Stimulus singer’s biggest fans are in the bandBy Joe Stumpe
Julie Brin was 8 years old and singing a solo in her church choir when she flubbed the words.
“I ran crying off the stage,” she said. “It took me forever to get over it.”
She’s over it now.
Brin is the singer for Stimulus, the Wichita alternative/pop/rock cover band that plays Saturday night at Wichita’s Pumphouse in Old Town.
Her stage jitters long gone, the Brin of these days is known for her soulful vocals and easy interaction with the audience.
Her biggest fans may be her band mates, who formed Stimulus a few years prior to her joining the group: Scott Wiggins on bass, Jim DeBauche and Max Ullum on guitar, and Jerry Schultz on drums.
Although they liked previous vocalists who sang with them, something different happened when Brin auditioned.
“Four years ago, the heavens opened and an angel descended upon us,” Wiggins said, smiling — but seemingly only half-kidding.
Brin had been performing original music with a band called Half of Reason, then tried out for another cover band prior to Stimulus.
“It didn’t work out, thank goodness,” she said.
She thought the audition with Stimulus went well.
But not quite as well as Wiggins.
“After hearing her sing, we spent the next 10 minutes groveling at her feet,” he said.
Prior to joining forces, Brin noted that most of her prospective band mates were a little older than she is. Wiggins says he and Ullum played in a high school garage band “back in the Roosevelt administration.”
“I thought these guys will be more mature,” Brin said. “Not.”
But it seems to have worked out. The band has stayed about as busy as it wants to be playing clubs and special events.
Brin said her favorite songs to sing are at opposite ends of the spectrum — “really angry ex-boyfriend songs” such as Alanis Morisette’s “You Oughta Know,” and “sweet love songs” such as the standard “At Last.” Beyond those, the band’s playlist is built heavily around danceable music — a local swing dance club are some of their biggest fans — and Brin sinks her teeth into many songs that were originally sung by men.
“We really try to play the crowd-pleasers,” Wiggins said.
Brin said she doesn’t miss playing original music since it’s “so much more difficult to get a following” doing that. But she’s learning guitar so she can accompany herself in singer-songwriter venues.
Some of Stimulus’ best gigs have been private parties, such as the birthday party they recently played for an ailing veteran.
After Brin finished singing one song, Wiggins said, “There wasn’t a dry eye in the house.”
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