Brian: On DC Music Rocks, we are shining a spotlight on the great songs and incredible people behind the DC region's music scene. Now let's get to know one of those folks, Steve's here with Braddock Station Garrison. Steve Schillinger is the singer and rhythm guitarist for Braddock Station Garrison. The band's music can be described as power pop meets Americana with a healthy dose of classic rock and roll. The band has recently released their third album, Saint Stephanie and the Stones. I've played a show with this guy. I've seen him live in action.
Steve: Good times.
Brian: I've seen their shows. Good stuff coming from these guys. It's such a treat to have you hear.
Steve: That's a high compliment coming from you my friend. High compliment.
Brian: Oh shucks. You're making me blush here. It is a treat to have you. Thanks for being here.
Steve: Thank you for having me. It's an honor to be here.
Brian: Now, talk about Braddock Station Garrison and talk about the band and how that happened, where it came from.
Steve: We've been together for about five years now, started with me and my friend Tom, who plays the lead guitar in the band. We used to play softball together. He was always telling me we should get together and jam. I was always hesitant because I had only done like singer, songwriter kind of thing, and one day he sort of just finally wore me down. I went over with a song book and a guitar, and we started playing, and it just clicked. We found a rhythm section fairly quickly after that and the rest is history, as they say.
Brian: That's wild. Where does the name come from?
Steve: The name comes from, so Braddock Road, we kind of both live just off of Braddock Road. We liked the idea of Braddock. At the time, we were kind of thinking we would be sort of like a Virginia band, sort of like a Neil Young, Crazy Horse kind of thing and something sort of rustic and like that. If you drive enough around Virginia, you're going to find places like [inaudible 00:01:44] and I thought of, Braddock Station, that's kind of neat. Then the Garrison, is sort of like because I'm a Civil War buff. Garrisons are kind of the soldiers who were left behind to like guard the rail crossing or the town. We thought, Braddock Station Garrison. That sounds pretty good. That's a mouthful, but we like it. My wife will claim that I did BSG on purpose because to link us to Battlestar Galactica but that is a complete and total happy coincidence, no matter what she says.
Brian: Battlestar Galactica. That was an accident that did not happen on purpose.
Steve: A happy accident.
Brian: Very cool.
Steve: I have not received a cease and desist letter from the Sci-Fi Channel yet.
Brian: We're in the clear. Don't stop man. Keep it going. Keep it going. You've been in DC for a while now.
Steve: Yeah, I came here for college in the summer of 1991. Yeah. I went to American University. I was born in Chicago.
Brian: Another AU grad.
Steve: Another AU.
Brian: Look at you, alright.
Steve: I was born in Chicago, but grew up in Dallas and came here for college and just never left.
Brian: Wow. I like that.
Steve: 26 years now.
Brian: Where did guitar and music enter your life? How did that happen?
Steve: Oh well I was always, since I was a little kid, a big music fan. My parents were both big music fans. My mom was a big Beatles fan. That's where that came from. My dad was a big fan of a band called America. Like Horse with No Name and Sister Golden Hair and songs like that.
Brian: Oh yeah.
Steve: I used to remember listening to them as a little kid and that kind of just sank in. Just been loving music ever since. Didn't really pick up the guitar until about 10 years ago. No, no longer than that. Maybe about 1999, so that's like 17. Time flies. Yeah, I just picked up the guitar. A buddy of mine, my friend Tom he showed me some chords on a guitar and I just kind of took to it. Started writing songs and here I am, on the air.
Brian: I'm glad you took to the guitar and you started writing song.
Steve: I wish I had done it earlier.
Brian: All this great stuff, yeah. I mean, previous albums, I've been a fan of your music for a while.
Steve: Thank you.
Brian: This is cool. What about on the personal side now. Aside from being a musician, what's life like for you? What kind of hobbies do you have?
Steve: I'm like a normal person. I read a lot. I collect vinyl records. That's the newest expensive hobby I have. I'm one of those nerds.
Steve: Like I said, I'm a Civil War buff, so some of that and yeah. I love going to Nationals games. I know one of the bands, I think Ben Coolin is going to be at the little bullpen outside Nats park, so I'm a big Washington Nationals baseball fan, but my heart is always with the Cubs.
Brian: Uh-ho. Those Chicago roots come through.
Steve: They come through. I figure I can root for the Nationals. It's okay because I was here before them. It's alright. It's not like I moved to like Los Angeles and become a Dodger fan. That would be cheating. I was here first, and they came to me, so it's okay. Yeah, we like to go to the games. It's a good time. They play the Cubs, I bleed Cubby blue.
Brian: There it is.
Steve: Sorry folks.
Brian: Chicago roots.
Steve: Don't hold it against me.
Brian: You heard it here first. It's nothing to love because you're a DC musician, so I don't care about your baseball preferences when it comes to music. That's cool. Alright, now what do you have in your music collection that might surprise us?
Steve: To surprise us? I kind of like everything. I'm a big metal fan, especially like a kind of Joni, stoner rock kind of stuff. I love that stuff. If I was actually adept at playing guitar, I would probably be in that kind of band. I'm just a strummer and a singer.
