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Insights from Band Manager, Todd Forcellina

Interview With Todd Frocellina
Insights on Managing a Rock Band

I’ve always been as interested in music as I am in writing; and in the summer of 2012 I thought I would do my best to combine my two interests. At the time, there was a lot of buzz surrounding the Polk county based band, Chasing Thrill, and I knew I wanted to write about them. Through a friend of a friend, I was able to meet the guys in the band and we hit it off pretty quickly. I knew that I wanted to write a piece on the band but hadn’t decided what exactly it was that I wanted to write until I learned that the band was about to make a road trip to New York City to stay with their manager and play a show at the legendary Gramercy Theatre.

During the trip, I met Todd Forcellina, Chasing Thrill’s band manager and was instantly fascinated with the way in which he managed the band. Todd was precise and calculated in everything he did, but he never forgot to have fun. I think I was most surprised to see how much work goes into making a band successful. It was when I met Todd that I learned that making good music is only half the battle to becoming a successful band.

It only seems natural that when I sat down to compose an interview for RARASFARM, Todd would be the first person I would turn to with questions about the rock industry.

(Q) What first got you into managing bands?
(A) I have been on the performance side of the business since I was 16. But I have always had an interest in the industry itself. One of my best friends who had been working for a major label asked if I would be interested in starting a management company with him to see if we could help bands along this very difficult business to navigate; something we never had when we were trying to land a deal.

(Q) What are some of your responsibilities as a band manager?
(A) When a band doesn’t have the luxury of multiple departments at a label taking care of everything, my job basically includes doing EVERYTHING except performing! It includes booking shows and trying to gather interest in the band from venues to booking agents who can help spread the fan base. It includes working on merchandise, promotion, and just being a general cheerleader to make sure they are doing everything they need to do on their end like, practicing, writing , promoting, performing or even getting enough rest.

(Q 1) Can you list some of the bands you have managed?
(A) Sure, International recording artist PJ Pacifico who I also drum for, Chasing Thrill a band out of Orlando, The Third Rail, a cover band and a new band called The Broadcast Hearts out of Connecticut, who we are looking at possibly taking on. They produced a very unique video that has gotten some great response.

(Q) How would you describe your personal relationship with the bands you manage?
(A) They are like my family. The bands that I have played in personally are still to this day my best friends. The bands that I manage become like my own kids. I have had multiple bands stay at my home for weeks at a time while they are out on tour in the East Coast area. I am honest to a fault with them always telling them exactly how I feel. Sometimes they listen, sometimes they don’t. I guess it is no different than having real kids.

(Q) What advice would you give to someone looking to start managing a band?
(A) It is a lot of work! If the band is looking to get farther than just playing the local scene, it should be someone other than the friend who can’t play an instrument, so he or she decides to be the manager. It is a rewarding job but you better be able to multi-task and be able to deal with different personalities. Also, be able to deal with record industry types who are generally looking to try and take advantage of hungry young kids. I would say a must read for anyone looking to get into this part of the industry is “All You Need To Know About The Music Business” by Donald Passman. It was given to me to read before I started out and it is invaluable.

(Q) A lot of band members look up to legendary performers. Are there any legendary band managers that you looked up to?
(A) Sure first one I can think of is Brian Epstein who managed the Beatles one of my favorite bands of all time. Also I would say Bill Aucoin who managed KISS for many many years. Today there is Doc McGhee who has managed everyone from Bon Jovi to Motley Crue to KISS. They are very successful at what they do or did and are just in the spotlight enough, but not so much to take away from the artist they represent.

(Q) I know you’ve worked closely with the central Florida based band Chasing Thrill. How did you first discover that band?
(A) My partner in Blitz Management has a relative from their hometown. She had told us that there was this popular local band and wanted to know if we would be interested. She then sent us the CD and press kit and we kind of took over from there.

