Picture Me Broken has been slugging it out on the club touring circuit for years and Brooklyn Allman, still only twenty years old, is now getting a taste of prime time exposure on the “Masters Of Madness” tour as direct support for Marilyn Mason and Alice Cooper. Brooklyn may be Gregg Allman’s daughter technically but that’s about as far as that association goes in terms of her art, her band or her outlook on life. In fact, based on the vibe and attitude on the band’s two independently releases “Wide Awake” and Mannequins” I would venture to say that she shares much more of the perspective of her current touring mates than she does her famous dad. I recently had had the pleasure of speaking to the beautiful, talented and articulate Ms. Allman to talk about the tour, her music, family and more, read on….
LRI: Thanks for talking with me Brooklyn, your band Picture Me Broken has been touring as direct support for Marilyn Manson and Alice Cooper, is that pretty amazing to you to be opening for these guys?
Brooklyn Allman: It has really been amazing. It’s a whole other ballgame, the stages are larger, the crew is totally professional and we’re traveling with a more elaborate setup and we can soundcheck and really dial in our sound before each show. It’s really helping us in terms of becoming professionals, I think it’s really brought our band up a level. It’s such an honor sharing the stage with such rock icons and there is nothing, nothing we would rather do than rise to the occasion every night.
LRI: I’ve been following the crowd reaction to you guys as you hit each city and it seems overwhelmingly positive from the people who are turning up early to catch Picture Me Broken. Do you think some of that has to do with your being different but still not too far removed from Cooper and Manson stylistically?
BA: I am really excited about what we’ve been hearing from people via social media and all that, it really makes me happy. I think Cooper and Manson are everybody’s influences in terms of rock and roll. I grew up listening to Manson and a lot of my bandmates are huge Alice Cooper and Manson fans so I think they have both been huge influences to us musically but also just as live rock performers. Personally, I am definitely lyrically and conceptually influenced by Marilyn Manson.
LRI: Are you getting a chance to stand at stage left and watch them on a nightly basis?
BA: Yes, I am practically taking notes because I am trying to learn as much as I possibly can from this opportunity . I have had the privilege to spend some time over the tour speaking with Marilyn and Alice and it has really been beneficial to be able to have them to talk to and learn from, like I keep saying they are just total rock icons. To be able to work every night on a level playing field with them gives you a hell of a lot of perspective.
LRI: A lot of people might glance at your band, your being twenty years old or your name and naively assume that you’re getting strings pulled for you famous dad but the fact is that you’ve been at this for years touring in vans and it’s actually been your mom not your dad who’s had a hand in your career, correct?
BA: Yes….interestingly enough at Red Rocks, our 4th tourdate, Alice Cooper came up to me and said “I had no idea who your dad was until tonight Brooklyn” which made me feel good and really shows that all the work we did prior to this meant something and the good things that are happening now are as a result of our own merit. We have worked touring under very different circumstances, sometimes it’s been brutal but it’s been all us and I really don’t mention or play that card about my father. Some people assume when you’re born into that heritage it plays such a huge role in your own music but I don’t think my father’s influence goes any further past our shared DNA. We didn’t even start talking until as recently as a year ago.
LRI: Having sweated it out on many less glamorous tours, are you getting spoiled by the backstage amenities on this tour?
BA: All those things have been really nice and awesome but it still doesn’t detract from the grueling nature of the music industry. There’s a lot of politics, there’s a lot of rules, there’s a lot of things you have to adhere to and it’s really not for the faint of heart no matter how much cool stuff is in your dressing room or what kind of vehicle you’re riding in. I think in terms of trying to make a career in the music business, it’s probably one of the hardest things out there. You really have to work hard and give it every ounce of your undivided attention. It’s taken me eight years and a lot of sweat to even get to this position so I would say the music business is a difficult industry no matter what level you’re on based on the myriad of challenges that it presents to you at different times.
LRI: I saw your video for “Torture” and I have to say I am pretty goddamn impressed. It’s like a modern day “Star Wars” with tons of hot chicks and anything you could ask for visually.
