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Burbank native Brian Hogan ready to rock

Brian Hogan is ready to engage the crowd at Joe's Great American Bar & Grill.

January 13, 2014|By Jonny Whiteside
  • Brian Hogan, of the Brian Hogan Band, at Joe's Great American in Burbank on Thursday, Jan. 9, 2014. His next performance is on Wednesday, Jan. 15 at 8:30 p.m. at Joe's Great American.
Brian Hogan, of the Brian Hogan Band, at Joe's Great… (Tim Berger / Staff…)

Singer Brian Hogan is an old-school showman, an entertainer who blends hard-charging retro rock 'n' roll with broad theatrical flair. The Burbank native, who appears at Joe's Great American Bar & Grill on Wednesday, has developed a striking physical presentation, brandishing his guitar like a tribal standard and frequently leaving the stage, mid-song, to infiltrate and engage the crowd with a fast-paced series of unusual face-to-face exchanges.

Hogan's demonstrable involvement and almost confrontational audience participation have an invariably electrifying effect. The 6-foot-4 singer is a natural-born charmer with a rich, lustrous set of baritone pipes, and his signature forays onto the dance floor routinely elicit squeals of delight from his female listeners.

"I like getting the music that I've written over the years out there, but you've got to have that connection with the audience," Hogan said. "I played the Fox & Hounds in Studio City for so long — every weekend for what felt like 40 years — and there's no stage, everyone's right in front of you. So I just started going into the crowd, walking right through the audience. It makes me feel comfortable, to really connect with the people and enjoy myself."


His compositions run a wide thematic spectrum, from the dark and brooding (sample lyric: "she's a woman built to wreck your soul") to playful and frankly sentimental originals like "Lust Struck Fool" and "Here I Wait." As a vocalist and writer, he's anchored in American music's elemental bedrock.

"Johnny Cash taught me honesty, Elvis Presley taught me how to sing melodically, and Sinatra taught me how to live the word," Hogan said. "And I love Bing Crosby, that's an influence that came to me from my uncle, [actor-singer] Johnny Crawford."

"He used to make me mix tapes when I was a kid, and when I was about 16, he gave me one of Bing. I was immediately drawn to it, really loved it. I just soaked it up. In fact, I still have that cassette."

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