Blogger Spotlight: Don De Leaumont (The Great Southern Brainfart)

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In a world where there are literally dozens of new music blogs popping up every month it can be hard to choose a name for your digital publication that sticks out to readers in our increasingly-distracted world. Don De Leaumont overcame this hurdle by branding his efforts The Great Southern Brainfart, and in the interview below he shares with us the realization of a dream nearly three decades in the making.

Dreams are quite amazing when you think about it. They come to us when we’re least expecting it and drive us to do things we would otherwise never consider. They live in our souls, propelling us forward on life’s journey and helping us choose which paths to take next without ever providing us with any guarantee of success. We pursue them in spite of this because to not act would be to live a life unfulfilled, and that is a fate far worse than death.

Don De Leaumont has been pursuing his dreams of a life in music since he was very young. Inspired by the record collection of a close friend’s older brother, Don picked up a guitar in his youth and never looked back. As he grew older he realized he also had a passion for music discussion, and not long after The Great Southern Brainfart came into existence. It’s a place Don can share his thoughts on music and engage with others who seek discussion beyond daily headlines, and truth be told it’s one of our favorite heavy music blogs to frequent.

If you would like to learn more about Don and his adventures in the world of hard rock we highly recommend visiting The Great Southern Brainfart on a regular basis. Additional questions and comments can be left at the end of this post.

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H: For the record, give us your name, job title, and the publication you’re here to discuss:

D: Sure, my name is Don de Leaumont and the site is called The Great Southern Brainfart.

H: [laughs]

D: That’s pretty much the reaction everyone gives. I’m the head of the site and pretty much do everything.

H: Let’s start with your history. What are the earliest memories you have of your life with music?

D: Well I grew up in New Orleans, so music was everywhere. For as long as I can remember my parents were playing music in the house. They weren’t musicians, but there was always music. We had a stereo in every room. A lot of singer/songwriter and folk music. They liked Crosby, Stills, and Nash type stuff – not exactly the hippie stuff. Also, because of New Orleans I grew up with a lot of jazz music. Dr. John and things like that. Music was always a constant.

H: So it’s safe to say it was always an influence on you?

D: Definitely, and I think I get my opinionated side from my dad. [laughs] He was a bit of a music snob, so I think it runs in my blood.

H: Do you remember the first album you bought with your own money?

D: Probably Michael Jackson’s Thriller. I turned 40 this year, so that came out a time when people my age were really getting into music. It was huge!

H: You write primarily about metal, so when did that genre become a part of your life?

D: I never had an older brother, but I had a cool friend with an older brother. I think it was around 83 and my friend’s brother was really into metal. I remember hearing it from next door and wanting to know what it was he was listening to. I asked him and he told me a bunch of artists to listen to. It wasn’t just one record, but Dio, then Sabbath, then Ratt. I think I went home the next day with five records, including Twisted Sister and Motley Crue. That was when music really opened up for me.

H: Can you pinpoint the moment you began to consider a career in music?

D: I’m also a musician. When I discovered those records from that friend’s brother I was pulled into the world of guitar and Twisted Sister is when I realized it was what interested me. Writing about music though I would probably say happened closer to 88. I loved rock magazines, but I always thought they never asked the questions I would want to ask someone. I would read interviews and come up with things I would have added if I were having the conversation.

I never really pursued writing until the blogging age came around. About 4 or 5 years ago I decided to try my hand at it and that’s what I have been doing ever since.

H: So, let’s talk about the name. What is the story behind The Great Southern Brainfart?

D: As you may have noticed I pretty much have diarrhea of the mouth when talking and fingers when typing stuff. Everything about me just kind of comes flying out of me. The title is a spin on the Pantera album, The Great Southern Trend Kill. It just kind of stuck with me and personified who I was. I never thought or imagined I would be called ‘The Brainfart,’ but it just kind of happened. I roll with it. [Laughs]

H: How would you explain your site to someone who has never visited it before?

D: It’s not your typical news site. I don’t do copy/paste headlines and news blurbs and I pride myself on original content. When you come to the site you’re going to see interviews conducted by me, reviews written by me, editorials by me, and so on. When I’m talking to someone about it I say “When you want to read about music, but don’t care to read the same headlines floating around every else online you should come to the site.” It’s kind of like my lunch table. We sit around and talk about music. If you don’t like it, step up and say something. We can debate it. I love to do that!

H: What would you say are your goals with the site?

D: I don’t do it to monetize or otherwise make money. I look at it like I look at playing music: It’s a place to getaway for myself and my readers. It’s place to voice my opinions on music and you know, stir the pot a little. I think a lot of people play it safe or nice, and I want the site to be a place where I discuss music like in the same way I would talk to my best friend.

H: Have you thought about expanding your staff?

D: I have had a few friends work for me as contributors over the years. I am going to be working with some more in the year to come, but for the most part I feel like some of my favorite sites began to lose my interest when they had too many hands in the pot. You can lose control of the quality. I’m sure that’s subjective though, just like everything else, but the site is my baby and I like to be in control of the content featured on it. I want to keep things as consistent as possible.

H: When it comes to receiving albums for review/feature purposes, which services do you prefer and why?

D: It may sound corny, but I honestly believe there is nothing better than Haulix. When I first started I was receiving boxes of CDs for consideration,a nd after a while it became a bit overwhelming. A site like Haulix simplifies everything. I get an email, login, and from there can not only stream the album I went there for, but also see every other release sent my way from people using Haulix. It’s all in one place, and I can preview materials before downloading or reviewing them.

Some labels and PR groups use their own services, which can be cool, but I love Haulix because it’s all in one place. There are so many people asking for coverage that it’s nice to have it all accessible from one source.

H:What is your ultimate career goal?

D: To be honest, at some point I think it would be fun to write a book about my adventures. I’m only five years in at this point, but maybe in another five years I will write about my adventures in music. Maybe only a few people would find it interesting, but I think it would be fun.

Otherwise, I’ve thought about expanding to podcasts, but at the end of the day I want to have a site that people enjoy coming to. I want to entertain my readers and offer them something different than what can be found on other sites online.

H: Okay, we’ve reached the end of our time together. What can you tell us about your plans for 2014?

D: I think 2014 is going to be a really fun year. Every year has been better than the one before, and I think this one is going to have a lot of shows and a lot of interviews. I am going to aim higher with my coverage and try to work with some bigger names than I have in the past. I want to create better content and push myself to do more in general.

H: That sounds great. Before we let you go, any final thoughts?

D: If you’re looking online and you don’t like what you’re reading, start your own damn site. Start a revolution all your own. It doesn’t have to be a big thing. If you have a voice, use it, and don’t hold back!

James Shotwell

James Shotwell is the Director of Customer Engagement at Haulix and host of the company's podcast, Inside Music. He is also a public speaker known for promoting careers in the entertainment industry, as well as an entertainment journalist with over a decade of experience. His bylines include Rolling Stone, Alternative Press, Substream Magazine, Nu Sound, and Under The Gun Review, among other popular outlets.