Gordon Brown and Reagan Richards of Williams Honor join me at Jersey Oven in Mt. Juliet, TN to sample traditional Jersey grub! They tell the story of opening for Bon Jovi at Madison Square Garden with a memorable entrance, plus new music, a European tour and making big life choices along the way.
Sue Bonzell 1:04
I’m here at Jersey oven with Williams honor. We have got Gordon and we have got Regan I’m excited. Number one because the food here smells amazing. We’re going to be tasting that here just a little bit. Sure. Well, we’re going to talk about some music. All right, you have some new music. Let’s see. What do you got here?
Gordon Brown 1:23
This is our new album. All the facts about new beginnings Fresh Start your pass. And it is a record for everybody to start it. Okay,
Sue Bonzell 1:35
I like that. So so we’re drawing from maybe some experience, right? But
Reagan Richards 1:38
we first started calling it the breakup album. And you know, when people have breakup album, it’s gonna be sad and depressing. But I’m sure everybody knows that a breakup can be one of the greatest things that ever happened to in your life. Absolutely. So there’s songs of appreciation empowerment report, I do
Sue Bonzell 1:58
notice there is a little parental advisory. So just gotta you know throw that out. I mean, that’s kind of like a you know, it’s kind of like, uh, you know, a thing. Right?
Gordon Brown 2:07
Yeah, you know, when I go anywhere, you can see parents telling their kids Hey, watch out for that guy. We wanted to make sure we like Jersey country, where we come from, yeah, it mixes all of the elements of your classic country, modern country and of course our roots of you know, your Springsteen and Bon Jovi and Southside Johnny and, and all the other great stuff that comes from our monster magnet and the collecting.
Reagan Richards 2:34
Clint Black was born in Jersey. Born in longbranch, Eddie rabbit is from Jersey Juice Newton. Mary Chapin Carpenter Breland
Gordon Brown 2:43
Sue Bonzell 2:44
from I love Breland. He’s been on my show. I love that guy.
Gordon Brown 2:48
We’re proud of our style of country music because we respect what has happened in Nashville all these years, we’d love it, you know, and we just put our flavor. And that’s what gives us aren’t unique artistry. So we think, Well, I
Sue Bonzell 3:04
listen. I’m like, okay, it sounds like rock and roll. Almost like what rock and roll used to be that now could be classified as country. Sure.
Reagan Richards 3:11
Yeah. We say all the time. Bruce Springsteen came out today if there was no, you know, all these decades of music from Bruce and he came out today doing what he does do the country artists, right? That’s exactly talent. Yes. Storyteller. So. So that’s where we kind of tried to Fleetwood
Gordon Brown 3:28
Mac or Eagles came out today. Yeah, a little bit.
Sue Bonzell 3:30
That’s exactly what I’m talking about. That’s, uh, you’re exactly right. And
Gordon Brown 3:34
you grew up in Nashville. The operating is kind of like, And so growing up by the beach in New Jersey, Madison Square Garden is kind of our operating. Yeah, where we physically grew up our first show with Williams on or happened to be onstage with Bruce. And we ended our first record by getting a tap on the shoulder to perform with Bon Jovi at Madison Square Garden, right after they got inducted into the Rock Hall. So it was quite an honor for us
Reagan Richards 4:02
kind of a big deal even told Jon Bon Jovi in 1986 1970, living on the rare like, those years, right after you’re inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, you’re gonna have a country band open up, right? And he would say,
Sue Bonzell 4:15
excuse me, why don’t so was Madison Square Garden? Was that like, the largest venue that you played? Was? Yes. And so what was that like actually stepping out on stage, knowing that you’re at one of the biggest places ever? I’ll tell
Gordon Brown 4:29
you exactly what it’s like. So when you go onto the stage, you walk up these stairs from the back. And when you see the platform and the sun in this like half circumference, it looks like the sun is rising, and you had died and you’re about to go to heaven. So I’m I was the first one out, I’m walking up the stairs. And I get to the last year and I trip my first step on Madison Square Garden trip Now, if you look at it on video you get a little kick. I didn’t fall
Sue Bonzell 5:03
right but I did trip. It was also God’s little humbling row here so. So you guys have a big tour plan you’re going to Europe tell us about the European we are
Gordon Brown 5:17
so excited. So this is the first time we’re taking Williams on or overseas and this music that we’ve been doing part of something called Light of Day, which helps to solve the problems of Parkinson’s, ALS and PSP. And we leave on Thanksgiving. So what more to be thankful for?
