Once known as Steve the Intern, Brandano has since earned his current title of Producer. Considered by many to be the Stern Show’s, “utility player”, Steve mans the phones during the mornings, and has produced many shows on H101.
He got the attention of the show when he proposed the idea for 'The Intern Show' while interning for the Howard Stern Show on terrestrial radio. He's also the creator of 'Playlist' on H101.
His accent will give him away as a Boston-bred kid, growing up in Melrose, MA. Steve is passionate about music and his musical opinions. He's argued on-air several times that Howard should have The Black Keys on the show.
“You’re never going to see a band I’ve heard of!”
- Ralph Cirella
It seems that my identity on the show these days is “the guy who loves The Black Keys,” which I’ll take all day compared to simply, “the Intern.” The Black Keys are not the only band that I go nuts over, in fact since I moved to Brooklyn (a few blocks from my favorite venue in the city: Brooklyn Bowl) I’m averaging about a concert a week. So I’ve decided to write up the shows I see here on our brand new Howard Stern.com I love live music and I think you’ll get a variety of coverage here on bands you know and a few you might not. Hopefully I can turn some people on to something new, but I'll settle for scoring myself free tickets to more shows
John Mayer - Spectrum Theater - Philadelphia, PA (07.02.13)
I started playing acoustic guitar in high school (make your douche-bag jokes - it got me laid while you were puking) and guys like Mayer and the upcoming Howie Day were the artists I mimicked and idolized somewhat. I have definitely bragged in our offices about seeing Mayer with just his bass player at clubs like The Paradise in Boston “back in the day.”
Taking the reactions to my boasts into account I never would have guessed that Will Murray, Jon Hein, super-producer Jim McClure, and I, would ever be road tripping to Philly to see him in concert, but that’s exactly what happened two days before our Nation’s birthday.
SiriusXM’s The Spectrum was broadcasting John Mayer’s “Final Dress Rehearsal” live and we were invited to attend. Mayer had been practicing with his band for the week at Temple University in preparation for his new tour. Mayer had been sidelined for over a year with a vocal injury, so this was a big return to form for him, and as he pointed out it is weird to be touring with two albums of new material to showcase. We got a lot of "Mom" songs, and not many bad-ass guitar tunes, but even the most skeptical of Stern producers in the house couldn't deny the talent we witnessed.
Mayer played for a little over an hour, and many of the songs were his radio-friendly, romantic comedy singles that your Mom likes. But there were highlights, including the opener “Queen of California” which had a pretty substantial jam at the end that you won’t find on the album version, and midway through the set “Slow Dancing In A Burning Room” was also jammed out.
John Mayer is easy to write off if you want to think of him as a “silly love song” guy but I wouldn’t lie to you when I say he is one of the best guitar players we’ve got making new music! And I have lost friends over debating his merits, and you know what? I don’t need those friends!
The show overall had a weird vibe. I think this was because we were in a stadium with only a few hundred people. The stage was in the middle of the arena so only half of the floor was filled with contest winners, all of the seats were empty, not an ideal setup. You can rock as hard as possible but it’s going to feel like something is missing. It was more of a showcase than a concert.
Check out John Mayer's tour dates so you can see for yourself
Howie Day - City Winery, NYC (07.17.2013)
I used to watch Howie Day play in Boston at the aforementioned Paradise, he even opened for John Mayer there back in 2000. He was just a dude with an acoustic guitar and a bunch of loop pedals. He lays vocal and instrumental loops over each other with ease and creates the sound of a full band. He is only a year older than me but back then he was very influential (and if you know him at all it’s probably because you heard “Collide” on Dawson’s Creek or read a tabloid story about him dating BritneySpears - shame on you!)
After seeing him once, I ran out, picked up a BOSS Loop Station, and soon was singing awful versions of “Dear Prudence” with backing vocals, a drum beat, and bass line all provided by myself - none very good. It was bad, but it worked at UMass!
Howie seemed to drop off the face of the earth for a few years as my career at the Stern Show began. Very recently I heard that he was living in NYC and doing shows frequently at City Winery.* Tracey “Intern Wrangler” Millman is also a Howie fan from way back so we went to the show together.
(*City Winery is a great venue for folk music, intimate shows with legends - Graham Nash is playing there soon - or a great place to take a date who is musically inclined.)
Howie Day isn’t solo anymore, he has a band with piano, drums, and cello. He opened the show with his band doing a few of those “Dawson’s Creek - WB type” songs but did get into some solo/looping songs midset. The highlights were “Bunnies” featuring a lot of looping and I cover of my dad’s favorite Elton John song “Come Down In Time” from Tumbleweed Connection, which I believe is Howard’s favorite Elton album.
By the way, the crowd was not as excited as I was about this cover - I think they were hoping for “Rocket Man” - which would have been too “every dude with an acoustic,” if you know what I mean.
It was a blast from the past seeing Howie Day and I hope there are more shows to come from him soon.
Allen Stone - Brooklyn Bowl, (07.24.2013)
Allen is a white dude from Seattle. If he walked out on to the AGT stage you would say, “Oh great, here comes a joke act!” But this 26 year old has got pipes and soul! I’ve been waiting a for months to see him live. I love his self-titled album but never go “all in” on an act until I have seen them live. Spoiler Alert: I’m all in!
