“Kings Corner” - Gritty and heartfelt songs from the past re-emerge during an extended trip back to the old neighborhood in Boston
Hi there, I am really glad that you are here. My name is Bryan McPherson. This is my bio. I am writing it. I did not hire anyone to do this or burden a friend with the task. What is someone supposed to write in a bio anyway? I guess I will tell you about what I do and where I am from...
I grew up in Boston Massachusetts in a neighborhood called Dorchester. A hard drinking, blue collar, kind of dangerous multi-cultural Irish-Catholic neighborhood on the edge of town. They called us DOT Rats growing up — due to the location by the beach and the rough and tumble grit of the place. Back in those days, when your parents hit it big and moved to Weymouth or Plymouth, you became O.F.D. That means originally from Dorchester. You then bought a bumper sticker, or a shirt, or like me put a tattoo on your arm flying your O.F.D. flag. It lets everyone know you are not to be messed with because you are from Dorchester. There is a camaraderie to the place. It was a beautiful and brutal place to be from. I love it. Scars, bruises, and all.
I spent much of my life living in the Boston area. After running amuck for most of my youth and succumbing to the streets, drugs, alcohol, and an otherwise very reckless lifestyle, I sobered up. I started performing on the other side of town, on the other side of the river, Good Will Hunting style in famed Cambridge Massachusetts, home of Harvard, MIT, and the Open Mic at the legendary Folk Room Club Passim. I also started street performing around town-playing directly to the public and got a great response! Its one thing to drag your friends and family to a club to hear you and clap. It's another to stand in from the THE PUBLIC at say Park St Station after a Red Sox game and do it. It was a great testing ground.
My demo ended up in the hands of a local record label, Indecent Music and I was off to record and release my first album, 14 Stories. Once this album came out, the Boston Punk scene seemed to welcome me with open arms. I started playing great shows all around the Boston area and eventually all around the Northeast landing some amazing shows opening up for hometown legends The Dropkick Murphys, Rock and roll legend Chuck Berry, and even Alice Cooper! Seriously. Crazy right?
In 2010 I felt the call to head west and leave my home for a life of adventure. I moved to Berkeley California and broke ground on a new record. While finishing what was to become “American Boy / American Girl” I found myself taking part in the Occupy movement at Occupy Oakland and once again singing songs directly to the people. I once played with Amanda palmer in the courtyard of Oaklands City Hall, amongst the political chaos that was a pre-cursor to modern life here in The States. In the ashes of “Teargas Tuesday” my record came out on State Line records and I did what any modern musician would do, I created a crowd-funding campaign for a van and went on tour! I started touring all over North America and eventually even Europe! At some point, I moved down to Los Angeles and lived on the fringe, renting rooms and finding respite by the salty shores of the pacific ocean.
In 2015 I headed to the foothills of the Sierras in Gold Country California and made a record called Wedgewood in Grass Valley. I lived in my friends hut and kept myself warm with a wood stove, songs, and continuously accidentally burning my wrists putting the wood in the stove. City Folk I tell ya. I self released Wedgewood with another crowdfunding campaign and kept on touring all around, releasing some singles and live bootlegs from shows around the country, notably The Ballad of Andy Conn in 2017. I recorded that song about my bud Andy at my friends place in a closet. I didn’t know it at the time, but it gave me the confidence to do more of my own recording.
In the summer of 2018, I headed back to Boston with a plan. The plan was to polish up and record demos of all the songs I had written since my last record, Wedgewood was released a few years prior. I was then going to launch another massive crowdfunding campaign to bankroll a big time studio record.
Well, sometimes plans change. Oddly enough, I started tinkering with these old songs(my friends 'in the know' kept requesting at shows). These songs had been buried in a demo from like 2002. They were SO buried I didn't even have a copy of them to refresh my memory of some of the lyrics. I had to get them from an old friend who still had a copy of the record. While rehearsing these songs for a gig, I thought it would be fun to record a few quick live takes and give them out at shows and on the internet. Early on in the process though, I realized that these songs needed some work and that a quick recording session was not going to happen. Some had to be completely re-written for me to perform or release at this stage in my life. Although part of me kept saying "leave this project in the past", another part of me said dive deeper into it. When the muse comes calling, I listen.
You see most of these songs are well over 15 years old and come from the very early days of my journey into music and songwriting. They come from some of the best and worst days of my life — coming of age and plummeting into the miserable depths of drug and alcohol addiction, while running the streets of Boston in reckless abandon. Fun!
After coming home and witnessing the devastating impact of the opioid epidemic in my hometown, I felt even more inspired to share these songs and a piece of my story from that era. I set up my modest recording gear in my fathers attic and got to work, just like I had done in those original recordings. Just as I had done the year before with The Ballad of Andy Conn. After listening to a few mixes of these songs by the great Willie Samuels, I thought "these sound really cool!" I played them for some friends and everyone agreed that these songs needed a proper release.
So here I am. Here you are. Here we are. If you made it this far through my bio, thank you. Its very cool that you are interested in what I do. This record is aptly titled "Kings Corner" —The street corner my friends and I hung out on and spent many a day and night.
I hope you got an idea of where I am from and what I am about and what my new record is about. These days I still write songs and sing them and go on tour. I take a lot of photographs. I’ve shot and edited some music videos now too. I never want to stop exploring. I never want to stop growing. For the better part of the last 7 years I have been touring, living out of my vans, suvs, and now Prius when doing so. I’ve slept in most of the Walmart parking lots and campgrounds in North America and met thousands of friends along the way! I’ve opened up for and shared a stage with rock stars as well as many notable underground acts and amazing musicians you never heard of and never will. What an amazing dream come true. I love my life. I love my new record. Sometimes old songs need to get their due. I think I gave these theirs.