(Q) Once you discovered Chasing Thrill, what attracted you to them?
(A) I will never forget, we listened to their debut EP “Promises” in my partner’s office. It wasn’t like the music was so ground breaking or different that we thought this band was a no-brainer, but we could not get over how well the songs were produced with having no backing from a label, plus the vocals were so strong, the melodies and hooks were unbelievable, the guitar playing and drumming was so solid, plus they had “the look”, the look of a band ready for the road. My partner went to go see them when they were in the Connecticut area. He told me that Josh (the lead singer) was sick and that the sound system in the club was awful and that they didn’t sound that great that night. But he did speak to the entire band after they were done and he felt they all had the right attitude and there was something there we could work with. When they got back to Florida at a venue they played all the time, we flew down to see them. The place was packed, the kids knew the words to every song, the band was super tight and sounded incredible and the energy in the room was undeniable. We knew we wanted to sign them and within a month we did. The problem with Chasing Thrill was that I think they thought because one of their managers was a big deal at a major label it was going to be a walk in the park signing a label deal. That is not the case. It still takes hard work, building a fan base and constantly writing new material until something sticks. At some point in time it became apparent that we wanted it more than the band did, and when that happens you can forget it. They are still to this day some of the most talented kids I know and the songs are still what I listen to on a regular basis. I just wish they could all take their heads out of their you know what and realize that they had something very special.

(Q) What role does social media play in band promotion?
(A) Social media is HUGE. I will be the first to admit I don’t know all the ins and outs of the latest things that media has to offer. Once again when a band gets on a label so much of that is taken care of for them. Hell, back in the day when I was playing 3 or 4 shows a week there was no Myspace, Facebook, Twitter. No Pandora, iTunes, Youtube….NOTHING. We would sit around a coffee table in our band house printing out flyers and spent days driving around town hanging them up everywhere to promote our gigs. We would print up hundreds of postcards that had our gig schedule on them and stamp them ourselves spending all our money on hundreds of stamps to send out to our mailing list! To get a label to listen to you, you had to actually send you material to the label in hopes that someone would listen to it and not just throw it in the trash or a pile with hundreds of other cassette tapes. It has changed so so much. It is so much easier now to build a fan base, but that is still the most important thing for a band, maybe even more than the quality of their songs, is building that fan base so a label can’t ignore you.

(Q) Fill in the blanks with words that you believe describe your overall experience working with rock bands.
(A) Satisfying, tiring, fun, enlightening, and rock n’ roll.

(Q) I think there’s a general belief that front men are prima donnas. Any truth behind that?
(A) I guess. I can only say that with Josh (Chasing Thrill) he needed the most attention. He is a strange guy for sure, but a real sweet guy. I still believe he could be one of the best front men in rock if he would just go for it.

(Q) Would you rather have managed Guns n’ Roses or KISS? Why?
(A) KISS. I could not deal with all the drugs that came with Guns. KISS had in the past a couple members who had issues with drugs and alcohol but for the most part Gene and Paul just always had a vision and never lost focus on what they wanted and how they were going to get there. Don’t get me wrong, GNR was a great band and I am sure would have been fun to manage as well, but KISS are more than a band, they are a business, a franchise and have taken what started as four guys from NYC starving to make it to becoming basically a part of the American fabric. Think about it. There is nowhere you can go in the world and if you show the KISS logo or the makeup that someone doesn’t know who it is.

(Q) I know that you recently had your first kid. Has that affected your band managing at all?
(A) Having my son Jett has made my life complete. He is already a little rock and roller. The only thing that it has affected with anything I do in my life, not just band managing is that HE comes first along with my wife, everything else comes 2nd. End of story.

(Q) Do you have any exciting things in the works for the rest of 2014?
(A) Musically I am just playing my drums and happy to be able to do it with my busy schedule. Spend as much time with my wife Emilie and my son Jett, do some traveling, etc. I will also say again I have my eye on this band The Broadcast Hearts from Trumbull, CT. they are making some noise up around this area. They got their video on VH1 And MTV with no help from anyone including me. They are young, determined and focused and that is exactly what I look for in a band that I might want to get involved with.

