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Arthur Leaps In


After relocating to California from the Midwest, singer and songwriter – not to be confused with ‘singer-songwriter’ (see below) – Arthur Autumn, aka Brent Nuffer, saw his music career leap like a surfboard in a top-turn. Before he made the trek to Hollywood, living in a part of the country with a serious lack of ‘music scene’ proved to be challenging – but Nuffer made the most of the little he had, working with a band called Studiotone and crafting his own projects even as those around him were giving up or falling back on playing jukebox standards in shifty bars.

“Things were changing (where I lived) at the time, and the people around me were changing,” Nuffer explains. “Music venues were choosing DJs, or cover bands, or just shutting down. Record stores were closing. It was really heartbreaking to watch, and there was just no longer an outlet to grow. It was a small box.”

While Nuffer still feels a certain sense of loyalty to his roots – he even meets with Studiotone back in the Midwest a few times a year to play ‘reunion shows’ – he visited California back in 2005, and something spoke to him and his musical sensibilities.

“As I knew it would,” Nuffer chuckles. “I always felt I had the West in me somewhere.  It was just a matter of time before I made the move. I still feel for where I came from, and the struggles – and I’d like to help more in the future where I can – but at the time, I was looking for something more. I’ve already played the Viper Room and The Roxy, shot a video in the desert, and found an amazing band out here.”

Make that a couple of bands. In addition to his musical work under the pseudonym of Arthur Autumn, Nuffer is also frontman for a heavier, blues rock-focused outfit, the Barbarian Overlords, whose name sounds direct out of World of Warcraft and who offer a Black Keys-meets-Pearl Jam sound.

Barbarian Overlords have just released their eponymous debut set and its debut video, “In a Rush to Meet the Queen,” even as they’ve begun writing songs for their second album; meanwhile, Nuffer’s new Arthur Autumn album (his sophomore effort under that moniker), Sir Orchid and the Magnificent, showcases Nuffer’s more mellow, Beatles-influenced side and his solo ability to invent characters that inhabit the storylines of his songs, which may result in yet another onstage character for the multifaceted musician: that of Sir Orchid himself.

“Arthur is also my middle name, which was my grandfather’s name,” Nuffer explains. “I just didn’t think ‘Brent Nuffer’ was a strong enough name, and I had no interest in being pigeonholed into the whole singer-songwriter world – it just seemed so blah to me. So Arthur Autumn was simply my way of trying to get away from all that. It also seemed broad enough of a name to be able to change musically within it. Interesting that you should mention the origins of Sir Orchid,” he continues, “I never really thought of it being another name to go under – I don’t think it would be nearly as exciting as Ziggy Stardust, but I like the thought of it – you may have created a monster!”

Whichever name he chooses – much like an actor switches roles – don’t you dare ask Nuffer to give up any of his projects, as he says they each bring different and necessary things to his musical work.

“In the Overlords, it’s a band,” he explains, “we all work together, to compose and perform, and it feels amazing to have a band of brothers on stage with you, that energy and the dynamic of working with others. So it is different in that respect. But the Overlords are really supportive of what I do on my own (as Arthur Autumn et al) as well – in fact, they backed me for the Arthur Autumn record release party at The Viper Room late last year, which was quite an honor. So it’s all manageable, with a bit of discipline – although it got tricky when I was writing for both bands at the same time. I really started to think I was losing my mind – and I may have been!”

But, to state a band-interview cliché, it’s all worth it when Nuffer takes the stage.

“I adore performing live,” he says, “it’s probably my favorite aspect of all that I do. You do all that work when you write it, and record it, and then when you play live it’s like a celebration between you and the audience and the band. Performing live as Arthur Autumn and performing with the Overlords are totally different – but that connection with all the people in the room (either way) is a wonderful feeling.” – Kristi Kates

For more info about this Band to Watch, visit Arthur Autumn’s official website and Facebook, as well as Barbarian Overlords online.