The Moment I Knew I Wanted to Make Music: Brightshine

by - August 09, 2022

Motivated by my favorite bands Rush, Van Halen and Led Zeppelin, I took up the drums at age 13. I started taking lessons and was immediately hooked on playing music, jamming with my friends after school and drumming along to my favorite songs. My drum teacher introduced me to the rudiments and jazz, and I developed musically and became a decent - but by no means great - drummer.

I played throughout college but never really went full-on until I graduated and decided I wanted to get more serious and put together a band. Around that time, I was living in San Francisco with one of my best friends and jamming buddies from growing up in Atlanta, and he had an acoustic guitar. I taught myself a few chords and immediately songs started coming out of me even though I could barely play the instrument. I would say that was the moment that I knew I wanted to make music on a serious level.

I had joined a local band on drums and was beginning to get more serious with them, playing bars around the Bay Area and Northern California as well as doing a few tours of Colorado. I spent most of my time during those years playing guitar five to six hours a day and constantly writing songs. The guitar and songwriting came to me much more naturally than the drums, and once I had gotten rhythm guitar up and running, I bought some scale books and started working on lead guitar trying to find the sounds of my heroes: Mark Knopfler, Jerry Garcia and David Gilmour.

After five years of constant practice, I was ready to switch to playing guitar and singing my songs in the bands I was in instead of playing drums, so I left the band I was in and started Seconds On End, where I learned to play live and in studio as well as produce and engineer records.

Playing my songs live to audiences was a second moment for me that I knew I wanted to make music more than anything else in my life, and I “went pro” then and there! Seconds On End had a great 10-year run, after which I formed a reggae/funk project with Jason Bryant (Damien Marley) called Echo Street. In Echo Street, I worked with Murph and Celso (who are now drums and bass in Brightshine) and refined my skills as a songwriter, guitarist and producer. I formed Brightshine in 2018 and we made an album, Shadows In The Sky, together and were poised to begin playing live extensively when the pandemic hit. We took the time during the pandemic to make an album that I feel is far and away the best work of my career, The Wire, and that brings us up to the present date!

- Pete Sawyer, Brightshine

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