Since catching Picture Me Broken last year when they opened for Modern Day Escape & Affiance here in Pittsburgh, it was very clear that PMB was definitely headed for big things. Lead singer, Layla “Brooklyn” Allman (daughter of Gregg- yes, that Allman Brother and rock royalty legend) made quite the impression on the crowd with her stage presence that has been developing since age twelve (she’s now 20). Our interview with her was like speaking with a seasoned pro and the rest of her equally young bandmates (Drummer Shaun Foist and dual-lead guitar players Dante Phoenix and Jimmy Strimpel) were just as professional and impressive. What may be even more impressive is that PMB has not relied on Brooklyn’s dad’s contacts to make it in the biz and have instead opted to make it the old fashion way…hard work, and tour, tour, tour.
2013 brings probably the most exciting opening slot of Picture Me Broken’s career and possibly the most intimidating: opening for two rock legends in their own right from two different eras, Alice Cooper and Marilyn Manson.
Pittsburgh Music Magazine caught up with Picture Me Broken recently and spoke with Brooklyn about what 2013 has in store for the band…
PMM: Opening for Alice and Manson must be both exciting and intimidating. How/What are you feeling going on before these two legends?
Brooklyn: I must admit I had mild stage fright for the first time since my very first show when I was a wee 12 year old while getting ready for the first handful of these shows. Going up in front of a crowd that large, knowing you’re warming them up for two timeless rock icons sort of knocks the wind out of you when you’re freshly 20 and know you’re the new kid on the block and better prove yourself or go home. I still feel like I’m dreaming every time I look down at my tour laminate. Watching them perform side stage makes me feel like a little kid discovering rock n roll for the first time again.
PMM: What have you taken away/learned from playing with the bands that you have worked with recently (Opeth, Affiance, Modern Day Escape, etc.)?
Brooklyn: Otep was truly our first real tour and I’m so glad it was. She’s an inspiration on every level, I have so much respect for that woman and her art. Affiance was one of those bands that I knew was special because they’re bringing clean vocals back to metal, Dennis is one hell of a singer and we would sometimes do vocal warm-ups together and now they’re out supporting Killswitch. I try to learn something from every band we play with, even if they’re not necessarily my cup of tea, there is always something you can learn from other artists who have been touring longer than you have. I think the road is where you learn to be a real musician and I hadn’t done as much touring as you would think because the bulk of my music career thus far took place during my schooling years and I wasn’t going to compromise my education, so I have a lot to learn from other artists who have toured far more than I have.
PMM: Why an EP as opposed to an LP this time?
Brooklyn: The EP was not the band’s decision, we wanted to put out a full length, we had one all finished but our record label decided otherwise for political reasons. We will never be put in that position again, but I suppose the silver lining is that the full length can come to fruition now that we’re a more cohesive band that’s been on the road.
PMM: What distinguishes the material from your 2010 effort “Wide Awake”?
Brooklyn: If anything, “Mannequins” marks our departure from the “screamo” and “metalcore” scene. It was our way of saying, “Hey, we’re a rock n roll band and we’re going to be nothing but that from here on out”. It was time to grow up and abandon the trends and I think on our next release you can definitely expect more guitar solos than breakdowns. It was not easy going there, at one point we had to part ways with an entire team of people who wanted us to stay in that pigeonhole cause a band can sell lots of T-shirts on Warped Tour way quicker than they can build a major rock career and not many in the industry seem to have the balls, patience or determination to build a real band anymore so we had to vehemently go in that direction ourselves and butt heads for a while. You can also see how much we’ve changed even visually in our new music video for “Torture”. Shortly after touring “Mannequins” for a bit, the Cooper/Manson tour fell into our laps and nothing says authentic rock n roll quite like that. It was always a nice little middle finger to everyone who fought against the notion of us striving to break outside “the scene”. I feel like we’ve taken a huge step in the right direction.
PMM: What are the essential survival tools for living on the road for PMB?
Brooklyn: It was not even 6 months ago that PMB was touring in a Dodge conversion van, pulling a trailer, sleeping in our seats and showering at truck stops so we didn’t have to spend money on hotels, I wouldn’t even go as far as saying that those days are necessarily over, if you’re a 20 something, you can make that a fun situation and come home with a lot more money. I will say, even though I’m in a much more comfortable touring vehicle at the moment, I still had a blast. My dad’s guitar player and a good friend of mine, Derek Trucks once told me, “If you’re bitching in a van, you’ll be bitching on a bus and bitching on a jet”, I couldn’t agree more, you either love touring or you don’t. As for my personal survival tools, nothing that bad can possibly happen in $400 cowboy boots, oh and I’ll never forget my vaporizer.
PMM: When you have downtime in a city, what are your favorite things to do?
Brooklyn: I can be a bit of a reclusive sloth on days off. My vocals on stage are a lot to handle night after night going from belting to screaming to falsetto so I like to rest up as much as possible. You get lucky if a day off lands in a major metropolitan city, it’s somehow always bumfuck nowhere. We spent one of our most recent days off where we actually came out of our cave in Detroit with our good friend Tom Zutaut. We went by Eminem’s trailer park, checked out this insane clothing store called Showtime Dan’s and ate at the local Coney Dog hotspot. It’s amazing how you can wake up everyday and be told you’re in a different city and hardly realize it but it’s great to actually get out there and see where your travels are taking you if you have the energy.
PMM: What else can we look forward to out of Picture Me Broken in 2013?
Brooklyn: We’re planning to stay on the road as much as possible and get cracking at that full length late this Summer. I hope next year brings more international touring.
How often do you get the “rock chick” question and the Gregg’s girl question and how sick of it are you?
Brooklyn: I suppose I’m so accustomed to (and sick of) those questions that my sarcastic yet matter of fact replies have become second nature. Yes I have boobs and yes my father is who he is, are either of these things directly relevant to my career or artistic vision? No. Not at all. It is a superficial, surface assumption that either of these things define me musically or artistically. I must say thank you for noticing and discontinuing the monotony!
Our story from the first time we met PMB…http://wp.me/p2k1M3-1mJ