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Megafaun’s Brad Cook must be really excited right now as his Los Angeles Lakers are currently playing the Boston Celtics in the NBA Finals. I had read that Cook was a huge NBA fan, so I decided to find out more before the band’s sold out show at Portland’s Mississippi Studios.

I didn’t get much time to speak with Brad and his brother Phil Cook as the tiny green room was aflutter with opening bands wanting instruments, people tuning up and label owners giving me the hurry-it-up-already look. So rather than talk music, here is an irreverent little interview with the Cook brothers of the up-and-coming band Megafaun!

So is it bullshit or are you really a major NBA fan?

BC (opens jacket to show Lakers T-shirt): It couldn’t be any more for real. It’s out of control.

But you grew up in Wisconsin.

BC: I grew up in Wisconsin, but I had an uncle that was a big basketball fan and he lived in LA. He moved to Wisconsin and taught me everything about it when I was eight years old. I’ve been a fan ever since.

So who were the players back then?

BC: Back then? The first team I got into was the ’88 Lakers which was Kareem, Worthy, Magic, Michael Thompson, A.C. Green, Byron Scott, all those guys. He took me to my first game in ’89 or ’90 when the Timberwolves were an expansion team in Minnesota and we had a team to go see. I just saw the Lakers on this tour in Minnesota. That was the 19th Laker game I’d been to.

Keep the stubs?

BC: Yeah, every one.

Phil, how do you feel about this?

PC: I think it’s great, man. I really support his sports habit.

You’re not into it?

PC: Not as much.

Do you think people really care about the playoffs right now or is everyone just wondering where Lebron James is going?

BC: In my world, I would think that everybody cares but I don’t think that’s true. I don’t think Lebron is going anywhere because there is no team that’s going to be better than Cleveland next year. I hate saying this, but I think they have a really good shot of winning the title. I think it will be the Lakers against Cleveland. I think it will be a seven game series. I want to Lakers to win it so badly.

Antawn Jamison was a big pick up for the Cavs.

BC: Huge!

We’re just going to talk about basketball only. Is that okay?

BC: That’s great!

PC: God!

BC: You might want to ask these guys about something else because they don’t know anything about basketball!

You guys know who Lebron James is, right?

PC: Yeah. Oh yeah. On this last tour we were on, we got a hotel room and Brad made us watch For the Love of the Game, that documentary about Lebron and all his friends growing up. Joe and I really got into it. That movie was just awesome. We appreciate it.

Have you seen Hoop Dreams?

PC: Yes, I’ve seen Hoop Dreams. Brad and I watched that together back in the day.

Are you guys big ballers then?

PC: We’re going to ball tonight.

BC: There’s going to be a big basketball game tonight.

PC: I’m going to play basketball for the first time in eight or nine years tonight.

BC: I have a league back home that is almost essentially that. All the guys on my team have a beard.

Does the beard give you a boost to your athletic prowess?

BC: I think there’s a weird intimidation thing. People don’t know how to read you the same way. They don’t take you serious and then when you do something serious they are then equally confused.

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Anyway, when you play overseas in Europe, does your music translate well? I know it’s more of an American roots type of thing.

PC: It really does. We were pleasantly surprised. It’s city to city just like it is here. We don’t know where it is going to go very well. So far, it goes over pretty well in the Netherlands and in Spain.

BC: I would say in a numbers game we do better in Europe than the United States.
We’ve only been there twice and we’re selling more tickets there than here.

So how do you guys avoid being shoe-horned in with the bands coming out called freak folk?

PC: I think the thing about categorization is that it’s always going to happen. Everyone is just gonna find their door to your music. We talk about this a lot, man. We have an acoustic guitar in our band and every once in awhile some dude will come up and be like, “Yeah, man! It reminds me of Dave Matthews.” And because I have a banjo, people will say, “Yeah! It’s cool that you guys play blue grass music.” We really don’t play bluegrass. But they hear that door and they come up to us because they have a connection to it. So to cut that door off is to cut off the connection a fan has to your music.

So you guys aren’t natives to North Carolina, right? You live in Chapel Hill, right?

BC: Technically. Durham, Chapel Hill and Raleigh are kind of one and the same. Joe and I live in Raleigh and Phil lives in Durham.

Did you guys have trouble assimilating when you moved there?

PC: I think it took the standard year for people to see us, get our first shows and take us more seriously. After that, it felt really seamless. I feel so intertwined with the scene there now.

BC: People just immediately took us under their wing. There are a lot of transplant bands there, but for some reason we got lucky and everyone claimed us as a North Carolina band right away.

by David Harris
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