Interview: Cranston Dean

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If you’ve never heard Cranston Dean perform before, you’re robbing yourself of an amazing experience. Dean’s voice takes you back to a time when the singer/songwriter played the bars of Asbury during the heydays of The Circuit, and blew people’s minds with their lyrical poetry. We caught up with Cranston himself to speak about his writing, what sets him apart from the rest of the Asbury scene and more.

Cranston Dean is (Members of the Band & instruments They Play): Cranston Dean (guitar, keys, vox), Riley Schiro (guitar, vox), Ike Gutierrez (bass, vox), Ty Harrison (road boss, visual presentation).

We’re Based Out Of:  Northern Monmouth County

We Formed In: 2013

The Story Behind Our Name: I got the name from my great-grandfather. I had been doing a number of solo shows around the Northeast and it became the easiest way for us to book or bill ourselves.

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What artists have inspired your songwriting? Also can you talk about where you draw inspiration for your lyrics?

Taylor Goldsmith, Blake Mills, Rayland Baxter, D’Angelo, Jackson Browne, Bruce, Chris Thile, Kendrick Lamar, RX Bandits and a holy host of people.

I don’t know if I draw inspiration from the following, but historic overtones, love, loss, and addiction are a lot of the topics that find their way into my songs. I hope to draw inspiration for my lyrics from my subconscious. It has been a long time since I sat down to write with a task at hand, I much prefer to try to let the music and lyrics come out together at first. I find that I like to write myself out of a corner, so to say. Having a start point that finds its own way out subconsciously and then writing consciously to the finish as if I was walking a corn maze.

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What do you love about being in this band?

What I love most about this band is getting to do everything with my best friends. It is very important that you actually like the people you are working with in any job and bands are no exception because sharing long drives, stages, and floor space for sleeping can be daunting otherwise.

There is a lot of love in this band and no one hesitates to show or say “I love you” to one another. This summer I get to travel the country with my very best friends and that is my favorite part of being in this band.

What’s the wildest concert experience you’ve had at a Cranston Dean show?

We once played next to a field of legal weed plants. Ah, the future is coming friends! That or the time I was groped in the middle of a song by a very inebriated woman who had recently been released from jail. Probably the former though, it was a much more pleasant experience for me.

There are countless bands performing in the Asbury Park scene right now — what separates you guys from everyone out there?

Hopefully nothing separates us too much from the other bands in AP. There is a lot going on that is to be noted and we are glad to be included. If there is something that people might find admirable about us; it is that we are a completely self-funded, self-booked, self-promoted, and self-produced, which, limits us in as many ways as it is frees us. No indie-go-go and we will keep writing and releasing albums and touring with or without backing!

If someone had never heard the band before what song would you recommend they check out in order to fully understand what Cranston Dean is all about?

I would ask them to kindly listen to a few songs. We like hoping around when it comes to feels and genres and so you might have to listen to 3 or more songs to get an idea of what we are about.

What do you have planned for the rest of 2015?

We are releasing our second full-length album in June and hitting the road for our first trip across the country from late June till early August. So far we have stops in NJ, NY, ME, OH, IL, KY, TN, KS, CO, NV, CA, and NE.

Cranston Dean performs with Accidental Seabirds and Breakfast in Fur tonight at Happy Mondays at Wonder Bar.

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Bill Bodkin is the Owner, Editor-in-Chief and Co-Founder of Pop-Break. Most importantly, however, he is the proud father of a beauty daughter, Sophie. He is beyond excited that Pop-Break will be six years old in 2015 as this site has come a long, long way from the day he launched in it in his bachelor pad at the Jersey Shore. He can be read every Monday for the Happy Mondays Interview Series as well as his weekly reviews on Law & Order: SVU, Mad Men and Hannibal. His goal, once again, is to write 500 stories this year (a goal he accomplished in 2014). He is a graduate of Rutgers University with a degree in Journalism & English. Follow him on Twitter: @PopBreakDotCom
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Bill Bodkin is the gray bearded owner, editor-in-chief and co-founder of Pop Break. Most importantly, he is lucky husband, and proud father to a beautiful daughter named Sophie. He can be seen regularly on the site reviewing The Walking Dead, Doctor Who, and is the host of the site’s podcast, The BreakCast. He is a graduate of Rutgers University with a degree in Journalism & English. Follow him on Twitter: @BodkinWrites