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No Casino

May 31, 2008 by  
Filed under Spotlight Bands

ncmainWhere did the band name come from?

Greg: When I was in college, the people I lived with and I had a dog, and it’s name was Cassie. When we all moved, none of us could take her, so we had to give her up to the Lowell Humane Society. But anyway, we had a last party to celebrate the time there, and something spilled on the floor. This may not be Internet appropriate. Could be a substance. And Cassie went for it, and buried her nose in it. So our last memory of our dog is getting all messed up on stuff that someone threw on the floor. Someone said “No Cassie, No!” It sounds like No Casino.

How did the new band form?

Drew: It just kind of came about. Greg and I started writing some tunes together and just decided to start jamming with people. He had been living in California for a while, so I just got some guys together. I didn’t know Tucker, but we were fortunate enough to find him for bass, and that was kinda how it started. We all just wanted to play and have a new thing.

Any major influences that you think might reflect in your music?

Matt: We all come from different backgrounds. We share a lot like we like, but Jimmy Eat World is a big one I think, Muse, Mute Math, a bunch of current stuff like bands that we’ve seen and we like. There’s some other stuff, but we haven’t gotten into the whole full discography. Any good rock stuff. Ryan Adams is another one that comes up a lot. Not Brian Adams from Canada, this isn’t the summer of 69 is it? A bunch of that stuff.
Drew: I don’t actually listen to music, I get all my inspiration for songs from stand up comedy CDs. * laughter * I’m the only person in America that reads all their spam, every day.

 

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No Casino Live at Kiss Concert 2008

 

You have some demo songs on your MySpace, but how soon can we expect a debut EP?

Drew: Good question. We aren’t really sure yet. We have a quick demo that we burned out to hand out here for here, because we want people to listen to the music and stuff, but as far as a formal record, I think we’re still trying to formulate our game plan and figure out exactly what we want to do. The potentials there, everybody’s really into it, but now that I say that everyone’s going to quit, but we’re having a good time, so we’ll see what that takes us, but right now we don’t have any plans to really go back into the studio.

Who is the primary songwriter for the band and how do the songs come together?

Greg: We just downloaded them all from this site. * laughter* but yeah, Drew is the main song writer, I figured I’d give him some credit. I mean, I wrote all the good songs, he has all the other stuff. Typically they’re about relationships and coming of age and learning who you are.

I really love the song “Social Suicide” that’s up on your Myspace page, can you walk me through it musically and lyrically?

Greg : * breaks into guitar riff from the beginning *
Drew: “Social Suicide” is actually a special song for me. It was the first one I wrote after the old band broke up. Me, personally, I had a very defeated personality at that point. I just really wasn’t ready to get back into it and start the whole music thing again. Actually, it’s all about being shut out from your circle of friends that you’re used to being with all the time and then all that gets ripped out from underneath you. You’re aware of it, but you just keep plowing ahead for what you want to do. The whole phrase “social suicide” is that you’re fully aware that you’re actions might be harming you with the people that you’re tied into a relationship with, whether it’s friendship, boyfriend/girlfriend, whatever, but you’re going for your goal and not giving up on it.

What sets No Casino apart from other bands out there?

Greg: I think what sets us apart, is musically like The Strokes or Interpol, but we have a good male pop vocalist, which is rare for that kind of genre. So we try to mix good pop male vocals with good kinda like garage rock.

How does it feel to be making your debut at a big radio station concert like Kiss Concert today?

Tucker: I think it’s good because as a new band we don’t really have our name out there too much. It was nice to have a big audience that has probably never heard us before. It’s great being able to expose your music to people that wouldn’t have heard it otherwise, especially when you’re a new band.
Drew: And it was fun!

Who would be your dream band to play with?

Tucker: Saves The Day.
Greg: Radiohead, that’d be great.
Drew: I’d really like to play with U2.
Matt: Jonas Brothers, that’d be cool. * laughter * but I might side with Drew on this one, U2.

 

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No Casino Live at Kiss Concert 2008

 

What is your ultimate goal as a band?

Drew: We are still kind of figuring that out. We want to stay busy.
Tucker: Get rich and have sex with lots of anonymous women. * laughter *
Drew: In addition to what Tucker said, I guess, I think as a band, I think everyone really digs playing music, and rocking out, and having sex with anonymous women. I think the ultimate goal, at least from my standpoint and conversations I’ve had with the guys, would be to continue writing and playing and taking it to the next level. If we could keep going up the ladder, and make a living doing this, that’d be awesome. I think any band would say the same thing, you know?

What are your thoughts on the current music industry?

Tucker: I actually like what’s going on with the music industry in general right now, because even with the success of the vast internet that’s out there, is you can be insanely popular without ever getting signed to a label. You can put your music out, people can hear it, and you don’t have to grind it out in shitty clubs and have some label discover you. If you put out good music, people are gonna hear it, and that’s what matters right?

