EP 78: Brandon Nix
[00:00:00] Dane Reis: [00:00:00] you booked it, episode 78.
[00:00:05] All right. Let’s get started. I am excited to introduce my guest today. Brandon Nicks. Are you ready for this Brandon?
[00:00:13]Brandon Nix: [00:00:13] Hey guys, how are you?
[00:00:15] Dane Reis: [00:00:15] Oh, right.
right. Brendan is originally from Memphis, Tennessee, and was born to be an entertainer from theme parks to cruise ships, Broadway shows to live music with his band on Fremont street in Las Vegas. He has truly done it all. Credits include rock of ages. We will rock you. Magic. Mike live Baz Chippendales and Saturday night fever.
[00:00:40] Brandon. That is a quick intro of who you are in what you’ve done, but why don’t you tell us a little bit more about yourself, filling the gaps, who you are, and a little bit more about what you do as a professional in the entertainment industry.
[00:00:56]Brandon Nix: [00:00:56] you know what Dane, I,
um, I think we all have to be this way. Like jack of all trades. Um, you have to move and adapt and whatever. Quote, unquote, they ask you to do, um, you do it. Um, so. You know, again, like you said, I’ve done everything from, uh, stripping. To, uh, Two Broadway shows to a wrapping on Fremont street. I mean, it’s just, you know, one thing after another.
uh, My true passion. And with the quarantine and everything, um, I’m cooking a lot more and I have a little. Side hustle. Um, called nix is fixings and I cooked soups and. Basically, I’m a Southern grandma.
[00:01:45] I’m a Southern grandma. Takes his clothes off on stage.
[00:01:49] Dane Reis: [00:01:49] mixing. Love it. I love that. You said you gotta be a Jack of all trades and I think you’re so right in so many regards because. Even when I speak to,
you know, the normal muggles of the world and like, well, like, well, what do you do? I’m like, You know, I perform they’re like, well, what does that mean? And you’re like, I think in dance, they’re like, Oh, what kind of dancing? You said, uh, I don’t really know how to answer that question.
[00:02:12] Brandon Nix: [00:02:12] I do, what they pay me to do.
[00:02:14] Dane Reis: [00:02:14] I’m trained in a lot of different things and. I can, what do you want me to do? I can do it. And it’s such a, it’s always a weird conversation. Isn’t it?
[00:02:21]Brandon Nix: [00:02:21]
You know, the funny thing is I have. It’s going to sound weird. I have not been trained in anything. I grew up. This is what we did, you know, and every time I know you’ve seen like videos of me with my family and stuff. When we get together. We’re like the Southern Von Trapps. We just, you know, I’m the singer and we’ve got like a piano player and guitar player and a bass player. Um, it’s not just the base, this base. Um, we’ve just. It’s just how I grew up and, you know, singing in the church and, um, harmonies and stuff like. Just. Is kind of what I did, but I, but I wasn’t trained necessarily. , and I don’t want to sound you. Like egocentric or anything, but it’s just kind of what we did.
[00:03:12] Dane Reis: [00:03:12] Yeah, for sure.
[00:03:14]I mean, that’s amazing that
[00:03:16]Brandon Nix: [00:03:16] I do remember my first,
uh, musical theater show though. The choreographer was like, you’re never gonna make it look like this old lady, like smoking her cigarette. She was like, you’ve got two left seat. You’re never gonna make it. And, , I mean, um, I mean, Here I am.
[00:03:31] Dane Reis: [00:03:31] Yup. Love it. And let’s move on to this next section and Brandon, look, I am a sucker for a good quote. What’s your favorite quote? You’d like to share with everyone.
[00:03:44]Brandon Nix: [00:03:44] Okay.
Um, so I just. This is going to sound mean, , anything from the golden girls is. Good with me, but . My mother just sent me a mask and. It says, eat dirt and die trash.
[00:04:05] Again sounds mean, but it’s funny in context.
[00:04:09] Dane Reis: [00:04:09] Very good. What can you expand on that a little bit on how that would apply to your life or career?
[00:04:16]Brandon Nix: [00:04:16]
Um, Oh, to my career, no, nothing to my career. It’s just. I love the golden girls. I love blanche and it’s. Probably my favorite quote from. My favorite show. Again, nothing to do with like my career. It’s just, I think it’s funny.
