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What makes Brian Eaton unique in a plethora of independent solo artists is that he is one of a few DIY artists who can truly do it all: from writing, performing and recording all the instruments and vocals, to engineering, mixing, producing and even mastering his own projects. Kelly Simms of the Illinois Entertainer called Eaton, “a multi-talented, multi-instrumentalist with multi-tasking abilities,” and radio host/DJ Tim Lamping proclaimed, “Brian Eaton is a versatile one man show . . . ”
Dialing it up for other artists in his studio (Eatin’ Records) for nearly 20 years, the musician, engineer and producer returns with his bombastic, politically-charged sophomore release, Hard Bent. Eaton’s concept album of the Vietnam War is reminiscent of his origins with his hard-hitting alternative/industrial metal band, North. Hard Bent, which took a year to produce, blends industrial, metal, alternative, electronic, acoustic rock and even soundtrack elements into its war-torn soundscape. Echos of Alice In Chains, Nine Inch Nails, Tool, A Perfect Circle, along with Radiohead, Pink Floyd and Porcupine Tree can be heard within the record. And the audio production with its heavy, punchy, dynamic mix is remindful of Rage Against The Machine’s groundbreaking self-titled debut album.
Hard Bent tells the story of the human toll of America’s ugliest war through the eyes of a jaded combat medic: a toll measured in lives ruined and destroyed (physically and psychologically). The album follows the vet still grieving decades after living with the trauma of war: through the sheer anger, fear, indifference, depression, insanity, guilt and, perhaps, possible redemption from the madness of it all. He relives the battles fought, the friends lost, families torn apart, and a country manipulated by self-serving politicians. "But dying is easy," he reports in the opener (‘Breaking Squelch’), "living with the trauma, that made me hard bent . . . "
Born and raised in Los Angeles, Brian was surrounded by music in his early childhood. If it wasn’t his older brother introducing him to rock bands like Cream, Jimi Hendrix, Yes, Deep Purple and Rush, it was his father, who has sung with Motown/jazz drummer Mel Brown's Quartet, exposing him to jazz. “It seemed like my brother was constantly bringing home new music,” Eaton recalls, “he would show me the cover of some new album and say, ‘you’ve got to hear this!’”
When his brother first picked up the guitar, Brian, at the age of nine, was persuaded to learn the drums. “It was pure expedience,” Eaton confesses, “my brother needed a drummer to jam with, so he persuaded me to get a drum kit and learn. I remember one time after building a repertoire, my brother and I set up a stage in the living room, invited all our friends over and performed a mini concert complete with homemade pyrotechnics. It was pretty cool.”
At eleven, Eaton was transplanted to Chicago while his brother stayed in L.A. and formed the band Exodus with his friend Gilby Clarke (Guns ‘N Roses guitarist). A year later, Bill moved to Chicago and recruited Brian to play drums for his band. In high school, Eaton started dabbling in keyboards and guitar while drumming for a progressive rock cover band that focused on Rush. The band had the fortunate pleasure of recruiting their classmate and upcoming sound engineer/producer, the late Jeff "Critter" Newell (Ministry, NIN, Guns 'N Roses, Blink 182, Angels & Airwaves...), to occasionally amplify their sound. In college, Eaton majored in music theory and composition while studying jazz piano.
After college, Eaton built his own recording studio and independent label, Eatin’ Records. In 1992, he released his debut solo jazz EP, The Switch, and in ‘94 he released Genocidal World, the debut album by his band North. Throughout the 90s and early 2000s, Eaton played in several original bands and recorded scores of local artists in his studio including Dave Uhrich, Frank Catalano, Usurper, and Jeff Swan (Dark Star Records founder) to name a few. He earned the reputation as a premier sound engineer and producer who turns demos into commercial recordings. He’s also released 11 bands on his Eatin’ label including T.D. Clark, who toured with Bad Company and Ted Nugent while promoting his debut Eatin’ release, Personalities. Other credits include recording/producing the soundtrack for the Robin Hood Stunt Show (Time Warner Entertainment) at Six Flags theme park St. Louis, and recording/producing five tracks from the original motion picture soundtrack for Carnivore.
In 2008, Eaton remastered and released the previously unreleased North demos as a new single, Murder Of The Minds, which continues to receive industry praise. Then in 2011, he released his debut full-length rock album, Graphic Nature. A debut distilled from the years of experience as a musician, engineer, producer and label owner.
In between releases, Eaton was featured playing drums on 10 tracks on Sanfilip's 2013 release, Out Of The Dark, and on The Beatles cover, 'I'll Be Back,' from his 2016 release, In Every Dream. Eaton also recently broke the top 10 ReverbNation Portland Charts, and was endorsed by Allegra Custom Drums.
Hard Bent will be released on November 16, 2018 and available worldwide.