Brooklyn: Thank you! We really wanted it to be cinematic. We’ve been friends with the band Black Veil Brides for quite some time and their director Patrick Fogarty stumbled upon us and contacted us and we totally wanted to work with him because we knew he was the only person who could work with us to create something that larger than life on that small of a budget. We showed him a treatment and we really worked on it and we were able to use this incredible location that was completely futuristic and perfect for the video. Then I went on Model Mayhem and found a bunch of really beautiful girls to be in it which was awesome. A lot went into that video and I am most fond of it artistically, more than anything we’ve done thus far.
LRI: I know you are young but you have been hard at work on this rock band for quite a while. Exactly how far back does the history of Picture Me Broken go? How old were you?
Brooklyn: I started the first evolution of Picture Me Broken when I was 12 years old. It’s changed so much I just can’t even put it into words, I started as a kid playing in a cover band with some different members to an all-original project with a different name and a different lineup opening for Alice Cooper and Marilyn Manson. One one hand I’ve come a long way but I did always have a vision for it, I always wanted it to go that far and I always knew it wasn’t just a hobby. I was pretty focused and paying attention and the fact that I knew who I was so early on in life really helped that out a lot.
LRI: I thought it was so funny that you were on Facebook or Twitter talking about how annoying it was that you couldn’t be inside some of the venues your band was playing at before this tour because you weren’t technically 21 yet. Is that kind of surreal to you?
Brooklyn: It’s funny. It gives you perspective like “Ok, I may have come a little too far at too young of an age, maybe I should have gone to some proms or some football games or something” (laughs). But it makes me proud more than anything that I am playing at venues that I’m technically not old enough to be at (laughs).
LRI: Your last EP came out but I would have to guess you have quite a bit of material ready to go for a full-length follow up to it. How is that coming along?
Brooklyn: There was a little bit of record label politics going on and when push came to shove we ended up putting out a digital EP rather than a full length album. There is a lot more material and we will be choosing from some of it for the next full length album but also we do have more new material and we are really blessed that we’ve become a tighter, more cohesive band as a result of all the touring we’ve done. I think that we’re actually going to be heading into the studio as early as this August.
LRI: I think the first time I really stood up and paid attention to your band was when I heard your cover of Heart’s “Crazy on You”. It takes a lot of balls and talent to sing a song made famous by Ann Wilson.
Brooklyn: I really respect Heart because they found the way to surpass the female-fronted stereotype. I think when people look at the band Heart they are not thinking about the fact that Ann and Nancy are women, they’re just thinking about them as one of the great rock and roll bands in history and I don’t think any other band with a female singer since them has really been able to do that, to become timeless without being viewed as some sort of a gimmick. I really think Picture Me Broken should strive to make their mark with a female singer in the way that Heart did and I think the first and foremost way to doing that is to demand superb musicianship. Ann and Nancy are just unparalleled on their respective instruments. I think when we chose that song we wanted to do something that was super ambitious, that would showcase each one of us individually and also be a song that could really get the crowd going. I also think it’s a really good idea for a new band on tour to play a cover for people to relate to who may be new to our music.
LRI: Some bands look at the time spent with fans at the merch stand as a necessary evil but the smart ones look at it as an opportunity to learn and grow as a band or even individually? Have you found it to be a pretty interesting situation, getting to meet the people who appreciate your music?
Brooklyn: Absolutely. I keep a really close relationship with our fanbase, even aside from the shows, I keep in touch via the social media and I try to respond as much as I possibly can. A lot of interaction has occurred because of our song “Skin and Bones” which I wrote about a personal struggle as well as a friend’s struggle that I witnessed with an eating disorder. I think a lot of people apply those lyrics to their own problems or addictions and they share a lot of those addiction stories with me. It’s always really powerful and touching and it reminds me why music matters on a larger level and why we do everything we do out here. All the ordeals we go through as a band to keep the band alive, it’s all worth it, it all just comes down to that message which you can cut through so poignantly to those who need to find clarity.
LRI: As fun as your band is there are some heavier lyrical concepts. The title track of your EP also touches on drugs and addictions. What keeps you level headed out on the road where a lot of people’s temptations eat them alive?
