Bart Harris is the singer/guitarist for the band JunkFood which features Dan Anderson (Lead Guitar) and Van Swanson (Bass). He can also be found providing the bass for the Bret Michaels Band alongside Pete Evick (Lead Guitar), Mike Bailey (Drums), and Rob Jozwiak (Keyboard). Bart endorses Aurora strings. It was a pleasure to sit down with him and find out a little more about the man who helps bring the music.
Maximum Ink: Where are you from? What was it like growing up there?
Bart Harris: I was born and raised in Northern Virginia. I have a lot of family here and my family owns a business as well (Shannon Auto Sales). It used to be a small town where pretty much everybody knew everyone. It’s a little different now but it’s still home to me.
MI: Do you remember what the moment was like when you first discovered the power of music?
BH: I’m not sure if this is the single moment but my parents took me to see the Bee Gees live when I was about 6 or 7. I’d never been inside of an arena and I was overwhelmed by the energy. Then they had pyro which just completely sent me over the top. From that moment live music has had an effect on me.
MI: What was your very first favorite song?
BH: I’m not sure I can accurately answer that but I’m sure it was Elvis or the Beatles. In my house you either loved them or you found a new place to live. I also remember I Love Rock n Roll having a pretty big impact on me.
MI: When did you first take up guitar? Do you remember what it was like to get your very first one?
BH: My very first guitar was a Kent Les Paul copy. I was about 13. I really didn’t start to take it serious until I was probably 18. At that point I knew I had to be in a band.
MI: Do you have a dream model you’d most like to own?
BH: I don’t really have a single guitar that I feel like I have to have. I am one of those players that picks up a guitar and it either feels right or it doesn’t. You can’t force it.
MI: What does your touring gear consist of?
BH: I play a Dean Motto live. Dean has been good to me and I enjoy playing their gear.
MI: Is it challenging to divide your time between two bands?
BH: It is pretty challenging to juggle the time between the two. I’m very lucky to have the support of my band at home to welcome me back after being gone. We still gig when I’m home and we are always looking to the future.
MI: For those not familiar with it already, can you tell us a little about what to expect from JunkFood?
BH: JunkFood is a band that brings a serious party and loves to escape the real world. It is not a lot different than the BMB vibe. There is no political message…it is absolutely about checking your troubles at the door and coming to have a good time. JunkFood has 3 full length original albums available on iTunes and is in the process of recording new material. A new single called “Windows” will be released very soon!
MI: How does your work with the Bret Michaels Band differ most from your work in JunkFood?
BH: Being a singer/frontman in some ways in more demanding than just playing bass. The main difference in what I do for each band is somewhat obvious. I play Guitar and sing lead in JunkFood and I play bass and sing back ground vocals in BMB.
MI:What have you learned in regards to the business of music from your time with Bret?
BH: I’ve been in the business for 25 years so most things I’ve known and have just been verified or solidified with Bret. One thing about Bret is his commitment and work ethic. He is inspiring in that regards. He brings the A game EVERY single night.
MI: What is he like as a person?
BH: Bret is caring and dedicated to his legion of fans. Very passionate and driven.
MI: How is it to work with Pete, Mike, and Rob?
BH: I’ve played in bands with Mikey and Petey for 20 years. We understand each other better now than we ever did. I also think that we get the need to have space and let situations breathe. Robi is awesome. Very laid back and a killer musician. It has been an absolute blast to be with them.
MI: As someone who sings and plays guitar and bass do you prefer one more than the others or do you love them all equally?
BH:I really love them for different reasons. I love the power of the bass. It’s over looked a lot of the time but take it away and everything is wrong. I also love the feeling of being the “driver” for the party bus. There is something very gratifying and humbling to have a club or venue be completely at your mercy. I’m a lucky to have both of these situations.
MI: What do you like to do with what little free time you have?
BH: I love getting home to hang with my kids and family. Being gone and in the craziness is incredible but there is nothing better than getting home and just chillin’ with my kids.
MI: Are there any little known things that your fans might be surprised to learn?
BH: I’m a certified scuba diver and I love sharks and the ocean. I also love photography. I wish I had more time and a better understanding of it.
MI: What do you think it is that separates the professional musician from the weekend ones?
BH: The main difference is commitment and professionalism. If you expect to be taken serious then you have to present yourself and your project from a pro angle. Be passionate or get out and find what you are passionate about.
MI: What projects are you working on at the moment?
BH: I’m a songwriter. I’m always writing and recording. There will be new JunkFood material soon and who knows what else. I’m open to whatever makes sense.
MI: Anything you’d like to say before you go?
BH: Thank you for your time and for being a part of me living my dream. I’m an incredibly lucky guy to get to play music for a living and I treat every day like it is the last. Without support from family, friends & fans, all of this is impossible.