I admit it! I have a serious fascination with dreads and know it will be the ultimate next step in my natural hair journey. I scour YouTube searching for dreaded men and women to admire, stalk (semi-joking) and ask about the process when all along I’ve had someone in my own backyard!
I also thought about this guy when I read Cipriana’s 07/20 post, “Does Your Musical Palette Unfairly Define You?”.
Sometimes you forget about the people that have been right there all along. Meet my brother, Levi:
Where are you from?
L: Gary, Indiana
What do you do by day? By night?
L: I run a recording studio by the name of Glenns Basement. I also lead my independent band called Brain Dead Burockracy.
How long have you been wearing dreads and what’s your hair care regimen?
L: I’ve had dreads since 1994. Funny story…back then I was wearing this twisty-coil hairstyle. I kept them in too long and my hair actually started locking on its own! I decided to just go ahead and fully commit. The choice was either to keep sporting an afro or get dreads…not into the plain-jane “john” low men’s cut…lol.
I’ve always been into self-care. Never had anyone assist me with my dreads. I typically use “Let’s Dred” beeswax and skin lotion when I twist them. I shampoo once a week with Mane ‘n Tail shampoo. A few years ago I used to bleach my dreads then dye them with semi-permanent colors. I did this weekly…stripping the color with bleach and having every color in the rainbow. All of my dreads started breaking off! Instead of starting fresh I tied the fallen dreads back to my head and of course stopped bleaching.
How do you feel about women rockin natural hair?
L: There’s nothing like a woman who can look good being exactly who she is.
You have had a long history in the music biz. Tell me about your journey?
L: Started playing drums as a kid. I’ve always had this strange love for rock music…ha ha even though my surroundings in Gary didn’t provide much of an outlet for that genre. My uncle Glenn would let me spend weekends with him and turned me on to lots of rock bands. He was the only one I knew for years that even listened to that type of music.
I started DJing in high school and became pretty dope at mixing, tricks, etc. After adventuring around after high school I eventually settled in Los Angeles where I was pleased to meet so many people unlike all the tunnel vision I experienced back home. I was still DJing, producing beats and continued to pursue that for a couple years. Deep in my heart I really wanted to rock out, but stayed in a sort of “stereotypical musical comfort zone”. I then befriended certain individuals that influenced me to follow that dream. I started playing in bands and never looked back!
What instruments do you play?
L: Guitar, Bass, Drums
What has your experience as a black man in rock and roll been like?
L: Well it’s definitely better here in LA…at least people get it. Of course you have the ignorant types that say I’m playing “white boy music”, not knowing where the hell rock music came from in the first place. Or you have the people that don’t know what to say. They may say, “Hey, I like Lenny Kravitz” or “I used to like Living Colour”. Like I really need you to run off names of other black rockers so you can relate to me. Generally I love being the unique individual I am, but the world doesn’t seem to know what to do when someone so-called “steps outside the box”. I see myself as an individual musician more than the “black rocker” the press and others classify me as.
Tell us about your band, Brain Dead Burockracy?
L: I formed BDB in 2008 with drummer, Brian Holland whom I’ve played with for many years. I was actually working in Quality Assurance where I met Steve (bass). BDB was a result of many ventures and finding one’s musical self. It’s molded to who we are with no compromises for society and its views. We simply rock as hard as 3 guys can!
So what’s the story behind the name “Brain Dead Burockracy”?
L: When I was working in Quality Assurance I received an angry customer letter calling the company a “Brain Dead Bureaucracy”. I quickly knew that my next band would be called that. The multiple meanings of that name were endless!
In an age when there are so many genres within the rock and roll genre, how would you describe the BDB sound?
L: We’re a power trio. It’s straight up “wall of sound” heavy rock with a nice groove to it. As a band we all have similar and very different musical tastes. My favs are Helmet, Alice In Chains and Deftones, which come through in some of my songs.
Any current or upcoming projects you want to share with the readers of Urban Bush Babes?
L: We have a new record coming out at the end of August that we recorded and produced in our own studio. This will be the first time I’ve made a record with no outside help and let me tell you, it ain’t easy! In a terrible economy and all, one must cut out the middleman as much as possible! DIY…Do It Yourself! This is my best work ever.
We just shot our first professional video for “Erase” which will be released along with the new record. We tour independently, but hopefully will land some indie support where we will have the freedom to express ourselves musically as we wish. It’s hard touring and making records on your own dime, but we will do our thing whether supported by the suits n ties or not.
Where can we keep up with you and BDB?
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Brain-Dead-Burockracy – GO TO FACEBOOK AND CLICK “LIKE”
Anything else you want to share?
L: Be yourself…whatever that may be. Follow your dreams no matter what others may think of you. And Oh Yeah…I’m an incredible cook! Last, but not least – I miss a good Gyro…they suck here in LA!