Brooklyn: I think the road can definitely amplify any sort of struggle you’re going through like that just because it is so up and down and you are away from home and it’s just such an unstable environment at times. I think the road even amplifies a lot of the struggles explored in my lyrics. I think that when the show is over and you’ve met everyone you’re going to meet, it can sometimes be a very lonely place where those demons can come out if you’re not aware of it. For me, personally, I think writing lyrics on the road is kind of a means for staying sane.
LRI: I know your mom a little via Facebook and I don’t want it to come off cheesy but so many people ask you these questions about your dad that I have to ask you about your mom. She’s been friendly with us, was our first contact with the band and she’s actually been behind the scenes doing a lot of work as well as just being a general support system for you and the guys in the band. How has that relationship with your mom Shelby shaped the course of Picture Me Broken?
Brooklyn: I think that having parental support the way that I have had with my mom supporting me is almost unheard of for most people so I am so I am extremely lucky that she valued my dream as much as I did. I think that anybody out there can accomplish any dream they have but if you have a support system in your own family, to that degree, it’s definitely going to help you along the way. I would say that she is just as responsible for my success as I am in that aspect. I think at times it can feel like you’re putting a strain on the relationship personally because you’re both sacrificing so much for the dream, for the goal so I suppose in terms of the family aspect it may be a bad idea to get that involved with your child’s career. The upside is that with that type of personal connection and support system it can only help you in terms of reaching that goal so much faster than without it.
LRI: What are your immediate plans beyond Cooper and Manson?
Brooklyn: We are going to get in the studio but we pretty much going to stay on the road as much as we possibly can so we are going to be very busy. Next year we are really wanting to get overseas but we are kind of just getting our tour legs right now so we want to try and keep up the momentum that this tour is giving us.
LRI: Have fun out there. I look forward to seeing you guys and meeting you. Has it been fun watching the guys in your band have fun out there and mack on girls on the road? Are you keeping them in line?
Brooklyn: (laughs) You know what? More girls ask me to sign their tits than any of my bandmates! (laughs). It is a very collective thing out here though and we are all having the time of our lives meeting people but at the same time it’s a different time in the industry. We’re not bringing show ho’s back to the room and doing lines of blow, we’re too busy on our laptops networking and resting up for the next day because nowadays you can’t afford to be taking your eyes off what’s important and indulging in such debauchery. You have to be on your game at all times and everybody’s head has to be on the music. All the guys in my band have fun but they take this very serious musically, this is a real band. I am not a girl up front with hired guns behind me, we’re a four piece unit. Although I am the frontperson I have always liked bands that have four dynamic, personable band members and not just a revolving door of blank faces and guys holding instruments. We are absolutely a band in every sense of the word.
Picture Me Broken Tour 2013
Appearing with Alice Cooper / Marilyn Manson
Fri 06/21/13 Uncasville, CT Mohegan Sun Arena
Sun 06/23/13 Pittsburgh, PA Stage AE
Tue 06/25/13 Saint Charles, MO The Family Arena
Thu 06/27/13 Bonner Springs, KS Cricket Wireless Amphitheater
Fri 06/28/13 Rockford, IL BMO Harris Bank Center
Sat 06/29/13 Mount Pleasant, MI Soaring Eagle Casino & Resort
Appearing with Marilyn Manson
Tue 07/02/13 Saint Paul, MN Myth
Wed 07/03/13 Omaha, NE Sokol Auditorium / Underground
Fri 07/05/13 Chicago, IL Congress Theater
Sat 07/06/13 Indianapolis, IN Egyptian Room
Mon 07/08/13 Fort Wayne, IN Piere’s Entertainment Center
Tue 07/09/13 Nashville, TN War Memorial Auditorium
Thu 07/11/13 Richmond, VA The National
Fri 07/12/13 Norfolk, VA NorVa
Sun 07/14/13 North Myrtle Beach, SC House Of Blues
Mon 07/15/13 Charlotte, NC Fillmore Charlotte
Wed 07/17/13 Atlanta, GA The Tabernacle
Thu 07/18/13 Orlando, FL Hard Rock Cafe / Hard Rock Live
Sat 07/20/13 Saint Petersburg, FL Jannus Live
Sun 07/21/13 Miami Beach, FL Fillmore Miami Beach At Jackie Gleason Theater