Music is indeed the universal language, yet it isn't always so easily translated into commercial success. Plenty of musical acts have garnered loyal fan bases on one side of the pond or the other, but only the rare few capture that universal appeal of worldwide fame.
Let me please introduce: Brothers of Brazil.
This two-man band is made up of...you guessed it...two Brothers! From Brazil!
Two extremely popular brothers in their native country and they've decided to give the United States a whirl. Currently touring as the opening act for Adam Ant, brothers Supla and Joao Suplicy are working their magic to gain American followers one show at a time.
Offering up a self-proclaimed form of "Punk-A-Nova", these two skilled musicians combine elements of Punk Rock, Bossa Nova, Brazilian groove, and traditional Pop to create a unique brand of fun. Trading vocals, with Joao on Guitar and Supla on Drums, the Brothers rock out in their own distinctive way.
I interviewed them before their show at the Crofoot Ballroom in Pontiac, Michigan last night and found them to be extremely energetic and engaging, teasing each other in typical brotherly fashion. Before the doors opened, we shared our love of music, family, and Rock N' Roll autobiographies.
So...did your Mom and Dad actually attend and graduate from my alma matter, Michigan State University?
-Supla: Dude, that's crazy...that's true! I was telling my brother, because he wasn't born yet, that when I was about one we moved here for 3 or 4 years. I remember East Lansing from pictures...I used to dress like an indian and a cowboy. We used to play 'Haunted House' using ketchup for blood. I remember a lake, totally iced, and skating...those are my memories. We hosted a TV show in Brazil where we interviewed all kinds of people like ZZTop, the Stray Cats, and Alice Cooper. Alice told me 'Yeah, I'm from Michigan, too!' Sadly, I haven't been back there since.
Well, the next time you're in town I'll take you there.
Alice Cooper is a great talent that we locals like to call our own. What about some other Detroit based bands like The Stooges or The White Stripes? Any thoughts?
-Joao: Yeah, the White Stripes Detroit two-piece connection. I think because of them a lot of bands try to make the duo work. Or they do it to make it cheaper. We do it because we're the Brothers.
-Supla: Iggy Pop is fantastic! I met him twice, he's very nice. I love his deep voice and I love his solo albums. The 'Blah Blah Blah' album is fabulous. Nice melody...(at this point he starts singing the tune 'Shades' "You gave me a present, the paper was blue and green"!). A great song. I wrote a song once called 'Green Hair'...
-Joao: It was very popular in Brazil, just him...not the Brothers...
-Supla: Yes, I used to live on Avenue B and he used to live on Avenue B too. I think he heard my song and he connected with it.
That reminds me that Alice Cooper always says, 'You have to have great songs...'
-Supla: You've got to have a good song. If you don't have a good song it doesn't mean anything. It has to mean something to somebody. We believe we bring something new to the table musically. I'm very Rock N' Roll...David Bowie, Billy Idol, Sid Vicious, The Clash. Then look at Joao. He's got that Elvis, Johnny Cash, Eddie Cochran-look, but the music he brings is really Brazilian. We try to combine the elements to bring the sound of the Brothers. It gives it that SPARKLE! It's a little cheesy to admit, I don't care, but from living in America as a kid I still love great songs like Don McLean's 'American Pie' and that one about Vincent Van Gogh...'Starry Starry Night'.
In my opinion your song 'On My Way' is an example of a great love song. Although, it sounds more like a love song that you wrote to each other...
-Joao: When we wrote that song, I was thinking a lot about us..."On my way, I laugh with you"...I was thinking more about us.
-Supla: I wasn't.
There are certainly some famous brothers in the business that are know for their disagreements, like Noel and Liam from Oasis or Ray and Dave Davies from the Kinks. Do you guys fight?
-Joao: Yeah, we fight a lot. (laughing) You've got all this back story, because of when you were kids, so if you're in a fight you can bring up all this old stuff...
-Supla: He always says 'Oh, it's because I'm the younger brother!'
-Joao: No, I think it's going to be this way until he's 80 years old. It's because he thinks he knows everything since he's older.
-Supla: It's not about the age.
Are you guys driving together on this tour?
-Supla: Oh yeah, driving a rented 'Soccer-Mom' Mini Van, very economical. We put on the GPS and make it all the way around America.
With all the fame and success you've achieved at home, it's like you're starting over in America...
-Supla: Absolutely. It's great, it's one of the best feelings because nobody knows us and we're getting good feedback. When we walk on stage and the crowd sees just two guys they probably say 'Holy Shit! What's gonna happen here?'
Although it's just the two of you onstage, you do have a third brother. Why didn't he get into the music business?
-Supla: Yeah. He's a lawyer. But he's got the best deepest voice! But, it's OK...
Joao, speaking of family, tell me about travelling without your kids. What do you do when you're so far away?
-Joao: It's so hard. I have three kids ages 8,7, and 4. I try to Skype them and I wrote a song, 'Daddy On A Spaceship' for our new album. On one of our first tours away, we were in L.A. and I had separated from my wife a little before that...so I was used to being closer. But now...it's getting to be a routine. When I'm over in Brazil I really stay with them a lot. It hits me hard still, but when I wrote the song I really was hurting so much, you know? We recorded the song in Portuguese first and now we've made a version in English. They are both on the new album.
Supla, with your style and your compact Drum Kit...
-Supla: I look like Frankenstein on the small little thing, huh?
No, no. Actually I get a little 'Charlie Watts' vibe from your playing...
-Supla: Me? My drumming? Very much, I love Charlie Watts. I love him. I think he's one of the baddest drummers! I was listening once to something he said about his style of hitting the High Hat differently than most drummers, which is very interesting, because he said it takes the sound of the Snare away if you go at it at the same time. Thanks, he's a great drummer.
What's next for the Brothers of Brazil?
-Joao: We're writing new material now and when we finish the tour with Adam Ant, we're bringing Flogging Molly to Brazil for a batch of shows in November.
-Supla: Please pass the word and check us out. It's simplicity. No Bullshit. Just Real.
Chasing the Rock N' Roll dream is an adventure at any age, and these guys are starting over on the bottom here in the States. With wild optimism and a mature work ethic to match, they deserve our American love and I wish them great success.
For more information, Check Out Their Website: BrothersofBrazil.uol.com.br/
Check Out Their YouTube Channel: YouTube.com/BrothersofBrazil
Or Follow Them on Facebook: Facebook.com/BrothersofBrazil
And by all means, Buy The New Album On iTunes: Brothers of Brazil; On My Way!
Kurt Schwarz is a happily married man with three awesome children, living and working in Oakland County, MI. His mid-life crisis brought weight-loss, sobriety, and the constant pursuit of happiness by pretending to be a rock star. Now in his late forties, he has decided to become a better person by improving every aspect of his life.
He blogs about Family, Fatherhood, and Fantastic Music Topics.
He strongly believes that real men can be great husbands and fathers yet retain their "coolness," although his kids may not always agree.