Rock On!
Joey Farese

Interview with Sleeper Agent’s Tony Smith

Phil Knott Courtesy RCA
Phil Knott Courtesy RCA

Sleeper Agent Concert Preview and Tony Smith Interview

Sleeper Agent, a distinctive and talented Alt-Rock band is headed to Orlando, and we had a chance to chat with front man Tony Smith a bit about the tour, the band’s new album, About Last Night, and a few other things.

RARA’s Farm: RARA’s Farm has an affinity these days for Alt-Rock with Male/Female vocal trade-offs, like Sleeper Agent, Grouplove, Mother Mother and a few others. As a music fan, do you find yourself drawn to that kind of music or are your tastes totally divergent?
Tony Smith: In 2009 when Alex joined, I originally intended for her to play bass and sing back-up, ala Kim Deal of the Pixies. It didn’t work out and we had a show coming up in a few days so to save time we just split the difference on vocals. I was also really into The XX at the time, too. Now that I think about it, all my favorite albums in the past couple of years have been from females: EMA, Grimes, Haim…

RARA’s Farm: When the songs are first written, are the vocal plans already decided, as in who takes or shares the lead? Or is that something that evolves after the fact?
Tony Smith: Melody always comes first and is most important to me. On the new album, About Last Night, I wanted to toy with more harmonies and reserved a lot of my vocals for back-up unless it needed that extra male vocal dynamic.

RARA’s Farm: Where did the new album title come from? Who’s the big Rob Lowe fan?
Tony Smith: The title’s somewhat of a continuation of Celabrasion. It’s the morning after that experience and the content is reflective of the past three years of being in this band, and 80’s Demi Moore was hot.

RARA’s Farm: When will the album hit the streets?
Tony Smith: March 25th.

RARA’s Farm: Which song from About Last Night has been the most positively received by your fans when playing live?
Tony Smith: It’s a little too soon to confidently say for sure. But, “Be Brave,” “Shut” and “Impressed” have been turning some heads.

RARA’s Farm: Is there a song or two from across your catalog that you particularly enjoy playing live?
Tony Smith: “That’s My Baby” is always fun to play because it seems to have resonated most with fans after all these years.

Grab “That’s My Baby” on iTunes here: That’s My Baby – Celabrasion

RARA’s Farm: After many years of sort of not being on the rock music landscape, Kentucky is a hot place right now. Any idea why?
Tony Smith: No idea. Is it really? I need to get out more.

RARA’s Farm: Humor seems to be such a prevalent part of your fabric as a band. Is that just my overactive imagination?
Tony Smith: We’re all too damned serious as individuals and so when you put us together we recognize how off putting that is and just start riffing on each other.

RARA’s Farm: You are touring with New Politics and Magic Man for the next few months. Is there any one place you are most looking forward to playing, other than Orlando, of course?
Tony Smith: It was -3 degrees in Kentucky the week we left for tour. Any place that’s warm is more than welcomed. Orlando’s warm, right? But, I’m looking forward to seeing St. Louis, Chicago, Atlanta and Santa Barbara again, as well.

For those of you in Florida, you can catch this excellent live band at The Social in Orlando on Saturday, January 18th and at The Culture Room in Fort Lauderdale on the 19th.. They open the show with New Politics, so don’t be late.  This is a killer show that RARA’s Farm will not miss, so Follow/Like Us for show updates…

Rock On!
Cretin

James Durbin Talks About His Upcoming Tour

James Durbin Photo
James Durbin – Photo by LeAnn Mueller

James Durbin’s “Celebrate” Tour Comes to Florida

The Central Florida 2014 rock concert season is about to instantly ratchet up a few notches with heralded young rocker James Durbin tearing through Orlando and Jacksonville as part of his current National Tour.

The American Idol success story is touring in support of his forthcoming release,Celebrate, on a tour that promises to spotlight his continued growth as an artist and performer. Durbin took some time out of his tour schedule to share some thoughts on the album and the tour, including one from our Twitter Community.

RARA’s Farm: For your new album Celebrate, you had considerably more time to complete the release. What was the greatest advantage to having that time to prepare?
James Durbin: The greatest advantage to having more time to make the record was that it gave me more time to write and craft the record itself. On the physical record (not including bonus tracks) I co-wrote 10 of the 11 tracks. That definitely wouldn’t have happened without having that solid, creative time span.

