Rock to Recovery : Brandon Mendenhall & Sébastien Paquet

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Brandon Mendenhall was born with Cerebral Palsy. Doctors did not hold out much hope that he would even walk, let alone live a productive life as he has limited mobility on his left side and zero mobility in his left hand. Despite these physical challenges and the setbacks that came with them, Brandon was always […] From Straw Hut Media Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

Rock to Recovery
Wesley Geer of Rock to Recovery and formerly of Korn each week interviews rad musicians, rockstars, celebs, people, that have overcome their demons to thrive in an industry rife with challenges.

Episode transcripts

Yeah, here we are on rockto Recovery Radio, kx Ninety Three Five
FM, Laguna's only FM, humancrafted radio. I'm your host, West
Gear, and this shows also broughtto you by new Vista Behavioral Health.
If you're looking for help out there, they have a variety of great programs.
Look them up. So each weekI kind of explain for our new
audience members why we're here. Andso this show rocked recovery, simply put,
is about bringing light to dark situations. Everybody out there has been touched
by somebody or themselves having incredible challenges, life threatening challenges, overcoming diseases,
addiction, overdoses, mental health,PTSD, on and on and on.
So in the old days nobody talkedabout this stuff and now we have the
blessing of being in a world wherewe talked about it and together we help
each other recover. Again, byshining that bright light on the darkness,
we all can find our way out. So not just to limp out and
say hey, man, I founda way out. Kind of sucks,
but I'm out. We get intowhat I call the vortex of Rad and
this we find that when we overcomethat stuff that we thought we could never
overcome or was holding us back,that life gets really incredible, like beyond
our wildest dreams. And so today'sguest is really exciting for me. First
of all, one of my buddiesis here from the corn tour and days,
and second of all, the storyis just incredible, incredible, and
it's not our typical story of addiction. It's a story of cerebral palsy and
it's a gentleman who just was goingto be a rock star no matter what.
Had to play music and would notgive up on the dream. Now
you can imagine the challenges. Ifyou don't know anything about seberal Palsy,
I believe, in your left handcorrect so physically limiting. And he wanted
to be a guitar player. Andso you can imagine this challenge of how
could this ever happen? Many doubtersand, you know, disbelief. But
he did it. Not only didhe do it, he's continue to continues
to do it. And so mybuddy from the corn days, I always
said the sun days, as hasshot corn for years and made another award
winning documentary. What was the nameof it? One did warriors, wounded
warriors, and now this one,which is called mind over matter. So
welcome to the studio. I'll juststop the long in Joe My man,
Sebastian Paquette, the director of thefilm, and the Star, Brandon Mendenhall.
Hey, Hey, thank you somuch for having sus. Yeah,
I'm so stoked you guys are here. The story is incredible. First of
all, let me start by sayingthanks for making this film. Congratulations on
all the awards and accolades. I'mlooking, I've horribleized, but I'm looking
at this poster that you brought inand it has like a bevy. How
about that? I've never used thatword my life. I'm beffy of awards
and you know, winner, winner, winner, winner. Wow. We
spent a most spot of two thousandand eighteen on the film festival circuit in
the US and around the world sharingthis beautiful film on the Film Festival circuit
and one numerous awards in Moscow,Los Angeles, New York, Benton,
Vila, con saw, Sacramento,you name it. So now we are
beyond excited to be sharing the film, which is now available everywhere on old
digital outlets, itunes and so forth, for a month now. That is
amazing. So people can watch itanywhere. Absolutely just go to Itunes,
Amazona, whatever and type of mineovermatter, or go check out mine overmatter
filmcom from Monfilm. That's amazing.And so, Brandon, tell me,
tell me. Where does this storystart for you? When did you know
you had to play guitar? Becauseyou obviously probably realize you had physical limitations
with the cerebral palsy prior to wantingto play guitar. You you know,
when I was younger, like allall the kids in the neighborhood, wanted
to play cops and robberts, thatkind of thing. I can go seek
capture the flag. I want toplay Gringol Lopery. I want to put
my friends together and be the guthope player in that band. So from
my age four I wanted to playguitar. And then, you know,
your progres through school. You getmy fifth grade, all of a sudden
you got banned and I joined band, which is like traditional band with the
horns and the drums and yeah,correct, and I want to play the
guitar and my grandparent for no way, you know, playing the guitar.
So I got shuned. Why doyou think they said that. Well,
it goes back to the doctors upin Chicago taking me to shrug shots hostball
for disabled children. The doctors upthere told my grandparents that playing a musical
instrument would never happen. That wouldjust be a crushing, complete let down.
So so had you kind of yourparents had picked up that you wanted
to be musical. Meanwhile you're havingdoctor visits and they let the doctors like
that's not going to happen. Yeah, I have this toy guitar. You
know, every care have gets atoy guitar with cartoon characters on one and
stuff. And My afterbar appointment,my grandfather went home and cut the strings
off and pull it up in thetop of the closet. He cut the
strings off for real. That islike blasphemous to the rock and roll Gods.
