Brandy "Bones" Anderson-Bates was born in Fairbanks, Alaska, and raised in a tiny town named Florence, Montana just outside of Missoula. Her first instrument was the violin, which she started at a young age. She took up the upright bass while attending Western Washington University. There she was a DJ for the college radio station when she was introduced to string bass by her first band - the Whiskey Wailers. They became local favourites and while teaching herself to play and write they opened for many large touring bands, one of which was Big John Bates & the Voodoo Dollz. Moved by her performance Bates sought her out and invited her to join his group. With BJB Brandy had to polish her skills quickly, as one of the first shows she played with Bates was for over 10,000 people at Stemwede in Germany. Sink or swim -type scenario's make you learn fast.
She returned from her first European tour to receive a B.A. in Biocultural Anthropology then moved up to Vancouver BC. Big John Bates had ended the Voodoo Dollz band in 2010 so Brandy and John re-invented themselves as Alternative Noir. In 2012 they released two new Big John Bates albums on Rookie Records (EU) / Alternative Tentacles (USA). Since then Brandy has been touring extensively with Bates, now known for her fierce raw energy and gymnastic bass yielding contortions, using her bass as a visual tool to magnetize the crowd.
"I'm always inventing new performance tricks (secretly to 'one-up' the men in my musical scene) - partly for myself but also because it's frustrating when I hear people that pigeonhole female musicians. Often musical integrity or song-writing skills take a back seat to sex appeal instead of garnering credit or respect. People even come up to me in awe of the show we have just done and ask, "Is that (the bass) a stage prop?" Why those would even exist is beyond me but find me one and I'll light it on fire".
BIG JOHN BATES was appropriately called “one of Vancouver’s most notorious musicians” by Toronto’s Globe & Mail. They’re spinning Americana and dark post-rock into a sound they call Alternative Noir. “Battered Bones” is their 2012 debut album and follows the Headless Fowl EP, where they developed the soundscape between Brandy’s melancholy bow and John’s driven psych-blues guitar. The band felt one of the prime accolades they received was being considered for Tarantino’s “Django Unchained”.
Brandy Bones plays Hofner John’s gruff baritone mixes with telephone vocals while Brandy’s unhinged soprano takes flight into “soulful screams”. Their compelling live chemistry and blinding intensity rivet audiences across North America & Europe. Bates stalks the stage with confidence born from playing a thousand cities and Bones’ spell-binding presence has developed a true gymnastic flourish. JT Massacre’s huge drumbeats invoke echos of Bonham while his tympani literally shoots out sparks. And the newest member is Greg Gravy, using a mandolin to flesh out the darker side of melody and adding a three-part vocal harmony to the mix. As compelling as Big John Bates is acoustically, they are foremost as an electric powerhouse.