By: Libby Freeman
DownTown Brown is a Detroit based funk/punk/metal/experimental trio who with their recent release, "Grabbleton's Beach" will be embarking on an international and statewide tour. I had a chance to talk with founding member, guitarist/vocalist Neil Patterson about this new release and upcoming tour. Here ya go.
PG- First, thanks so much for taking the time to do this interview. Can you introduce DownTown Brown to the Punk Globe readers? (individual members) How did you meet?
Neil- No, Thank you! DOWNTOWN BROWN is a three piece funk/punk/metal/experimental band from Detroit MI. The band consists of NEEBO (Neil P., that's me) on guitar/vox, RONSTOWN (Ron) on bass/vox, and DONIC CHRONIC (Don) on drums/vox. I started the band in 2001. Don auditioned in 2006 after reading a poster I put up at Guitar Center, and Ron joined in 2008 after we jammed in a side project together called DRESSED TO MOLEST. The band has been through a handful of lineup changes since it's inception, but I truly feel that the lineup we have now is the best it's ever been.
PG- Are you all from Detroit? Detroit has such an amazing musical history. What was it like to grow up there? Any favorite new bands from the area?
Neil- Ron and I actually attended the same high school, but didn't actually meet until 2007. We grew up in Northville, a tiny suburb of Detroit. Don grew up in Warren (where EMINEM is from...HA).
Detroit is the best. I remember when I was like 15 going down to THE SHELTER and ST. ANDREW'S HALL to catch bands like GUTTERMOUTH, DESCENDENTS, and to the STATE THEATER to see BAD RELIGION and SOCIAL D. The first big punk show I ever attended was BAD RELIGION in 1996 on the Stranger Than Fiction tour. We drank warm Red Dog out of cans and got bums to do push ups for our spare change. I remember getting dropped off at THE SHELTER to see GUTTERMOUTH in 1995 by my buddy Greg's mom. So in all honesty, we didn't grow up IN Detroit, not many people do. I ended up going to art school down there in 2001...dropped out to start DOWNTOWN BROWN.
The best part about Detroit is that there is no pot of gold waiting for anyone who decides to pursue any type of arts related project...and we all know this. Most people who pursue music around these parts end up playing for people in other bands. This provides a lesson in humility. Most Detroit bands know that fame and fortune is a instead of trying to hop on some bullshit trend, (like in L.A.) these bands just bust their asses trying to make the most original, awesome music possible, and they do. As a Detroit band, from the very start you become aware that you have absolutely nothing to lose. This creates better art. Detroit hustles harder. That's why the music is better.
Some of my favorite Detroit bands (old and new)
THE MEATMEN (Legends! And they're back in action!)
PG- I recently had a chance to listen to DTB's new release "Grabbleton's Beach" and was impressed with the meshing of Funk and Metal. How would you describe your sound and what were your musical influences?
Neil- Funk is definitely in the roots of all the music we make. That 4/4 groove and heavy bottom bass is prevalent in most of what we do. The rest of what we do is all a direct result of our influences. It just makes sense.
Take a fat kid who grew up listening to GUNS N ROSES in grade school, discovered BAD RELIGION and METALLICA in middle school, and in high school became obsessed with PRINCE and P FUNK. It's pretty easy to see where our sound comes from. Once you ad the latter influences of MIKE PATTON and FRANK ZAPPA it makes complete sense.
PUNK/FUNK/METAL/EXPERIMENTAL Often compared to liquid crack.
PG- Can you tell the PG readers about "Grabbleton's Beach"?
Neil- Grabbleton's Beach is our attempt at a kid's album...for adults. It's very strange and ridiculous. Most of the songs don't make any fucking sense. But that's why it's a hilariously fun record. We're not trying to convey any type of message or be poignant. It's just a ridiculously eclectic fun record for people to put on and forget about how shitty the world is for an hour. It takes you on a trip to a better, more fun realm of existence. Especially on WEED, man.
PG- I have it that "Grabbleton's Beach" is DTB's seventh release. Can you give a rundown of DTB's musical catalog?