Like no, this isn't going tohappen. And then, you know,
when I got older, I stillwanted to play guitar or like no,
no, no. So I playedtrumpet for the year. Me Too.
I was absolutely horrible are it,but I completely the year. I
didn't give a talk with it onit. I made it for the whole
year. And then you know,I still wanted to play guitar and I
was like well, I'm not goingto continue with school band. And it
wasn't until like I became a teenagerand I rab the rock magazines about,
you know, Cooling and web thisstory about monkey and how he cut his
left in a finger off. Yeah, and the doctor say take up an
instrument to rebuvers, hit your handand the lightbulbs along. So he said,
Oh see, he said that's amonkey. Yeah, and the Lightbel
on my head and I grabbed themagazine and ring my grandmother and go hey,
look, he did it, likeand he's opening for megabs right now.
Like yeah, why, I cando this, why not? You
know, yeah, that's incredible.And Tony Iomi, which I'm sure people
have told you about. Yeah,and and Meth wore I wear a point
further. Going into James, thisstory I learned, but his total teacher
had told him about Tony's story andMatt coming for him because he went to
Holy Cooker Sag. Do you reallythink I'm going to be able to make
it in music and math when hetold them Tony's story? So, yeah,
man inspired him and his story andfor me, yeah, Steve I
inspire both of us. Yeah,yeah, me too. So Steve Ice
probably my favorite all time guitar player. And for those of you that don't
know who are listening, Tony Iomiis the guitar player of Black Sabbath and
I don't know the reason why.If I was a good video host,
I would have looked it up priorto the show. But he has a
couple of his fingers are nubby andhe has little rubber knobs he puts on
him. He created symbols, yeah, with like tape and stuff that he
can put on the tips of hisfingers so that he could still play.
Because we have this accident, likeblack Sabbath was active and the Oly Cool.
Oh, it happened, all right, it happened due they already is
gone. My Babe can have selfout. They were playing show, if
I believe the hagard couple albums are, and then he was working in this
machine shop and happened to am onwave and so he figured out a way
to continue. So I mean comeout all one story and Fars the next.
And Yeah, fol thing about Tonyis he's, in my eyes,
he's a guy that creating heaven sure, I agree. That found through guitars
and that work came from. Yeah, growing up they used to read a
magazines and get kind of frustrated withthe classifications of like Zeppelin, heavy metals.
Like now that's not having met all. Sorry, I never agree with
every yeah, and I love yeah, I love Zepplin and page, but
it's not heavy metal. I could. It could. Maybe you could give
him hard rock sometimes, sometimes,yeah, I don't know. Even that
doesn't even feel right. Yeah,and so that's why we're here to right.
So so often I like to remindpeople, like it's not about thinking,
well, do I don't have soseveral Paulsy, this is doesn't apply
to me. I don't have issueswith my figures. But it's the story
of like, go ahead, carefulman, don't get too close, you
might catch you. The point isis that it's about not giving up.
It's about who cares what people say. I'm doing this and it's about sharing
the story. I love how yousaid one story inspires another. So Tony
Iomi inspires monkey, who inspires youand that. And for a guy like
me in recovery, what helped mewhen I'm like, I can't stop using
them going to die. But thenyou hear another person go I was like
you and I found a way out, and then you go, okay,
I could do it. Yeah.So think of all the people that you're
inspiring. That must feel good.It does feel good for for kid growing
up that was told. You know, I grew up in a trailer park,
selfish cargo. I came from nothing, from very helpful begetting my grandparent
for balloon collar. Went to workevery day for you a week jobs and
you know, nothing was handing tome. So everything in my I've accomplice,
I've had the work for and tocome from nothing and have people tell
me, Oh, you'll never bea get holist, to finally flip that
and be known of being inspirational andbeing good at the instrument, which is
which is the main thing that Iwant to be known for. I want
to be young as a good guitarist, a good musician. Yeah, it's
cool, will be inspirational, butI won't. He's good. Yeah,
yeah, it's I'm glad that mystory's helping you in your life, but
I'm trying to shred over here.Well, yeah, that's cool, I'm
going to go shred very nice.So tell me. So we have a
little background. At what age didyou know that you had a had challenge
that other kids didn't have? Itwas it was very young. It was
around for to six age, where, you know, I've started going to
school, kindergarten, first grade andlike babooming and kicked in. You know,
I was instantly. I was Iwas different, you know, I
didn't walk the same. I cantalk the same. Back then I had
leg braces like a dressed goofy becausemy parents for weary. Hey, my
mom put me in plaid pants likethe Brady Buds and sent me to school.
Nobody was wearing plaid pants. Iget it. I think I was
in cowboy boots and cowboy yeah,that kind of thing. I got a
picture of five with my dad.Same thing in California. Yeah, kids
are brutal. It's one thing ifthey find something. Yeah, Oh yeah,
like grangler jeans, Kelway has thatkind of thing. And it was
like my dad want me to beJeff like him, and I gravitating towards
music and I'm like, I loveyou, but I won't. I'M gonna
be my own person. That's incredible. So what was your dad? What
was he doing for a career.He was a he would foody, five
years in government, concoking submarine Battleymanufacturing plant. Okay, got a man
also in prolel. He was alocal farm hand. So he would get
off of his job and then goto the farm and vice first. So
yeah, all the time. guitarlyhome guitars. Way Cooler than that.
