The Write Stuff is a series of interview profiles conducted by Litseen where authors give exclusive readings from their work.
is a Grammy-winning record producer and has produced three Grammy-nominated records. At age six, while staying home sick from school, he by chance saw an old Elvis Presley exploitation film on rerun television and was inspired to pick-up the guitar. It immediately became his obsession and “life-jacket” for surviving childhood and adolescence. He recorded his first album in 1987, during the pre-Pro Tools, dark ages.
He has worked with artists as diverse as country-great Merle Haggard, filmmaker John Waters, Flea (Red Hot Chili Peppers), Fugazi, Green Day, Tinariwen, Kyp Malone & Tunde Adebimpe (TV on the Radio), the Blind Boys of Alabama, Nels Cline (Wilco), and the Vienna Boys Choir, and has repeatedly travelled the world in search of music. Amongst others, he has discovered and produced groups who went on to be the first international releases in the indigenous languages of their respective countries: Rwanda, South Sudan, and Malawi. During his leanest years, he supported himself by day working as a counselor in the locked emergency-psychiatric unit for Oakland, California. This led to his becoming a violence prevention “expert,” lecturing on the topic over 100 times annually since 1993 at such organizations as the Betty Ford Center, Bellevue Hospital (NYC), UC Berkeley, and the National Accademia of Science (Rome), as well as on various continents: Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Europe, and North America. He was a published poet by age 19 and has written about music regularly for Zero Magazine
and Guitar Player
. He is the author of three other published books. The Boston Phoenix
called his lyrics ”a model of economical, unpretentious, narrative songwriting,” and the Readers+Writers
journal praised his novella, Sister Maple Syrup Eyes
as, “A beautiful book. Achingly beautiful.” Brennan was born in Oakland and raised in the far East Bay Area. He relocated first to Paris and then to Italy as a homebase, starting in 2009.