Describe your music in two words.

Greg: Byte proof.

Any last words?

Drew: I’m really psyched to have a really cool debut at a big venue in the area. I kind of feel like the sky is the limit. It has nothing to do with the music, nothing to do with the connections or anything like that. it has to do with the fact that twice a week, every week, everyone shows up to rehearsal. Everybody’s into it, and it’s very refreshing, and byte proof.
Greg: if anyone’s reading this that is the owner of Cassie, take care of her. She likes to get scratched under her left hind leg, alright? God be with you. And thank you!

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Check them out on MySpace

Bo Bice

May 23, 2008 by  
Filed under Interviews

bomainFor Bo Bice, his new album See The Light is his coming out party.  While many music fans were introduced to Bo through American Idol and his follow up debut release The Real Thing, that was just a preview of things to come for this Southern born rocker.  Describing the writing process for See The Light as a pure sense of freedom, Bice was compelled to write a diverse set of tunes that really gets down to his roots.  He felt free to experiment with a broad range of sounds and styles without feeling any pressure from the powers that be, the album is 100 percent Bo Bice from start to finish.

Released on his own label (Sugar Money/StratArt Records) Bice is definitely putting it all out there.  He realizes the benefit of the exposure that American Idol brought him but the rest of his success he had to chase on his own.  Luckily for him, music is what comes naturally.  While the album definitely gets down to basics and draws from his influences of classic rock, it also boasts of some funk, some soul and of course good ole fashioned Rock n Roll, more than anything else you can tell that Bice loved writing this record and when you can permeate that kind of feeling through song, you’ve successed.

Bo Bice recently took some time to talk to TWRY staffer Stacie about the album, about his journey getting to this point and about his life outside of music…

Interviewed by: Stacie Caddick-Dowty | May 2008

On your latest release “See the Light” you claim that this is the genuine Bo, or the REAL Bo.  While I totally understand what you mean by this, explain to our readers in your own words what you mean by that, and what this album means to you.

The latest release “See the Light” is a genuine Bo Bice record.  I had a great time making “The Real Thing” it was a wonderful record.  We did great with sales.  We worked with wonderful producers; you know Clive Davis and RCA.  But, it was more of a pop oriented record.  “See The Light” is more of the root-sy, back to basics thing that people recognize from Idol that I did, that southern rock style more than anything.  Really it’s an accumulation of everything I’ve listened to from Allman Bros, to Lynard Skynard, Black Crowes and Jimmy Hendrix and Jim Croce.  It’s a melting pot of those influences, that really over the years, these songs have just kind of were acquire because a lot of those folks. I felt like getting back to the more genuine side of what I do.

It’s no secret that you were sort of bound by RCA and Clive Davis on your first album.  I don’t want you to think I’m looking for you to bash either, but I’d like you to comment what it’s like being an artist and having others try to fit you into a mold of sorts.

Right, I think for the most part it’s no secret that that isn’t the album that I would have made, but I think also when you get into the music business you give up some control to people who at times might have more knowledge than you.  Clive Davis is great at creating acts and creating hits on the radio, and knowing the write song writers and producers to use.  I definitely wouldn’t consider the time I spent with RCA a battle or anything, I was very happy.  I learned a lot from the producers I was able to work with like Desmond Child, Marty Fredrickson, Cliff Magnus, Chad Kroeger, Josh Hanks and all these folks.  I learned a lot from that.  There is a lot of things you give up when you are signed to a major label if you are a creative writing artist.  I think if you want to have hits, and have somebody guide you through your career then that is a great avenue.  I definitely would never bash them, because they’ve made great hits.  I haven’t been around for decades making hit records and Clive Davis has been responsible for several different avenues for people’s careers.

My favorite CD review quote from Blogcritics.com: “A little Lenny Kravitz, a little Lynyrd Skynyrd and oh what the heck, throw in a little Bon Jovi for good measure. Stir in a pinch of southern fried chicken and a shot of Jack Daniels and voila, you’ve got yourself a fresh serving of steaming hot Bo Bice.” – Clever eh?

That is pretty clever.  Not a bad review, I don’t mind stuff like that!  There has been a lot of influences over the years on me, and I don’t take credit for any one sounds or movement… it’s just hearing what I love.  I just amazing that I get to work at my dream every day!  It’s a blessing and I’m blessed to have great fans that make comments.

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Purchase Bo’s Album now here

Speaking of reviews, everyone has their opinion… but, I’m wondering if you read the reviews, and if so how do you take the good and bad and keep yourself from gauging your own eyes out?  Do you get caught up in it, or do you try to stay away from it?

