For almost its entire history, Catalina has attracted some of the world’s greatest performers, with the only apparent thing in common being a mutual bond of inspiration with the beauty and romance of this tropical island.
Even today, Catalina continues to provide the backdrop for the aspirations of its visitors.
For one such Long Beach family, Catalina Island has become a mainstay.
The Bierman’s family identical twins, Chad and Sean Bierman, have developed a strong bond with this magical island.
The Bierman Brothers, as they called themselves, have already developed a loyal following on the island, as music experts say their talent could, at some point, propel them into the mainstream of American music.
Even three years ago, experts were noticing their talent. “These guys are really something special,” said Norman Harris, appearing on YouTube at Norm’s Rare Guitars, a rock and roll shrine in Tarzana. “I wanted to bring these guys to your attention,” he said introducing Sean and Chad.
The two brothers are only 18, yet have been visiting Catalina, and performing there, since they were eight.
“Chad and I started going to Catalina around eight years old,” says his twin brother Sean.
“Our parents used to take us on our little ski boat in the early morning when the waves were flat so we could actually make it in one piece! We followed that trip by making it a point to go there at least once every summer, even visiting up to 4 times a year,” said Bierman.
They are relatively well known on the island, even for busking on the streets during junior high.
“When we were younger, in about 7th grade, we absolutely fell in love with Catalina with an epic week where we brought home $800 in cash from doing what we love – performing,” said Sean.
“That has been a big inspiration to us today as well as the island spirit which characterizes Catalina. I am also crossing my fingers that next summer I can rent a place in Catalina for a month or so, that would be such an amazing experience. Catalina is the best,” he said.
The two brothers are musical prodigies, having taken lessons since 2nd grade, and can now each play guitar, bass, drums and piano. As an example of their prowess, the two twins performed the legendary Led Zeppelin classic, “Stairway to Heaven,” in their sixth-grade talent show.
They graduated from Huntington Beach High School this week not only with exceptional musical abilities, but with straight “A”’s.
Despite their love of music, the boys’ mom Gabbie said this week the boys did not get a single “B” throughout four years of high school, having graduated with honors.
“We are so proud of them,” she said.
In the early days, the family took the ferry to Catalina but now, as they did over the the Memorial Day holiday this year, they cross the channel in their family’s boat, “The 6 Pack O’ Bier.”
Instead of busking, this time, the boys began this visit to Catalina by performing an impromptu concert on the back of their boat as other boaters quickly assembled into a floating audience.
According to Chad Bierman, this visit to Catalina was especially inspirational.
“Playing on the back of the boat in Catalina (on Memorial Day) had my spirits lifted to some of the highest they have ever been,” said Chad.
“The rays of the sun shining over the hills of Catalina in the afternoon, all the people partying, laughing, smiling, living their best life on vacation, it was a feeling of belonging and unity between all the people there and us,” said Chad.
“It was like making it to that special moment that you always wish you could go back to, that place that you wish you never have to leave,” said Chad.
Chad said, since performing at Camp Fox on Catalina during grade school, Catalina has been full of special memories.
“Over the years,” said Chad, “we have played all over the island, from Descanso Beach, to Pete’s Cafe, to Busking on the Boardwalk, to The Wrigley Mansion, meeting people all over the island and being recognized with our guitars on each of our backs.”
And in that Catalina tradition, on day two of this year’s Memorial Day trip, they moved on to other venues, performing a live show on the radio, then playing a set at a more traditional venue.
“On day two in Avalon, we performed outdoors at Pete’s Cafe followed by a live show on Catalina Island Radio, 88.7,” said Sean.
“Our friend Austin (Henry), who works at 88.7, scheduled a live “on air” and promoted our 2nd live boat show for the next day. The Catalina Island audience was super fun and outgoing, and we even had some guests from the audience join singing with us,” said Sean.
“We played some classic rock and party tunes, and ended the set with some originals, including our song, ‘One Way Ticket to Mars,’” he said.
“We can’t wait to play there on a bigger stage soon,” said Sean, even setting their sights on performing at the island’s iconic Casino if it ever “regains its fame as an epic venue.”
For now, the Bierman Brothers, managed by their mom Gabbie, say they are in discussions for a late summer, more traditional concert, although no plans or dates have yet been finalized.
On Friday, the brothers will release their original song “I Love You,” which showcases the Bierman Brothers’ old soul and foray into modern, yet retro rock. They say it will be available on Spotify and Apple Music.
While it was not specifically written for Catalina, the brothers say the song “I Love You” could have been, because “we love Catalina.”
The brothers say they are hoping that in the future, they will not only perform in Catalina, but will eventually create music they hope will entertain people around the world.