Reagan Richards 5:39
When we first got together, you know, obviously naming the band is so incredibly important because you have to love it, right? You’re gonna hear it all the time you’re gonna see it, there’s gonna be spanners, there’s gonna
Gordon Brown 5:51
be shirts, there’s gonna be everything. So we’re gonna do this, right? The name has really mean something.
Reagan Richards 5:56
We really, you know, how we’ll ask different artists, what was your What was your band, and they’ll give you a list of names that we were almost this moroseness never almost anything else. It was nothing else. William was my dad’s name. And then just said, Williams on it. Now, it’s really a tribute to both of our dads even though we use my dad’s name in the military, and both have passed away. They’re both such huge supporters of us. His testing was Bernard and Bernards honors did it roll off the tongue from
Sue Bonzell 6:28
my cover, Bernie, Bernie.
Gordon Brown 6:32
Always like to bring up the fact that it’s Williams without an apostrophe, because, right as plural. Not for Hank Williams, but that could be every month, right? It’s an every. Meanwhile, a lot of people affectionately call us GNR. Oh, okay, because of Gordon and Reagan. And because the fact we fight all the time, just like,
Reagan Richards 6:54
for sure we recalled Willie hope. Oh, boy.
Gordon Brown 6:58
Right. So we
Sue Bonzell 7:00
want to go with that one. But you know,
Gordon Brown 7:03
we’ll tell you the story. So during the pandemic, we did a little pivot. And Reagan said, Listen, you know, we love playing acoustic and coming up with arrangements. So let’s start this live stream. And she really jumped on it at the very beginning of the pandemic, because we leave our houses. Alright, well, let’s do this every week. Let’s see.
Reagan Richards 7:25
Not everybody it got to be a thing like towards, you know, the middle of the pants. everybody’s
Gordon Brown 7:30
awake. And she, she had the, I think people were gonna watch this. I’m like, No way. She’s like, I’m telling you, I’m funny. Or you’re really funny. And I and I’m like, Okay, let’s give it a shot. I know. And I said, we got together in her living room. And we started taking requests and coming up with songs and doing arrangements prior we’d rehearse the show, right? Just like it was you know, he on Saturday Night Live. We had skits and he’s
Reagan Richards 7:57
really right. So right before we’re gonna go, Master, we need puppets. He says. I said, I ran upstairs. I got a sock. It wasn’t even clean. I’ve got to tell you. Got sauce was
Gordon Brown 8:10
one of the characters on the show that show had character made two puppets.
Reagan Richards 8:14
One was him with a little gray streak. Do
Reagan Richards 8:48
G Pups became requested.
Reagan Richards 8:53
Looks just like Gordon’s so we had a thing where G Pups hero was going. Well,
Sue Bonzell 8:58
I’m looking at the G Pups is not here. Well,
Speaker 1 9:00
he is Nashville. This is one of our episodes. Oh, so we
Reagan Richards 9:06
his eyes kept popping up because I just taped them with duct tape. And I put his paper eyes on and so he’d be doing this and then I would start to pop up. So he came to make fun of his own ophthalmology to get an eye surgery.
Gordon Brown 9:21
One of the episodes he got his eyes. So our live stream in top 10 live stream right by Pollstar. No kidding.
Reagan Richards 9:30
Well, every week, we’d be in tough times post
Gordon Brown 9:32
dark stop ranking tours, there weren’t any. So they started doing live streams. And there we are with the author, Carrie Underwood, year
Reagan Richards 9:40
end 20 year and we were number 24. Wow. And we’re number 24 Because we’re up against Carrie Underwood, Miley Cyrus for one week, and then we’d be like number seven. I’m like Is this real life?
Sue Bonzell 9:55
They did not get my memo. I was doing hot tub happy hour. Bikini I love it. Oh
Gordon Brown 10:01
Gordon Brown 10:02
I wish somebody would have certainly worked perfectly or better fallen down.
Gordon Brown 10:09
Christmas trees, holidays. Oh,
Gordon Brown 10:11
damn, it knocked it down. Oh, everything’s great.
