“Our music is very lyric driven,” says Eben Brooks. “If I had to choose a genre, I would call it progressive acoustic rock, but by progressive I mean politically and personally progressive. It’s possible for lyrics to reflect a wide range of complex social topics, even if writing anti-war songs nowadays is an open invitation for people to impugn your patriotism.”
Brooks counts various sci-fi authors as among his influences. “I’m a very big fan of Roger Zelazny’s work, and I’ve read all the Amber Chronicles,” says Brooks, whose video for his song “Champs Élysées” was inspired by Zelazny’s Courts of Chaos. “We chose Lestat’s to shoot at because the writer and director wrote a script that fits perfectly with their setup and decor. Lestat’s has great stone gargoyles.”
He points out that fantasy fiction and rock have long been simpatico. “I’ve always been a big fan of Jethro Tull, who tends to weave fantasy and sci-fi elements into their songs. Hawkwind writes music heavily influenced by Michael Moorcock, and there’s always Led Zeppelin’s work based on Tolkien.”
The Eben Brooks Band performs at Claire de Lune on June 7.
WHAT BROUGHT YOU TO SAN DIEGO?
“I followed a girl down here from L.A. and discovered that, for the first time in my life, I didn’t feel afraid all the time.... San Diego has a way of encouraging you to take chances, while L.A. tends to punish anyone who dares to step out of the line and draw attention to yourself.”
WHAT’S IN YOUR CD PLAYER?
1. Crosby, Stills, Nash, & Young, So Far. “The album has some of their iconic work, music that’s shaped the acoustic-rock genre ever since. Some of my all-time favorite songs are here: ‘Guinevere,’ ‘Ohio,’ and ‘Find the Cost of Freedom.’”
2. Paul Abbott, Enough Talk. “One of the best guitar players and instrumental composers I’ve ever heard. Locally, he’s probably better known as the man behind Zen Mastering, but I discovered him first as a performer.”
3. Franz Ferdinand, You Could Have It So Much Better. “These guys are absolutely hilarious.”
4. The Flash Girls, The Return of Pansy Smith and Violet Jones. “A fantastic duo that is now, sadly, defunct — or at least on hiatus. I discovered them because one member, Emma Bull, is one of my favorite science fiction authors.”
5. Michael Hedges, Live on the Double Planet. “Hedges was a phenomenal guitar player and composer. The tune that keeps me playing this disc over and over is his cover of ‘All Along the Watchtower.’”
WHAT WOULD YOU DO WITH THE POWER TO READ MINDS?
“I’d do my best to not read them. I’m a big privacy advocate, and if there’s a worse breach of privacy than reading someone’s mind, I can’t think of one.”
BRUSH WITH FAME?
“As a kid, I once flew on the same airplane as Esther Rolle, who played the mom on Good Times. She was flying coach which, even at age 13, I found sad.”
IMPOSSIBLE TO DO WITHOUT?
“Flush toilets. I mean, I can imagine living in pretty primitive conditions, but if I don’t have good sanitation facilities, I get grumpy in a real big hurry.”
WHAT VIDEO GAME ARE YOU PLAYING?
“City of Heroes, originally on the PC, but they just made a client for the Mac, so I play it on my MacBook Pro now. I love the superhero genre, and this game is unique in that you can actually do some meaningful play in only a half hour or so.”
MOST VISITED WEBSITES?
1. “LiveJournal.com, where most of my friends have their personal blogs.”
2. “DeviantArt.com, a large and well-populated online art gallery where I follow a number of talented artists, including comic book artist Jim Lee.”
3. “YouTube.com, mostly to follow the I Can Has Cheezburger channel of funny pet videos.”
HOW WOULD YOU RATE OBAMA’S FIRST 100 DAYS IN OFFICE?
“I wish he would stop giving money to irresponsible bastards who couldn’t figure out how to spend the money they had to begin with. I hope he can do the things he promised to do — and so far it looks like he’s really trying — so I’m still on his side. For the time being.”
SOMETHING ABOUT YOU FEW WOULD KNOW OR GUESS?
“I have a ministerial credential through the Celtic Witan Church of California, and I have performed three weddings, all for friends.”