There’s many a country music artist known to savor an occasional day off on a lake, casting for bass. Musician Brian Schram is way past that.
After a stint as a co-angler in the Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Open circuit, Schram is so hooked on competitive fishing that he’s decided to turn pro in June for the 2012 Northern Open season.
Going pro is a logical step, he points out, because one Northern Open event this season will be on his home water, the Detroit River and Lake St. Clair, where he’s been fishing all his life and is a sometimes muskie, pike and bass guide.
He is not giving up any part of his career as a singer, songwriter, acoustic guitarist and recording artist. Yet he is finding more ways to combine his passions.
On Sunday, Feb. 26, his two worlds will come together in a big way when he performs at the Bassmaster Classic. He’ll take the Classic stage at CenturyLink Center in Bossier City, La., before competitors weigh their final-day catches.
“I’ve played for some hefty crowds, but never for 9,000 or so people who are passionate about bass fishing. I’m very excited about doing that,” he said. “I would rather be doing nothing else.”
Schram, a self-taught acoustic guitarist who plays and composes by ear, said his Classic performance will include his version of Ozzy Osbourne’s “Mama, I’m Comin’ Home.” It will be part of his tribute to soldiers, he said. He’ll also perform several of his “Rockin’ Fish Tales” songs. His newest such collection, “Rockin’ Fish Tales III (Back In Bass)” is due out this spring.
He describes his music as “pop-Southern-rock.” It’s a style he arrived at after delving into Jimi Hendrix rock and B.B. King blues — “and jazz, heavy metal, country, you name it. I had such a passion for all kinds of music, that I learned how to play it all,” he said.
He claims his vocal talents were inherited from his amateur musician father, who brought his 10-year-old son along on local gigs in rural Michigan to stand up for a song or two.
“I’d finish singing and say, ‘OK, so where’s my money?’ People thought it was so cute, I’d make like 50 bucks,” Schram said. “But I never took lessons, it was just a fun thing I did. What I wanted to do was play the guitar, and that’s what I’ve been known for. But you need to do both in this business.”
His first big break was playing for Uncle Kracker after being “discovered” by Kid Rock, who caught him at an open mic night in Traverse City, Mich. He also has toured with his solo band, Schram, on Motley Crue’s Crue Fest 2 and other national rock tours.
Fishing fans at the Classic might recognize Schram from TV fishing shows. He’s been a guest of Mark Zona on Zona’s Awesome Fishing Show, and of Dave Mercer on Facts of Fishing. Schram’s also appeared on the TV shows The Next Bite and Waters & Woods, among others.
Fans will also remember Schram from the Bassmaster Open stage. Like any other co-angler competitor, he got to take the stage when he caught fish to weigh. But if Schram didn’t made the final-day Top 12 cut, he often stuck around another day and broke out his guitar. Before the anglers weighed in, he entertained the weigh-in crowd and those watching at Bassmaster.com.
He didn’t like missing the cut, but then again, he liked playing for the people at the Open weigh-in.
“I love competitive bass fishing just as much as I love to play my music,” he said. “The feeling that I get going up on stage with a good weight is equal to how my heart gets pumping in playing for a crowd, getting them going and cheering.”