[00:04:33] Dane Reis: [00:04:33] Beautiful. Love it. And let’s move on to this next section. And Brandon of course, look, you are an entertainer. I’m an entertainer. And I think that you’d agree that this industry can be one of the most subjective, brutally, honest, personally emotional industries in existence. And, you know,
you know, as well as I, that in order to create and have a successful career in this industry, like you’re having now takes a lot of dedication and hard work. And while yeah, there is an outrageous amount of fun and excitement doing what we do. There are also our fair share of obstacles, challenges, and failures. We are going to experience and we’re going to have to move forward through. So tell us what is one key challenge, obstacle or failure you’ve experienced in your career and how did you come out the other side better because of it.
[00:05:28]Brandon Nix: [00:05:28] Going back to the,
uh, uh, Jack of all trades kind of thing. One specific thing . You know, I’m a musical theater kid. Um, And, uh,
[00:05:37] I stumbled into band work. And when I say band work, someone. A producer saw me in. We will rock you,
um, the, the queen musical. And he was like, we want to see you. for our band. And I was like, cool, sweet. So they sent me the song list. And it was all wrapped.
[00:06:01]And I was.
You know, being from Memphis. I mean, you know, there there’s a lot of rap music there. Um, but I was like, Oh no, no, no. Nope, not for me. And he was like, no, no, no. I’ve seen you do this. You’re you’re gonna be fine. And, uh, I turned him down so many times. And here I am. What. 12, maybe 12, 13 years later. And I am well. I am quote unquote, um, wrapping every night on Fremont street, like legit rapping, like Flo rider, um, three, six mafia, all that kind of stuff. So, I mean,
[00:06:41] It’s funny when you challenge yourself. What you can. Overcome or accomplish. I never thought that I would be a rapper.
[00:06:51] And now that’s my sole income.
[00:06:55]Dane Reis: [00:06:55] That’s amazing. Yeah. And I can imagine you, and you never saw your career even going that direction. I can imagine.
[00:07:01]Brandon Nix: [00:07:01] No.
I mean, I believe you took over for me in Baz, correct?
[00:07:05] Dane Reis: [00:07:05] I did. Yeah.
[00:07:06]Brandon Nix: [00:07:06] Yeah.
Um, so going from that. Two three, six mafia.
[00:07:11] Dane Reis: [00:07:11] different bit
[00:07:12] different. Yeah.
[00:07:14] Brandon Nix: [00:07:14] just a little bit different. Yeah.
[00:07:17]Dane Reis: [00:07:17] Yeah, wild. Well,
Well, let’s move on to this section to a time that I like to call your. Spotlight moment. That one moment in time you realized, yes, I am going to be an entertainer for living or maybe it was, yes. This is what I need to be doing as an entertainer. Tell us about that.
[00:07:40]Brandon Nix: [00:07:40] Oh,
um, Well, you know, I. Did a lot of like theme parks when I was. You know, younger, I say younger, I’m like, not that I’m like grandpa. And cruise ships and this and that, but you know what I think it was when I did rock of ages. And, um, I happened to be the first person in the history of the show Broadway.
um, The first guy that under studied every single role in the show.
Uh, there were eight roles. And. I remember specifically the night where they were like, you have to go on for, it was a Mark Chinook and they were, you know, you have to be Lonnie. And that was my eighth. Role of the whole show. And, uh, It was kind of, that was my. Aha moment. And I know it was only like what four or five years ago, but that was my kind of like, okay. I mean, I played. Everyone from like, Uh, weed smoking like old. bar owner . Um, you know, to the German dad, to the young, like gay German son. To the rock star to. It was crazy, but. That was my kind of. Okay. you can do this. And again, I mean, you know, kind of I mean, you know, kind of like an older. revelation. But it was, I had always done. like you, like, it’s just what we did. , um, But it wasn’t until then that I was like, Give it to me, throw it to me.
[00:09:11]I can do anything. I might not be the best,
uh, older German dad. But. I know I can do it now.
[00:09:20]Dane Reis: [00:09:20] Yeah, absolutely. There’s so much to be said about stretching yourself and
you know, and people see things in you and they’re like, we know you can do it before you have even come to terms with the fact that yeah, I can do that.
[00:09:31] put yourself out there and see what happens.
[00:09:33]Brandon Nix: [00:09:33] Yeah. And there’s this stigma to be in a swaying and. Trust me. It’s all true.
You know, they’re never gonna see you as. the leading role. Because they know you can, you know, cover everything. Um, but man, What great things you can do, like. You know, The leading man is only going to play the leading man. as a swing, you get to dance, the role you get to, uh, you know, cause you, you did it in, in BAS like you get to sing the role you get to. act and. Put yourself into like all these characters. So, um, .