I try not to read too many reviews.  I see them on my website.  On bobice.com we’ve got a pretty open fan base and we’ve got an interactive site.  They get up and post the reviews, the good and the bad, and for the most part the worst review that we’ve gotten was a guy that compared me to all these acts that I’ve loved, like the Black Crowes and Lenny Kravitz and Jimmy Hendrix, and Bad Company.  So at the end of the day I think he was trying to do a bad review but it was really more of a compliment.

I was gonna say yeah… how can you take that as bad?

*laughing* to even be put in that caliber with those acts… I try to take everything as constructive criticism.  It doesn’t mean you start changing the way you do things cause you get criticized a certain way and say I’m not going to do that again.  I think it makes you more mindful of how to be tactful with people when you say or do certain things.  At the end of the day you don’t have to be PC all the time.  Last time I checked we lived in a free country, so there are good and bad reviews and at the same time I try not to put too much weight on the good ones or the bad ones.  When you start believing in your own press, that’s your own downfall.  Pay attention to what the fans want and what the people who buy your records and support you at your shows and things like that. Those are the people that count more than myself or anybody else.

There are music critics and fans out there, who might judge you based on the fact that you were on American Idol, which is more of a pop artist machine of sorts.  Or might judge you based on your first CD.  What do you have to say about that?

I think one of the cool things is that adversity is what drives us as artists.  That doesn’t mean shoving something down someone’s throat or to take retaliation towards people.  I don’t run from Idol because I’m proud of it and it gave me a career.  Do I want people to recognize Bo Bice for what he does?  Yes, every artist does.  Part of having a music career…If the Lord blesses me enough to have a long career in music…there will be plenty of time for people to find out what I’m about.  I think if I were to run from it, it’s be bite the hand that feeds you, cause a lot of the people who watched it and got me here, still admire that show.  I credit them for giving me my career and getting me to this level.  Yeah, I want to try to win people over with my new music but for the most part I’m proud to be part of the alumni of American Idol.  I think once people get to know Bo for what he really is… just like the other week when I performed on Idol… it was the first time I’ve been able to go back and do one of my originals.  They invited me back and gave me the pulpit for a minute to show the same Americans, who got me where I am, the new side of Bo Bice.  Some might look at it as a double edged sword, I just look at it as positive environment when I get to go back and see my family there at Idol, cause they are, they are like family.

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Sugar Money is your own label in partnership with Strategic Artist Management.  What is it like running your own label, how has it helped you in your musical endeavors?  You know, regarding time constraints, paying artists, studio time, creativity… I would assume it opened up more freedom.

Sugar Money is my label; I don’t have any partners… I did partner up with Strat Art to do the last album “See the Light”.  I have an independent label that I run.  We’re not a huge Fortune 500 company; we’re grassroots as it can be.  I own my own studio now, Rockhound Studios.  I’m able to write the music I want, record the music I want, produce.  Those aspects of owning your own label are great.  There was time that I caught flack from people who said “This is never going to work!” or “You’re doing to much!” For me, just having the freedom to be a dad and a husband, and make the music I want… it’s been liberating!  I think it shines through on “See the Light”.  Hopefully on the next project, which I plan on putting out through my own label also, I’ll be able to revisit that kind of freedom.  I would like to delve into different aspect that I haven’t touched yet, like maybe, some acoustic album stuff or throw a couple of covers on there.  Do things that I really want to do and the only person that I really have to convince at the end of the day is the guy with the pocket book.  So that is when we have relationships with other labels, marketing places, distribution deals, and licensing deals to where they want you to either invest in Bo Bice as the product has been handed to them or they don’t.  So when you get someone to invest in your album or license it, they’re interest is vested in you.  That is better than someone handing you a paycheck and saying “Here’s your chunk of money!” There is more of a risk that you take financially, but the pay off outweighs the risk.  Once you start chasing the dollar the artistic side of this really goes out the window anyway.  The greatest thing to me is having that flexibility to now turn down or accept certain things.

Being that you wanted this last album to be more you, are you taking that notion as sort of your future mission regarding other artists you may come to work with?  Have you worked with other artists helping them produce and record their OWN music?  Helping them stay true to their selves and talents?

Yeah it is something that I’ve entertained.  I’m kind of using myself as the guinea pig, trying to find that template through what I do.  To make sure that is going to be a successful venue for artists that I come to work with.  I don’t really have the mindset like some of the labels… you find an act…the best song, or the best act, or the best thing… and then you throw it up against the wall and whatever sticks you say “Give me three more!” My mindset has been more towards putting out quality music, like Black Crowes, like Willy Nelson, like Lynard Skynard when yes, you are putting out good music, but your fans are going to come back cause they loved YOU.  Once you have that kind of impact on people then you are truly able to live out your dreams. SO, I would want to pass that concept down to any artist that I work with, that it’s about staying genuine, working hard, creative artist development that really don’t even get dealt with anymore.  It’s like a one or two record deal and your gone.  So yeah once I’ve got this figured out on myself and we’ve got a good track record, then yeah we’ll bring on other acts, and teach them how to survive in the music industry.