Reagan Richards 10:15
So this little dumb show that we thought was, you know, we do an episode or two lasted for the whole year, we ended up on this year end thing. And it was helping us build our identity and who we are as Williams on it. It was it was why we couldn’t put our second record. Right, right. But we would we would then give people the teasers of all the sites, so they got some safe. Love that one.
Sue Bonzell 10:42
Bad part of it. Yeah. Isn’t it amazing that I mean, for as, as messed up as the pandemic was in the shutdown and all the things, the things that came out of it, that you didn’t even expect? Yeah, like there’s got to be I didn’t
Gordon Brown 10:57
survive less. And people would give us more money.
Sue Bonzell 11:04
We’re still entertaining and your job is as an internship where you have talent they’re paying you for you’re charging an
Gordon Brown 11:10
admission price, right? People would Venmo and
Reagan Richards 11:14
incredible. Once we got back into the world, you can imagine that people were crying.
Gordon Brown 11:24
On the boardwalk, I’m walking down with boardwalks based on my backyard people come up be like I saw that episode with a Christmas tree fell and I’m like where am
Gordon Brown 15:00
On this actually divides the state into it actually does the north and the south which you don’t usually hear about New Jersey people in the North Pole Taylor ham are a telling tale. I can’t even say it because I’m not even you’re not allowed to people up north call it what are they? Taylor ham, right so down by me as Bray Park area in South Jersey puerperal egg and cheese. That’s the real name it now what is in there? So what you have here is egg, cheese of course. And pork roll. Now it is Taylor ham. Okay, which is the trick. That is why it’s a whole entire thing of what it’s called the Taylor. It’s the brand of ham.
Sue Bonzell 16:29
I see. Okay, now,
Gordon Brown 16:31
if you get this right, see this whole thing going on? You’re right, but yeah, oh yeah, that’s the trick. So this way it looks like flat. If you just put it in the pan without cutting that you’re gonna get bubbles.
Sue Bonzell 16:45
It’s not going to cookie. So I want to know, let you dig in. I’m gonna know how good it is.
Reagan Richards 16:53
Whoa. Oh my god. I’m enjoying this so much. Right? It’s perfect. Yeah,
Sue Bonzell 16:56
yeah. It’s perfect. Yeah, since y’all are busy. Yeah, that’s a statement, right?
Gordon Brown 17:04
This is I am probably one of the best judges of the sandwich. Okay,
Sue Bonzell 17:08
so it’s legit. We’re at Jersey, in Mount Juliet, Tennessee. You can come get the
Gordon Brown 17:14
perfect a jersey pork roll egg and cheese,
Sue Bonzell 17:17
roll egg and cheese. And you know, I’m from wine country? Definitely. I’m a wine snob. Like bagels. Yes, exactly. So and you have the right to be? Because we know, right?
It’s truth or truth. Well, it has come a time of the show to play my world famous game truth or truth? Are you ready? Very much. So
Gordon Brown 17:40
if she doesn’t tell the truth. Can I..
Sue Bonzell 17:42
Reagan Richards 17:45
What is the worst grade you received for a class in school? Or college? Well, okay, we’ll talk about college I had, I’ll tell the story. I’ve got a D in geology, because I never went. I never went. And what happened was it was one of those I went to I went to University of Pittsburgh for literally about a minute, maybe a minute and 10 seconds. I went and it was one of those big classes where there’s 300 people in there. This was a big, you know, big school, I only took geology because everything else was filled up. It was an elective. I’m like, Okay, I’ll take this, then I get in there. What am I doing here? So I never thought it was done a long day. And it was right in the middle of a long day. And I’m like, so easy to skip. So when it came time to have exam time, the night before, I met this really cute guy. And I’m like, Oh, my gosh, makeout with him was studying for the test. And I realized, I have no notes. I had
Gordon Brown 18:47
like two pages
Reagan Richards 18:47
of notes that were like random words like rock, you know, like, you know,
Reagan Richards 18:54
what am I going to study? I’m like, make out with the guys. I go and it’s, you know, multiple choice. And I’m like, Well, I haven’t used see in a while. Haven’t you seen that I started making these little things. And I kind of D because they graded on a curve. Oh, but I earned it. Because you know, I worked not going to that class. So okay, there you go. Well,
Gordon Brown 19:17
we have exact opposite. Okay. All right. So I was playing in bands. By the time I got to high school, my junior and senior year I was hardly going and like and I have to say my teachers were amazingly understanding and they were rooting for me. And like, you know, from day one in high school, the guidance counselor, what do you want to do my I want to play music and she’s like, Okay, we’ll see you next year. But let’s start thinking about what you’re gonna do. And my senior year she was I guess you’re really going to do this because I never wavered like junior and senior year like I could not make it until third period. I just could not get up because we were rehearsing and you know, that was my so by the time I went to one semester when I did go to college or community college Brookdale actually. And I took all music courses and I got A’s and then we got our first record deal. So I had the exact opposite experience,
and hence why, but I was very lucky to get through school. I mean, I mean, they ushered me out. Let’s go, go have fun. Go ahead.