[00:10:08] Dane Reis: [00:10:08] Yeah. And truth be known to most producers. The swing is. Almost invaluable because they’re harder to come by in reality,
you know, it’s, it’s easier to find your leading men, but if you only need a cinch down one role, but you need to find some of that can be diverse enough to play. A whole gamut. Whew. That can be really challenging.
[00:10:26]Brandon Nix: [00:10:26] And as the swing. It is wonderful and,
you know, frustrating at the same time. Cause you’re like, ah, but, but like you said, the directors and choreographers, they’re like, Oh, cool. Like, . You’re kind of like the secret weapon. in showbiz and musical theater kind of stuff, because. They’re like, okay. Throw, throw Dana and throw Brandon in. Like he’s got it.
[00:10:49] Dane Reis: [00:10:49] Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. And I want to piggyback on that real quick and talk about your number one, booked it moment. Walk us through that day, the auditions and call backs. If they happen to be a part of it, what was going on in your life? And what about that moment? Makes it your favorite book? That moment?
[00:11:11]Brandon Nix: [00:11:11] Okay,
well, I’ve got a couple. but the, the first one. Was you know, As a young artist. You know, we all moved to New York and we all try to make it on Broadway and this and that. Um, And I had lived there for. I think two years. Couldn’t get a call back to say my life. And, um, I was a baby. I was young. And I. Got a cruise ship. And so I went out on the ship. And, uh, we, um, Flew back from Sydney. And we were living in LA at the time I was with my boyfriend and my best friend. We all did the, uh, contract together. , We had jet lag really bad. , uh, . And this was back when, you know, bookstores were a thing. Oh, so sad bookstores. Um, And, uh, we couldn’t sleep. So we went to a Barnes and Nobles. And. We were looking through the backstage West. . And, uh, My friend was like, Hey, here’s an audition for. Saturday night fever, the Broadway musical. She was like, you should go. And I was like, Oh, I’m really tired. Like, you know, got. Jet lag and this and that. And, um, We went home. And. Just couldn’t sleep, couldn’t sleep, couldn’t sleep. And so she was like, well, Nothing better to do. Let’s go to the audition. And literally a day after, coming back from Australia, went to the audition after having lived in New York for two years. Uh, book the gig.
[00:12:48] Dane Reis: [00:12:48] Just like that. Boom.
[00:12:50] Brandon Nix: [00:12:50] Just literally, just
like that flew me back to New York. , uh, . Book book the gig. So it took me. took me two years in New York, then go into Australia. Coming back to LA and. Booking the gig.
[00:13:04]Dane Reis: [00:13:04] That’s amazing. Isn’t that so crazy how fast things can happen? All of a sudden, just like that.
[00:13:10]Brandon Nix: [00:13:10] Yeah,
it was, it was so weird that, and the second one. I had. On a fluke again, it’s, it’s always these things where you audition or it’s always the ones where you, I don’t know how you feel, but where you go in and you’re like, eh, I’ve got a job. If, If, if, if I, I get it, I get it. But it’s when you go in thirsty, For, for a gig. You never get it. If you go in and you’re like, cool. That’s when it always seems to happen. So I was a manager at Hollister in the fashion show mall. And, uh,
[00:13:44] I had auditioned for, we will rock you. And was like, eh,
you know, whatever went in. , I had a real job. And, uh, I was at work one day and I got a call on my cell phone and it was a New York number. And I was talking to my friend and I was like, Oh, he was like, who’s calling you. I was like, I don’t know. It’s New York and must be Broadway. As a joke.
[00:14:12]Completely as a joke. And,
uh, I answered the phone. Sure enough. It was New York calling me to. get the job at, uh, we will rock you.
[00:14:22] So anytime a New York number calls you say, Oh, it must be Broadway.
[00:14:31] Because it happened. So those are my,
uh, two stories.
[00:14:35] Dane Reis: [00:14:35] Brilliant. I love both of those and let’s move on and take a moment to talk about the present. What projects are you working on now? What are you looking forward to? And Hey, look, it’s a crazy weird time. We are amidst this global pandemic. How do you see the entertainment industry moving forward in the next couple of years?
[00:14:56]Brandon Nix: [00:14:56] This is like a threefold question. I,
um, Honestly. I’m going to be 100% real. I have been lazy pants.
