By Ellen Eldridge, Editor-In-Chief, and originally published as a featured interview in the November 2013 issue.
Acceptance of personal freedom, accountability and integrity are the qualities founder of The Great Southern Brainfart, Don de Leaumont, portrays. He tells it like it is and never apologizes for liking what he likes. His music reviews are pure to his sense of musical style, and this makes his followers kindred spirits because de Leaumont doesn’t pander to anyone nor does he need money to propel his dream of being a music journalist.
The photo above appears on de Leaumont’s personal Facebook profile. He describes the matter-of-fact meeting of one of his favorite icons.
“After having a couple of drinks at the hotel bar, Lizzi and I were walking to get some dinner and I saw Iron Maiden guitarist Janick Gers across the street just kicking it solo,” de Leaumont said. “He saw a huge group of maiden fans walking toward him so he just ducked his head and kept walking, and nobody noticed him. He turned the corner and we followed him up this dead-end street and I just casually said,
‘Excuse me Janick, I don’t wanna bug you, but I just wanna say thank you for all the music you’ve made with Maiden and Bruce over the years.’
According to de Leaumont, Gers just stopped and smiled. Lizzi then said to Gers, “It’s his 40th birthday today and all he wanted to was to see you guys tonight, and, honestly, I think you just made his day.” That’s when Gers said,“Well then let’s get a photo with the birthday boy shall we?”
“So for those of you afraid of getting old or slowing down, THIS is what 40 looks like. Pretty fun huh?” was the way de Leaumont wrapped up his story. He writes his blog in the same way, where he cares about the content more than the technical aspects of writing (see his website banner and tagline above). The Great Southern Brainfart is a personal blog, but it’s done with such sincerity and pride that the website averages hundreds of daily hits.
“I average about 300-500 hits a day at this point, but I feel that people who come to this page do so because they truly enjoy the content of it,” he said.
The Great Southern Brainfart began in 2009, after de Leaumont and his wife moved from North Carolina to Atlanta. “Mrs. Brainfart,” as Don has referred to his wife and partner, accepted a job that afforded him the opportunity to follow his dream of writing.
“I’ve wanted to be a hard rock/metal writer ever since I was a teenager reading RIP Magazine and watching Headbanger’s Ball in the late 80s and early 90s,” de Leaumont said. “Lonn Friend and Riki Rachtman both made it look so cool and I aspired to be those guys.”
Though the heavy metal interviewers inspired his blog, de Leaumont didn’t want to be just a person asking the same questions that every interviewer asks.
“I loved those those two guys,” de Leaumont said about Friend and Rachtman, because they always seemed to not so much interview bands as engage in a conversation with them.
“The bands seemed to really like those guys and even treat them as friends somewhat,” de Leaumont said.
Experience proves over and over that those who get into a business because of a pursuit of passion are the most likely to succeed, and de Leaumont’s blog The Great Southern Brainfart is no exception.
Engaging with and conversating with the musicians that most rock his face inspired de Leaumont to write. He writes and performs his own music and has the perspective to genuinely talk to musicians about the creative process, what it takes to make an album and how to react to fans.
“I just got started doing album reviews and concert reviews,” de Leaumont said. “I would then email them to band’s labels and PR people, and, eventually, I started getting emails about covering other bands’ shows and albums. It just steadily grew into what it is now and it continues to grow slowly but surely.”
As far as monetizing his website, de Leaumont has no interest in it because he simply doesn’t need the money, and money was never the reason for doing what he does. The website comes from a point of passion for music and passion for sharing his thoughts; de Leaumont stays true to this idea and keeps his niche content without targeting a specific audience. He writes about what he wants, hoping to help local as well as national acts.
“I feel that if I started to monetize, then I have to start dealing with advertising, money, business and I would much rather put that energy into developing content and giving my loyal following good shit to read.” de Leaumont said.