Ok so years ago you used to hear about artists moving to L.A., nowadays we are hearing about Nashville.  Bon Jovi tripped to Nashville to write and record their last album too.  Tell us about the music scene there, and why you chose it.

Well it’s a great music scene.  I came up to Nashville from Alabama because it was as far north and west as they’ll ever pull me.  Being from Alabama, I’m a southern boy!  I was here over a decade ago trying to make it as a songwriter and lived in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, so this is really home town turf in a sense to me.  The music industry here (I’m just going to use the word industry) has changed here so much.  You’ve got television and film here.  Most videos that Nashville folk shoot are done here in Nashville. Writers.  Producers.  It’s always been a great haven for great players.  I think it’s really had it’s moment to shine in country music but now it’s cross pollinating into things like Rock and Roll, some really heavy rockers are here and Hip Hop folks.  It used to be L.A., New York and Atlanta… now it’s L.A., New York, Atlanta and Nashville.  It’s a nice place to be and a friendly environment for artists, producers, players, to all mingle and pick each other’s brains without having an outside project that’s been put together by an outside entity and then say see you later.  It’s more of a relationship based thing around here.  You make friends and you help each other out on projects.  So that is more of the vibe in Nashville.

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Ever go online to wikipedia.com?

I’m not as computer savvy as I should be.  I’ve gotten good at doing video for my website… I can google.  *laughing* I’m kind of LOST!

*laugh* So you’re not Geek Squad like me?

Noooo…

I hit on it while doing my research and that site has every little fart you’ve ever made!  I’m surprised your address and phone number isn’t on there!  Do you ever feel invaded by all the information that is out there about you?

I’m not surprised!  There are positives and negatives in the business about that.  I guess I don’t feel too invaded.  You set yourself up, by being in the public eye.  The best you can do is grin and bear it.  The part that gets me is that I’ve lived a colorful life.  I haven’t always been the greatest guy and I’ve definitely never been an angel.  SO there is a good and the bad and it all sort of lives out on some computer screen somewhere.  I guess the only part that I don’t dig is something that I did years ago that people find out about.  It made me who I am.  You run across folks that want to dirve that stuff into the ground with you… but other than that to be honest it’s pretty freeing.  It’s cool that people know everything about me.  A lot of times I find out more about what I’m doing through my fans!

You’ve been involved in quite a bit of charity over the past few years.  You have an appearance coming up with Ride for a Cure benefit; tell me how you choose what charities you will be involved in, because I’m sure you must get asked with great frequency.  Is it something that has to hit on a personal level or is it more of a time allotment?

It has to do with a little bit of both.  Some things are personal.  I always try to do things with St. Jude’s and cancer research in general, the Autism Society, the Safe House, Women’s Shelter… different things that I hold to my heart.  Then there are other things like this ride and a bowling tournament coming up, we do those because it is more of the time allotment and what I can do when I’m not doing a show or traveling, or doing press.  When I can fit it in, I try to do it because I feel like I’m lucky to have the popularity that I’ve got, and if we can use that to further the cause of any of those charities, awesome.  It’s the best way I can give back, with my money and my time.  The Lord blesses me with a great career and it’s time for me to give back.

We wish you all the best in your musical career and your family.  Thank you for taking the time to speak with us today!  We’ll have to come check you out when you are up this way in CT in July!

I’d love to see ya’ll there!  You stay warm up there!

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Bo Bice on MySpace

Bo Bice Official Website


Chris Henderson of 3 Doors Down

May 20, 2008 by  
Filed under Interviews

3dd2It’s not a big surprise to anyone that shortly after it’s release, the latest album from 3 Doors Down, aptly titled 3 Doors Down, has already secured the number one slot on Billboard charts. After all, their last album did as well in 2005.  The first single “It’s Not My Time” quickly became a radio favorite before the album even dropped but that was just a small taste of what the album has to offer.  With their fourth studio album and these guys seem to have writing an epic rock album down to a fine art, they understand what music fans are starving for and they’ve delivered it up on a silver platter this time around.

Already out on the road to support their latest gem, guitarist Chris Henderson took some time out of their busy schedule to talk to us about the new album, the new tour, and what has happened in his life between then and now.

Interviewed by: Mary Ouellette | May 2008

Why the decision now, this far into your career, to name the album 3 Doors Down?  What is the significance to you?

I think we did it because this was a difficult record to make and everyone really contributed and dug down deep to put these songs together.  We hit a brick wall a few times which is never a good thing but we worked through it and kept on digging and figured it was appropriate to name it 3 Doors Down.

