Lou Brutus is the award-winning host of nationally syndicated radio programs “hardDrive with Lou Brutus,” and “hardDrive XL with Lou Brutus,” which are currently heard in over 100 markets, nationwide, and are now in their sixteenth and fifth seasons, respectively. Lou has been hand chosen by a bevy of artists to host album premiere specials, and/or program radio channels for them. These include Metallica, Rush, 3 Doors Down, A Perfect Circle, Smashing Pumpkins, Theory of A Deadman and Korn, among many others. He is lead singer of rock bands Grumpy Old Punks and Dead Schembechlers, with whom he has recorded several albums and appeared on HBO and ESPN. Brutus is also a Grammy Award voting member of the National Association of Recording Arts and Sciences. In popular culture, Lou is the subject of the Adventures of Brutusman comic books, been immortalized by schizophrenic, underground music legend, Wesley Willis, with the song “Lou Brutus,” and been honored by Eddie Van Halen, with the naming of a side-project, The Lou Brutus Experience. He has produced his own micro-brewed beers, Lou-in-Brau and Brew Loutus Ale. Outside of the broadcast world, he is an accomplished photographer, with five seasons of on-field Major League Baseball photography. His lighthouse photos grace magazine covers, and his music shots have been used by various artists, including Godsmack, Halestorm and Corey Taylor. Brutus is currently working on three different books including Dead Schembechlers: The Rise, Fall and Redemption of The Best Damn Punk Band in the Land, a coffee table picture book entitled One Man & Two Thousand Concerts: The Backstage Pass Collection of Lou Brutus, and a children’s book about a rabbit, who loves baseball. He works around the clock, seven days a week, and apparently needs very little sleep.
Q: What defining moment in your life made you decide that radio was what you wanted to do with your life?
A: (Lou) “I grew up in Central New Jersey, so got radio stations from both New York and Philadelphia. I’ve loved radio since I was a child, and heard so many incredible jocks, that it was a fait accompli that I would enter the business.”
Q: Give me your three most ‘rock and roll’ moments.
A: (Lou) “Gee, that’s tough, as I’ve been fortunate enough to meet so many interesting people and travel so extensively. Off the top of my head, I’d say hitting a mosh pit with Inuit Eskimo kids in the Arctic Ocean coastal town of Tuktoyaktuk, as Metallica played; Eating supper at 4am in Frank Zappa’s basement in the Hollywood Hills; and getting to do the “You Wanted the Best and You Got the Best” intro at a KISS concert, but there are hundreds of others.”
Q: What advice would you give to someone who was interested in a broadcasting career?
A: (Lou) “Never give up, never surrender.”
Q: Who were the people that influence or influenced you the most in your career? In other words, who would you consider your mentors?
A: (Lou) “In the radio world, I’d say Joe Bonadonna, who I’ve worked on and off with since I was just a lad. I’d also add Dan Green, who ran the theatre department in my high school. He taught us how to deal with artistic deadlines at an early age, and many of his students have gone on to careers in the arts and media.”
Q: Where do you see the business in the next five years?
A: (Lou) “Mode of delivery lines will blur, even more than now, so the most valuable people will be those who can craft content to fit whatever it is shooting out of. It needs to be good, in and of itself, but also take advantage of the delivery system it’s using.”
Q: What are you listening to right now?
A: (Lou) “Five Finger Death Punch is what I’m most excited about at the moment, among recent music. For older stuff, I’ve been listening a lot to The Ink Spots, who were a vocal group in the 1930s and 40s, and one of the precursors to rock music. To put them in perspective, they were hipster college music, during the Great Depression.”
Q: In your career what is one artist that you completely missed the mark on?
A: (Lou) “Menudo (hangs head in shame).”
Q: Trail mix, Chex mix or Tom mix? And Tom Mix is a cowboy!
A: (Lou) “I’d go with having Chex mix, with Tom Mix, while out on the trail! I’m always down with traveling the high chaparral with the ghost of old Western movie stars, while munching tasty snacks.”
Q: If you could change one thing about the business, what would it be?
A: (Lou) “If I had a time machine, I’d go back ten years, and try to get the music industry to come up with a common sense pipeline for music downloads. Then I’d go far into the future to sell my antique time machine, for a whole lotta dough!”
Q: If you were to start up your own radio station, and could pick from anyone in the business to be your air-staff, living or not, who would your lineup be?
A: (Lou) “Harry Harrison-mornings, Scott Muni-midday’s, Dan Ingram-afternoons, Alison Steele-nights, and Wolfman Jack in overnights.”
By Chris Stevens