Franklins Dealers are not your average run-of-the-mill, snot-nosed kid, start-up rock band. Yes they’ve only been together less than three years. And yes, they have only just gotten around to releasing their first EP recording. But who else launches with their own record label, Greenstock Records, their own recording studio, their own rehearsal space, a spacious warehouse complex located in the industrial section of Vancouver suburb, Port Coquitlam plus supported by enough financial assets to comfortably execute a high-profile promotional launch.
It doesn’t hurt that the band’s lead vocalist, Nick Brusatore, also doubles as CEO of Vertical Designs Ltd, and Executive Chairman of the Public company Affinor Growers on the Canadian Stock Exchange whose revolutionary method of vertical farming techniques is being lauded as a plausible answer to world hunger by executing a technology that produces clean, sustainable crops like strawberries, lettuce and spinach, and yes, legal marijuana with minimum amount of water usage and totally free from chemicals and pesticides. It’s a technology that was recently acquired by Quebec-based Affinor Growers under licensing agreement.
Yet while Brusatore is an entrepreneurial whiz kid, he’s just as happy gathering band mates, guitarist Joey Wowk (who also serves as the CEO of the band’s Greenstock record label), guitarist Dean Kruger, drummer Frank Baker and new bassist Marco Tambasco to the loft of the band’s rehearsal space to run through material that is being shaped together for the band’s debut CD which will be release later this year.
Like the rest of his impressive corporate resume, Brusatore, developed his musical chops by pure persistence and hours and hours of hard work and practice. “I originally got into music as a way of blowing off steam,” noted Brusatore as he gathered together with Wowk and Kruger as he awaited the arrival of Tambasco and Baker to commence their regularly scheduled rehearsal routine. “I picked up how to play drums and keyboards totally by myself but to develop as a lead singer I had to spend hours and hours of practice. I am not like these guys who are total professionals. When I am on stage I am conscious of the fact that the attention is on me and I’d better not fuck up because I know these other guys won’t fuck up.”
A chance meeting between Brusatore, Kruger and another lead singer Jason Blueler sparked the band’s initial fruition. “I had no intention of joining a band,” admitted Kruger. “Matter of fact, I had traded in my electric guitar for a set of golf clubs. But when Jason and I dropped by Nick’s place where he was playing around on a drum kit, some kind of synergy was triggered and that was it.”[quote]
“…the worst thing you can say to me is that I can’t do that. I thrive on those kinds of challenges.”[/quote]
Brusatore was originally just going to be a drummer but says Jason got “lead singeritis and walked out on the program because he felt he was too good for us”, leaving Brusatore and Kruger alone to continue writing material.
“Getting into the writing end, neither Dean nor I were skilled composers but our ignorance benefited us because we weren’t following a formula,” admitted Brusatore. “That’s because we didn’t know what that formula was. When Joey (Wowk) and Frank (Baker) joined the band, they brought in a level of professionalism that allowed us to become a different ship.”
Kruger, whose love of classic rock heavily influences the band’s retro guitar sound, takes credit for the band’s name. “We were going through all the usual traumas of coming up with a band name when I noticed that Nick and Jason were always talking about the stock market so I came up with the idea of `Dealers’ in the sense of stock market traders and then I thought Benjamin Franklin is on the U.S currency so why not `Franklins Dealers.
The band really took shape when Wowk caught their creative vibe and decided to leave his guitar gig with Nick Gilder and Sweeney Todd. Wowk, who had also previously worked with Chrissy Steele and a band called Paradise with KickAxe frontman George Christian and Loverboy keyboardist Doug Johnson, enjoyed to opportunity to submit his own writing contributions. “I loved playing with Nick (Gilder) but I wanted to be a part of something creative”, he noted.
When Baker, who had enjoyed stints with Trooper, Prism and Sweeney Todd, took over the percussion chores, Franklins Dealers really took shape and the jigsaw was completed when Tambasco, one of Vancouver’s top session players, also joined the ranks.
As the band runs their set list through its paces, Wowk and Kruger obviously work well together, swapping dueling guitar lines on songs like `Wall Street Cowboy’, `World Keeps Turning’, `Take Me Higher’ and `Bringer Of Light’ with its stuttering tempo that reminiscent of The Beatles’ `We Can Work It Out’ while powered by a potent rhythm section supplied by Baker and Tambasco. Franklin’s Dealers’ roots are unashamedly anchored in classic rock influences and they’ve even inserted Golden Earring’s `Radar Love’ and Alice Cooper’s `No More Mister Nice Guy’ into their set for good measure.
Yet it’s hard not to admire the sheer enthusiastic verve of Brusatore who has the pipes to carry the band’s material and is obviously serious about his position. “People in the music industry and friends were rolling their eyes wondering what the hell I’m doing,” mused Brusatore. “But the worst thing you can say to me is that I can’t do that. I thrive on those kinds of challenges.”
Driven by the desire to succeed on his own terms, Brusatore owned two houses in Vancouver by the time he was 19 and one year later operated two health clubs that were so successful, he received a sponsorship from Nike. Yet driving a Porsche, owning properties and teaching aerobics to all women classes provided Brusatore with way too much fun. “When I got married, the idea of dancing around half naked in front of a bunch of women didn’t go down well with the new life of family man, “he cracked. So a new line of work was in order. He got into set designs for television and movies and then stumbled onto creating special cabinets to store marijuana. “You just plugged them into a wall and they were air tight and eliminated the smell. We knocked that one out of the park, had 2 million unit sales in like eight months.”
Yet it was his design of a vertical technology to enable crops to grow with dramatically reduced water usage and without chemicals and pesticides in structures called Vertical Designs which has been lauded globally as an ideal initiative to aid the growth of sustainable crops which has proven to be a massive technological breakthrough. Not only for growing vegetables and fruits but also for cultivating legal marijuana which is set to be a huge cash crop industry in the coming years as the product becomes legalized.
Brusatore’s entrepreneurial skills were on display when he joined forces with former National Hockey League enforcer, Georges Laraque and Ex-Baywatch TV star, Vancouver’s Pamela Anderson to undertake a World Vision – sponsored trip to Laraque’s native Haiti to help distribute food, computers and other items Busatore had provided, following Haiti’s disastrous 2010 earthquake and to aid in the rebuilding of The Grace Children’s Hospital in the country’s capital city, Port-Au-Prince.
Having already released a three-song debut EP on Greenstock Records, Franklins Dealers are set to launch a full scale recording by the end of this year and then plan to hit the road with a concert schedule that will include major festivals next summer plus a planned invasion of Canadian Music Week in Toronto next May.
Ultimately, Brusatore wants to execute a Live Aid-type music festival to deliver his message about sustainable food and solving the world’s hunger dilemma. “Rock music is a key element to promote a global message about the technology that is available to solve some of the world’s hunger issues. I have the ability to attract major sponsors that will pull top class bands and pull big crowds to get my message across. It is definitely going to happen”.
With Nick Brusatore’s past entrepreneurial track record, who would bet against him pulling it off!