The band took about a year off before working on the new album, how important do you think that break was?

I think it was key, I really do.  We have pretty much been working since 1999 non-stop and we tried to take a year off but didn’t quite get a year.  There was always something going on.  We tried to take some time off and then go in and write but we had to pick up a show here and there to keep the lights on.

To write the album, the band bedded down in a farmhouse in Tennessee living there for awhile to reconnect and get your creative juices flowing.  What was that experience like for you?

It was pretty cool.  The house we rented out was like an old cellar with a fireplace in it.  We all lived upstairs and the downstairs kind of became the hangout.  It is really easy to create when you’re just hanging, when you’re not going to work every day. We were far enough from our homes that we couldn’t go home every day but we were close enough so that if we wanted to go home for a weekend we could.  We were just out of reach of all the craziness that goes along with rock and roll.

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So did you guys just roll out of bed and start writing or was there some fun involved?

Well, we’d say we were going to start at five and then we’d start at eight and go through until sometimes two or three in the morning, it all depended. We had a rig in the house and our sound engineer is a pro tools master and he can run it and I can run it and between the two of us if someone needed to record something we could do it at any time.  It was cool.

The first single “It’s Not My Time” has been doing very well, do you think it gives music fans a good indication of what the entire album sounds like or is it more of just a small taste?

It’s nowhere near the whole sound of the record; it’s basically just us reintroducing ourselves.  We wanted it to be a good song and represent 3 Doors Down but at the same time we wanted to let fans know that there was something else coming, so that’s why the guitar sounds are so edgy, in my opinion anyway.

And the video for the single actually just debuted and has some really cool things going on in it, can you tell us a little bit about it?

The video is pretty cool; we’ve never done anything like it before.  Instead of setting up in one or two locations like we would normally do and be shot at those locations we set up in eight different locations and it was kind of guerilla style.  Literally the band would get out of the van, run and grab our instruments real quick, play one or two times then back to the van and off to another location.  One time we actually shot in a skyway in Cincinnati and didn’t have permission to be there so the guys holding our guitars where hiding in our clothing racks and then when they’d yell action they’d hide again.

So did you get in any trouble for being there?

Nah, they were cool with it.  We just didn’t have permission.

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“She Don’t Want the World” has been called one of your most unique songs to date, can you tell us how this song came together?

Basically it’s just a song that developed electronically more than anything else.  We tried to do different things to it to make it something else but we really just couldn’t, it is what it is.  It’s not really a 3 Doors Down full blown performance, there’s one or two guitar parts and the drums are programmed, it’s really different and something we’ve never done but I think it was something that we had to get out of our system.  It came out really cool and we’re proud of it.

The band has always supported our troops and you’ve even contributed a song to The National Guard called “Citizen Soldier” which made its way on to the new album, can you tell us how your partnership with The National Guard came to fruition?

The song was written in response to 9/11 but as you can imagine the lyrical content wasn’t fit for radio.  The National Guard asked us to write a song for them so we did, changed the lyrics and used the same music.  It’s worked out great, we are very proud to support the troops.  Regardless of what your politics are, and mine are nobody’s business but I do support the troops.  They don’t have a choice; they aren’t doing what they do for the money.

Your last album debuted on Billboard charts at #1, which is hard to beat.  Does that add any pressure with this new album or is it more of a “been there done that” kind of feeling?

Well of course we want it to come in at number one but who really knows.  Record sales are so weird now, what does it really mean at the end of the day?  Another plaque to hang on the wall?

So no pressure?

No, I just want to be successful; I don’t care if we’re number 1, number 5 or number 10.  It’s all about sleeping at night to me.

From the first day that the band came together until this very day, what has been your proudest moment as a member of 3 Doors Down?

My proudest moment and I’m sure there are other times when I’ve been just as proud, but after Hurricane Katrina hit we were able to do some really cool things for people that were affected by it.  Not just once, several times, and not the same people, different people.  One of the things we did that I was really proud to be a part of, the city of Waveland, MS was basically wiped off the face of the earth.  The whole city was devastated, not just a few houses, all of the houses, not just a few buildings, every building, all the schools, all the hospitals – gone.  They didn’t have any infrastructure at all, they didn’t have any fire trucks or police cars, telephones, computers nothing. The fire department was basically sleeping on a cement slab that had just been under ten feet of water.  It was filthy.  They are trying to rescue people from the destruction and working twenty four hours a day trying to get people out alive and they didn’t even have a place to sleep.  One of the coolest things that we’ve ever done is we bought them a fire truck.  It wasn’t a very cool one but it was functional, and they still own it.  We bought them three police cars and some computers so they could get back on their feet and we gave them our tour bus for a month so they would have someplace to sleep.

So did you rig the police car and fire truck sirens to ring a 3 Doors Down tune?

