy I work with at Apple, Chris. He’s done a couple of documentaries — he did one about a car, a Porsche. I just loved it. I watched it and I was just impressed. I asked if he’s ever done one or had ever done one for a music group. We decided to work together, the thought was the album can help the movie and the movie can help the album. Just trying to get more eyes and ears and interest on the band. We’re both really proud. I think the documentary is great.
TBB: You mention working for Apple. Your new song, “Silicon Valley,” seems a little less than flattering of the area.
DB: Really? That’s not how I meant it!
TBB: Well, I don’t mean that it is overly critical, but maybe that it pokes a little fun. I think as a fellow Southerner transplanted to the West Coast I kind of relate to the song.
DB: Yeah, it’s not a serious song in some ways, but I love it out here. Heck, I don’t even have a song about the South.
TBB: Do you think you’ve assimilated to the culture out here?
DB: Oh, man. I mean, I think so? It’s hard…I mean what is the culture out here? There are so many different types of people and everyone is so different but together. I love it. My wife is happy here, my daughters are happy here, so I’m happy here.
TBB: How do you feel this album differs from your previous work with the Average Lookings?
DB: I think the album has more gears to it than the last one. It was in some ways intentional — I did want to write some different stuff. If I’m honest, I just think it is a better album all the way around.
TBB: I’d agree, and I really liked the first album. Are you all going to be playing shows any time soon?
DB: We plan to. The album has legs, the band has legs. We need to take advantage of this and play out more. This summer we will probably have some shows in the Bay Area. I want to stretch out, though, I want to play other cities.
TBB: What would you say to someone who was unfamiliar with you and your band?
DB: Start with the new album — it’s the best. I’m proud of the songs on all the albums. When I look back to my other work, they don’t always sound the ways that I want them to sound. This album sounds like I want it to.
TBB: Is there anything else we should know?
DB: I’m really trying. I am. My whole life I’ve been listening to music and how songs are crafted. I’m just trying to be a good dude and write good songs.
Check out The Making of Scorpio Monologue below:
You can find David Brookings and the Average Lookings new album Scorpio Monologue at DavidBrookings.net.
SarahJayn is a writer, photographer, and teacher from Tampa, Florida. She graduated from New College of Florida with a B.A. in Humanities. How she ended up teaching in Oakland is one of life's great mysteries. She loves her dog Twiggy, manatees, punk rock, a good meal, discovering new places. Her most prized possession is an original pressing of The Replacements' 'Let It Be.'
Check out her photography at https://sarahjayn1980.myportfolio.com/