Bradley Walther talks Flattbush, side projects, influences and more!

 Flattbush axeman Bradley Walther very kindly took time out to tell us all about first picking up the guitar, his influences, his other projects and much more.

"When I first picked up a guitar in Junior High, I had already been playing saxophone for over 5 years, and was getting bored of honking my horn in orchestra and jazz band. I felt like I could express myself better through playing the guitar. I would watch the guitar player in my jazz class, and just be really jealous that he got to play such a cool instrument. When I finally got my first guitar, I learned a lot of Minor Threat, Misfits, and Nirvana songs, because they were easy to play. Deep down I wanted to play music like Slayer and Megadeth, but I still needed to practice my instrument more before I could play like that. I still can't play like that, but over the years I've developed my own style.
Like the Maniago's I was also a big Faith No More fan. I remember "Introduce Yourself" being a big influence on me. I loved the mixture of the heavy guitar layers with the beautiful keyboard and synth sounds. My first band did a lot of punk and ska stuff, but once I heard Mr. Bungle, it was all over.
My band in highschool (Section 8) would do a lot of shows at this local church called Rosewood Church. Although I was already staunchly atheist, it was a great place for exposure, hundreds of kids would show up every Wednesday to check out the bands playing, and the church would have their pastor preach fire and brimstone in between sets. It was really hilarious. A lot of kids would interrupt  the preacher, and crack jokes, and he would get really pissed, and threaten to cancel the show, and tell them they had to listen because if they didn't they were going to burn in hell!
At that time their was a unique sound happening in the city of Lakewood. Bands like Fungus Mungus and The Shrooms, Jobnut, One Eye Open, Retarded Army, and Jokers Pickle Reaction, all had a little ska influence, but it was much darker and more twisted than the commercial crap we were hearing on the radio. They all kind of had this jaded sound that was similar, yet very unique. That was also  a big influence on me. One night at Rosewood, I saw Flattbush for the first time.They covered a small piece of a noise that Faith No More did on MTV. I knew what it was right away, and when flattbush finished their set, I went right up to them and commented that they were ripping off Faith No More and Mr. Bungle. They couldn't believe that somebody else actually listened to Mr. Bungle. Needless to say, we hit it off right away, and our bands started to do a lot of shows together. Sometimes when venues would screw us over, we would form a super band called "Punk Rock All Stars" and just improv and make a bunch of noise until the venue would shut the power off. 
My band Section 8 and Flattbush would hang out all the time. Whenever one band had a show, we would get the other band on the bill too. I think we were all kind of the nerdy, artsy outcasts at our highschools, so we had a lot in common. Nothing was shocking to us, because we would watch GG Allen videos, and the more twisted stuff was, the better. We would listen to a lot of Sound Track music too like Ennio Morricone, as well as other fucked up stuff like Diamanda Galas, and Naked City. Flattbush would help my band record our demos, and we'd always be hanging out when Flattbush was recording their demos. Years went by, and one day Arman and I were trying to start a side project, when he asked me if I wanted to try out for Flattbush, since their guitar player Eric was leaving to pursue a career as a firefighter. Me playing for Flattbush, just made sense. We had a lot of the same influences, and we were already good friends, and respected each others artistic visions. It wasn't just art or music, it was a "fuck you, we're doing what we want, and we don't care if you don't like it!" attitude we shared, and it was fun! 

We did a lot of back yard shows in East LA, and tons of benefit shows in Santa Ana, as well as getting screwed over by the entire Sunset Strip, Whisky A Go Go, Roxy, Keyclub, bullshit scene. At this time Flattbush had already sent a demo to Bill Gould, and he was interested in recording Flattbush, and releasing our album on Kool Arrow Records. All of a sudden things were getting more serious, as we geared up to record our first full length album "Smash The Octopus". I remember Mike Patton and Trevor Dunn showing up to our show at The Coconut Teazer, and I couldn't believe they were there to see us! We gave them all our drink tickets, and in return they let us rape them with our cameras. It was a surreal time. Mike Patton, helping me carry my amp to my truck, we didn't even try to pretend like we weren't excited. When we recorded Smash, I was listening to a lot of Frank Zappa, Herbie Hancock, Fela Kuti, Igor Stravinsky, and tons of other stuff that most metal guitarists aren't interested in. Maybe because I've never really been a "metal" guitar player... Anywho, we finished the album, and did our first coast to coast tour. I was ready to die a happy man when we found out the first part of our tour, we were going to be opening for Mike Patton and Rahzel. Those first shows were epic, but the rest of the tour was an incredible struggle. I could write a book on our misadventures and  crazy times, but for times sake, I will just say we did 34 shows in 37 days coast to coast in the middle of winter and we couldn't have survived if we weren't getting help from Kool Arrow. 

We started writing "Seize The Time" before our tour for Smash even started. Once we got back, the plan was to finish writing the new album and try to tour Europe. Unfortunately our drummer Ray decided to leave the band, so we were forced into finding a new drummer. With Seize I had a bigger role in the writing process, and we spent a lot of time recording demos, and rewriting the songs in our garages. For me, recording that album was a nightmare. That being said, we eventually finished it, and did a couple more tours, one of them with Fear Factory.
By the time we finished touring for Seize, I was burnt out, and  took some time off from FLATTBUSH to focus on some other projects that I had on the back burner for a while. I was already doing shows with my DEVO tribute band "Smart Patrol", mostly to make extra cash while having fun playing music. It's crazy how you can make more money in one night with a tribute band, than you can make in one month on tour with an original act.
During this time I also started a band called "Shrimp!" with long time friends and members of an older project called "Disposable Assassins".  Shrimp recorded an EP titled "Gonzo Fishing Trip" and did 2 US tours. I've also been involved in an improv/noise project called White Trash Firecracker, we did 1 album titled "awkward music for awkward situations". There's probably 29 copies in  existence, but there's tons of live clips on YouTube if anybody even cares to look it up.

 Somewhere in the aftermath of all this insanity, after all the dust and molecular particles settled, I became a father. This was a game changer for me. All my projects kind of took a back seat for a while, with the exception of Smart Patrol, which is still going strong. Now that I've had time to settle down and reflect, so to speak I really missed writing and creating music, especially crazy music, that pushes the envelope of what's possible sonically, rhythmically, and politically. I know it's a cliche, but I came around full circled, ready to write and record music with FLATTBUSH once again.... It's different this time around, but it's also more exciting then ever. The creative juices are flowing, and every time we get together now it's a huge release for me from my daily grind, working my ass off to support and take care of my family. Its also a pleasure to have my good friend Dustin Jordan on drums this time around. We have an incredible history and chemistry together, as Dustin is also the drummer and creative cohort of past projects such as DA, Shrimp, and Smart Patrol. I'm just lucky to be surrounded by such amazing talent at all corners of this band now.

I really think this next recording is going to stand out from previous FLATTBUSH albums. Everything is in place, we're back to attack with a vengeance. I'm stoked on the handful of new tunes we already got, and the finished product is going to be insane! Over and out!"

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