At 25 years old, Chadrick Honore has lived the life of a man at least twice his age. The New Orleans native and esteemed trumpet player for Rebirth Brass Band has traveled the world, won a Grammy, and contributed to the critically acclaimed HBO series Treme. But the devoted father & true music fan is hardly what you'd expect from a young musician with his CV. The incredibly down to earth Honore has done a hell of a job not letting his grand accomplishments affect his ego. Before Rebirth Brass Band hits the Kessler Theater tonight- Chad tells us why he loves to play Dallas, how his first solo album is coming along, and the story of his first professional gig at the age of twelve in Japan.
Thanks for taking the time to talk, I know you've been busy touring lately. Are you back home now? Yeah, we do a weekly Tuesday night gig at The Maple Leaf, so I'm getting ready to head to that tonight. It's always a fun Tuesday night thing in New Orleans.
Dallas has always been a good market for you guys, and I know Keith Frazier [a founding member of Rebirth Brass Band] lives in Fort Worth. What do you like about playing Dallas? Dallas in some way always feels like home. It's got a homey feeling. There's a lot of New Orleans folks that have been displaced since Katrina and whatnot that come out to the show, we have our Dallas family that comes out to the show. So it always feels like a reunion type of big family party.
Will we be seeing anymore Rebirth Brass Band appearances on the final season of Treme? We don't have any appearances in the last season of Treme, but we did cover a lot of horn parts that will be played. Wendell Pierce, his trombone parts are played by our trombone player, Stafford Agee. The actor Rob Brown, his trumpet parts are actually being played by a young guy named Leroy and myself.
What do you like about working on Treme? It's good exposure in terms of the National eye, but to me it was basically another gig really... Sometimes people will stop me on the street like 'Oh you're the guy from Treme!', but I'm just something on there, that's all... I'm not that flamboyant and whatnot. I'm not that type of person.
You're working on your first solo album, hip hop vocals over horn-based tracks, from what I understand. Could you tell me more about that? It's going to be more hip hop and R&B type of stuff, kind of more mainstream. I'm trying to find my own way with the solo stuff.
What are some of your bigger influences in terms of hip hop? As far as hip hop, I listen to the "good" and "bad". I don't really have a big number or list... the top guys like, Jay-Z, T.I., Kanye, Timbaland, Pharrell. I listen to everybody whether or not people think it's corny or people think it's the hottest stuff out, so I can get an idea of where music is going and what the next level is... it's just different styles. Not everyone is going to think Gucci Mane is as good as Jay-Z, but Gucci Mane's biggest fan thinks he is. I like everything, even beyond hip hop. I like jazz, rock music, R&B, gospel, classical. I've got a wide variety of music I like... I'm just trying to put everything in a big gumbo pot and make my own style.
You're the youngest member to ever play in Rebirth Brass Band, you're a Grammy winner. When you think about the things you've accomplished so young, is it surreal? Has it really sunk in? It has sunk in a little bit, and the pressure is on. Now that I've won one, I want so many more (laughing). I want to win so many more. The day [Rebirth Brass Band] actually won the Grammy, on February 12th, we didn't actually get it that day. We had to wait a few months, until the beginning of May. When it came in the mail I opened my box, and I had a real Grammy in my hand, and I was like- "Wow, look what I just did!". And I was 24 at the time, so it was like, man! That was an awesome feeling, man. I've never really felt anything that awesome before, besides having my daughter. That's a whole other level right there.You guys have backed a lot of great musicians over the years. Did you have any personal favorites to perform with?
I'm always excited to work with every artists, to tell you the truth. We just did a tour with the Red Hot Chili Peppers, that was my first time doing a super big tour like that. The guys back in the day did a tour with The Grateful Dead, Mile Davis, & Quincy Jones back in the day- but this was one of the biggest tours I've ever been on. Those guys are so organized and they were so helpful to us, answering any questions we wanted to know about how to get better branding, how to get ourselves to the next level so we can start playing stadiums. You know? That was an awesome tour... Really, I look up to every trumpet player there is. If you play the trumpet, I'm your biggest fan. Even the beginners, you know? A lot of people will come up to me like "Man, you're killin it on the trumpet! I love how you play!" and I'll be like, "Man, I like how you play!". They'll be like "Wow, I didn't even know you were listening to me like that!", but I'm just a regular person.
You seem like a fan, over everything else. Yeah, yeah. I am.
It's my understanding that you performed your first professional gig in Japan. Is that right? Yeah, it was in Japan. I was twelve years old... Actually, it was supposed to be Rebirth Brass Band's gig, but at the time I was playing with Stooges Brass Band. I had just started playing with them, and Rebirth gave us gig. I had never traveled, had never been on an airplane. It was a great experience to be in a whole different country, something I'd never seen before. As kids in New Orleans, we rarely left New Orleans. If you weren't an entertainer, you weren't leaving New Orleans. So, it was something totally different to see. Japan quickly became one of my favorite countries to play in. It's so high tech, I love the technology.
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The Japanese really love New Orleans jazz, it's crazy. Oh man! They do love it. It's crazy because the past few times I've been much older, around 18 and 20, going back to Japan to perform. It's like crowds of people at the airport, and they've got pictures of me I've never seen before... they make you feel like a real celebrity getting off the plane in Japan. They really, really love jazz. We were doing big crowds, 10-20,000 people coming to the shows. It was awesome.
Being so young when you first joined the band, did you have to go through any kind of hazing at first? Or are you not allowed to talk about that? Is that like band code? (Laughing) When I first joined? No, no there was no band hazing per say. It was more like, strict, big brother/little brother type of stuff. They would always tell me everything not to do, but then go out and do it. Its was like, "Man, don't y'all know I'm like 21 years old? I can do this too." And they'd be like, "Nah, you're too young." I was like, "What?!"... But those guys went to school with my mom, so... I've known those guys since I was a baby. I used to follow Phil [Frazier] at the second lines when I was like two or three years old. I'd be pulling on his shirt like, "Phil, I'm gonna be in your band when I get older!" and he was like, "Alright, I got you." So when I got older, he put me in the band, for real. He likes to tell people that he's old enough to be my father. He wants everyone to know that (laughing). I'm like, "Are you trying to throw hints, or what?"
What about your daughter, do you have musical aspirations for her? Well, yeah honestly. She's going to be good at music. She's only two years old, but she hears songs on the radio, she sings them word for word and note for note. Not too many two year olds doing that. She plays on my piano, she'll hit a note and match her voice to the note. And she's only two years old! So when she gets to be about five, she's gonna be something serious.
I don't know if there's something in the water out there in New Orleans, but yall develop your talent so young! All these musical prodigies running around, it's crazy. Well in New Orleans, you can go anywhere- you can run to the corner store and see live music going on. So it's easy to be bred for it, because you see it so much in New Orleans. There's not too many times you're going to wake up in Dallas and walk outside and see a second line parade. But every Sunday in New Orleans, you're going to see a few bands coming up the street.