No but I guarantee I’ve got a get out of jail free card in that town.

And you were personally affected by Katrina as well so it’s pretty admirable that you were looking out for everyone else while you went through your own hardships..

It was really a nightmare.  It really did hit me.  I couldn’t even get into my house because of the filth and the muck.  I started in my garage and it took three or four days of just cleaning.  I had been on the road for basically two years straight and hadn’t seen my kids and my family and that’s what I came home to.  My family evacuated but we went from living in the home where my kids were born and grew up to living in a travel trailer and not even on our own property because it was condemned from the salt water and the fuel and and all the bodies floating around.  It was just crazy.  We had to live in Alabama for three months and I drove back and forth each day to clean.  One day I just lost it.  I was sitting in my house and the emotions welled up and I couldn’t control it.  It was one of the worst experiences that I’ve ever had, I’ll say that.

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Well, I think it’s great how much awareness the band has brought to the issue through your charitable events.  The band started The Better Life Foundation and has raised over 2 million dollars since you started it. Can you tell us a little bit about that?

Better Life is what made the fire trucks and police cars possible. To this day we still take a dollar from every ticket sold and Monster Music donates ten dollars from every one of our live DVDs that they sell.  Its money coming from all different places, The National Guard and AIG are big contributors, people really care.  It really worked out.

I know you have your own signature guitar out now through PRS Guitars.  I read a story that a fan sent in to the band where he told about you playing his guitar during one of your shows before giving it back to him.  I think it’s these kinds of things that really give fans a deep appreciation for what you do.  With the level of success that you’ve experienced how do you not let it go to your head?

I don’t know any other way.  That’s one of the reasons I play PRS Guitars because of the way that the company is and the way that I am and the way I want my kids to be.  It’s all relative, be real and true and have a good time and really there’s room for everyone to have fun here.  And I think about how cool it would have been when I was a kid if my favorite guitar player played my guitar on stage.

Forget about when you were a kid, even now that’s pretty awesome..

Yeah exactly.  I gave Garrett Robinson one of my guitars to sign and he played it, not onstage, just backstage in the dressing room but still it was so cool.  This was before I had my signature but I said that if I ever was lucky enough to get a signature guitar I wanted to be a nice enough guitar where someone could go and purchase it in a music store and go right into the studio and work with it, I want it to be that kind of instrument so PRS made that kind of instrument for me.  The guitars they built for me are the ones they sell, it’s the same thing all the way through and it’s really unheard of but I just wanted to prove it to people.  So if anybody has one and they want me to play it bring it on out!

Purchase the new album

Yeah I might buy one myself now just so I can get you to play it on stage for me!

I’ll sure do it.  It’s going to sound great, it’s a great guitar, as a matter of fact, it’s a masterpiece!

What’s the one thing you look back upon now with regards to the music industry and think “if I only knew then what I know now?”

All kinds of stuff. If I knew that downloading was coming I would have tried to prepare for that.  Downloading has slit some throats in this industry, guys like us don’t feel it as much as the little guys do but there are bands that don’t exist because of it now.  They don’t have a chance.  When the business changes it takes years for it to come around and for people to get their feet back on the ground.  There is lot of good bands out there that people are never going to hear now, a lot of broken lives.

The rumor is that there will be a summer tour with 3 Doors Down, Staind and Hinder, can you confirm this?

Yes.  We’ll be all over North America, it’s going to be a good time, and we’re looking forward to it.  I can’t wait!

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3 Doors Down Official Website

The Rationales

May 19, 2008 by  
Filed under Spotlight Bands

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I’m going to have to start off by asking a really clever question: What’s the “rationale” for the band’s name? (Sorry, couldn’t resist.)

Dave: Actually, we just really wanted to be filed just before RATT in the record store bins. Problem is, by the time all was said and done, there were very few record stores left, and less still that carry RATT.

Why should TWRY readers check out your debut EP, “The Going and The Gone?”

Dave: It’s relatively short and sweet, so it’s a limited investment for the listener. If you like it, it’s 20 minutes of music you can listen to over and over and get deeper into… but if not… well, it was only 20 minutes. That’s less work than eating a Bit-O-Honey.
Kevin: I always love to hear an EP of a band before a full album. I think it’s the best way to introduce a band to the world. In our particular case, I think that on first listen, you’ll have a couple of tracks grab you and have the melodies get stuck in your head for a couple of days. But after a few listens, you hear a lot more and have an appreciation for the overall depth of the songs.

Did you have an overall concept for the EP in mind when you began the recording process?

