Brian Evans is a multi-talented performer, most notably known for his big-band, crooner singing, as well as his time acting on Full House. Evans is currently producing the Maui Celebrity Series, where he opens for comedians and musicians who perform on the beautiful island. His new book, “The Funny Robbers,” was just published in June.
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Sean Ritchie: Coming from Massachusetts, describe your home state a little bit. Where would you suggest a first-time visitor to go?
Brian Evans: I’m originally from a city called Haverhill, MA. I was a small-town kid, but had these big goals. It just wasn’t really the place to do what it is that I always wanted to do. You run from those kinds of areas obviously.
In Boston I like the Nine Zero Hotel. It’s right across the street from where Samuel Adams is buried, in that cemetery. It’s right near the State House where the Governor’s office is. There is some amazing history right in that area and some of the most incredible Boston sights. It’s a couple miles, if a mile, from Fenway Park — close to everything.
Photo courtesy | Robbie Shade
SR: What particularly stands out about that hotel? Is it modern?
BE: Very modern. It has a nightclub right inside of it. Yet, it’s upscale for an older clientele as well. I find it a very luxurious hotel.
SR: Did your small-town upbringing give any perspective to your current career?
BE: Obviously, there were a lot of things in that city. It was my first talent show at the middle school there. Things I did there got me on this career path. My grandmother and my mother would listen to Bobby Vinton and these singers that I’d get beat up for listening to in school, but who really inspired me to do the music that I do as a crooner. There are really not a lot of people that do what I do.
Photo courtesy | James Gubera
SR: Out of all the cities that you’ve performed in, are there any that stand out in terms of crowd atmosphere? Was it inline with that city’s nightlife?
BE: I would say that [Los Angeles] was probably the coolest. I was playing The Viper Room, The Whiskey, The Roxy — doing big venues. I was kind of injecting a history into a city that had modernized. I was this big-band guy doing The Viper Room, I thought I was going to get killed, but they loved it. I liked that, because it was sort of shell shocking the city it seemed like, or that area which is so known for rock and roll.
SR: The Roxy has come up a few times in previous interviews, and anyone that’s ever spoken about it has said it’s very acoustically sound and draws a big crowd. Can you say the same?
BE: Yes, absolutely. Also, management at The Roxy is always pretty good to the musicians and we keep coming back. They help to inspire the acts. They’re not just renting the venue. They’re more involved, which is great.
SR: How does music and travel fit together for you?
BE: I’ve lived everywhere, as a singer you kind of have to. You’re constantly getting to know new people and new areas. You have to adapt. You kind of have to know what all these different areas like and don’t like for your career. I think a lot of musicians don’t succeed because they don’t really calculate those things.
In terms of traveling, when I moved to Maui it was the first time I moved somewhere were I knew that this was home forever. I’ve been moving since I was a kid. I was in LA when I was in Full House. I then moved to Canada and had a hit record there. Then [Las] Vegas calls, and boom, I’m at the Desert Inn. Then I go from there to opening for Joan Rivers, from Rivers to Jay Leno, from Leno to producing this Maui Celebrity Series. Then I’m asked to do this music video for the Red Sox and it’s back to Boston.
SR: How does music bring people together?
BE: I think people are looking for an escape sometimes and music provides them inspiration. It reminds them that every day they’re here that they made it another day. If you look at [Barry] Manilow’s “I Made It Through The Rain,” songs like that I think inspires people to keep going when it seems like everything’s going to hell.
Photo courtesy | Moyan Brenn
SR: Does travel provide that escape for you as well?
BE: Yeah, I’ve been all over the world — Indonesia, France, Italy, England, Amsterdam. I’ve been to some cool places. I think that definitely helps. A lot of my music is big in Asia, because of censorship. If you’re Snoop Dog you could go to jail for singing those lyrics. But, big-band music is an accepted American import. [Frank] Sinatra is still huge over there. Strange isn’t it?
SR: It’s amazing that within different boarders there are different sets of rules.
BE: Yeah, and that really determines who’s going to be popular where. Like if you were Bob Dylan going into China, you’re not coming out.
Photo courtesy | Thomas
SR: To bring it back your performing, do you have a favorite venue?
BE: I would say the Orpheum [Theatre] in Boston. I liked playing there. That was a cool venue. I liked playing at the Living Arts Centre in Mississauga, Canada. That was very nice. I like playing at Maui Theatre in Lahaina. The Sheraton [Maui Resort & Spa] is where I do my series.
SR: Is there one that you haven’t sang at that you’d like to?
BE: I intend to play the TD Center in Boston, my first arena act in 2016. It only took 25-years!
SR: Hey, better than never!
BE: I’m just kidding. It’s a fun life and I like doing what I’m doing.
Photo courtesy | Roberto Faccenda
SR: You mentioned you went to Indonesia. How was that experience? That’s pretty exotic.
BE: When I went to Indonesia I stayed in Bali, at some place that had a pool in its room. It was really an amazing place.
SR: Where do you like to stay when you’re in LA?
BE: In LA, the only place I stay is Hotel Bel-Air. I feel very at home there. I’ve spent months at a time there. Plus, you never know whom you’re going to run into there. It’s such a cool place. That’s my favorite hotel in the world, if you were to ask me that question. It’s beautiful. It’s across the street from Ronald Regan’s house and Nancy is still over there.
Photo courtesy | Hotel Bel-Air
SR: Lastly, do you have any trips or tours coming up? Any new music?
BE: Well, the Maui Celebrity Series is happening. I’m shooting a new music video next month called “Here You Come Again.” Dog the Bounty Hunter, his wife and Carrot Top are going to be in it with me. “Creature at The Bates Motel” is about to come out. That’s more Halloween. It’s the first music video they’ve ever allowed to be filmed at The Bates Motel.
Then I’m shooting a music video with NASCAR at a Daytona race in February. I’m also working on a song, “Planet Blue,” to film it on a Virgin Galactic flight. It would make me the first singer ever to shoot a music video in outer space. It’s crazy. That’ll put you in the Guinness Book of World Records.
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For more on Brian Evans and the Maui Celebrity Series visit his website.
This article is dedicated to Evans’ mother, Helen Bousquet, to raise awareness on the severity of Sleep Apnea.