Thomas Brenneck keeps a few pots on the stove, including as the guitarist for the Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings, and is also a part of the Budos Band and the El Michels Affair. In the last few years though, he’s gone from sideman to bandleader with the Menahan Street Band and their work with Charles Bradley. He and the MSB have been touring behind Bradley’s recent album and he’s currently at work on a new MSB album. We talked about his songwriting history, sitting across the table from Jay-Z and why his latest single, “The Crossing,” originally was entitled “I’m From Shaolin, Too.” 1

The Sidebar #7: Tom Brenneck of the Menahan Street Band


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Music used in the podcast:

  • The Menahan Street Band: Home Again (fromĀ Make the Road By Walking, Dunham/Daptone 2008)
  • The Daktaris’ “In the Middle” (from Soul Explosion, Desco 1998)
  • The Mighty Imperials: Matador (from Thunder Chicken, Daptone 2001)
  • The Menahan Street Band: The Crossing (forthcoming on Dunham/Daptone 2011)
  • Charles Bradley: Heart of Gold (from 7″, Dunham/Daptone 2011)
  • The Menahan Street Band: Make the Road By Walking (from Make the Road By Walking, Dunham/Daptone 2008)
  • Jay-Z: Roc Boys (from American Gangster, Roc-A-Fella 2007)
  • Charles Bradley: The World (Is Burning Up In Flames) + Heartaches and Pain (from No Time For Dreaming, Dunham/Daptone 2011)
  • The Menahan Street Band: Every Day a Dream (forthcoming on Dunham/Daptone 2011)
  • The O’Kaysions: I’m a Girl Watcher (from 7″, ABC 1968. Also on Sweet and Soulful ’60s)
  • Ice Cube: It Was a Good Day (from The Predator, Priority 1992)
  1. At the risk of suffering from hubris, I’m real proud of this particular podcast. I think it’s a good interview but more than that, talking to a songwriter gave me many opportunities to build more layers of music. I definitely spent more time in post-production than any previous podcast and I hope the end result reflects it.




  • Paul

    The Crossing, from that snippet, is amazing.

    Thank you for this interview, it is brilliant.
    As a fan, it is inspiring listening.

  • eric

    totally loving the crossing!

  • eric

    nice podcast, interview too. really liked the stories.

  • Tom Havers

    Great interview Oliver. Many thanks.

  • Sean

    This new series of podcasts is great. Not good but great. I liked “Roc Boys” but I do prefer some of the band’s other songs. It was pretty obvious what part Jay-Z was gonna use.

    Though I miss the “tribalism” of the last generation when we all listened to the same stuff and had just a choice of a few media outlets, I gotta say that those days would not have produced a Tom Brenneck interview. There is so much to love about right now, too.

  • Scott

    That was awesome. Made my day! Loved the teaser of the new tracks.

  • Tim

    Agreed, that was super dope. Thanks, OW! Very much looking forward to the MSB album, and the prospect of more Charles Bradley music. And Budos!

  • Stu

    Glad I stumbled across this, awesome music, great interview!

  • wow awesome tunes. really sincere interview. i dig how he’s into hip hop as well. now i wanna play drums…

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