Brian Perrone truly understands the meaning of a heartfelt apology.
The Livonia indie folk singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist deeply regrets missed moments and milestones on his latest lovelorn single, “Sorry,” which dropped Aug. 28 via all streaming platforms.
“‘Sorry’ is rooted in that awakening; that time is a gift. I have a friend who has gotten sick, and it made me think about how a diagnosis can change your life as ‘regrets’ and ‘if onlys’ come into play. When we we’re young, it seems as though we’re invincible and will live forever. This sounds like a cliché, yet it’s so true,” said Perrone, whose latest track is featured on the August edition of The Stratton Playlist.
Perrone quietly mourns lost time as somber, sparkling piano, thumping drums, jazzy cymbals and melancholic bass open his emotional floodgates. He tearfully reveals, “All the life inside of me/Extinguished by reality/Shapeshifting into memory/Two plus two is on my mind/A simple place, a simple time/Everything I thought I knew/Was everything because of you.”
“I hope that a listener might take a moment to reflect and make a positive decision to take action on something they have been putting off. Maybe spend some time with someone who’s important to them. Life seems to have gotten too busy these days; heck, it is also a reminder for me,” he said.
Peppered with shadowy elements of Radiohead and The National, Perrone recorded his poignant vocals and sorrowful piano for “Sorry” in his metro Detroit living room at the start of the pandemic. He also programmed drums and added a wistful bassline from Ypsilanti guitarist Steve Somers to highlight the track’s dark emotional intensity.
“The song almost wrote itself. I sat down one Saturday night, and it just poured out. I could barely keep up writing the chords and lyrics as they came to me. I didn’t want to miss a thing because it felt important, almost urgent. No matter who you are, or where you are in life, I think in the end there is always so much more you want to do and maybe say,” he said.
“‘Sorry’ is a subtle introduction to a more experimental style. It blends a progressive jazz rhythm section and a haunting vocal narrative while being guided by some minor chords on the piano. It’s similar to the headlights you would watch from your windshield on a dark and winding road.”
Perrone visually depicts the dark, haunting moments of “Sorry” in an eloquent puppet-themed, stop-motion video directed by Shyam Talwar. Throughout the Tim Burton-esque video, the skeletal remains of two lovers lead separate lives and long for one another while working, cooking and cleaning. Foggy, barren rooms symbolize the growing emptiness and lingering isolation they face each day.
“As a fan of Brothers Quay, I decided to seek out someone who might work in a similar medium, yet different enough to be original. After searching high and low, I recruited Shyam Talwar, and I explained my basic framework and hopes for this video. The video took about a month to complete, and I was extremely pleased when I saw the final cut,” Perrone said.
Sorry, All Growns Up
The five-track EP shares introspective tales about future possibilities, changing relationships and personal growth. As a longtime pianist and drummer, Perrone collaborated with bassist Ronnie Smith, guitarists James Peltier and Eric Cojocari and Somers to bring a strong alt rock aura to his growing catalog, which also includes the 2014 jazz-inspired debut, All Growns Up.
While growing up in metro Detroit, Perrone honed his alt rock roots at age 16 and started drumming in grunge and metal bands at local clubs. In high school, he studied albums by Elvis Presley and The Beatles and spent Friday nights gigging with friends instead of attending football games.
After becoming a highly-regarded drummer, Perrone took center stage as a singer-songwriter. While writing his own songs, he learned piano, performed at Baker’s Keyboard Lounge in Detroit before jazz-loving crowds and watched other artists share their craft.
“Once I have an idea for a song, I sit down at the piano and get to work. Sometimes, I’ll have the subject matter for a song and the mood, and then I’ll work out the chords in the melody as I go,” he said.
Today, Perrone continues to eloquently wrap classic crooner elements in modern rock sensibilities and interprets a timeless era of music while pushing alt rock boundaries.
In 2019, he completed an ambitious creative project called “#52covers,” which featured him sharing a new cover each week via Facebook and Instagram. He interpreted classic tracks by Henry Mancini, R.E.M., The Neighbourhood, Bruce Springsteen and Oasis and transformed them into his own hypnotic piano-based renditions.
Perrone also recently recorded an intimate three-song live session with Grand Rapids’ Dogtown Studio and reunited with former Gangway bandmates Dave James (vocals), Jimmy Wigle (guitar) and Dave Storm (bass) to start rehearsing and writing new music. He’s even focused on writing, recording and releasing additional new solo material in 2021.
“I’m in the process of pre-production on a lot of songs, and I’m planning to release another EP, although a full-length album isn’t out of the question. The material being written and recorded for the new CD will have elements from different genres and instrumentation and vocal inspiration from the great crooners and my favorite alternative singers of today. I’m looking to create a sound that is unlike anything else on the market today – songs to inspire and provoke self-reflection,” Perrone said.