Sue Bonzell 20:20
We’re like, Yeah, that music thing. Go do something with that. Okay. Yeah.
Gordon Brown 20:24
I was very fortunate, because high school was not, I wasn’t present. I’m
Sue Bonzell 20:30
always a little nervous. I
Gordon Brown 20:31
never know what’s. What’s the worst physical pain you’ve ever experienced? There’s a condition that runs in my family called gap. We put out our first outing, running with all my gear, we get to the Orlando airport Long story short, by the time I got to the rental car, something was wrong with my foot. And I’m like, something’s going on here. About five hours later, as we’re going to our very first radio station, promote our first single phone send it to me. I could not walk. And I’m driving the car, and I could feel tears while I’m driving. And I’m like, is there an alien eating my foot right now. So we stop at the drugstore a mile away from the radio station. She gets me a clean
Reagan Richards 21:17
A blue one and a pink one.
Gordon Brown 21:18
I didn’t care because I’m like, There’s no, I didn’t care what was going to happen, because we’re not going to go on radio tour. And I’m not going to afford to take my leg off. I’ll show. So we go to the first station. We walk in. I’m limping. And I’m like, Oh, my God, what is going on? What did I do? I called on my brother, my older brother. He goes up. Here comes and I’m like, You’re kidding. This is what it is. He’s like,
Sue Bonzell 21:45
does this mean you’re getting old? Sure
Gordon Brown 21:46
enough. And sure enough, I had gout, which they have an easy fix. How many
Reagan Richards 21:54
in your entire career as a journalist and how many times is gout been said in
Sue Bonzell 22:01
the first this is?
Gordon Brown 22:04
Reagan Richards 22:04
I think you’re probably right. Now we leave Orlando in the airport. And now he’s got all the stuff. We have to put him in a wheelchair. It’s so bad. I’m
Reagan Richards 22:14
diagnosed with him. Me. Like putting my roll him into the shuttle. And I’m like, I turn around and he’s gone. Because I did not put the lock on.
Gordon Brown 22:28
So she’s got me rolling knocking. Right. Like,
Reagan Richards 22:35
I would say the worst. The worst pain I’ve been has been more mental pain when I when I get on airplanes. So
Gordon Brown 22:43
on that same trip she was talking about we were getting on a flight. And it was one of the first times I really got to experience her anxiety on a plane.
Sue Bonzell 22:52
What a great trip.
Reagan Richards 22:54
I scream I mean, so if any of you guys out there.
Gordon Brown 22:57
I know in her head. It’s
Reagan Richards 23:01
because I know I know I can’t run on a plane. So I have to be contained. So my head just keeps doing I do all this thrashing. So if any of you guys have some tips for
Sue Bonzell 23:14
the trip for the trip,
Reagan Richards 23:17
because I will I don’t I will not stop living. That is that’s the key. I
Sue Bonzell 23:21
have one more set of cards. My cowboy wisdom. Oh, great. This one’s Wow, that one’s yours right there.
Gordon Brown 23:29
Okay. many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up. Do you want to say this?
Reagan Richards 23:39
How many times have you had a situation in your life where we’re so upset because this didn’t work out? And then something a month a year or two years later happens and you go oh, if that happened the way I wanted to have happen at the time, this wouldn’t have so you have to I always say you got to trust the process. You have to trust that this happened because it was supposed to
Sue Bonzell 24:02
Yes. Well, I want to thank you guys so much for having bagels with
Gordon Brown 24:11
time and like a greeting termez. How fun is that?
Sue Bonzell 24:17
I want to wish you guys good luck on the European tour. We make sure our fans are following you on all the socials and all things that keep an eye on you so much.