After many years of dialing it up for other artists in his studio, musician, engineer and producer Brian Eaton has dialed up his debut solo album, Graphic Nature. This is Eaton’s debut full-length rock/pop album, and it is literally a solo record since he wrote, performed and recorded all the instruments and vocals.
From deception, betrayal and infidelity to addictions, afflictions and mortality, Graphic Nature takes the listener through the struggles of the human condition. Using a dynamic range of styles from hard rock to pop, the album swings like a pendulum with sounds reminiscent of Peter Gabriel’s progressive rock blended with the industrial tones of Nine Inch Nails and Linkin Park, the psychedelic feel of Pink Floyd and the harmonies of Alice In Chains. With songs like “Tinnitus” and “You’re A Hurricane” that pound with heavy guitars and drums, powerful vocals, swelling dynamics and lyrics born out of frustration, to the haunting piano and stirring vocals of “When I Die,” the album undulates with character and emotion. Then there are the hybrids like the killer opener “Sobriety” and Eaton’s version of Seal’s mega-hit “Crazy” that fuse infectious beats with both pop and rock elements mixed with techno overtones. Other songs, such as “The Preacher,” “Ovis Aries” and the title track, “Graphic Nature,” are simply pure rock in nature.
Then like a versatile pitcher, Eaton throws a complete change up using acoustic driven songs like, “So Cruel” and “Sobriety II” to swing the listener with rhythm and potent pop-vocal hooks that sing about love and life gone bad. The album closes with the uplifting and redeeming track, “The One Who Shines,” where Eaton deals with the human proclivity to kick against the goads, as when he sings, “Light, it shines my way, if only I would look and not turn away / Life, it comes my way, if only I would open up and embrace.”
Born and raised in Los Angeles, Brian was surrounded by music in his early childhood. If it wasn’t his older brother, Bill, introducing him to rock bands like Cream, Jimi Hendrix, Yes, Deep Purple and Rush, it was his father, who has sung with Motown/jazz drummer Mel Brown's Quartet, exposing him to jazz. “It seemed like my brother was constantly bringing home new music,” Eaton recalls, “he would show me the cover of some new album and say, ‘you’ve got to hear this!’”
When his brother picked up the guitar, Brian, at the age of nine, was persuaded to learn the drums. “It was pure expedience,” Eaton confesses, “my brother needed a drummer to jam with, so he persuaded me to get a drum kit and learn. I remember one time after building a repertoire, my brother and I set up a stage in the living room, invited all our friends over and performed a mini concert complete with homemade pyrotechnics. It was pretty cool.”
At eleven, Eaton moved to Chicago while his brother stayed in L.A. and formed the band Exodus with his friend Gilby Clarke (Guns ‘N Roses guitarist). A year later, Bill moved to Chicago and recruited Brian to play drums for his band. In high school, Eaton started dabbling in keyboards and guitar while drumming for a progressive rock cover band that focused on Rush. The band had the fortunate pleasure of recruiting their classmate and upcoming sound engineer/producer, the late Jeff "Critter" Newell (Ministry, NIN, Guns 'N Roses, Blink 182, Angels & Airwaves...), to occasionally amplify their sound. In college, Eaton majored in music theory and composition while studying jazz piano.
After college, Eaton built his own recording studio and independent label, Eatin’ Records. In 1992, he released his debut solo jazz EP, The Switch, and in ‘94 he released Genocidal World, the debut album by his hard-hitting industrial rock band North. Throughout the 90s and early 2000s, Eaton played in several original bands and recorded scores of local artists in his studio including Dave Uhrich, Frank Catalano, Usurper, and Jeff Swan (Dark Star Records founder) to name a few. He earned the reputation as a premier sound engineer and producer who turns demos into commercial recordings. He’s also released 11 bands on his Eatin’ label including T.D. Clark, who toured with Bad Company and Ted Nugent while promoting his debut Eatin’ release, Personalities. Other credits include recording/producing the soundtrack for the Robin Hood Stunt Show (Time Warner Entertainment) at Six Flags theme park St. Louis, and recording/producing five tracks from the original motion picture soundtrack for Carnivore.
In 2008, Eaton remastered and released the previously unreleased North demos as a new single, Murder Of The Minds, which continues to receive industry praise. Of course, Eaton’s latest album is a bit of a departure from his early adventures in music. Graphic Nature reveals a different facet – a rock/pop side distilled from the years of experience as a musician, engineer, producer and label owner. “This is the culmination of many years,” states Eaton, “and this album definitely reflects my growth and personal best to date."
After a bit of a hiatus, Eaton returns with two new dynamic HD videos, The One Who Shines and Graphic Nature. And he is featured playing drums on 10 tracks on Sanfilip's 2013 release, Out Of The Dark, and on The Beatles cover, 'I'll Be Back,' from his 2016 release, In Every Dream. Eaton also recently broke the top 10 ReverbNation Portland Charts, was endorsed by Allegra Custom Drums, and is currently recording a new solo album.