By John Parks
Brooklyn Allman may be Gregg Allman’s daughter technically, but that’s about as far as that association goes in terms of her art, her band Picture Me Broken or her outlook on life.
In fact, based on the vibe and attitude on the band’s two independent releases, Wide Awake and Mannequins, I would venture to say Allman shares much more of the perspective of her current touring mates, Alice Cooper and Marilyn Manson, than she does her famous dad.
Picture Me Broken has been slugging it out on the club-touring circuit for years, and Brooklyn, still only 20 years old, is now getting a taste of prime-time exposure on the “Masters of Madness” tour, which includes a stop in Rockford Friday, June 28, at the BMO Harris Bank Center.
I recently had the pleasure of speaking to the beautiful and talented Ms. Allman to talk about the tour, her music, family and more.
Q: Thanks for talking with me, Brooklyn. Your band, Picture Me Broken, has played Rockford before at Bar 3, but now you are coming back as direct support for Marilyn Manson and Alice Cooper. Is that pretty amazing to you to be opening for these guys?
A: It has really been amazing. It’s a whole other ball game. The stages are larger, the crew is totally professional, and we’re traveling with a more elaborate setup, and we can soundcheck and really dial in our sound before each show. It’s really helping us in terms of becoming professionals. I think it’s really brought our band up a level. It’s such an honor sharing the stage with such rock icons, and there is nothing, nothing we would rather do than rise to the occasion every night.
Q: I’ve been following the crowd reaction to you guys as you hit each city, and it seems overwhelmingly positive from the people who are turning up early to catch Picture Me Broken. Do you think some of that has to do with your being different but still not too far removed from Cooper and Manson stylistically?
A: I am really excited about what we’ve been hearing from people via social media and all that. It really makes me happy. I think Cooper and Manson are everybody’s influences in terms of rock and roll. I grew up listening to Manson, and a lot of my bandmates are huge Alice Cooper and Manson fans. So, I think they have both been huge influences to us musically, but also just as live rock performers. Personally, I am definitely lyrically and conceptually influenced by Marilyn Manson.
Q: Are you getting a chance to stand at stage left and watch them on a nightly basis?
A: Yes, I am practically taking notes because I am trying to learn as much as I possibly can from this opportunity. I have had the privilige to spend some time over the tour speaking with Marilyn and Alice, and it has really been beneficial to be able to have them to talk to and learn from. Like I keep saying, they are just total rock icons. To be able to work every night on a level playing field with them gives you a hell of a lot of perspective.
Q: A lot of people might glance at your band, your being 20 years old or your name, and naively assume that you’re getting strings pulled for you by your famous dad. But, the fact is that you’ve been at this for years touring in vans, and it’s actually been your mom — not your dad — who’s had a hand in your career, correct?
A: Yes. interestingly enough at Red Rocks, our fourth tour date, Alice Cooper came up to me and said, “I had no idea who your dad was until tonight, Brooklyn,” which made me feel good and really shows that all the work we did prior to this meant something, and the good things that are happening now are as a result of our own merit. We have worked touring under very different circumstances. Sometimes it’s been brutal, but it’s been all us, and I really don’t mention or play that card about my father. Some people assume when you’re born into that heritage it plays such a huge role in your own music, but I don’t think my father’s influence goes any further past our shared DNA. We didn’t even start talking until as recently as a year ago.
Q: Having sweated it out on many less glamourous tours, are you getting spoiled by the backstage anemities on this tour?
A: All those things have been really nice and awesome, but it still doesn’t detract from the grueling nature of the music industry. There’s a lot of politics, there’s a lot of rules, there’s a lot of things you have to adhere to, and it’s really not for the faint of heart, no matter how much cool stuff is in your dressing room or what kind of vehicle you’re riding in. I think in terms of trying to make a career in the music business, it’s probably one of the hardest things out there. You really have to work hard and give it every ounce of your undivided attention. It’s taken me eight years and a lot of sweat to even get to this position, so I would say the music business is a difficult industry, no matter what level you’re on, based on the myriad of challenges that it presents to you at different times.
Q: You’re still out there meeting fans and getting feedback at the merch booth, despite the high profile of this tour. Has that proven to be a lot of fun, and has that feedback been valuable over the years?
A: It has, it really has. I have always tried to maintain a personal relationship with all of our fans. It is always a special thing to be able to hear how your music affects them or to be able to take a photo or sign a CD. It’s not something I ever want to take for granted, and I think a lot of people can sense that about our band because our bass player, Austin (Dunn), and I have always had that attitude since day one.
Learn more at picturemebroken.com.
From the June 26-July 2, 2013, issue