He hit the stage doing the church preacher thing, which I can dig. There’s a lot of “...brothers and sisters, we’re gonna dance tonight-a!” That kind of thing. It’s hard to pick “highlights from the night" because it was such a great show but the opening of “What I’ve Seen > Mama > Sleep” really set the tone early. In the middle of the set the band walked off so Allen could play a song by himself, I was expecting “Overjoyed” or some other Stevie Wonder song but instead was treated to a mellow version of a 90’s cover - Marcy’s Playground’s “Sex & Candy” which got the whole crowd singing along. Other covers in the set: a funky version of Bob Marley’s “Is This Love” and Rufus’ “Tell Me Something Good.”
Most of Stone’s songs are by design booty shakers. “Contact High,” “Nothing To Prove” - in which Allen separated the Brooklyn crowd in to two sides for a dance-off, leaving a runway through them which he took full advantage of , the set closer “Satisfaction” and the encore “Unaware” were all highlights for me. But again, I was psyched for this show!
The only thing that could have made the night better, and this won’t be the last time you hear me say this… a horn section! Every band would be better with a couple of girls singing back up and a horn section!
Allen Stone has a few more dates all around the country this fall, but trust me, you will have plenty more chances to check out this rising star with a voice like Stevie and a face like Blake from Workaholics.
Foxygen with Thao & The Get Down Stay Down - Pier 84, NYC - (07.25.2013)
This was a free show on Pier 84 on Manhattan’s West Side. It took place on the coldest day of the summer, which was a happy accident for this crowd that was made up of people who would have been wearing winter hats even if it was the normal 90+ degree day.
I was excited for this show because Foxygen a young group out of Cali, has one of my favorite albums of the year in “We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic.” The album is very Stones / Velvet Underground and just all around “cool.”
The live show however, I just couldn’t get down with.
This show was the first time that I had the realization that “everything that is new and good in Rock will be made by people younger than me, forever!” - Rock is a young man’s game, and I’m getting old. This thought was with me through their whole set. It was very clear that these were young guys on stage, hearing phrases like “don’t instagram this you guys…” and calling the Intrepid “that crazy space boat” did receive groans in the crowd. I didn’t love the show but you should still check out their album.
However… the shining star on the pier that evening was Thao Nguyen of Thao & The Get Down Stay Down! They opened and man, what a pleasant surprise they were! The band is out of San Francisco with Thao at the helm, throughout the show playing electric guitar, lap guitar, banjo, and even a mandolin, all rockin’!
Nothing’s better than not expecting anything from a band and going through the, “that was good… that was good too… these guys are good, right… I think this is my new favorite band!” Song after song was more impressive than the last and I left that night humming the riff to "We the Common" from Thao even after Foxygen’s set. I really dig this lady, and she is officially on my radar.
Thao is touring the US in the fall with Head And The Heart - check her out, and tell her StevieB sent you!
So that’s it for July but there is a lot more summer to come and a lot more music, including the best Zeppelin cover band on the planet, a musical celebration for Boston in “Boston Calling,” and somebody has their Pearl Jam tickets secured for October!
I’ll be back soon with “more tunes!” but until then I put together a Spotify Playlist with songs from the artists above, check it out, buy vinyl (like Gary) and most importantly support live music!
What up Stern fans, it's time to get back to the drawing board. Here's a few more iPad sketches of our staff, I hope you dig them!
We begin with my favorite staffer to draw: Jon Hein
"GO TIME HEIN"
This is Jon in his Michigan hoodie prepping himself for action / deep in thought. I usually draw Jon like a comic book character (see my first blog for an example) but here is a more realistic take. Believe it or not, Jon doesn't jump around or make too much noise in the back office, and if you were to visit, chances are this is the Jon Hein you will see.
"NO LOOK BENJY"
Usually I'm either looking at, or have a photo of the person I'm drawing but this piece was made from memory. I was in my apartment listening to Benjy call in to "Celebrity Superfan Roundtable" and he inspired me. Benjy is truly a character, his life could be turned into a cartoon series quite easily. I'd love to watch because who wouldn’t want to see an anvil fall on his head!
(cue Benjy's fake laugh, "huh HA!")
Richard loves horror movies and Halloween so I tried to make him look a little bit scary and gave him an autumn color scheme. I definitely put some Zeliko Ivanek (Big Love and Damages actor) in him, and I think this only makes him more frightening. I enjoy drawing Richard too because he has many different faces depending on the day.
(Although it has been requested I have no plans on drawing Richard's anus any time soon.)
Being a comic book fan the Ronnie Bat-Stache brings me joy every time I see it. I sketched a picture from a photo I took on Day 1 of his facial hair transformation. Then as a gift for Ronnie, and a way to capture this great crossover, I did it up on sketchbook. Ronnie has a copy of this and he is getting it framed. I'm happy that I was able to immortalize this great moment in both Stern and Batman history.
If Bruce Wayne drove a pace car...
"TWO PRODUCERS ON PINK PAPER"
I like to put one pencil sketch in with these. I have really enjoyed using the iPad (I use the SketchBook Pro app) to produce these pieces but this one felt right as is. This was very easy to draw, Jason is quietly moving in to Jon Hein's territory of "favorite to draw." I was happy to have Jason and Will in a drawing together and I enjoyed presenting them with this, here is how it went:
Jason Kaplan - "I want this to be my business card... I think this is the best picture I have of myself... I love it!'
Will Murray - "Why do I have a lazy eye?"
If you like what you've seen here I do tweet out more art (some Stern related, some not) at @SiriusStevieB. You can follow me and let me know what you think or request which staffers you'd like to see in upcoming blogs. Until then, thanks for stopping by.
Your sketchy screener,