Five Firsts: Bryan Thomas

Tess Collins and Bryan Thomas

Tess Collins and Bryan Thomas

NAME: Bryan Thomas

1. THE FIRST ALBUM I EVER BOUGHT WAS … AC/DC’s “Back in Black,” purchased at Caldor in Schenectady when I was in sixth grade. The stereo in my bedroom was only a budget Radio Shack system, but the roar of guitars that came through those little speakers when I put the needle down on Side 2 was gigantic and soul crushing.

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2. THE FIRST CONCERT THAT I EVER SAW WAS … Ozzy Osbourne at the Glens Falls Civic Center, two years after buying that AC/DC record. It was the “Speak of the Devil Tour,” when he was covering all Sabbath stuff. My father, the Baptist minister, chaperoned me and my friend George. Dad had a great time. He even pulled out the lighter for the “Paranoid” encore. It’s one of my favorite memories of him.

3. THE FIRST MUSICAL INSTRUMENT I EVER OWNED OR PLAYED WAS … A little kiddie organ. A surprise Christmas gift when I was six.

4. THE FIRST SONG THAT I EVER PERFORMED IN PUBLIC WAS … “Spirits,” a self-composed, solo instrumental performed during a school assembly on everyone’s favorite instrument, the recorder. I was in third grade. A-minor is a beautiful key.

5. THE FIRST BAND I WAS EVER IN WAS … Ocean, at Niskayuna High School. I was the lead vocalist and synth guy. In the two years before we had a real bass player, I did the Ray Manzarek thing by pushing the low-end with my left hand on a Casio keyboard. Sounded like mud.

The guitarist recently sent me more than a hundred MP3s of recordings he’d converted from old cassette tapes. I thought it would be a fun listen, but it was incredibly painful. Let’s just say that I should not have been the lead singer at an age when my voice was changing. Some serious Peter Brady moments.

Bryan Thomas performs in public all too rarely these days, so whenever he does, it’s a very special occasion, such as “A Night at Tess’ Lark Tavern,” a benefit concert that’s being held at The Linda in Albany at 7PM Thursday. Thomas will be performing along with Albany Poets’ Poets Speak Loud, Jim Gaudet & the Railroad Boys, MotherJudge & the Best Damn Open Mic EVER! Band, Keith Pray’s Big Soul Ensemble and Ramblin Jug Stompers. Admission is $15 at the door, and all proceeds will go directly to Tess Collins and the staff of Tess’ Lark Tavern.

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One Response to “Five Firsts: Bryan Thomas”

  1. Andrzej says:

    It’s great to see the musical community band together in support Tess. She is a wonderful lady who has championed regional music and musicians in Albany both at her own Lark Tavern and previously at Justin’s and Albany’s Washington Park summer series on Mondays (for a few years after Second Wind productions stopped doing it) for over a quarter century.

    That Bryan Thomas will be getting out and performing more frequently this coming summer is a marvelous thing! He is a hugely underrated performer and singer-songwriter who is getting noticed finally. (Bryan will also be appearing at the Music Haven stage July 25th in Schenectady’s Central Park: opening up for the divine Nona Hendryx.)

    In fact everyone performing that night for Tess’ Lark Tavern are great musicians and deserve wider-recognition in this area and beyond!

    It should be a great event!

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