I'm with you. Yeah, Iback your career choice. Yeah, he
would come home he didn't want tohear some Cape playing. I would guitar
wave. Yeah, sweep for fourhours. Oh his yeah. So how
did you feel when when that wasgoing on, because you know that could
really defeat somebody emotionally. Seems likeyou have a really strong spirit. Yeah,
it's like a sense. I wasmy grandfather, like I text myself
to his work ethic, and Iwas his kindness and willingness to help people
and give people things, and hewould give he would give way and people
like the shoe off his back.He was just back kind of dude,
this is your grandfather, not yourfather. Yeah, correct, my grandfather
and and you know. So thosetwo the things are are gravitated towards.
So when it came time for meto play because horror, he said no
and he foo bade me to playit. I went to my grandmother and
kind of worked on my grandma forsix months and finally she broke and she
went me a thousand dollars to toget my first eyeben, a seventh string
guitar. How old were you then? I was nineteen nineteen. So you
went all that time for bode andto play I don't even know what word
to use it. Yeah, andthen it wasn't till nineteen got it wasn't
into nineteen that was working at makeddold flipping burgers and making fronted McDonald's.
Do Look at music friend going Oh, this is cool, and it was
like between the dimebag guitar and thethe seven string, and of course I'm
huge corn friend Steve at to.Yeah. So, so, for people
at home that don't know, normalguitars have six strings. And then Steve
Vy really is credited with the firstguy to make a seven string guitar,
where they added one more string thatwas lower in tone and it really didn't
hit for a while. It kindof wasn't nobody was getting too excited about
it because Steve I was a shredderand then all of a sudden these metal
and new metal band started using themto down tune really low. Then corn,
can I remember here there? Yeah, corn came out. They're playing
here in Hington beach and my chickat the time knew them. I they
were like they were like baby,baby, baby band called. He's like,
she goes, have you heard acon because I showed her my guitar
play. Have you heard of corn? Right now? She's like they play
these seven string guitars. I'm likeseven string guitars? What? Uh?
There's she's like they're so cool.I gotta find out about this corn man
and next thing you know I sawhim. And then if you anybody saw
corn in the old days, itwas like there was like it put a
spell on you. Man, whatthey did. So back to the point.
You wanted one of the seven stringvery unique guitar, not a dimebad
Guitar. Well, well, yeah, well, I went here a guitar
center, and I trying out bothand it was the seventh screen because the
neck was so wide. I'm soflat, but wizard, but wizard neck,
with my hand being basically it wasparalized. Uh Huh. At the
time I had no so at thistime and nineteen, you really couldn't move
it at all. No. Sobasically that neck in my hand felt kokuable
because it was big, right,and I could put pressure against the flipboard,
as opposed to all we guitars withskiing necks didn't have that kind of
soothes. Are So sure? So, yea, the seventh screen just kind
of made sense to me. Andthen they really extensive back then. Right.
So, like, I did somesurfing on Ebay. I found going
for a good deal, and mygrandmother is a fucker for a good deal.
So I was like, Hey,I found I found this site.
Who always gets hold for thousand bucks. Yeah, and finally she broke and
let me loan me the money andit took me a year of flipping burgers
to pay it back. That's incredible. So McDonald's had some value in your
life, some, some, verylittle. Yeah, I mean every kicks
have a job and work for things. Yeah, you appreciate from one hundred
percent. So this is incredible gettingto talk to you. We're here with
Brandon Menden, Hall Rock Star whoovercame Cerebral Palsy to play guitar, to
shred the guitar, regardless of whatanybody thought he could or could it do,
and my man, Sebastian Paquette,video producer and director, their hair
talking about Brandon's journey and the filmthat they created chronicling it, called mind
over matter. So we're going tojump to a song right here, and
you picked nine inch nails, rightwhere it belongs. Why is that?
