The band is named after him, he does most of the singing, and he writes the songs. But what do we really know about him? In this unique rambling monologue, exclusive to this website, Steve Brown reveals the thoughts and emotions behind the songs from the album Bark! - songs that have cemented his reputation as the creative figurehead of the Brownsound movement.
Night Out, In
I wrote this song in about 20 minutes - it just came really quickly. It describes one of those evenings where you have plans for a big night out, and you know that if you go out you'll have a good time, but then you can't be bothered to get up off the sofa. This happens to me a lot.
I suppose you could say it's about life passing you by. But I wasn't really thinking on that level when I wrote it.
I Don't Know What
I was thinking of Teenage Fanclub when I came up with this riff. Neil guessed that immediately, so maybe it's just a rip-off. Still, the lyrics are mine, and I quite like them. I felt a bit like I was having some kind of premature mid-life crisis when I wrote them. I probably was.
Sometimes I Think
This started off as quite an ugly, angry song, and the words still are. But the tune is a bit mellower now - kind of like a Paul Weller ballad. I wrote some of it a while ago, when I was in Hungary, then forgot about it until I was in South Africa. Needless to say it's about being jealous and paranoid in a relationship. I must have been feeling like that when I started writing it, but I wasn't by the time I wrote the last verse, which is when it gets really ugly.
This is just a little instrumental thing that I've being fiddling about with for ages, but I can't seem to make any more out of it.
I was going to call it "Interlude", but that seemed to belittle it somewhat, like it wasn't really a song in its own right.
This song was very topical when I wrote it. If we'd been able to release it there and then, who knows what might have happened to it.
It was inspired by the TV programme and also by all these reality TV shows - Big Brother and the rest. When I got back to Britain I was amazed by this obsession the nation has with turning ordinary people into "stars". Their lives end up being changed irrevocably, and ultimately for the worse.
Still, I suppose they ask for it.
Digging a Hole
I wrote this years ago, just after I left university and didn't know what to do with myself. Musically it's a bit rubbish and the lyrics are a bit repetitive. At least it's tongue in cheek though - some people write songs in the same vein but without the humour.
Some people think this song is about sadomasochism. It isn't, not really. I don't really want to be tied up and dressed in drag. The polythene bag is metaphorical. Personally, I just like the harmonica solo on it.
The Sensitive Male
The character in this song is very nice on the surface, and because of this everyone assumes he's nice on the inside too. But nobody seems interested in finding out. Maybe he's a serial killer. Nobody knows.
The music rips off "That's Entertainment" by the Jam and "My Sweet Lord" by George Harrison in equal measure. I came up with the harmonies though, which I'm very pleased with.
I'm quite happy for it to be a sort of homage to George Harrison, as I was quite upset when he died. He was brilliant.
Say My Name
Another song about jealousy, totally unfounded this time. I got the idea of the story - how a guy mishears what his girlfriend says during sex and thinks she's seeing other guys as a result - and the song kind of grew from there. I feel it should be some kind of big rock anthem, in the style of Oasis (or Travis at the very least) but I haven't been able to make it sound like that yet.
Arlo, our dog, is a very talented singer. He just loves accompanying me when I play the harmonica. The world needs to hear his talent.
Thanks to Frank, this song went down really well when we first played it live, and it has since become a bit of a SBS classic. When we played it this year at Neil's wedding it was very strange to see that people I'd never met before knew all the words and were singing along as if it was a real pop song.
I wrote it ages ago, when I was about 22 or something. The story has no bearing on real life whatsoever; I've haven't even been to the States, never mind Idaho.
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