Dave: In all seriousness, it was quite a journey, both for the project and the band. When we started recording, we were still a three-piece — Brian on drums, Matt on bass, and myself. We cut the basic tracks and were aiming to just do a short, quick demo to use to get gigs and recruit a keys player and a second guitarist. As we recorded more and more and Kevin came on board, it was clear that it was going to be better in quality than a demo. So we shifted focus and began looking at it as a great representation of what the band does. Then we asked some friends to contribute parts, quit recording at home, and booked some studio time to finish it off.

 

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Take us through a few of your favorite tracks on the record.

Kevin: “Guardrail” is the first one that comes to mind. I think it demonstrates a lot of what we’re after. There are lots of layered guitars and strong melodies — some atmospheric sounds going on. It’s probably the best lyric on the album too. “Far Away” and “On the Vine” are favorites of mine as well. Again, there is lots of instrumentation on both tracks, and stacks of vocals that we all took part in, both in the studio and now, onstage.

What’s the songwriting process like for the band?

Dave: It’s an evolving process — which I like. We started out on this EP with the batch of new songs that I was working on at the time. So, more or less, I’d bring in the song — and we’d work on an arrangement as a band. As people have come aboard and we’ve all gotten comfortable with each other, everyone in the band is now sharing their writing. Brian has a bunch of songs that we’re starting to tap into, and Kevin, Matt, and John all have great tracks that they’re taking turns fronting the band on. So now, everyone is bringing in what they have. The next step I’m looking forward to is getting to the point where we’re sitting down writing together collaboratively.
Kevin: It’s interesting to be in a band where everyone can write. Expect a KISS-esque string of solo albums by 2012.
Dave: That’s actually what the Mayans were warning about.

The Rationales’ sound has been described by some as power pop. Would you agree that that’s accurate, or does it seem like too neat of a label, considering your many other influences?

Dave: I’m happy enough to have anyone notice the disc that they can label it whatever they want. We were initially surprised, because we think of ourselves as more rootsy rock — but power pop is such a broad term, we’ll take it. We don’t mind the idea of being accessible.
Kevin: I agree. I was a bit surprised at first to see and hear that categorization. But at the end of the day, it’s great that people are responding well and liking the tunes.

 

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I know that before the band came together, Dave had been recording solo cds at home for quite a while. How has he adjusted to being part of a group effort? I mean, when you’re singing lead, does he glare at you resentfully?

Kevin: Dave’s songwriting is really impressive. He’s very diligent in that he finishes his tunes and brings in fully realized ideas. He doesn’t leave off that last verse or mail in the bridge on anything. But, like he said, everyone is writing now, and it’s really cool that we’re able to do that. We all look to Dave for approval on anything that we bring in… and I think we’re all 100% comfortable on getting that nod of approval. Most importantly, I get more of a jealous scowl from Dave when singing lead.
Dave: Hey! I didn’t approve that answer!

Pretty much everyone in the band is a multi-instrumentalist. Was it difficult deciding who would play what role?

Dave: Initially, we spent 6 months looking for a keys player who could play keys as well as our bassist could. Once we came to the realization that our bassist was the keys player we’d been looking for, we moved Matt over to keys and brought in John (Maloney) on bass. It pretty much just fell into place. We don’t really switch off too much, as we want things streamlined live.  It’s more in the studio where things stretch out — Kevin on piano, Matt on mandolin, etc. There will be shows from time to time where we’ll all rotate off of our primary instrument, but in general, we do what we do.
Kevin: It’s definitely a luxury to be able to move around and do different things. There’s a chance that we’ll add some lap steel guitar fairly shortly, and that could shake things up for a song or two. Matt could probably play a French horn if we put it in front of him.

Please describe what fans can expect from a Rationales show in three words. 

Dave:  Earnest. Sweaty. Terrible banter.

What do you enjoy most about playing live? 

Dave: The movement of energy between the band and the people in the room, and the feeling that comes from having what you do hopefully be a positive part of someone else’s night out.

Does the band have any special pre-show rituals?

Kevin: Working out the logistics for getting gear and people to shows has been trumping any thoughts of starting a ritual. Unless we can consider beer a ritual. Beer is good.

 

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Meeting what artist would reduce you to a swooning fanboy?

Kevin: Most of my idols are reclusive, curmudgeon types. The others are dead. I bet Bob Pollard is fun to hang with though.

What do you feel are the biggest challenges facing a new band such as yourselves?

Dave: Just grabbing whatever small share of people’s attention they can spare. The rock scene is supportive and great. People will notice you when you cross their paths, and will like you if you’re doing something they like. But breaking beyond that to find a way to bring yourself to the attention of the other people out there, who don’t have time to go to rock shows on a regular basis and who might like what your band is doing if they heard it and had time to absorb it… that’s the tough part.

What’s The Rationales’ number one goal for 2008?