I picked the song because that songwas so important to me. I went
through the phase of diction myself.I was heavily into cocaine and Ecstacye and
coming fell into the La rock seeingand went through all that, trying to
fit in and trying to find myplace. And that song, when it
came out, I was pretty deepinto it and just the lyrics to that
Fong said everything that I was feelinga man. Towards the end of the
song, during the bridge, hecut a live argument of like a crown
cheering. MMM, I'm at tome, said like if your music career,
are you getting everything that you youwant? If this all but you
could have dreamed it foaming. Thelyrics and of my crowd comes in and
just brought me to tear. Ohthat's so cool. I was like,
this is my life, yes,form living right now, and I do
everything for music in my career andit was just slipping away from me at
that point. Got You, andthat's something we talked about. To with
addiction, it's the pot. Wetalk about powerlessness a lot, a lot
when it when we lose the thingsthat are mo most important to us for
a drink or a drug. Itotally get it. So here we are,
rocked recovery radio, here with BrandonMenden Hall and Sebastian pocket. This
is nine inch Dale's right where itbelongs. By the way, I need
you close. Everything right where?What if everything is in cry, it
seems. What if fall, youthink? If you look at your wing,
is that all you want? Whatif you could look like through,
would you find yourself find yourself afraidto see? What if falls inside just
creas you can't use. You keeplooking, but you can't world. You
look at your sho is that allyou want to be? What if you
could look right through the craould youfind yourself, find your self for fray
to see? I love me somenine inch nails. What a magic band
and there's no vand like nine inchnails. Many of tried, many have
failed. This is west gear onrocked recovery radio, kx Ninety Three Five
FM, Laguna's only FM Station,human crafted radio, also brought to you
by new Vista Behavioral Health. Ialways say there's a there's a lot of
programs out there. These guys aredoing it the right way. If you
need help, check out new vistabehavioral health. We're here in studio with
a kind of a changeup from ourtypical story and I am just loving it.
We are here talking to Brandon Mendenhall, kid who was born with cerebral
palsy, meaning having some disability.We're not supposed to say that. No,
if we don't like that, tellme. I don't know. I
mean, I think this bility andto table if the PC T and yeah,
I do have a dibility moving formy whole life and or I don't
define. Who Am. There yougo. So you had paralyzed left hand.
You were just called to music froma young age. God bless your
grandparents. They're trying to keep yousafe from probably disappointment and trying to keep
you away from playing guitar. Youcouldn't be stopped. Eventually, you broke
down grandma and you got her tobuy you I'van a seven string guitar because
corn and monkey use one, andSteve I our man, he's so good.
And so that's where we are onyour story. And, by the
way, Sebastians here too, andwe're going to get into talking to you
and what what drew you to makein this film. But let's keep going
a little bit here with your story. So you get the guitar. This
is a big moment. You know, I was a baby. Was a
cliffhanger when we went to Nie Nails. He got the guitar. And what's
it like? I mean you said. You said because your hand couldn't bend
as much. It was it wasparalyzed. The the wider seven string neck
helped it. It was funny.I think, you know, my early
teens going going to show. Ithink I saw my first rock coffort works
with corn family values ninety eight whenI was fourteen. So I'd seen the
bunk concerts and bunch bad way.But then I finally get this hole like
nineteen and I'm like, I don'teven know how to how you make this
work? Like what? What's theproper like? Functionality of it. And
when were you living then? Iwas living with my grandparents, so I
had in Chicago. Yeah, okay, so I had films of my in
high school that went jamming and vocalbands and stuff. So I brought it
over with my friend's house and waslike, Dude, show me, show
me something. Yeah, I getme, get me struggling. So we
spoke a couple afternoons and I stilledoff on my way. For it really
took me like three years to reallybe able to pick up the instrument and
jammed. Yeah, and it wasn'tuntil I rare a story about key gractures
and I about how he used todown to his guitar are to open two
links to kind of play lazy.Yeah, like it opened up the doors.
In my mind we're like, okay, I can too my guitar to
an open chord, which means Idon't have to play the funny quote shapes,
which was poblic woves itself. Iwould stiggle with because I the individual
mobility stuff. I didn't have it. Yeah, spend hours just moving my
my finger, my fingers across theFRIP woord. One, two three four,
one two four four for three two, one kind of kind of thick
yep. But it wasn't until Ilearned open two links that I'm like,
okay, now I can write songsbecause now I can move cords up and
down the neck with one or twofinger board court movements. I love it.
And so what I'm here and there'slike the theme of not giving up,
like okay, maybe I can't doit like other people, but I'm
going to find a way, andthat's such an important key to life.
I just didn't want to give itup, like I give it up so
much in my life. I'd givenup a dream of playing in and the
NHL, to being a firefighter,to like, you know, play football
with the boys, to to,you know, all all kids when they're
going they want to do all thisbluffer of things. And I got to
guitar and just spoke to me andI was like no, this is what
I wanted to do, this iswho I want to be. So I
force myself to to keep at itand it was hard. It was hung
until I figured out the down toit self and I was able to see
progress. It was hope breaking,because friends would come over and like pick
up my guitar play all these riffplay like tool songs and coin songs.
I can't do that. Yeah,I love that you pointed that out,
because when when we're struggling with whateverwe're struggling with, maybe it's school,
maybe it's relationships, maybe it's ourfamily, we always tend to look at
other people and then it makes itworse, like I'm not skinny like them,
I'm not athletic like them, Ican't do chemistry class like they can,
I don't have a home life.We compare ourselves a lot and it
can be really just disheartening, canit? Yeah, and people still do
that. You compare your career someoneelse's and while they getting booked on these
tours and these trust me, Iknow that one. You know it's one
one of us, but immigrant schemeof things, you have to stay focused
on yourself and just focus on you, focus on you and what you can
control. Right, I love it, and that was another great point you
make. Instead of whining about whatthey're getting that you're not, which is
out of your control, focusing onwhat you can control, which is you
and the actions you're taken to getwhere you want to go. Well with
something that Steve Bitha a few yearsago. Our carry with me. He
said focus for strength nor your weakness. Cool and focus on what you're good
at and food, work on whatyou can't where you can't do so I
mean, I've can always carry backif a mantra, you know, like
do what you can and be thebest that. Yeah, absolutely, that's
awesome. So let me jump overto seve here, by the way.
