Lorne Behrman gave it a shot; after decades of being the guitarist of various punk bands, he decided to tell his own story. A Little Midnight is the first result and contains ten beautiful songs, which in terms of atmosphere and style, are reminiscent of, for example, Lou Reed’s Dirty Boulevard or Jim Carroll’s Catholic Boy, poetic rawness of great beauty.
What was the moment you knew you were on to something?
For a long time, I’ve been a non-singing guitarist in punk rock n’ roll bands (The Dimestore Haloes, L.E.S. Stitches, The Dead Tricks, and The Sweet Things). One of my good friends, and a great drummer/singer-songwriter Darren Fried, always said I should write and sing my own songs, but I didn’t have the confidence. I also didn’t consider myself a songwriter. That said, one night, I felt inspired and wrote a song. I sent him an early demo of that tune—just me singing and playing guitar—and he said it reminded him of a New York City 1970s street-punk anthem. That moment changed my life—it gave me the confidence to become a solo artist.
How did this record come together?
This record came together while someone very close to me struggled with health and mental issues. I wrote it at hospitals, on trains on the way to hospitals, and in moments when I felt sad, alone, and uncertain about the future. It was my diary, my therapy, and my outlet to express all of my feelings. It was me making sense of a very challenging time in my life.
When did you decide to start asking for opinions on the new songs?
Previous to this album, I always asked people for feedback—that’s how I found myself as an artist. Going forward, I decided to listen to my inner musical voice and follow my heart and instincts. So, I didn’t seek any feedback for this album while writing it. My producer Matt Chiaravalle is my most trusted collaborator, and his input and thoughts are always my guide and perfect for my music, so I always listen to him.
The meaning of success has changed over the years. What would success look like for the new record?
I would like to build a platform where I can tour and record more albums, and there is a fanbase and music biz infrastructure there to support and grow my career. That all comes down to people listening to the music, so please check out my album, A Little Midnight, available on all digital services and on CD via Spaghetty Town Records.
How great is the urge to stay creative? To keep writing songs and lyrics?
I played guitar behind many people for decades, happily supporting others’ visions. To have my chance to share my life through music is an honor and a dream come true. It feels like my purpose, and I take it seriously. I pretty much write or work on music every day. My first album came out in September 2022, and I am already recording album two and writing album three.
As an artist, you choose to show your emotions to the world. Is it always comfortable to do so?
Writing from the heart feels natural to me. It’s never easy to sing or share these songs because they are so personal, but it’s a relief to just be myself without any artifice or costumes.
You can pick three co-writers to write new songs with. Who? … and Why?
Bob Dylan, Patti Smith, and Paul Westerberg.
What’s the gig you will never forget? And why?
We played in November 2022 at Bowery Electric in N.Y.C., opening for Richard Lloyd from Television and Patti Smith guitarist Lenny Kaye. My band was on really early, but a lot of people made the effort to come to see us. It was packed! And we had my full 7-piece band. The show felt magical.
Lyrics are too often taken for granted. What is the line of text, or are the lines that you hope listeners will remember? And why?
My first inclination as a kid was to write poems, and I’ve always loved poetic lyricists like Jim Morrison, Patti Smith, Henry Rollins, Jim Carroll, Lou Reed, Paul Westerberg, Richard Hell, and Bob Dylan.
I love these lines from my song “Harlem River Serenade”: Looking out/ to factories as planters/green reaching through bricks/No hope there—/we’re shattered/ like broken bottles on train tracks
When was the last time you thought, ‘I just wrote a hit!’?
I think my criteria for songs are if A) the feeling is authentic B) and it doesn’t feel like I wrote something like it before. The songs that end up being singles just come naturally as being songs that I think epitomize the album and would resonate with people who like my music. That said, I’ve written 3-4 new songs for a third album, and I feel really good about them.
Cassettes are back. Which 5 five songs would make your first mixtape?
1. Pontiac Brothers “If You Have Got to Go, Go Now” (this is a Bob Dylan cover).
2. Gun Club “Breaking Hands”
3. The Replacements “Androgynous”
4. Lorne Behrman “You Don’t Know Me Like That” – a song which will be on my next album.
5. Iggy & The Stooges “Sell Your Love”
Playing music in front of a crowd. What’s all the fun about?
Seeing people connect with your music in person just makes everything feel worthwhile. It’s such a beautiful energy exchange.
You can’t control the way people ‘hear’ your music. But if you could make them aware of certain aspects, you think, set your songs apart. What would they be?
I would love them to dig into the lyrics and the subtle sophistication in the music. I try to keep the songs simple but use interesting musical ideas. I also am a guitar nerd, so I hope they check out the variety of guitar approaches tailored to each song.
Suppose you were to introduce your music to new listeners through three songs. Which songs would those be and why?
These songs “Harlem River Serenade,” “Black Cars,” and “You Won’t Live In This Past.” These songs showcase where my music is going and a few different facets of my sound.
If you could tour the world with two other bands, who would you ask, and why?
I would love to tour with Cat Power, Patti Smith, and Rhett Miller. These artists are active nowadays and feel like kindred spirits.
What compliment you once received will you never forget?
I’ve been blessed that people I’ve admired have responded to my music. I’ve heard that my lyrics are poetic a few times, which means so much to me.
Those magical moments when you’re working in the studio. Which moment was the most magical?
Recording this next album has been magical. Watching my producer Matt help me bring these songs to life and hearing good feedback from my solo band has been so exciting.
What place do you occupy in the music industry?
Well, I’ve been doing this for almost 33 years. I’ve played in many punk bands and recorded and toured a lot. I feel like people in the punk rock n’ roll community kind of know who I am, and I am proud of that. I hope to grow my reach more, and I thank you for interviewing me.
Who would you ask if you could pick three singers to sing harmony vocals on your next record?
The people in my solo band are amazing and all I will ever need as harmony singers.
The record is done, and the music is out. Is the best fun done now, or is it just beginning?
Now, it’s about playing live, touring, and recording more. I am so happy this album is out. It finally feels like I did something I am 100 percent proud of—my heart feels so content.