RARA’s Farm:The first single “Parachute” is a pop anthem in the waiting, it possesses a bit more of a polished and mainstream feel than your earlier music, is that what we should expect throughout the album?
James Durbin: Yes and no. The whole record is composed of songs that are very hooky and catchy. It’s all fairly “mainstream” (if that word even still holds value). Like I said before, I had time on my side making Celebrate. Time to know and find out what worked and what didn’t.

RARA’s Farm:You have cited the influences of many diverse artists In your past, The Beatles and Paul McCartney seem to play a prominent role. Would you consider Paul your greatest influence as an artist?
James Durbin: Now that you mention it, I always find myself referring to The Beatles and Paul McCartney’s songwriting style. If you’re gonna look up to someone, might as well pick the greatest living legend, right? No one works for their entire life’s dream aiming for the middle.

RARA’s Farm:Which song off of Celebrate translates the best live, or is your favorite to perform live?
James Durbin: I really love performing “Parachute”. There’s nothing more important than loving your single because you’ll be playing it for the rest of your life. Whichever one it is. It sucks playing something over and over because you have to, but it’s a walk in the park when you listen to it like it’s your own theme song.

RARA’s Farm:Will fans from American Idol see any of the songs you performed on the show in your show setlist on this tour?
James Durbin: Probably not. But then again you never know. I like to perform “on the fly”. There’s so much liberty in being able to go off on some jam. Stray from the setlist ya know? I’m really loving that these days. We are musicians after all.

RARA’s Farm: You seem to wear your heart on your sleeve and are quite passionate when you perform. Which song touches your heart the most when you perform it these days?
James Durbin: “May” has been and always will be an emotional song to perform. Especially when I open my eyes, look into the audience, and see people crying.

RARA’s Farm:Could you tell us anything about the touring band?
James Durbin: It’s me on guitar the whole show. That’s a first. In addition I have my bassist Justin Kastner, who I found on Craigslist, no joke (Thanks Craig!), and one of my best friends Jeremy Cross on percussion. Jeremy was the first person to ever ask me if I wanted to join/start a band. It’s good to have friends with you on tour. Hallelujah!

And finally, from one of our Twitter followers:
Wendy Liu ‏@wendyucliu6h:  In one word, how would you describe your new album?
James Durbin: “CELEBRATE”, that’s why I named it that.

That pretty much says it all. Come out and CELEBRATE with RARA’s Farm as Durbin brings his show to Central Florida in the next week.  We’ll be at the show and providing our review and photos right here afterwards. Follow Us on Twitter and Like Us on Facebook for coverage of this show and everything rock music related in the Central Florida region.

Upcoming Area Shows
Wed. 1/15 – Will’s Pub, Orlando
Fri. 1/17 – Brewster’s Roc Bar, Jacksonville

Tix for both shows are available and at bargain prices! Tickets and a full concert listing are available here: James Durbin Tour Schedule

Rock On!
Cretin

Luke Dowler EP Review and Interview

luke dowler

Chat with Luke Dowler on His New EP West

From the first listen to “Coming Home,” the opening track off of Luke Dowler’s 2012 masterpiece Polarized, I’ve been captivated by his unique blend of rock ‘n roll. A true singer-songwriter with a penchant for churning out passionate, thought-provoking originals, Dowler is an artist who always captures my attention.

The Montana based performer is back with his recent release of West, his new EP.  The Kickstarter funded EP finds Dowler pushing his boundaries yet again and is an excellent and diverse offering.  We caught up with him recently and chatted about the new EP.

RARA’s Farm: Tell us a little bit about the decision to use Kickstarter to fund this EP.
Luke Dowler: I thought about doing one a few years back, but even then Kickstarter seemed so over-saturated. The idea came back around and I decided to take the leap.  Any project that takes the Kickstarter approach, there’s some risk out there. Fortunately, we succeeded and we were able to make the EP.