So this is Sebastian bouquette. Hehas I met you through corn. You
are a music nut. You've beenhanging around the LA scene fallen bands forever
and doing a lot of video workthat way. I met you turn with
corn as the daytoday content creator,and you've done a lot of videos and
photos and everything. You've done stufffor us and rock to recovery and then
you made first film, which waswounded warriors, which won some awards,
and you know, to be honest, I'm just going to disclose here.
By the way, this is rockrecovery radio. I'm your host, West
Gear, on kx N Five FM. We're here with Brandon, men and
hall, Rock Star was Cerebral Palsy, and Sebashian poquette talking about Brandon Story
and the movie, mind over matterand all the awards won and Brandon's incredible
story. And so what I thoughtwas cool when we are on tour,
because you know, we get ontour, can be a little grumpy because
it's toured. It's you guys.It's not glamorous. You think it is.
It's not, it just is it. Maybe if you're like you two
that flies in on your own playplaying shows up, plays the guitar and
then gets back on your own privateplane and leaves, that might be glamorous.
Not What? No, no,anywhow. So what I thought was
cool as when I got to knowyou, and I didn't know this for
quite a while, that you arereally passionate, caring person. I learned
when you're doing the wounded warrior movie, that first one, and how much
also you began to support us androcked recovery, that you really have this
side of you. So it doesn'tsurprise me knowing that. But how did
you get to meet Brandon and getinspired to do the story? I was
born in friends and I moved toBeautiful Lost Angeles, California, here,
even though to days it's raining,about fifteen years ago and I wanted to
establish myself here as a documentary filmmakerand work in the music rock scene that
I was very fond of as ateenager. So I just wanted to,
you know, travel the world,work for my favorite bands, do music
videos and eventually down the line bebecome a documentary filmmaker here in the lay
and and really interesting story about thisfilm is that I met Brandon the very
first week that I landed here inCalifornia, and that various that very same
week. So what years that?That's two thousand and four and that very
same week he had moved from SmallTown Illinois to, you know, entertainment
capital of the world, Los Angeles. We met up at a corn event
here in southern California and they're wehad just so many things in common.
He was trying to overcome his owndispute, trying to make it as a
professional musician here in California, andI had moved across the globe by myself,
Whi just one suitcase full of cluesand mostly cities, to be honest,
because cities were still thing at thetime. Yeah, and you know,
we should we both had a hugedream and a huge passion for music.
Ten years deep into our friendship.About five years ago we decided to
build an aniance and I was like, you know, I've been doing so
many music videos and followed rock bandsfor so long. It's cool, it's
awesome, I'm loving every single secondof it, but I really want to
try to zero in on my storytellingskills. And, Dude, we've been
friends for a very long time.You have the best, most inspirational underdog
story a full time why don't we, you know, team up and tell
destroy together? As my first featuredocumentary. Five years later, who we
are? Here, we are heretoday with you, sharing with your listeners
this beautiful story of this documentary film. Yeah, and I think any filmmaker
they're looking for the story to tellevery I would assume right. So you
you want to make films. Solike, okay, what film do I
make about what? And here itwas. That is so much about life.
It's like what? So many timeswhen I'm out there looking, where
is it that thing that I need? A lot of times it's like right
in front of your face. Imean I woke up on Christmas morning two
thousand and fourteen and I was likewait, I've been searching for weeks and
weeks for the perfect subject matter formy for my first feature, but it's
been right under my nose this wholetime. I'm so stupid. Gave Brandon
a call and I was like,dude, buckle up, if you want
to do this, I'm going tobe following you around for the next few
years and it's going to change ourlives, and he definitely did. That's
cool. So you're probably a there'sprobably conversations where you're talking to Brandon and
going, man, I just youknow, I want to make some films.
I just got to find that storyin France, like yeah, that's
cool, you'll find it. Man, just came this game, look at
this, get, look at hold, on hold. I got a lot
of question for first step. Sowhen did you start? When did you
start on this? During five yearsago, five years ago, young we
were in production, meaning filming,for three years and then one year of
post production, going through five differenteditors. Yeah, you know, this
is a documentary film about his entirelife, journey, thirty five years of
life. So obviously we shot foryou know, we shot hours and hours
and hours. There's gigabytes upon gigabytesof footage and you know, it was
a very painful task to tell hisstory in only eighty seven minutes. But
yeah, outcome is beautiful and,you know, we are super grateful to
have been awarded so many prestigious awardson the on the Fin Festival circuit.
