Another Chat with Lou Brutus
November 26, 2010
I told you it was on its way. Lou Brutus has too much to talk about to limit him to one chat, so today he wraps things up. Last week he focused more on his social media strategy, but because there are two sides to every Brutus we take a look at the rest of his on-line presence today.
Chuck Armstrong: How did you approach the redesign of LouBrutus.com? It isn't uncommon to stumble on personal sites that are more just a landing page to Facebook and Twitter links. LouBrutus.com is about as far away from that as it could be. Did you always have it in mind to make your site super content heavy?
Lou Brutus: I wanted the site to reflect all of my professional experience, the wealth of adventures I've had and all of the creative projects I've been involved with. I've been very fortunate in that I've traveled extensively and worked with many phenomenal artists. That I've kept good documentation gave me a ton of material to incorporate. From the beginning, I've wanted to have a site that could include as much of this as possible without making it unwieldy, slow or awkward to surf. It was a matter of deciding how to breakdown all of the content and disseminate it in a common sense way. That I found a great designer in Josh Lippman was very fortunate. He and I were able to work together to meld all of this into a coherent site with a comic book graphic feel. I think it encompasses my career very well. I hope so anyway.
CA: Your latest comic book is great. Not only is the comic itself entertaining, but the way you decided to promote it is, in my humble opinion, genius. Each week you release a new page to the comic. Not only that, but you release the pages in black and white and invite your fans to color them. How has the response been so far? Do you think it would have been better to just release all the pages at once?
LB: Thank you for the kind words. When the story line arc that is now just beginning is complete, people will be able to download it as a whole but I thought it would be kind of fun to roll it out page by page almost as if it were a continuing serialization. Good to throw a cliffhanger in there from time to time! I mean, it would be cool to see an entire season of Boardwalk Empire all at once but its also fun to see the current episode, mull it over, discuss it with your friends and allow the anticipation to build to the next one. The response to the comic has been great. Its very gratifying to see that people take the time out to hand color it or do a little something in Photoshop or other software. The fact that computer art programs are so common and easy to use means there are a lot of people who can just drag and drop the page into one and have a fun way to kill a little time. I figure if all this technology is out there and people enjoy it then why not try and use a bit of its potential. It's great mindless fun and that's something I think people need more of in these stressed out times!
CA: You recently posted a demo of a new tune dedicated to all of the "Dungeons & Dragons playing nerds around the world." Is it true that the song was inspired by some of your online followers?
LB: Yes, it is. Among my Facebook followers are a group of regular listeners who are hardcore Dungeons and Dragons players. Their game has been going on for years. One weekend, they asked me to give them a shout out for the game. I used to play voraciously as a kid so was very familiar with the whole world. I began to write them a short poetic break for on the air that I was also going to use as a Facebook status. Well, the writing began to take on a life of its own and culminated as the song "Dungeons and Dragons Thug Life." It's a mix of the worlds of role-playing nerds and gangsta rappers. I've posted the demo for now. The full on version and accompanying video will be out early 2011.
CA: There is much more to you than just a rock radio talent. Because of your on-line presence, fans now know you're a great photographer, writer and musician. You don't limit your experience to just active rock radio. How has the Internet allowed you to grow as a multi-tiered talent?
LB: I do a lot of things that would be awkward or self-indulgent to deal with at length on air. My web site and social networking allows me to create sections for all of these other creative outlets that I have. It also gives me content to post that is off the beaten track of just posting a status that consists of my weekend plans. I suppose it's kinda cool that, when I'm not in a broadcast situation, that I'm in a photo pit at a show or shooting a sporting event. I know that it's fun for me! Likewise, to be able to front music projects, albeit the goofy stuff that I gravitate towards, adds a little something different from what most media people are doing.
CA: What's your favorite on-line effort you've embarked on recently?
LB: Ha, that's too hard a question. They're like kids, you can't pick a favorite. Certainly the comic book re-launch is up there. The yearly buildup to the Dead Schembechlers is always exciting. Getting my other band, Grumpy Old Punks, ready to see the light of day and creating an online buzz around them out of thin air is a blast, too. It's my third web site build this year! Probably the most fun recently though has been recreating loubrutus.com. It was a ton of work with many nights into the wee hours but I feel it represents in a good manner. Definitely worth all the effort!
CA: What's your favorite on-line campaign you've done, not necessarily tied to radio?
LB: It would have to be the creation of the Dead Schembechlers. It all happened online, to begin with. Real guerilla internet tactics. The fact that the band now draws thousands of people when it plays and has been featured on HBO, ESPN, ABC and hundreds of online, print and televised features is a testament to the kind of buzz you can build. In the future, I fully intend on using that as a model for other things in my broadcast career. It opens up so many worlds to give a promotion more depth if you take the time to write compelling material and create great images. The boundaries are non-existent. You can do anything.
CA: If you had to give any advice to talent and PDs out there regarding their on-air and on-line product, what would it be? I know...that's a loaded question.
LB: Write a lot. Then rewrite a lot. Find a great illustrator. Beware of clutter. Rewrite some more. Don't panic. Remember this is fun. Find time for one last rewrite.
Thank you, Lou, for your contributions to the three part focus on your digital efforts. As always, you have given me, your fans and our readers plenty to think about.
I guess I'll go rewrite this column now.