Um, me and my dog, we go for walks at night, but I haven’t accomplished much. Um, but like I said, I’m trying to get back into a. Uh, my little side hustle with, uh, cooking. Um, I do love being in the kitchen. So that’s kind of, you know, where I’ve been, right now. Is, uh, focusing on food. . Um, but, uh, the entertainment industry that’s, you know, super tricky. My sister lives in DC. And I went there for the month of June. I’m out there for my birthday. And I went and stayed there. While I was there. I got a call. From my producer. And they were like, Fremont is opening up tomorrow. Can you fly back? And was, I think maybe 30 minutes later in Fremont issued a retraction and they’re like, no, it’s not going to happen. Thank God. You know, I didn’t buy a plane ticket home. Um, But I don’t know.
[00:16:09] There’s going to have to be a lot of. Red tape and. Protocols and. honestly,
for, for a place like Fremont street. I don’t know how it’s gonna happen and happen safely. And right now. That’s the whole thing. We want everything to, to. Come back, but . We, we can’t rush into things and be like, let’s open up, you know, the, the strip and everybody party. . Um, We, we can’t do that. Um, but there are little rooms. Uh, , um, Little places are starting to open. Uh, and you know that your PSAT. You know, equal, distant from each other. And you know, you have to wear your mask unless, you know, you’re eating or drinking, like the singer wears a mask. So it’s going to take little things like. That opening up and, uh, You know, some sidewalk cafes here and there, um, that are doing the same thing. Um, But as far as large gatherings and look, . This is my bread and butter, but I, I don’t want to be out there.
[00:17:16] Dane Reis: [00:17:16] Yeah.
[00:17:17]Brandon Nix: [00:17:17] As much as I want to work. And have a blast doing it. It just doesn’t feel safe right now.
[00:17:26]Dane Reis: [00:17:26] Yeah, I’m inclined to agree with you.
[00:17:28]Brandon Nix: [00:17:28] Yeah.
For, for your listeners, like my band plays on Fremont street. So it’s. A wonderful place to visit when you’re in Vegas. And it’s so much fun, but you know, Right now.
[00:17:40] It’s not where you want, live music to be.
[00:17:43]Dane Reis: [00:17:43] Yeah, cause
I mean, I’ve done many, a gig down there. Not nearly as frequent as you, but you know, , for those big days, like the Halloweens and the new year’s Eves and things like this. I mean it’s shoulder to shoulder, that entire section. You know, you
[00:17:55] can’t even hardly move up and down.
[00:17:57]Brandon Nix: [00:17:57] Yeah,
that that’s a thing like an even with like masks on and stuff, like, having the live music just draws more crowds to. I think what they’re doing, don’t quote me on this. But I think what they’re doing now is showing, on each, uh, stage. , you know, to keep some kind of like, Energy momentum going down there. I think they’re showing, um, on like big screens.
[00:18:23] Dane Reis: [00:18:23] Hmm.
[00:18:24] Brandon Nix: [00:18:24]
Uh, old concerts, like Bret Michaels and, you know, journey and all these people that had played down there. And some of. Uh, you know, our bands like us and zowie Bowie. And things like that. So I think that’s kind of how they’re handling .
[00:18:39] The pandemic, the craziness.
[00:18:41] Dane Reis: [00:18:41] Yeah, entertaining people, but not having to just reducing the amount of.
[00:18:45] Brandon Nix: [00:18:45] Yeah. Yeah. Because,
you know, if there’s live music, it’s just gonna. It’s like a moth to a flame. You know, people are, are gonna stop in there. You know, Going to be breathing all over each other and stuff . Which is not what we want right now. We all want to get back to work, but that’s the last thing that we all need.
[00:19:05]Dane Reis: [00:19:05] Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. And it is time to move on to one of my favorite sections in the interview. I call it the grease lightening round. I am going to ask you a handful of questions. I want you to answer them as quickly and concisely as possible one after another. Are you ready?
[00:19:25]Brandon Nix: [00:19:25] Oh, my goodness. I’m scared. Okay. Yeah.
[00:19:28] Dane Reis: [00:19:28] Okay, first question. What was the one thing holding you back from committing to a career as an entertainer?
[00:19:34]Brandon Nix: [00:19:34] be a steady,
[00:19:37]Dane Reis: [00:19:37] Totally. Second question. What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?
[00:19:44]Brandon Nix: [00:19:44] Just trust yourself, just do it.
[00:19:46]Dane Reis: [00:19:46] Perfect. Third question. What is something that is working for you right now? Or if you’d like to go pre COVID, what was working for you before our industry went on? Pause.
