Episode 111: Brandin Lea still moves with the swagger of the guy who fronted the bad-to-the-bone ’90s alt-rock band Flickerstick. In 2001, the Fort Worth band became a reality TV sensation on VH1’s Bands on the Run when they self-destructed in front of a national audience while competing in a marathon battle-of-the-bands contest. Substance-fueled train wrecks make for great TV, however, and Flickerstick won the contest and inked a deal with Epic Records. The band continued to build momentum with a single, video, and concert dates that included a gig with the Cranberries. Then, 9/11 hit. Lea and the band were set to play a show that night and release “Coke” as their next single when the Twin Towers tumbled. The music biz cratered, too, and Flickerstick’s momentum faltered. Years and tours are hard on bands, and Lea and gang blazed out soon enough. He followed next with The February Chorus, but that boozy project sent him on a cycle of well chronicled crashes and burns, hospital visits, and rehab that finally led him to sobriety. I followed Lea’s crazy life through the years by reading stories in Fort Worth Weekly and elsewhere but never met him until last summer. He works as a stage engineer and soundman at area venues, and he ran sound at several gigs I played at Lola’s Trailer Park. Lea jumped on stage with me one afternoon to harmonize while I was singing “1979” by The Smashing Pumpkins. He is incredibly knowledgeable and helpful, and he taught me a couple of really useful things that no other sound engineer had ever shared. Friendly, funny, and charismatic, Lea’s mesmerizing frontman persona remains intact and ready to rock. One of his recent livestreams at MASS drew 16,000 viewers. Thanks, Brandin, for stopping by the office for psychoanalysis, Dr Pepper, and to take the lead on Smashing Pumpkins while waiting out the pandemic. — Jeff Prince