Calhoon Remembers “His First Performance”
In honor of Brandon Calhoon’s upcoming new album, “Let It Ride”, here’s an up close and personal Q&A with Brandon himself as he shares behind-the-scenes details of his first-ever live performance.
Q: When and where was your first live performance?
A: My first live performance was during the fall of 1991. I was a student at Beaverton High School: a small school in northern Michigan. Instead of going to class during the last hour of the day, the entire school gathered in the gymnasium for the annual Homecoming pep assembly. I was a part of a band at the time, and we played in front of the whole school.
Q: Who was in your band? How did your group get together?
A: Our band consisted of me, my buddy Chuck Warner, and our English teacher, Mr. Lance. At the Christmas pep assembly a year earlier, Mr. Lance recruited me to strum my guitar along with the school choir as they sang “Feliz Navidad.” After the Christmas assembly, Mr. Lance and I decided to put a school band together. With Mr. Lance on bass and vocals, and me on guitar, we got Chuck Warner to play drums to complete the band.
Q:What songs did you perform during your first live performance?
A: Our band had just enough time to perform two songs at the Homecoming pep assembly: “Thunderstruck” by AC/DC and “Home Sweet Home” by Motley Crue. Since me and Chuck weren’t singers, we decided that Mr. Lance would sing “Thunderstruck” and our classmate Tommy Blades would step in to sing “Home Sweet Home.”
Q:When did you start to sing?
A: I played guitar, but I had never sung in public —not even with my grandparents at church. A month before the Homecoming performance, Tommy Blades got a case of cold feet and said he wasn’t going to sing at the pep assembly. We had a band vote to decide who would replace Tommy on vocals. I was chosen to sing….even though I hadn’t sung before in my life. Talk about being thrown into the fire. “Home Sweet Home” was the first song I had ever sung.
Q: How did you feel performing in front of an audience?
A: I was so nervous at rehearsal preparing for the show that I would turn my microphone away from the band and face the wall. But after hitting those first few notes on the guitar and hearing the cheers from my peers as I started singing, all of my anxieties melted away. I look back now and still can’t believe I actually went through with it. I think my mom still has the performance on the VHS back home in the vault. Definitely a defining moment in my life.