Thank you for taking time out for this! How are things going?
Things are going well. I just wrapped up about a two month run of shows that included two weeks off for a dislocated shoulder. It was good to get back on stage after having to cancel some shows due to my injury.
Please tell me a little about the band and what being a musician means to you.
Well I put my first EP Tired Of Trying out in November 2015 and spent the first half of 2016 doing an East Coast tour while balancing time in the studio for my full length album. L.A.’s Finest was mostly songs I wrote while being out on the road for Tired Of Trying. I think really being a musician nowadays with the way the whole industry has done a 180 is still being able to bring something fresh to the table. When so many people are doing what you do, you kind of have to keep everything from going stale.
Who are your musical influences? Was there a particular artist that had more of an impact?
I grew up on classic rock like Aerosmith, Black Sabbath, and Led Zeppelin. You just can’t beat that 70’s hard rock to me. The first artist to ever really grab me into guitar playing was Guns N’ Roses. Hearing Appetite For Destruction for the first time was life changing for me.
What inspires you as an artist?
I think what inspires me most is when you get the acclaim for something you’ve done and seeing somebody genuinely enjoy what you’re doing as an artist. When I’m on the road, I’ll take a room with only 10 people in it who are intently paying attention to your music over a packed house full of people who almost never even know you’re on stage.
Do you write music around lyrics, does the music inspire lyrics – or a little of both?
I’m a guitar player first and singer second. So a lot of my songs start off with me just messing around with a riff on the guitar. For the majority, I’ll even finish writing the music for an entire song before I start writing lyrics.
What are your thoughts on how new music is promoted now?
It’s awful. You have so many things getting shoved in your face nowadays it kind of starts to water everything down. It’s caused people to have such a short attention span with things that you have to show them something they’re not gonna get somewhere else right off the bat. I feel like the internet has such great potential to help the music industry but at the same time it’s the biggest downfall. With youtube and everything now, a song is basically non existent if it doesn’t have a music video to accompany it.
Has it been easy to stay motivated as you’ve grown your music career?
For the most part yes. Every time somebody comes up to you after a show and says you did a great job and they enjoyed it, when the crowds singing along, or somebody is sharing your music, there’s not a better motivator. You’re gonna have your bad nights and your bad crowds, but one good appreciative fan can change your mood instantly. In such a mentally exhausting field you have to remember not to dwell on certain things. There’s always better opportunities waiting down the line.
Have you had the opportunity to share the stage with any bands you’ve found to be particularly cool?
I’ve got to meet some cool people for sure. I played a show with Joe Buck who was the bassist in Hank III’s band. My band was supposed to open for Alien Ant Farm at the Whisky A Go Go in Los Angeles for their Anthology anniversary show but the whole tour got kind of thrown in the toilet right before we were supposed to leave Tennessee. One of the funniest things to happen to me was when I played at the BB King Blues Club in Nashville. Me and the drummer in my band, Tyler Thomas, were outside smoking before the show and I was a little intoxicated. I look up and Kerry King of Slayer is walking right by me and I kind of froze up and all I managed to get out was “Oh my god it’s Kerry King!” and he just kind of gives me this weird look and keeps walking. Definitely could’ve managed that situation better.
What has been the most exciting part about being a musician so far?
Just seeing myself grow as a musician every time i get on stage. You can’t beat doing something you love for a living. True happiness is being able to be proud of your work and what you do. All the cool experiences from traveling and all the people I meet have made every part about being a musician exciting.
What do you hope people take away from your music?
I would hope that they hear that it’s genuine. These songs are my life. When I get off stage I want people to think to themselves, “Wow, that guy just played his ass off the whole night.” I think people appreciate what you’re doing more when they see that you appreciate it yourself.
What are you most proud of when it comes to your music?
I’m most proud in my ability to not just be stuck to a specific sound or genre. My stuff ranges all over the place from soft stripped down songs like “Alone” to hard rock songs that punch you in the mouth like “Kick It” off of L.A.’s Finest.
What was the first album you bought with your own money growing up?
The first one I can remember walking into the music store and getting was AC/DC’s Live At Donnington album. I was about seven or eight and Angus’ playing just captivated me into the whole rock n’ roll experience. I think their the reason why I have such a love for just straight up hard rock. Getting to see them in Detroit in September with Axl Rose on vocals was definitely a big moment for me.
Who was your first concert?
My mom took me to see .38 Special open up for The Charlie Daniels Band in Pittsburgh in 2001. Charlie Daniels was actually the first artist i got really hardcore into, weirdly enough. When I was about five I had like four or five different cassettes of his and was constantly listening to “The Devil Went Down To Gerogia.”
What’s next for you?
I’m working on a lot of material right now. Kind of gearing up for the summer. I’d like to release some new music before the year is over but at the same time I’ve put out two albums in the past year and a half and I feel like they can achieve much more than they have so far. I’m constantly writing though and have enough material saved up for probably two or three albums.
Thank you again! What would you like to say to wrap things up?
I just want to say thank you to Rock Confidential for doing this interview and helping spread the Rock N’ Roll cheer!
March 15 – Knoxville, TN – Brandon Fields, Chad Elliot, Zach Russell, and Travis Bigwood – Longbranch Saloon