It's going to be a great feeling. And when you wanted to do documentaries,
did you know you wanted to dostuff like this? Music is the
soundtrack to my life, so anythingthat I do and that I will ever
do will always have a link withmusic. It is my first love and
it was it will always be abotof everything that I do, which is
why I love working with you andyour and your company and your stuff and
your foundation, with rock to recovery, because it's, you know, it's
healing through the power of music andthere's nothing greater than that. Yeah,
so thank you, Manna, thankyou for your support. So, for
you watching Brandon's story, what wasone of the things that just like hit
you the hardest about it all,because I'm sure there's so many levels from
because you had to go through hischildhood and learn about it and what he
went through. What was one ofthe heaviest moments that that in the film
that really because you know, whenyou're doing a record or film, aathing
creative there's always those unexpected things.Are Like, oh my gosh, we
got that, Matt, that mightmagic. You can't plan it and then
it happens. What was that spotfor you? Well, you know,
be part of the film is hischildhood being bullied left and right at school
because he was different, and sowas I. I was very different as
as a kid and I didn't Ifelt like I didn't belong anywhere and I
could definitely relate to that. Sowhen we were shooting all the scenes revolving
around that topic, that really hithome. You know, when your lover
of, you know, a hardrock and stuff and you are born in
the middle of nowhere in friends,you're definitely an outcast by default, and
so was he. So I definitely, you know, saw a little bit
of myself in his story. Obviouslyon my end. You know, it's
not a disability story or anything likethat, but you know, I could
definitely relate to that. You know, we've been best friends for a very,
very long time. This project studiedas two friends and a camera.
It's great to be here, threefriends in the in the studio here today.
Yeah, that's cool and I thinkthat's what what a lot of us
do is we find ourselves in thestories, we find ourselves in the nine
inch nail song, we find ourselvesin whatever we're witnessing, and then I
think that's the hour of it all, isn't it? So tell me,
Brandon, in your story you getthe guitar and this is a story about
how you become a rock star.So you're playing okay, and again,
for those tune in late, youhave cerebal paulsy. So basically, hands
paralyzed and by almost like a divineintervention, your favorite band's corn which happens.
He's a seven string guitar. Soyour first guitar is just bigger and
wider the next, so it's easierfor you to manipulate. You discover through
hearing some stuff about down tuning andKeith Richards, etc. So you start
tuned in different. So now you'rehaving some success in the guitar. But
how do we go from there toget into rock star level and and and
what you're doing now? Well,I guess the next the next piece of
the story would be I Gregu withhigh school and than I decided to go
to fulfill you over three YEP andor a I go for you, which
is a like recording school with soundedengineering and such. It's like multiply media
put cool. They do film,they do recording Poodunction, both on the
film and Music Tibe. So Istill the recording or that will put me
in my to do to be amusic pooduck, a music producer or a
recording engineer. And you know,I I bet time in my life that's
what I wanted to do. Iwanted to go to college, graduate,
moved to La and find a joband the biggest recording studio I could get
hider yet. Yeah, and justmake it, make a salary as a
studio operating pro tools. And atthat time in the musical descreeper was all
kinds. There was a huge hierarchyin a studio and you could get with
a studio and be there for years. Yeah, and just working all these
records and get plaques and yeah,and and make a good living for yourself
old record plaques and well, yeah, so that moment, yeah, that
was my that was my dream,and poole will with that dream, with
the dream of being a guitarist andand you know, being a musician.
But I chose to go but productionrout, because I didn't think that I
would be able to join a bandand had some doubts. Yeah, because
of my my physical limitation. Yep. So I came to La to do
that and then the industry crash.Yeah, around two thousand and four,
two thousand and five, everything startedto go to home studio production. Yeah,
the hierarchy of the studios were we'regoing away and I couldn't get hired
on on it, the studio thatI was entering at because of my sober
palsy. I don't drive, Gotcha, just because my reaction times not back
great. And it's not that Ican't physically drive, I think that I
can't avoid an accident from someone else. Sure, so I just don't out
of compassion for everybody on the road, right. Yeah. So, so
I couldn't drive and Matt kining toslam the door on my on my music
production. Is. La is notknown for public transportation, right, and
so it was like well, hecan't move up because you can't drive.
And then the studio let me goand and that's where the drugs started at
the studio and then I got letgo and just spiral. Yeah, and
because I was so depressed, becauseI was in my eyes, I was
at the top, I was atWestlake Sully. If I walk in and
see gold and platin worker from allmy favorite August yeah, on the wolf,
and it's like where you go fromthere? If you were Oge top
and he blew it, and heblew it because of your disability. So
it's like all of this stuff givecompounded down on me and I just stuggling.