[00:19:58]Brandon Nix: [00:19:58] okay. I was talking with friends today. I seem to be. Better. When I have. A job or things to do when I don’t have anything to do. I am. A slot.
[00:20:15] I just sit. So . .
Pre pre COVID was perfect for me because I knew how to write out my days and I got more accomplished. But now that there’s nothing to do, guess what? I don’t do anything.
[00:20:30] Dane Reis: [00:20:30] There you go. I mean,
I mean, that’s invaluable information to know about yourself and I think that’s something that’s true for a lot of us that, you know, the busier we are, the, the more efficient our work becomes.
[00:20:40]Brandon Nix: [00:20:40] Oh, God, I wake up in the morning and I’m like, Oh,
well, I guess. There’s nothing to do today, so I can do it tomorrow. You know what I mean?
[00:20:47] Dane Reis: [00:20:47] For sure. And the fourth question, what is your best resource? Whether that is a book, a movie. YouTube video, a podcast, maybe a piece of technology that you found is helping your career right now.
[00:21:02]Brandon Nix: [00:21:02] Aye. Am. Sadly addicted to Facebook. And I’ve got those things that come up. I don’t watch the news. , but to be 100% true.
Um, it’s game show network.
[00:21:20] It. Well,
it, it tests my brain. And it’s like word puzzles and. Trivia questions. It’s kind of getting me through everything is, uh, watching. Game show after game show after game show.
[00:21:33]Dane Reis: [00:21:33] Brilliant. And the fifth question. If you had to start your career from scratch. But you still had all the knowledge and experience you’ve collected from your career in this industry, what would you do or not do? Would you do anything differently or would you keep it the same?
[00:21:51]Brandon Nix: [00:21:51] I would finish my degree. . I went to,
uh, Uh, uh, Baptist, college and I was. Studying to be a music minister. I know everybody laugh and applaud. Um, But I, uh, . Never finished because I was getting job offers. And it’s the one thing that I regret now. Um, And not just book, you know, because of COVID or whatever. Like, I I’ve thought about this a lot and I’m like, man, I could have been. You know, Singing at night and, you know, be in a choir teacher during the day. So I, I would say that. I would have finished school and, um, Been a music teacher.
[00:22:34]Dane Reis: [00:22:34] Great. And the last question. What is the golden nugget knowledge drop you have learned from your successful career in this industry that you’d like to leave with everyone?
[00:22:45]Brandon Nix: [00:22:45] as we’ve talked.
Um, you have to be a Jack of all trades. And there have been so, so many times that I’ve been given a job. Um, You know, I said no to BAS it in the beginning because I was like, I can’t do that. And you know, like it. Super physical and all the dancing and this and that. Um, just, yeah, you can’t say no because.
[00:23:07]I booked EV. They wanted me to be a Chippendale. And I was like, Oh,
I don’t, I don’t. That’s going to work, you know, I’m like five, eight and skinny. Um, Just, yep. You can’t say no. , uh, I mean, I’ve done everything in the books. And, uh, Again, I’m might not have been the best. At. You know, everything that I’ve done, but you know what I did it. And, um, you have to just go into it and be like, all right, cool. Let’s give this a try. If it doesn’t work. What’s it going to hurt you? There there’s another audition tomorrow. know what I mean?
[00:23:43] Yeah, so you just have to go do it and,
um, You know, you get crazy in your head sometimes, and you just have to let that go. And. I’m still guilty of it. there’s things that. not recently, but you know, things that I’ve been called in for, and I’m like, Oh, that’s not me. You know what you don’t know, it’s not you until you go in and you try it. And look I’m rapping.
[00:24:10] So. so . Just don’t tell yourself now.
[00:24:15]Dane Reis: [00:24:15] Yes. I love that perfect advice. And to wrap up this interview, It is time to give yourself a plug. Where can we find you? How do our listeners connect with you? Is there anything you want to promote?
[00:24:30]Brandon Nix: [00:24:30]
Um, well, My, my band is called velvet Elvis, like the painting. and. Fingers crossed. We’re going to be back soon on Fremont street and we play there every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. if you want to find my. cooking page. It’s on Facebook. F I S I N S yes, I spelled it like a country girl. , uh, , I mean, other than that, you can find me at my house. With with, uh, my dog, because you know, we’re not really going anywhere.
[00:25:08] Dane Reis: [00:25:08] Perfect. And for everyone listening out there, I have put the links to everything. Brandon just said in the description of this episode, Brandon, it has been so wonderful to have you on the show today. Thank you so much for being here.