RARA’s Farm: So, this EP is titled West; is there significance as to why these five particular songs ended up on the EP named West?
Luke Dowler: Leaving the label last year and looking forward I was thinking ‘what now’? And, the answer was ‘anything and everything’. I would say that on one level, the EP is not very linear sonically but at the same time, the glue of it is “West” conjuring up images of pioneering and looking forward to the future and what’s next. You’ve got a little bit of electronic a little folk rock and a little acoustic. It was my thought that I could go anywhere from here.

RARA’s Farm: That makes sense. As I listened to the album, it seemed really diverse and I was wondering what the common thread was; that’s a good way to pull it all together.
Luke Dowler: I started out in a ska band and played in a lot of different variations musically and have written in a lot of styles. Sometimes the delivery of style is something that people get hung up on. I’ve always considered myself a songwriter… So that’s why I decided to start out with West. “West” as an idea is where I wanted to start.

As a reviewer, I found the EP was truly a diverse group of songs. A few of them work better than others, but they all stand strongly on their own. The first three are straight forward Dowler-esque rock, and all three are superb; then the EP takes some different twists and turns. We chatted about the five tracks.

RARA’s Farm: The EP kicks off with “Firewater Revelation;” it’s an excellent track with fantastic lyrics.
Luke Dowler: I’m a big fan of Van Gogh’s “Cafe At Night” and the emotional response it evokes and I thought I wanted to paint a picture with a song. So, it’s describing a bit of a melancholy scene. The working title was actually “Bar Rats.” Growing up in the church and learning about life within that context and then playing music and meeting people outside of that context you start to see the similarities in people and similarities in drive and desire and realizing there really is universality of the human spirit. So you see the contrast of the church language and the coarser bar language.

RARA’s Farm: “Good Enough” is a bit of a stripped down folk rock track. Is that a genre that you’re more comfortable playing in? The first three songs are all a bit different, but feel like good fits for you. Is there one that seems like a better fit?
Luke Dowler: I think I like the first three songs equally. “Good Enough” is one that also translates well live. I like all of the tunes on the album, but would probably say my least favorite is “Hold Up The Sky,” and that might be more because of the production value.

RARA’s Farm: Let me ask you about  “College Town,”  listening to those lyrics, are you speaking to a specific college town, or more the electric, eclectic atmosphere in many college towns?
Luke Dowler: I live just North of Missoula, which is similar to a city like Portland… an organic creative and youthful place where there’s a lot happening all the time. So, that’s definitely an influence.

RARA’s Farm: “Hold Up the Sky” – is that a song to your wife Jacy?
Luke Dowler: Yeah. when I first started out, I was writing songs about girls and now that’s come back full circle where I realized the first things I wrote about, girls and love, are worth pursuing.

RARA’s Farm: That female vocal we hear on “Halfway?”
Luke Dowler: Yes, that’s my wife, Jacy singing back-up vocals.

RARA’s Farm: “Halfway” is a bit of a different feel than I’ve heard before from Luke Dowler.
Luke Dowler: I’ve always been a sucker for electronic and dance music. When we’re touring, I always force the crew to listen to it, typically the tackier the better.  “Halfway” is one that I like.

RARA’s Farm: Are there still plans to do the other three compass directions, North, South and East?
Luke Dowler:I think so, I think that is still in the pipeline. I don’t have the timeline down, as I’ve got a couple of singles I’m working on and some music videos, so creatively, I’m looking at that stuff first before completing the three follow-up EPs.

So, there you have it, a bit of an in-depth look at West, and it’s five songs. Check it out below and give us your thoughts.

If you like pure, passionate singer-songwriter rock, you’ll love this album.  The first three selections are pure perfection, and the EP offers a diverse collection every fan of rock music needs on their new music radar.

Rock On!
Cretin

RARA’s Farm Interviews Great White


Legendary hard rockers, Great White are headed to Northern Florida for a show this weekend. The band has been a fixture on the rock landscape for three decades, and the talented musicians always put forth a killer show. We caught up with the band for a quick chat before they headed out on the road, and loved their unfiltered thoughts about today’s music, their future, The Allman Brothers and former front man Jack Russell.