I was in pain because of myfoot and I stills wrong with your
foot. Well, I've had tencorrective soosieries on my on my left foot
because of my so ball Gotcha.So I have nine screws and a steel
point in my foot. So Ineeded to go in have surgery and I
was putting it off and I stillusing the drugs. And initially it was
like have fun, get high.Yeah, and when it became get high
to alleviate your paint Yep, andthen you know, all the Culio stuff
happening. And when you're depressed,so you're getting hot and your money's going
yeah, and just nothing's working.And I couldn't play guitar at that time
and I just like, well,I shouldn't say couldn't play guitar. I
was struggling to make it all work. Would you yeah, so, would
you say? Because I would assume, and of course we only have a
little bit of time here, Iwould assume there's many challenging times in your
life whereas really difficult emotionally mentally,but would you say safe to say this
is the darkest time? You feellike you've lost it all, your music,
slip it away, you lost thecareer you thought you had. Now
you got physical pain, which isjust challenging in your day to day existence,
aside from a career. And sothen you're getting into drugs, cocaine,
ecstasy. Yep, what was thekey to getting out? Monkey?
It was. It was monkey andcrass cool. I I hadn't gone to
coin shows in a while. Ikind of gotten away from it because,
yeah, I was partying and theyreleased seeum o the side and I decided
to go to Baker Field and Ibrought a guitar with me, but Steve
I have fined and I was likeI'm going to give this some monkey and
I my head, I'm like givingup. I'm like I'm done. So
it gives the holy the monkey andwe have this conversation and he encourages me
to keep going, to clean myselfup and create my own band. If
I can't find guys to play with. Do It yourself nice. So music
brought me out of it. Musicsaved my life. Music turned it around
and because that night with the guitarand the conversation and I saw all of
the good that happened from that,it just gave me a shadow of like
think you gotta help you both.Yeah, you know, that's incredible.
So and that's funny because I wanteda date with a girl once and we're
talking about spirituality and she's like,I don't this set the time I'm playing
with corn. She's like, howcan you be spiritual and play that music?
People don't realize that. You know, you have to have the voices
of darkness so people feel like they'renot alone, but how many people are
actually helped through stuff like this andguys like monkey? It's just think it's
incredible and it also shows the power, and we see this in the recovery
community, to one conversation with oneperson can change somebody's whole life trajectory.
One hello, hey, keep comingback. Has Change a lot of people's
life trajectory. I love it.So let's throw in your next song.
By the way, this rock torecovery radio. I'm West Gears, kx
nine thirty five FM. We're herewith Brandon Mendenhall, tell him his incredible
rock star story, and Sebastian Puckett, the director of the film mind over
matter. So tell me this nextsong. Why did you pick it and
what is it? If em boththem, my B Jazy and love at
least you, Keith, and Ilove the folk film and it's kind of
an anthem to my life and mycareer. Now it's it's the sting of
mind, you know, very openwith thing and and you. Every time
I hear it I'm like, Iget up, be get its far to
do so do good things, youknow. I feel good about myself and
that for music should make you feelings, make you feel good. Right,
that's right. And when we didthe fish you with monkey, when we
did the phone to go the studio, will driving to the studio and the
phone came on and I was likefreaking out my hands with shaking. I'm
like, how is this going togo? And Mat phone came on the
radio and because I was totally cooland love it chewed me out and everything
thing coming ban and from. Forme, it'll always take you back to
that moment and have that magic,you know, transformation it gave it.
That's cool. So here we are. This is New York state of mind.
By Jay Z. Yeah, nowI'm down in tropic and right next
to the Neil ro without we hoodforever Sinatra, and since I made it
here, I can make it anywhere, getting love me everywhere. I used
to cover all right there up onBroadway to throw me back to that McDonald's
to get to my stats, Pott, fivehundred and sixty state street, catch
me in the kitchen like a simmonswhipping play street down e street of White
Lexus driving so slow, but BK'sfrom Texas. Stop home with that Boy
Viking. Now we'll live on fieldboard and I wot my boys. We
need to see what up to do. Still Sipping my top, sing called
side Nix and nets. Give mehot foust smite down. I can triple
referee and tell by my attitude thatalmost definitely fell on these threats at the
Yankee game. Shit I make theYankee have a famous Dalla Yankee kid.
You should know what me but Iin a Drypto, but I got a
gang of niggas walking with my clicks. Go to the melbourners where we selling
rock, African but Battle Shit overthe hip hop. Yellow cat, gipsy
CAP, dollar cat. Holler backfor foreign the city they fare. They
act like they forgot how stories atthe ending. Naked City is a pretty
happy your own me. Kidding me. I got a block special and I
got it lade Jesus paying lebraul.I'm playing the Wayne Way. May Dice,
Selo, Free Card Molly. Theybut day for Raves, the P
spot molly. That's you will livelong if the won't trade long if the
King Yo, I'm from the empires. Naked Lights is blinding. Girls need
to blinders so they can step outof bounce quick. The sidelines is bl
with casualties. Are Sipping Life.CASSULINA gradually become worse. Don't fight that
way. Call up in the craftnow. You install and in the winter
gets cold in bold with your skinout. City of Sin. It's a
city on the dam. Good GirlsGone Bad. The city still with him.
took a bus trip. Now shegot a bust out. Everybody ride
her just like a bust round Heil. Mary to the city. Your reverging
and Jesus can't Save Your Life.Starts when the church hands came here to
school, graduated to the high life, ball players, wrap stars, addicted
to the limelight, empty your makeup, you feeling like a champion in
the city. Never sleeps better sleep. You hear me in these STAS in
the everybody saying these states. Bythe way, I love that song,
Brandon. It's I'm not even jokingof always loved that song. This is
rocked recovery radio. I'm your host, West Gear Kx, ninety three five
FM, Laguna's only FM show,is also brought to you by new Vista
Behavioral Health. Check them out ifyou're looking for some sort of treatment programs.
