Bluegrass lovers, please feel free to submit your suggestions for this “Who’s Who in Colorado Bluegrass” column to Doris Gray email@example.com
Brett Coleman, graphic artist
Who’s Who in Colorado Bluegrass Who the heck is "Bone Doggie".....??
By Doris Gray He keeps the Pow’r Pickin’ print issue looking sleek and modern, yet none of us has met him in person! So we thought our readers would like to get to know our graphic artist, Brett Coleman, AKA Bone Doggie. Brett is a multitalented artist/musician from Denton, Texas. How, you are wondering to yourself, did a Texas bluesman come to be the artist responsible for the fabulous Pow’r Pickin’ print design? Well, Dear Reader, all will be revealed as we chat with Bone Doggie in this month’s Who’s Who.
Pow’r Pickin’: How long have you been a graphic artist and when did you join the Pow’r Pickin’ team? Brett Coleman: Always been an artist, I suppose…I shuffled onto this mortal coil with a pencil in my hand and spent my formative years drawing, painting, sculpting and making outrageous collages. My original desire was to have a syndicated cartoon strip in the newspapers…the chances of which are about the same as becoming a starting quarterback in the NFL, so I started playing in rock bands instead. Somewhere around the mid to late ‘90s I was introduced to a beast of an Apple II with 56mg of RAM, so I made the transition from artist to graphic designer and worked in the marketing department of a telecom company. Due to a bit of luck and a massive amount of irony I ended up working in the advertising department of a newspaper in 2002 and stayed there until we all got outsourced to India in 2008. So I did what any self-respecting capitalist would do, I went freelance. It was during that time I did a 40-page program for the Argyle (TX) Bluegrass Festival, and was introduced to Richard Tucker, who I believe was the event promoter and also the Mayor of Argyle at the time. Richard eventually moved to Colorado and got involved with CBMS. In 2010, he sent me an email out of the blue asking if I wanted to do Pow’r Pickin’. So with a love of music and design, and a very strong sense of mortgage…here we are. PP: Your work is valuable to CBMS, but it's not a full time position. What else do you do for a living? BC: Well, the recession eventually devastated my freelance customer base, and that has not fully recovered yet, so I do graphic design on a part time basis. I do a lot of logos, CD covers and the occasional newsletter. Currently I’m working in a factory Monday through Thursday to pay the bills. The rest of my time is dedicated almost entirely to music.
PP: We have never met in person, so I guess we can say we have a virtual relationship. Tell us, where did you grow up and where do you live now? What do you like best there? BC: Haha…yep, that’s virtually true. Well, I grew up in South Kansas City, Kansas, and moved to North Texas in 1975. I have lived all over Dallas and Fort Worth. I finally settled in Denton, Texas, and have been here for 20 years. I love Denton because it’s a music town. You can’t throw a softball in this town without hitting a musician. I mean, yes we have NTSU’s Jazz Department, which is legendary, but there’s a much bigger element beyond that. You name it, rock, jazz, country, and folk, hip-hop, metal…we have it all in bucketfuls. In fact the music scene is so pervasive here that we were able to create an on-line radio station (DentonRadio.com), which plays music from Denton almost exclusively. And of course the list of alumni that have been through this town is pretty impressive. We have a big Open Mic scene here. I’ve been hosting Open Mics in Denton for well over 10 years, and some of my kids have gone on to host their own. We have an Open Mic somewhere in this town nearly every night of the week. You can actually watch mine live on Monday nights on DentonRadio.com’s Facebook page. And I also do a live radio show on DentonRadio’s Facebook page, called Doggietime, every two weeks or so. We also have a strong theater and dance scene here as well. And of course, we have a lot of bars, coffee shops and restaurants to play in…Doggie likes that.
PP: Tell us about your music. What genre and what instrument(s) do you play? Do you sing, as well? BC: I’m a singer-songwriter, although I’ve never really been accused of singing…haha. I sort of growl. I guess you could say I’m a cross between Tom Waits, Howlin’ Wolf and a circular saw. I started out on drums in high school but quickly switched to bass in 1980, which I played for over 20 years. Every kind of music. Then about 2001, (long story short) New Years Eve, “Comfortably Numb, Pain Threshold,” decided to do something different, so I found and latched onto the Irish Bouzouki which is basically a mandolin with a gland condition. Currently If I’m playing an acoustic gig, I play the bouzouki. If I’m playing an electric gig, I play an Ibenez Artcore 75 with only four strings tuned like the bouzouki. That goes back to the old bass days, I have no idea what to do with six strings. I also play mandolin, keyboards, Hawaiian lap steel (that does have 6 strings), various hand drums and percussion, and lately a lot of pots and pans and other random household implements. I love noisemakers…including my dog and my 5-year-old grandson, both of who will be on the new album I’m working on.
PP: Are you in a band? If so, what is the band’s name? Do you play mostly local gigs or do you travel some? BC: I had a very successful band called the Hickory Street Hellraisers which lasted about 10 years…and we played all over the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex, in virtually every kind of bar, festival, palace and toilet we could find, and we recorded two albums. My current passion (i.e., obsession) is called “Bone Doggie’s Denton Music Collective,” in which I hand pick and hire the musicians (and sometimes dancers) to fit the venue. Being in the unique position I’m in as far as open mics, radio and general tomfoolery, I have a huge rolodex…and am blessed enough to pick from some of the finest musicians around. It’s a blast not only for me but them as well because it gives a lot of locals the opportunity to perform with guys and girls they normally wouldn’t have the opportunity to gig with otherwise.
PP: What hobbies do you enjoy? BC: I love to cook and I love food. If I did anything right in my life, I married a chef. My wife Tahlia—or Mrs. T as she’s well known in culinary circles—is an amazing cook and she’s been teaching the finer points of the kitchen arts. It’s really a blessing that I have an Irish metabolism, otherwise I’d be the size of a small mobile home. I also love old time radio and am currently scheming with some folks about doing a podcast along those lines. PP: What's on your Bucket List? BC: Well before I shuffle off this mortal coil…I’m gonna get a bucket. That should cover it.
PP: What can CBMS do to make your life easier when it comes to your work on Pow’r Pickin’? BC: Just keep doing what we’re doing…Pow’r Pickin’ is huge to the Colorado bluegrass scene, and everybody who’s lucky enough to be involved in CBMS needs to understand that and be very proud of it. Aside from that…Ok, I’m not gonna lie, a raise would be hot too…or is that not appropriate for here? I never know…HAHAHAHA…ahem…Ok, I’m out…
Thanks for taking the time to answer these interview questions, Bone. Best of luck in your future endeavors!