Cretin: You guys have been rocking for over thirty years yet you still tour regularly these days; do you get more satisfaction out of making new music, like 2012’s Elation, or from touring?

Mark Kendall: Making new music is why we’re still here after 30 years. The key to our motivation has been allowing ourselves the freedom to make new music. Playing live is where we feel at home and making new music is what gets us there, so I would have to call it a tie.
Michael Lardie: Recording new material has always been the thing that drives the Great White machine. It’s the creative part of what we do that keeps it fresh for us. Then, by performing, we get lay the new songs in the fans. It’s circular for us. One feeds the other.
Audie Desbrow: I enjoy creating new music, things don’t get jaded that way. I also love to tour playing hits as well as new music. I get equal satisfaction doing both.

Cretin: During those three decades, you’ve seen the rock market evolve significantly over the years. What do you think of the new rock out today?

Mark Kendall: I like some of it. When it’s a band of people that have that human feel and are playing their instruments with melody, it’s probably going to get a favorable review from me. I’m just not a fan of music that comes from machines.
Audie Desbrow: There’s new rock?
Michael Lardie: There are some talented songwriters and performers. The sonics for me have changed dramatically. I must say I do miss the dynamics of a recording i.e. e. Zeppelin always had such a wide variance of sounds and textures. It made you want to really listen to their records.
Cretin: How true. Could you imagine today’s bands going to a castle, church, or Bron-Yr-Aur to capture a great vibe? (See our list of Led Zeppelin’s Best albums when you are done here)

Cretin: Are there any emerging bands that remind you of a young Great White, or whose music you particularly enjoy?

Mark Kendall: There was a band that I met that reminded me of a younger us from our early years, and that was a band called “Veins Of Jenna”. I believe they are from Sweden but live in LA now.
Audie Desbrow: I haven’t been up to speed on the new bands as much as before. Probably because there’s not much substance to them.

 

Great White Photo
Great White Photo

Cretin: You’re headed to Jacksonville this weekend – the place where Lynyrd Skynyrd and The Allman Brothers really broke through. Did those bands have any influence on your music?

Mark Kendall: Sure!!! When I was a young teenager I would sit and learn every Dicky Betts lick note for note for hours on end!! So the Allman Brothers definitely. Lynyrd Skynyrd was a great band from the 70’s also and the entire 70’s era had a huge impact on us.
Michael Lardie: Both bands were a staple in our record collections. Great songs. Great delivery, great performance bands.
Audie Desbrow: The Allman Brothers were part of my music upbringing I’d say. They had two drummers. It was harder learning the songs.

Cretin: Jack Russell was a talented front man, but even with that talent there seemed to be lots of distractions. Are both groups in a better place now that you’ve formally split the Great White baby?

Mark Kendall: We can really only speak for ourselves, and we are very happy to own the name, so there is only one Great White. Jack’s name is attached to his hired band and that eliminates any risk of confusion of who you’re going to see, and that’s all we ever wanted for our fans.
Audie Desbrow: We are in a better place, we never split anything, we own the name, we are Great White, period.

Cretin: The band is playing on the Monsters of Rock cruise this winter with a great line-up of classic rockers. Is there any one act you are excited to see and to be sharing the bill with?

Mark Kendall: We have history with several acts on the cruise so it’s like a class reunion really. Tesla is one that sticks out that we did a very long co-headlining tour with in the late 80’s. It will be exciting to see everyone again. It’s not just the bands, there are crew guys, fans, and photographers from the past, and so it’s just a lot of fun to see everyone.
Audie Desbrow: I really enjoyed watching Saxon, been a fan from early on. I’m always proud to be performing with all my friends from other bands.

Cretin: Finally, you see some of the bands that broke through in the Sixties still touring regularly, and they’ve got nearly 20 years on you – how long do you see yourselves touring?