They have a bunch of great ones. We're here in the studio with
our my new rock star Homie,Brandon Mendenhall, tell his story of overcoming
incredible odds of having cerebral palsy andessentially paralyzed left hand, which is for
most people, the mainhand you fingerthe guitar with, and how he became
a rock star and my man SebashianPaquette, who created a film and directed
a film called mind over matter,which is all about Brandon's story and has
won numerous awards. So, yeah, this has been an incredible interview.
So where we're picking up in thestories? How monkey from Corn Right,
when you are suffering from addiction,your your job in studios, recording studios,
had been taken away. You're letgo, you're given up, I'm
pretty much all aspects of life.You have in physical pain and needing surgeries.
It's just all coming down on yourhead. And then you had a
conversation when monkey and he gave youa little, a big injection of hope,
telling you not to give up.So where, where does it go
from there? And and what areyou doing now to get to this rock
star status you have? Well,we cook our COURCOU's available. It tooth
and what's the band's name? TheMan Hall experiment, and then Hollis men
and Mandenhall experiment, right, MA and D N and bolt to heas
and E and Dan DK. Soyou can find it experiment. Okay,
cool. So that album with sofile for called the many hall experiment,
and we've just been tooling touring onmy album. We've done five to move
so far. We're about flier.were some of the bands you toured with?
We did. We did a fewfood, three, we're independent,
and the last two we did withlaw and fall, monthly full and Oh
and then we did an everyone withsmile, lempty soul and coop, which
is I was cooper's Sun. That'scool. and Smile Empty Soul has my
old bass player from HEDP and it, I believe. No, no,
maybe not. I thought it didfor a minute. A now and and
man, now we're going back outwith flaw in April of direct support.
Let's go. So and so,how does it feel for you? I
mean, this is what you workfor your whole life. Against All odds,
you're on stage, people are cheering, girls are flashing their boobs.
How's IT feeling up there? Ilove it. I love it, I
love touring, a love plan liveif, if willing to do all of
this, for I'm of going out, meeting people, sharing my story,
hearing their testimonial about how my storyis help them. And it comes from
everywhere. Man Like, yeah,you just said no, but gone to
you of a boiler to have abrother with CP or yeah, you know,
it's stories come out and it's you'reso awesome to see how we impact
people with such a positive light.Right. And I think the thing that
people are struggling don't realize is whenwe're whatever it is we're struggling with,
we feel like we're so screwed,but what we don't realize is we can
overcome that and that very story thatwe have we think we're so screwed about,
is what gives us such a fulfillinglife because we hel up others by
carrying that message of hope. TheFO give me going. I mean the
band does a lot of dissability,aware without week, Co work with the
community, like I'm on a boyof government for you know, herbal palsy,
of what things with. So wedo just any foe of outreach.
Carry shows, we go and talkto kids, fling. I've done some
of that stuff, like disabled scoreswith the film and stuff, and you
know that that's what going want todo in provol with music. I want
to do public speaking, really helpthe disabled community. You're doing it and
make a different fron. You're doingit. Man, this has been incredible.
Thank you so much, for comingdown sharing our stories. So Sad.
Tell us what's next with the filmand remind everybody where they can get
it. The film is now outon Itunes, Amazon and all of the
digital outlets of the world. Whocan find out more Info at mine over
matter filmcom. We spend the entireyear of two thousand and eighteen on the
film festival circuit. We need abunch of prestigious awards, yeah, around
the globe, and now we're just, you know, getting the word out
about this very inspinite, inspirational storythat will definitely inspire you when you watch
it. Even if you are nota fan of rock and roll or if
you don't have a disbety yourself,you will be touched by this film.
You will laugh and cry, Iand definitely be uplifted and inspired. If
Brendan can overcome everything that he has, then anyone can achieve anything in life.
You're just need to find another wayaround it. If you see and
obstacle in front of you, incredible. You said it perfectly. So it's
mind over matter film. Next timeyou're gonna do Netflix and chill. Check
it out. I think what everybody, like you said, got out of
this is that you can take yourdarkest challenges and turn them into your dreams,
literally and help other people. Sothank you for coming down, Brandon
and Sab thank you for sharing yourstory and the film and creating the film
and sharing it with the world.And this has been rocked recovery radio.
I'm your host, West Gear,and we are out of here. Thank
you, man, thanks, welove you, west. Thank you,
I love you too. Man.Over now. Good.