By Todd Houston
Special to TRRT
RRI: You’re currently enjoying some local success as a member of the Rock/Metal band Pulse 18. You guys work very at hard getting gigs around the area. Do you ever get tired of setting up and tearing down equipment at 2 a.m.?
PB: No, that’s the best part! (laughs)
RRI: Who are the current members?
PB: Mike LaBay, lead vocals; Matt Bryden, drums, vocals; Mike Macias, guitars, vocals; Randal Stowell, bass, vocals; and Paul Bronso, lead guitar, vocals and management headaches.
RRI: Tell us about how you got involved in playing music and some of the bands you were in locally before Pulse 18.
PB: I played saxophone in middle school band but when they told us freshman year of high school we would be required to participate in marching band I decided to switch instruments. The guitar was more popular with the ladies anyhow. So at 15 I picked up my first acoustic guitar, a Kay I think it was and learned a few chords. My first electric was a baby blue Strat copy called a Concert. Not very good instruments but good enough to make noise and annoy my parents. My first band was called Oblivion and was put together for a Harlem High senior talent show. It was myself, Randal Stowell, Dan Beck and Trace Foster. Sativa was next. Then Zanthus and Blind Obsession.
RRI: I remember seeing your former band Zanthus play quite a bit! You guys were one of the only bands around town tackling the tricky material like Iron Maiden and MSG and were a very tight outfit. Are you surprised that the band didn’t achieve greater regional success?
PB: Yeah, we were always trying to push ourselves music-wise. Our originals had a bit of an Iron Maiden flair to them too. We recorded an original EP in 1991 at The Noise Chamber in Loves Park that to this day holds up well. When it was shopped in ’91 the record companies were NOT looking for metal as grunge was taking over. Day late, many dollars short! We played a few regional festivals but never really took off. I guess that is just the way it went down.
RRI: It seems Pulse 18 has a great following around Rockford! Tell us how the local live music crowds differ from the old days if at all.
PB: I think the new crowds and scene is much more supportive now than ‘back in the day’ particularly with other band support.
RRI: What is your favorite song to play live and what song(s) really get the crowd moving?
PB: Hmmm, personally, I guess Metallica-“Fade To Black” would be my personal favorite due to the guitar solos (three of them) in that song. It has a special meaning as well. I would say when we pull out “WALK” by Pantera the crowd loses their minds. That one gets them going every time.
RRI: I know you are more than a rock hard/metal guitarist. Would like to explain the other side of Paul Bronson’s musical adventures?
PB: I’ve had a passion for classical-influenced acoustic guitar since the early 80’s. I took private instruction from 2006-2010. I’ve been writing and performing solo acoustic instrumentals prolifically for about the last 6 years. I’m in the process of recording these pieces with Gregg DeCarlo at his Minimal Studio and must say, the results are incredible. I hope to release a 5-6 song EP/CD in the next month or two.
RRI: Let’s have some fun! I’m going to say a word or phrase and you say whatever pops into your head. Ready? Paul McGill Guitars.
PB: World-class quality, playability and sound.
RRI: Whiskey’s Roadhouse.
PB: THE Rockford venue to play.
RRI: The Cherry Lounge (former Club).
RRI: Dream Theater (band).
PB: Epitome of dedication in music.
RRI; Favorite song to sing in the shower?
PB: “Breath” by Breaking Benjamin.
RRI: Favorite Sunday morning album?
PB: Dream Theater, Images And Words.
RRI: What’s next for Paul Bronson?
PB: More new material with Pulse 18. We want to be able to switch our sets up eventually so when we play shows back to back the music is only partially repeated. Solo Acoustic-wise, writing and more recording. Paul McGill is building another custom steel string guitar for me and I hope to have it by Christmas!