Neil- 1. Dinosaurs with Lazers, (2001) our first demos. Back Alley Music available for FREE DOWNLOAD at
2. Moist and Ridiculous, (2002) our first full length. Static Records Detroit. Available for purchase at
3. DOWNTOWN BROWN, (2004) Chocolate Stain Records. Available on iTunes.
4. Live...and Sweaty, (2005) Chocolate Stain Records. Out of print.
5. I Love Burgers, (2007) Chocolate Stain Records. Available on iTunes.
6. Back From the Dead, (2009) Chocolate Stain Records. Available on iTunes.
7. Grabbleton's Beach, (2010) DC-JAM RECORDS. Available at
PG- Can you tell the readers about the record label Chocolate Stain Records? Is CSR still up and running?
Neil- Chocolate Stain Records was started to put out DOWNTOWN BROWN records ourselves. Simple as that. It's still running I guess. If you count all the DTB records we have on iTunes. Ha.
PG- Your press release mentions that DTB has shared stage space w/ Wesley Willis. Any good Wesley Willis stories?
Neil- We opened for Wesley in 2003, right before he died. Sad face. I gave him a copy of our album and he said "I'm gonna sing a song about your band!" I think he said this to everyone. Either way, right there he started singing, "DOWNTOWN BROOOOWWN...DOWNTOWN BROOOWN!" In true Wesley Willis fashion. What an amazing dude. He then proceeded to get this girl I know's number and asked her if she would pick him up at the airport when he vacationed in Detroit. Who vacations in Detroit? Wesley Willis, that's who. May he rest in peace.
PG- DTB seems to be an exceptionally hard working band in terms of releases and touring. Is this a good work ethic or passion for music?
Neil- It's both I guess. We are constantly writing new music, so the amount of shit we've put out is a direct result of that. The touring thing started in 2006 when our old bass player, Hairy Bob put it this way: "If you never get out of Detroit, you will always be just a Detroit band." Since then we've booked 7 coast-to-coast tours and played hundreds of shows. I can't wait to get back on the road with this new record. My bass player and drummer will both be quitting their jobs to do so. This band is the only thing we got going for us. So, we're gonna have to make it work. We're really hoping that signing with DC-JAM RECORDS our dreams of doing this for a living a reality.
PG- What is the most bizarre thing that's ever happened on tour?
Neil- This dude, B McNuts we stayed with in BFE Texas claimed he could make his kids levitate. Getting booted off Warped Tour in 2007 after Don fell off a building. Tackling bums in Cleveland. Jabba-Nan. I dunno man. We've seen so much crazy shit I could write a short book. Plus, the amount of alcohol I used to consume makes it all a little blurry.
PG- What was your most memorable on stage experience?
Neil- Being DEE SNIDER (of TWISTED SISTER)'s backing band...and I'm not even fucking kidding. Here's the youtube video:
PG- DTB seems to place a lot of importance on humor. Any thoughts on that? How would you describe DTB's sense of humor? Any thoughts on the function of humor?
Neil- I wouldn't say we place importance on humor. It's just part of who we are. This world is so fucked up, I feel as a band if we took ourselves too seriously and focused on the strife, injustice, and overall horribleness of the world that we'd be doing everyone a disservice. My focus with this band is to provide people with an escape from the harsh reality that is our everyday existence. I just wanna make people smile, dance, and laugh. Our smart-ass sense of humor just goes along with our overall goal. If you can't laugh at how ridiculous this world is, then you might be either uptight or insane. Humor is a necessary ingredient to life, I life. Laughing makes you feel good. I want our music to make people feel good. It's as simple as that.
PG- Does DTW have a website, FaceBook page, etc. you'd like to link up?
PG- Can you tell the readers about your upcoming international tour?
Neil- In late Feb. we will embark on a huge U.S. tour. From there our label president Darron Hemann has expressed interest in sending us to Europe and Japan. We gonna go everywhere with this muthafucka. Yeeeah! All tour dates posted on:
PG- Thanks again for chatting with PG. Do you have any parting words for the readers?
Neil- All you gotta do is eat your cat. All you gotta do is rape your fuckin mom. All you gotta do is smoke liquid crack. All you gotta do is get your wobble on. C'mon kids and get your wobble on.