CSU Alum, Flobots Brer Rabbit reveals ‘streaking’ past

Stephen Brackett, aka Flobots Brer Rabbit performs at Colorado Disability Pride Festival at Colorado State University, Sept. 7 2013. Photo by Anne-Marie Kottenstette
Stephen Brackett, aka Flobots Brer Rabbit performs at Colorado Disability Pride Festival at Colorado State University, Sept. 7 2013. Photo by Anne-Marie Kottenstette

Stephen Brackett, also known as Brer Rabbit, of the Flobots is famous to many for music, but among some circles at CSU he is famous for a very different reason. Brackett began making his unique mark on the world while still in college, through his formation of the CSU Colorado Streaking Society and other clubs.

Brackett said he believes his education has played an “instrumental” role in what he does today.

“When I came to CSU, I found that CSU has this unique opportunity to let me try things,” Brackett said. “I really made hip-hop a priority while I was out here. I actually formed a club called the Hip-Hop Culture Club, and it was mainly a celebration of hip-hop culture. It started off with a bunch of us break dancing and the club went from eight nerds in the gym to 300 people practicing to spin on their heads and hurting themselves in unison, it was a beautiful thing.”

Fort Collins seemed to have a special place in the heart of Brackett as he recalled many memories about his college days, such as living in Durward Hall his freshman year. He also conjured up a memory of beginning the CSU Colorado Streaking Society. The society conducted one main event a year that included streaking on the night of the first snow.

“When the first snow happened, we went down to the quad and four of us knew that we were going to get naked and the other seven didn’t.” Brackett said. “So I had us of all get together in a circle in the quad and I was like ‘this is really important to me, I just wanted the people that were closest to me, that have done very special things for me, to be here with me when I tell you this and what I want to tell you is…’ and at that point in time I pulled off my Addidas snap pants and threw off my shirt and just started running. The other four did too and just by pure, positive peer pressure so did the rest of the people.”

Brackett also recalled a mission of the society that culminated a lot of interest.

“What we planned, is for one of the members during the lecture to run into the class butt naked, wearing a gas mask. I remember just looking at my watch just counting down to the time. Then, when it happened it was amazing. It was a room of about 500 people just totally silent as my friend came running in, walked over to the professor, put his arm around him, jiggled his parts for a second and ran back out. There was utter silence for about five seconds and then everyone busted out laughing. The professor was in tears he was laughing so hard.”

While it is important to have fun, Brackett emphasizes the importance of school. He believes that an education at CSU gives you the opportunity to learn things that go beyond the classroom.

The Flobots, and alternative rock/rap band, has received international acclaim for its songs, including hits such as “Handlebars” and “Stand Up,” which are backed with meaning and philanthropic ideals.

Brackett majored in philosophy while attending CSU.

“A lot of us have educational backgrounds,” Brackett said. “I also used to teach middle school and something that we found as artists is that singing songs about people’s power or telling them that they’re powerful is only 20 Percent of the effort. It is not sufficient enough to cheerlead, so we ended up creating a non-profit.”

Brackett and some other members of the Flobots founded and contribute to Youth on Record, a 501(c) (3) non-profit that started in 2006.

As Youth on Record’s website states, “we believe that young people – those who are both at-risk and written-off – have the potential to turn their lives around. We are committed to bringing our proven methods of empowerment and behavioral modification through music education to youth in Colorado who need it the most.”

Brackett said he believes “It is hypocritical to grow up in a musical environment and expect it to continue without any support.”

Brackett also offers this advice to any student that wants to pursue music as a career: if you stay committed and take yourself seriously, you will stand out from the rest.

“It is fine to be your own worst critic, but do not stop making music,” Brackett said. “Always create, and if you are having a hard time with lyrics, then come up with a beat. If you’re having a hard time with the beat, come up with a melody. And if you’re having a tough time with all of that, then sit down with someone that is making music and make music with them. The most important thing with all of this stuff is dedication and that comes through practice. So keep on doing that, and show up on time.”

A basic goal for everyone in college is to get a job once you graduate; it is even better if you happen to love that job. Bracket loves his job.

“My favorite thing to do is after a show is talk to the people who came to the show,” Brackett said. “That’s my favorite thing about this career period.”

College Avenue Reporter Nicole Beale can be reached at collegeavenue@collegian.com. Get your issue of College Avenue, on racks now!