Mark Kendall: As long I have the desire to be creative, I will continue to make music and tour. We’re in this for life ya know.
Michael Lardie: As long as it makes sense for us. Could be 5 years could be 20. That’s the journey of being a musician. You never quite know where it will take you. We are a family that has survived many ups and downs. To us it’s always been our career. I don’t think we are ready for retirement just yet.
Audie Desbrow: I often think about that, I will do this as long as my health holds out and especially if the fans are still coming to the shows.

Rock On!
Cretin


Interview with Jesse Nolan of Caught A Ghost


Six Pack Interview With Jesse Nolan

Jess Nolan of Caught A Ghost
Jesse Nolan of Caught A Ghost

Jesse Nolan is the voice and face of dynamic new artist Caught A Ghost.  The band boasts a refreshing sound that can best be described as a creative cross between Sam Cooke and Fitz and the Tantrums.  Yup, it’s a unique blend, but it really works.

The band is in town Tuesday, November 5th for a show at The Social, where they’ll share the bill with He’s My Brother, She’s My Sister.

RARA’s Farm recently caught up with Jesse and shared a six pack of questions with the likable performer. As you’ll see, he’s got a great, diverse appreciation for rock music, and plenty of quick interesting insights to share.

RARA’s Farm: What was the first album that moved you to want to be in the music business?
Jesse Nolan: Well, I guess I’d have to say Nevermind was the first really huge album in my life, apart from maybe the Michael Jackson records I had when I was a kid. I performed “Bad” for my kindergarten talent show . Ha.
RARA’s Farm: And, your favorite rock album ever?
Jesse Nolan: Revolver, Sticky Fingers,Blonde on Blonde.
(Cretin: Three amazing albums, none of them on my list of greatest albums ever, but can almost guarantee they are all in Rolling Stone Magazine’s Top 10 of all-time.)

RARA’s Farm: How about the best concert you have ever seen?
Jesse Nolan: Maybe Bjork at the Hollywood Bowl? I always love seeing Radiohead. I just saw James Blake at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery and it was amazing.

RARA’s Farm: Great choices.  Can you think of one band you never saw, but who you’d love to see re-formed to play for one show, dead or alive?
Jesse Nolan: Aside from the obvious, Jimi Hendrix or Bob Marley, I think I’m most saddened that I will never get to see Billie Holiday live. I mean, there are way too many. I want to answer with some pitchforky thing like ‘Pavement in their prime’ but John Coltrane or Fela Kuti would be way more interesting, truthfully.

RARA’s Farm: Shifting to your own live experiences, which venue has been your favorite place to play?
Jesse Nolan: Hard to say. We just played the El Rey in Los Angeles, which I love, and the Independent in San Francisco, which were both great. I’d have to say my favorite show I’ve ever played, though, was the Cosmic Prom: an event Tessa and I threw in LA in a projection dome. So fun.

RARA’s Farm: So, your music is featured in a Boardwalk Empire episode, is that important to you?
Jesse Nolan: I love Boardwalk Empire, so yes. We’ve had a bunch of songs on TV at this point but that one was special to me. Steve Buscemi is my spirit animal.

RARA’s Farm: What’s next for Caught A Ghost as far as your Spring 2014 full-length release?
Jesse Nolan: Well we’ll put the record out early next year and then tour a ton next year. We are pumped. Feels great to be on the road right now. People really love music and it renews your faith in life to connect with them. I’ve had some hilarious and touching exchanges this far.

Check out a great live clip of the band performing Sleeping At Night and then grab it on iTunes below!

Rock On!


Four Nights Gone Six Pack Interview


Four Nights Gone Logo

Four Nights Gone’s Alex Basovskiy Six Pack Interview

Four Nights Gone formed in Staten Island, New York in the summer of 2010, and have built an avid local fan base, and they continue to gain more followers across the rock music universe on the heels of the release of Resilience, their new EP.  They’re hard rockers, influenced by bands such as Breaking Benjamin, Thrice and Chevelle, now working on their second full length.  RARA’s Farm recently shared a quick six pack of questions and got a chance to get to know bassist Alex Basovskiy a little bit better.