Dave:  Personally, I’m happy to see us continue to have the fun we’ve been having playing together and to continue to grow creatively. I love the way it sounds when we’re all in a room or on a stage making music together. In terms of the band’s progress, I’d be thrilled if at the end of the year, more people know about and like our music than at the end of last year.
Kevin: It’s really just about getting as many new fans as possible. I think we’ll be playing as many shows as we can in front of diverse groups of people. We’re all pretty excited about the latter half of ’08.

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The Rationales on MySpace
The Rationales Official Website

Gunnar Nelson of Nelson and Scrap Metal

May 12, 2008 by  
Filed under Interviews

nelsonOn April 26th Scrap Metal played to a sold out Wolf’s Den at Mohegan Sun Casino to what has seemingly become their hometown crowd.  Since Scrap Metal’s inception, the band has played at Mohegan on several occasions and each show seems to surpass the show before in energy, passion and of course kickass special guests.  Scrap Metal, the brainchild of Mark Slaughter (of Slaughter) and the brothers Nelson (Matthew and Gunnar) is a mix and match all star lineup of amazing vocalists singing their smash hit songs while the all star band backs them up.  On this particular evening fans would be treated to the hits from Slaughter and Nelson and then from special guests C.J. Snare of Firehouse, Jimi Jamison of Survivor and Jeff Scott Soto, Journey’s recently departed frontman.  The crowd was treated to an array of Journey, Survivor, Slaughter, Nelson and Firehouse songs and to top it all off a Queen encore.

For those of you who have yet to experience the phenomenon that is Scrap Metal, think about your favorite mixtape coming to life, walking out of your headphones and hopping on to a stage, right in front of you.  That’s right, all of your favorite songs by all of your favorite artists, all at the same show!  It’s a lot to take in but for Scrap Metal, word of mouth is starting to pay off and people are starting to get it, really get it.  It might not be too long before The Scraps come to your town so start preparing now!  It’s definitely been a labor of love but considering the fun these guys have on stage at every show, none of them consider it work.

With other big news on the horizon including an upcoming Nelson tour with Firehouse and Great White (Nelson’s first tour in FIFTEEN years!), Gunnar Nelson took some time pre-show to let us pick his brain about Scrap Metal, growing up Nelson, and all things in between.

Interviewed by: Mary Ouellette | May 2008

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Doug Brown of Safetysuit

May 12, 2008 by  
Filed under Interviews

safetysuitSometimes life’s most precious lessons can be learned in a song. Nashville based quartet SafetySuit knows this better than anyone. On May 12th, their debut album Life Left to Go hit stores. The album is titled after a song on the disc that talks of suicide and encourages listener’s not to ever give up, it is just a small glimpse into the consciousness of this band. While the lyrics may carry a message, the melodies sure pack a punch. Radio ready hit after hit flow from track to track on this album with each song a little catchier than it’s predecessor.

With the first single Someone Like You already eating it’s way up the charts and becoming a fan favorite, the band is excited about what the future brings for SafetySuit. The name, definitive of the solid friendship among the band members and their ease with one another is a constant reminder of how well they get along and how much that contributes to their overall creativity. While this may be your first introduction to SafetySuit it likely will not be your last so sit back, open your ears, open your mind and enjoy…..

Interviewed by:  Stacie Caddick-Dowty & Mary Ouellette
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Phantom Planet – Honda Civic Tour 2008

Phantom Planet
Honda Civic Tour
May 11, 2008
Bank of America Pavillion – Boston, MA
Photos by:  Mary Ouellette

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Andrew McKeag of The Presidents of the United States of America

May 11, 2008 by  
Filed under Interviews

pusa2During this election year, it’s comforting to know that we Americans have three solid candidates for president. That is, three solid candidates for president of The Presidents of the United States of America.

Yes, Chris Ballew (vocals, basitar), Jason Finn (drums, vocals), and Andrew McKeag (guitbass, vocals) are each campaigning to be declared the official leader of the Seattle-based band — check out www.pusa2008.org to cast your vote. Of course, the election, exciting though it may be, is only the second best development for PUSA fans. That’s because the band is back with a stellar new album, “These Are The Good Times People.”

The record is The Presidents’ first release since 2004’s “Love Everybody,” and features the band’s patented, oh-so-contagious “joy pop” sound first made famous by the dual smashes “Lump” and “Peaches.” With the release of the album, Andrew McKeag officially takes over on guitbass from Presidents’ co-founder Dave Dederer, who was seeking more time with his family.

Recently, I had the chance to talk with McKeag about the new album and other Presidential matters. I have to admit, before I even spoke with him, he had already won my vote with a stirring promise in his online campaign commercial: “I support awesome.” I mean, how can you argue with that?

Interviewed by: Heather Kobrin | May 2008
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Panic at the Disco – Honda Civic Tour 2008

Panic at the Disco
May 10, 2008
Boston, MA & Wallingford, CT
Photos by:  Mary Ouellette

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