"If you can write great songs, if you can perform great, if you are a great band, there’s nothing that can hold you down." - Rick DeJesus
September 09, 2018
Fargo, ND - The Sanctuary
You guys just performed a show full of energy, you could see the crowd feeding off of you and you off of the crowd…What was that feeling like tonight?
Tonight, it makes me want more. I want to come back and headline. I like headlining energies better, I get to play more songs that people love. I think that it’s a special reason of why we are who we are. Headlining adds another dynamic to who we are as artists and songwriters. I think the magic tonight was fine, but tonight was a little preview of just getting a couple more new fans so when we come back through and headline, we can play a little longer and really put on the show we want to put on.
We didn’t really get to put the show we wanted to put on tonight. That requires time on stage, sound, making sure you sound right. When you’re throwing and going, you just got to go out there and have fun.
What have been some of the most magical moments throughout your career you’ve had while recording or writing a song, or playing live?
Outside [of that], the birth of my children. That to me, is first and foremost the best– I don’t really want to call it an accomplishment, moment in my life. Outside of that, I would say, I want to be in this era, I want to be one of the best songwriters and singers representing just music. I don’t even care about Rock, honestly.
Rock abandons artists very quickly. I don’t meant to say that, but it does. It doesn’t– I don’t feel like the community is great. I have a couple of friends who look out for us and we look out for them in this business. Outside [of the business], the fans. The fans are music fans. When I go into a record, I don’t want to just make the best Rock record, I want to make the best music record. I would like to try to compete to a level of achievement that’s as high as anything that’s out there now.
Rock radio turns it’s back on artists. I mean, it’s not supporting so many great bands. There are so many great bands that the radio doesn’t support. So, I think fuck the radio. Any stations that are supporting us, obviously, they know how I feel about them, I love them. If there’s someone that we’ve been working with for years, I’m not going to generalize them. But there’s a lot of shitty-ass ***** out there on the Rock stations. They’ve got to go.
You need to support bands! At the end of the day, if you find a band that’s great and there could be many of them, you support the scene. When you’re not supporting the scene, you’re going to get overthrown. You’re already getting overthrown. People discover us through Spotify and people discover us through different ways. The radio is becoming just another small, tiny piece of this. They should shape up and start becoming more supportive of great bands.
You guys are kind of rebelling in the industry. You even mentioned tonight on stage, you have your own record label, 1 million listeners on Spotify – you did this all on your own, it’s a way of going against the grain.
It’s going against– you know, it’s tough to say you did it on your own because I do appreciate every teammate I’ve had along the way. One thing I don’t like is, you don’t have to be worrying, as young artists, you want to feel a little more sense of security, you want to know if this is something you can do for the rest of your life and I think there’s more ways to support that. I think it’s very important for artists to own a bigger piece of what’s going on because you work really hard. The message I’m trying to send through success is, if you can write great songs, if you can perform great, if you are a great band, there’s nothing that can hold you down. You’re always a song away from knocking another barrier down.
I know that people were just– I don’t know what they were expecting from us coming off of the Stuck album. I knew what I was expecting of us and it’s going to be writing hit songs. I want to be known as one of the best songwriters of this generation. That’s what my end result is of where I’d like to be.
That is very, very inspiring. I read that you guys are in the process of working on a new album?
We’re always working on a new album. Writing to me isn’t like something I have to sit in the dark and think about, I love it. I love what we do, I love to write songs, I want to give fans songs that I create because I know I was born to create songs. I want to spread positive messages to people where I can, I want to spread love. I also want to spread a level of sexiness. There are so many aspects of music. I think enough people are already dealing with negativity in the world, so I don’t want to make records like I thought I wanted to make when I was younger. I don’t want to go out there and make a record that sounds so much like 90’s Rock and Nirvana. It was too sad and melancholy and it lead to people believing in that lifestyle. I want the scene that we’re a part of to be uplifting to people, to be if someone’s feeling down, you listen to one of our songs, you get an attitude.
That’s what Guitars For Vets is all about, our message is the power of music – the healing power of music, like when you’re in a dark mindset, music can bring you out of it.
Of course. You’ve got to listen to the right music though. There are too many people who are like, you’re feeling down about yourself and the song is about falling deeper into a hole. As much as I love some of the melodies and the singers were great, it’s just– the message to me, I want to step back and not spread that type of message in my songs. So, I’m going to go for something different. That’s their life, that’s their path, that’s why my band is different from what other bands are doing… I know who we are and I know what we want to do.
You mentioned how you don’t want to make records like how you thought you wanted to make…How do you feel you’ve evolved as an artist since the start of your career?
I’ve grown up. I’ve grown up – I still get pissed off, so every now and then you’re going to get that song. There are some people out there that are unreasonable in the world. The world isn’t just a perfect place; that makes it a bit of a struggle. There are people out there that really do try to make your day difficult and your life more difficult. So, I write songs about that. Usually my angry songs pertain to life, the frustrations of life. Breaking out. Sometimes you’ve got to break it’s chains, sometimes you’ve got to rebel against the norm. I don’t know, I’ve never just let people program me, I’ve always felt what I’ve felt. And a lot of my music is about being who I am and also bringing that out in people.
So it’s honest. One of my most favorite questions to ask is what is it that makes your music honest? It’s inspired from the DimeVision video where Dimebag is talking in the mirror with his video camera, he was talking about the honesty music has, how it’s real and raw, when you hear the imperfect things that you end up loving whether it be live or–
Are you talking about the live show?
Or even on an album…
With a live show, you don’t know what you’re going to get. It’s unpredictable, you don’t know what you’re going to get. And that’s what makes it great to come to a show. It’s a fun night out, anything can happen. Anything can happen at a show, at a Rock show. Rock shows are fun. I’ve been a part of Rock shows for 11 years and you think I would be here if I didn’t love doing what we do? I love doing what we do. When you’re young, you can bitch about some of the things going on, it was just me trying to figure out who was in my way and who wasn’t. But at the end of the day, this is the best job in the world for me. My daughter wants to do this for a living, I encourage her to do it because it’s fun. The shows are fun, the performances are fun…Like you’re saying, there are moments that people remember forever, I think is what you’re saying. Your voice cracks, something happens, you see the tide turn — I see the tide turn every night, I see when we headline shows, it gets bigger and bigger and bigger and bigger every time we come back somewhere – and that’s the goal.