Go Away With … Rick Braun

art7043_438w1390 Photo credit photo Raj Naik x640

By Jae-Ha Kim
Tribune Content Agency
June 9, 2015

A trumpeter, flugelhorn player and vocalist, Rick Braun started his career touring and performing with other musicians such ad Rod Stewart, Tom Petty and Tina Turner. And he’s on tour now promoting his current CD “Can You Feel It.” But the Pennsylvania native says that he never grows tired of being on the road.

“Usually, it’s the opposite,” said Braun, who resides with his family in Woodland Hills, Calif. “I have those moments all the time where I’m like, ‘I’m here? Wow.’ It’s a little bit of a tearful moment. I’m so incredibly grateful to achieve what I’ve been able to achieve and basically play around the world. I blow into plumbing for a living and I’ve managed to take it to a high enough level that people want to hear what I do and want me to play for them in their countries. It’s an ideal job for me.”

Fans may follow him on Twitter or check out his Facebook page.

Q. What is your favorite vacation destination?

A. You can’t beat Paris. My wife is German and her mother and father don’t travel. So we go to Germany every year. My kids speak German and are well traveled. When we’re in Europe, I’m fascinated by the cathedrals. The wonderful small chapels throughout the Black Forest area where my wife is from is enchanting. I also enjoy finding small wineries. It’s a really fun experience finding a family-run boutique winery in the Black Forest area.

Q. Do you speak any foreign languages?

A. I speak some German, but I can be lost. A third-grader can leave me in the dust. I was the MVP of the Rod Stewart tour in 1989, though, when we got to Germany ‘cause I could communicate. I was the hero. My daughter, who’s 15 now, is high-functioning autistic and she remembers everything, including languages. She speaks German like a native. One time when we were there, she got hurt at the pool and the nurse was asking which region of Germany she was from. My son speaks it as well, but he won’t really be into it until he meets a cute German girl and tries to communicate with her. (Laughs)

Q. What untapped destination should people know about?

A. You’re going to laugh at this, but I’ve always been fascinated by rock formations. We just sold our RV. But it’s on my list to buy a nice new RV and go to Bryce Canyon and Zion National Park and see all the rock formations and fossils.

Q. What else is on your travel bucket list?

A. My wife would like to get to Australia. I got to go there already and also to New Zealand and Tasmania. Tasmania is really kind of different. It’s kind of backwoods, but you can go see a real Tasmanian devil.

Q. What was the first trip you took as a child?

A. We would pile into the family Buick and drive out to Wichita, Kansas, to visit my brother, who was in the Air Force. That was the family summer vacation. Or we would go to Pennsylvania and go to Valley Forge and Crystal Caves. Occasionally, we went to New York City.

Q. When you’re touring, do you make the time to sightsee?

A. Yes. In Hong Kong, we were on a jazz tour with Billy Childs, a well-known jazz pianist. We were walking around making believe we were James Bond. We had cheap suits made that fell apart in three weeks. We bought counterfeit watches that all Americans buy. We had dinner and ate the 100-year-old egg. I didn’t like it, but once you’re committed, you’ve got to go through with it. I remember all the traffic and seeing sides of beef hanging outside aging on the sidewalk being seasoned with, what? Exhaust fumes? I played in Jakarta two years ago and it’s also another trippy place. When you’re driving on the streets, there will be a small scooter and on there will be a father, mother, one child between them and a baby strapped on their back.

Q. When you go away, what are some of your must-have items?

A. Until very recently, I always had a book with me. It’ll get you through a 10-hour flight better than a sleeping pill. It’s an invaluable companion. But lately I put them on my phone. I always have a Bluetooth speaker. I like to practice in my room and play along with things.

Q. What is your guilty pleasure when you’re on the road?

A. I like to grab a snack from the minibar: a Snickers bar or a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup. I kind of moved into the Almond Joy bar a couple months ago. You need that little snack. It’s better when I mix up some cashews, raisins and carob-covered Yummies, though. My real weakness, though, is deep-dish pizza at O’Hare Airport. And when I’m at the Dallas Airport, I have to get the Popeye’s fried chicken. It’s not health food, but it makes me feel really good when I’m traveling.

© 2015 JAE-HA KIM


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