Brendan Murphy of Counterparts and END talks ADD, adjusting to life without touring, and pissing off people on Twitter on The Downbeat - Knotfest
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Brendan Murphy of Counterparts and END talks ADD, adjusting to life without touring, and pissing off people on Twitter on The Downbeat

Posted by Ramon Gonzales in Series on December 17, 2020

The vocalist for Counterparts and END talks about getting a job, bonding with his cat, and how the pandemic has changed how touring will play out when and fit the world ever becomes normal again.

The latest episode of The Downbeat with Craig Reynolds connects with Brendan Murphy of Counterparts and the band END for a conversation that quickly got into the unique reality that has been 2020.

As musicians have continued to adjust to a world without touring, Brendan Murphy candidly talked about what it has been like to get an hourly gig for the first time in nearly a decade. The guys laughed at how Murphy needed to clarify some basics like hourly pay and non-paid lunch – concepts that are relatively normal but a different way of operating for most touring musicians.

Murphy also confided that being home has led him to indulge a bit of the daily boozing. Funny enough, he shared that the drinking is still not as heavy as drinking while on tour, but that it’s certainly enough to warrant enough wine on a daily basis to catch a buzz.

The two then began digging into the Murphy’s diagnosis of ADD and how he has had to explore different medication to best manage it. From the physical side effects to the kind of stigma associated with his diagnosis, Murphy’s complete brand of candor showcases a unique sense of self-deprecating humor that makes for both a educating and entertaining exchange. (Plus, anytime the term “Coke Dick” surfaces within the first 30 minutes of a podcast, you know it’s gonna be good.)

While the tone of the conversation was always lively and lighthearted, there were some interesting revelations of how Murphy’s diagnosis has permeated in his professional life. In explaining how he arrived at the best treatment thus far, he confided that his ADD would result in the kind of procrastination that would cost his band money by putting off travel plans until the very last minute. Understanding the seriousness and the collateral damage that could result from his disorder, Murphy still found himself at the mercy of it.

Though in a better place now, Murphy detailed how it took numerous doctor visits, psychologist sessions and various therapeutics to get to a point where his ADD is at the very least, manageable.

In addition to finding a good regime of medication, Murphy talked about how getting his cat has been one of the best things that could’ve happened to him. He talked about how shortly after finding his cat, he found out the cat was significantly sick. In nursing the animal back to good health, Murphy established a unique bond that almost makes calling the cat a pet seems insulting.

He told the story of how his cat received a pretty terminal diagnosis and when he went to pick the cat up from the veterinarian, the cat immediately perked up when seeing Murphy. The guys laughed at the Disney-esque story of the bond between musician and cat.

Later in the conversation the guys get into what the landscape of touring will be like post-pandemic. Murphy shared an interesting observation that best summarized the discussion. He talked about he used to be afraid of their being nothing, with regards to touring, but now that he has lived through an extended time of nothing, he’s figured out how to adjust.

Both Reynolds and Murphy went on to discuss how working class bands always made lots of accommodations prior to the pandemic. In living through the long layoff and grappling with the financial uncertainty that came with it, both agreed that coming back needs to be something worth their while. The silver lining from the pandemic for most musicians is that long gone are the days of the ‘something is better than nothing’ MO. As Reynolds explained, by the time the world gets back, “bands would have already figured out their side hustle.”

With regards to how live shows will pan out post-pandemic, Murphy shared how being home has afforded him a new sense of discernment that he didn’t have prior. “It has to be either fun or profitable for me to want to do it because for so long they were neither and I still felt like I had to do it.”

Catch the complete conversation between Craig Reynolds and vocalist Brendan Murphy of Counterparts and END on the latest Downbeat podcast.


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