Steve: It's where you get[inaudible 00:05:27]. I love metal. I love good pop songs. I was on Facebook and a friend of mine was lamenting about the best selling debut records of all time, and mentioned like Boston's first record and then like Guns and Roses. Then he mentioned the first Mariah Carey record in a derogatory way. I said, "Man, don't knock that first Mariah Carey record. That is a great pop record. Come on."
Brian: Yeah it is.
Steve: It's good. After that, it's down hill, but you know?
Brian: That's right. I have a soft spot for him as well. It's really true.
Steve: A good song is a good song, whether it's done loud and heavy or sweet and sugar.
Brian: Wow, so for metal to Mariah Carey.
Steve: All ports in between.
Brian: I feel that's a T-shirt we should make for you, from metal to Mariah Carey. I don't know. That's got the makings of something.
Steve: Like any song writer, I went through my Americana phase, my alt-country phase. Last night I was at the Birchman seeing a show. Saw Nikki Lane there. That was a great show.
Steve: Great place.
Brian: That's cool.
Steve: I like a lot of different kinds of music.
Brian: A good variety, cool. What about, funniest moment that comes to mind with Braddock Station Garrison.
Steve: Funniest moment? Well, I would actually say the funniest moment was when I did a solo show a couple weeks ago down at O'Sullivan's right down the street here in Arlington.
Steve: I was playing Wednesday nights from 9:30 at night to 1:30 in the morning. Yeah.
Brian: That's four hours but that's wow.
Steve: That's exhausting. At the end of the night I'm packing up and these kids are kids. Everybody is a kid to me, like 20 year olds. The kid comes up to me. He's obviously has had a few and comes up to me and says, "Man, I want to say that I really, really like your music." I'm like, "Okay. Thanks. I appreciate that." He says, "I got a question." I said, "Okay." He says, "Do you know where we could maybe get some cocaine?"
Brian: Stop it, really?
Steve: He did. He did. I said, "No. I don't." I thought, that's what I have become now. I am now the guy who looks like he knows where to get cocaine, for whatever that's worth. Met all my [inaudible 00:07:34] in life.
Brian: I don't know whether that's status or not man.
Steve: I'm not sure I should be proud of that or not.
Brian: Yeah, one look at you, and I'm going to ask you where to get coke. Holy crap.
Steve: Get some blow. I don't know. For the record, I do not know.
Brian: The things you learn. I love it. What about, first memory performing. Go back in time now. When you started with music, where were you? When did that happen?
Steve: The first time, it was an open mic. I don't remember the name of the place but it was over near a Tyson's Corner. It was just a bar. I forget the name of it. I don't even think it's there anymore. I had just started to play. I maybe had been playing guitar for about a year. Some friends of mine, I said, "Let's go out. I want to try playing out in front of people." I did a couple covers. I think, I don't even remember what they were. I played with a couple other guys to sort of make it a little bit more easier, so it's not just me up there by myself.
Brian: Sure, yeah, yeah.
Steve: It's with friends. It's kind of solidarity. Then the place was empty, so there was nobody else for the open mic. He said, "Do a few more." They said, "Steve, you just do a couple on your own." Did them and had a great time, and they kind of sunk into me. Music bug drug me in.
Brian: I was going to say, the music bug caught you in Tyson's Corner. What do you know.
Steve: Who knew? Tyson's Corner.
Brian: I was going to say, there's a lot of things I've heard about Tyson's Corner, and the music bug-
Steve: It's not like Liverpool, but it'll do.
Brian: Not quite Liverpool. Alright. Now, if you could offer one piece of advice, what would it be?
Steve: In terms of like performing or song writing, or playing?
Brian: I kind of want to leave that up to you.
Steve: I'll say it for the aspiring guitarist, people who are just like wanting to learn to play the guitar and are kind of intimidated by it. The first thing I would say, there's two things. When you're picking out a guitar, find one that feels good when you hold it. That's not just in your hand but when you're sitting down and the guitar is in your lap, and it's up against your chest, find a guitar that is comfortable, that isn't like awkward when you put your arm over it. If you're not comfortable when you're doing it, you're never going to play and you're never going to pick it up. It's going to just gather dust.
The second thing I would say is learn your chords. Don't try just learning how to do the solo to Stairway to Heaven. That's nice. That's great. I've had people like, folks say, "Listen to this." They play like Eruption. I'm like great, can you play a song? They're like, "No." I was like, alright, well if you learn, DCG, you can play any Oasis song. You're on your way. Learn your chords.
Brian: Alright. Learn the chords and make sure the guitar fits nice.
Steve: Make sure it's comfy.
Brian: Make sure it's comfy.
Brian: I dig it. Alright.
Steve: Rock is all about comfort.
Brian: For those folks who want to find out about you and Braddock Station Garrison, where do they go?
Steve: You can go on the interwebs and we have a website, braddockstationgarrison.com. We're on the Facebook, so find us there. We're on Instagram. I think it's just Braddock Station Garrison. Twitter is BSGrocknroll and our band camp page. That's a good place if you want to check us out. It's just braddockstationgarrison.bandcamp.com.