The dream gig

Linda Browne
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Bishop's Falls native a fresh face on MuchMusic

If you're a Newfoundlander who likes to channel surf, land on MuchMusic and you might just see a familiar face.

For the past year or so, Paul Brothers of Bishop's Falls has been one of the newest members of the Much family as co-host of the late-night Sunday show "Going Coastal," a program that explores both the East and West Coast music scenes.

Paul Brothers of Bishop's Falls is one of the newest VJs at MuchMusic. - Photo by Chris Smith/Courtesy of MuchMusic

If you're a Newfoundlander who likes to channel surf, land on MuchMusic and you might just see a familiar face.

For the past year or so, Paul Brothers of Bishop's Falls has been one of the newest members of the Much family as co-host of the late-night Sunday show "Going Coastal," a program that explores both the East and West Coast music scenes.

Brothers, based in Halifax, promotes the movers and shakers of the East Coast scene, while his co-host, Lauren Toyota, takes care of business on the West Coast.

He admits that everything about his job is "pretty damned cool," but says the best part is "getting to meet all kinds of radical people."

So far, he's been put in a headlock by renowned wrestler Bret (The Hitman) Hart, has gone surfing with Aussie musician Xavier Rudd, went shucking oysters with Billy Talent, and had a Valentine's Day chat with hip-hop pioneer Grandmaster Flash.

"I just met the world's most tattooed man from Australia a few weeks ago," Brothers adds.

"He gave me a tattoo on my ribcage. Just meeting him was pretty crazy."

And what was the tattoo?

"It was just a dot," Brother says with a laugh. "Just one dot. I was the world's least tattooed man until I got the dot."

He says his most memorable interview so far was with Josh Homme of Queens of the Stone Age.

"I enjoy learning from people," he says. "Like, every person I meet, I hope they've got something to teach me about myself. And I think Josh Homme from Queens of the Stone Age was the man. He was definitely one of the best interviews. What a laugh we had, man. It was like 40 minutes of gold."

Some of his dream interviews include guitarists Jimmy Page from Led Zeppelin, Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine, and Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters and formerly of Nirvana.

Made the right call

Brothers must have the luck of the Irish. He landed the gig after beating over 100 other potential hosts during an open casting call at the Westin Nova Scotian Hotel in Halifax on St. Patrick's Day, 2007.

"A very icy day," says the 27-year-old over the phone from his office in Halifax.

"It was like an ice storm then. It was either go drinking with friends or go to a MuchMusic audition. And I went to the Much audition."

At first he wasn't sure what show he was auditioning for. He says he realized it was "Going Coastal" when he walked into the Westin and saw former "Going Coastal" co-host and Bucket Truck frontman Matt Wells, who also happens to be a native Newfoundlander.

MuchMusic was so impressed with Brothers that three days after the initial casting call he was invited to fly to Toronto for the final round of auditions.

"When they called and said, 'OK, you've made the Toronto audition,' I was like, 'Holy jumpin'!' I sat down with my folks and I'm like, 'Well, I'll get a free trip to Toronto out of it for a couple of days anyway' - not really thinking I was ever going to get the job," he recalls with a laugh.

Almost two weeks after the Toronto audition, Brothers was sitting in his basement when he received a phone call from Sheila Sullivan, the director of programming at MuchMusic, who told him that Much liked what they saw and wanted him to come on board.

"I was pretty stoked about it, actually," he says. "I had a couple of minutes chat with her, and then ran over the steps and hugged Mom and we did a little dance in the kitchen, and called Dad at work and freaked out for a bit."

Fly like an eagle

Freaking out is not something Brothers does often.

While being on national television each week is something that would scare a lot of people, it doesn't seem to faze him one bit. He seems calm, cool and collected on TV because he's had years of experience honing his broadcasting skills.

When he was a Grade 9 student at Inglis Memorial High in Bishop's Falls, he started up his own radio station at school, Eagle FM, with the help of his friend Brian King.

"The music teacher helped us rig up this station throughout the school. And I would bike from my house maybe six, seven kilometres, in the morning before school started so that we'd be on the radio early, when the students came in," Brothers recalls.

"Then I'd jump into the booth again recess time and lunch time. It was just like a radio station except without the commercials."

It wasn't long before the manager of a country radio station in Grand Falls-Windsor got wind of what he was doing and invited him to the station to do an air check.

Brothers began working at the station on the weekends in 1998, when he was only in Grade 11.

Eventually, he graduated from Memorial University with a bachelor of arts in history and political science.

The broadcasting industry still beckoned, so he enrolled in the one-year bachelor of journalism program at the University of King's College in Halifax, where he learned about television, radio and online journalism, and much more.

Brothers graduated from King's on May 17, 2007. The day after, he officially started his job as co-host of "Going Coastal," and his first show aired May 20. The rest, as they say, is history.

Attitude is everything

Brothers has a little advice for any would-be MuchMusic VJs out there.

"I would tell them the exact same thing that Josh from Queens of the Stone Age told me. And he said, 'As your doctor, I prescribe to you a little bit of go for it, with a heavy dose of whatever.'

"And that's what I would tell anyone out there who wants to do anything in life. Go for it. If it doesn't work out, whatever. If it does, wicked," Brothers says.

"And also, keep a positive attitude, 'cause in my opinion, attitude is everything. It can make or break a day."

Catch Paul Brothers on MuchMusic's "Going Coastal" every Sunday at 12:30 a.m. in Newfoundland.

lindahjb@yahoo.ca

Organizations: University of King's College in Halifax, MuchMusic, Queens of the Stone Age Westin Nova Scotian Hotel Led Zeppelin Rage Against the Machine Foo Fighters

Geographic location: Falls, Halifax, West Coast Toronto East Coast Australia Grand Falls-Windsor Newfoundland

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