RARA’s Farm: What was the first album that moved you to want to be in the music business?
Alex Basovskiy: Second Stage Turbine Blade by Coheed and Cambria

RARA’s Farm: Who are your greatest influences?
Alex Basovskiy: I’d have to say everyone from Glassjaw to Miles Davis, Radiohead and Thrice.

RARA’s Farm: Which venue has benn your favorite place to play?
Alex Basovskiy: The Ottobar in Baltimore. We only played there once, but it was a good show and the venue has a great sound system.

RARA’s Farm: Best concert you have ever seen?
Alex Basovskiy: One of the best concerts I’ve been to would be Circa Survive, Touche Amore, O’Brother, and Balance and Composure at Terminal 5. I also recently saw Emery at Webster Hall Studio, and they were phenomenal.

RARA’s Farm: Favorite rock album ever?
Alex Basovskiy: It’s tough to pick but I’m going to have to go with Led Zeppelin’s Houses of the Holy (See RARA’s Farm’s listing of the best Zeppelin albums ever to see where we ranked Houses of the Holy)

RARA’s Farm: One band you never saw, who you’d love to see re-formed to play for one show (dead or alive)?
Alex Basovskiy: I know it’s a bit of a cliche but I’m going to have to go with The Beatles.

Thanks  to Rebeccah Milburn for her help pulling this together.

Later,
Mike G


RARA’s Six Pack Interview with Kendall Meade


Anders & Kendall Tour

Anders Parker and Kendall Meade are offering an incredibly intimate East Coast tour including a handful of even more quaint house shows along the way.  Check it out here: East Coast Tour Dates, and check out our interview with Kendall to help get you ready.

Kendall Meade Interview

Talented Singer-songwriter Kendall Meade, well-known for her band Mascott, has collaborated with acclaimed solo artist Anders Parker for an infectious new indie rock album, Wild Chorus.  The duo will release their first collaborative effort on February 19th.  Wild Chorus is a captivating acoustic record whose first single “We’re On Fire, Babe” is pretty swoonworthy. It’s a nice debut effort from two familiar artists and as you’ll read, a promising sign of things to come.

We caught up with Meade and shared a RARA’s six pack of questions.  So grab your favorite beverage and check out a few words with the engaging singer from New York.

RARA’s Farm: I know that the two of you were occasional collaborators in the past, how did it work with the two of you collaborating so closely on the entire album?

Kendall Meade: It worked surprisingly well. Either we both brought individual ideas to the table and helped each other flesh them out or Anders would start strumming on a riff and I’d encourage him to keep going with it while I worked out a melody. We worked really hard to get to a place where we both loved all of the songs. We recorded 14 total and only 11 ended up on the album. It was so hard to choose!

RARA’s Farm: You and Anders complement each other’s voices so well – why didn’t this album happen earlier?

Kendall Meade: We’ve always talked about it, but it took awhile for us to get serious and come up with an actual writing plan. When the time was right, we just went for it. We mainly wrote on weekends. I’d fly to Vermont or Anders would come down to New York. He’s a talented guitar player. He’s got such a gift for writing riffs and creating cool arrangements. I’m also a huge fan of his voice. Always have been.

RARA’s Farm: Is this a one-time effort for the two of you?

Kendall Meade: No, we’re so excited to make another record! I hope we can do it sooner than later.

RARA’s Farm: You named the album Wild Chorus after Scott Minor’s studio, was he a big contributor to the way the album evolved?

Kendall Meade: Yes! His honest, gut opinions and way he precisely shaped the sounds on each song was really amazing. He cares so much about what he does, and worked so hard to help us get everything done…and done well. Also, I just like being around him.

RARA’s Farm: Who were your influences?

Kendall Meade: I love Richard and Linda Thompson. I love Fairport Convention. We listened to everything from Bobby Charles to the Zombies when we were driving down to Knoxville to record.

RARA’s Farm: If you could collaborate with any artist on future effort, who would be your dream paring?

Kendall Meade: I’ll head to Jamaica and record with any living Marley. Or I’d love head to my hometown and record in Detroit with Rodriguez.

Look for the new album, Wild Chorus, from Anders & Kendall, available on Tuesday, February 19th.