Just about chucking this one in before Monday ticks over into Tuesday is a fusion of rock and country…
We are from all over Northern Ohio. We rehearse in a small town on Lake Erie called Vermilion. But we all from about an hour circle around downtown Cleveland.
Do you have a band that regularly records and performs with you? Is so, how did you meet?
Yes? isn’t that why we’re doing this interview! Well I met Grayson Latimore Jr. (drums) many moons ago when we were playing in different bands and we became friends over the years. The rest of the band – Corey Linden (guitar), Kevin Thiede (guitar) and Marie Santiago (bass) – were all students of mine at School of Rock when I was an instructor there. Corey and I have been playing together since 2010, we were a band together called Switchblade Scarlett that made some of the best Guns n’ Roses records since Use Your Illusion.
How long have you been playing as an artist?
I have been playing guitar since I was ten, so a long ass time!
Who are your influences?
My influences are all over the place top ten would be
- Van-Halen/Sammy Hagar
- Lynyrd Skynyrd
- Johnny Cash
- Travis Tritt
- Duran Duran
- Joan Jett
Describe your music. What makes you unique?
Man, I think if you just look at the influences listed about I think that tells you about all you need to know about what we do. It’s a punk rock, country fried BBQ with whup ass guitar, larger than life vocals with a lot of pop influence and a whole lot of crazy!
Do you have any particular lyrical themes?
No… but do try to make every song tell a story. Our latest single “Lawnchair” is about desperately needing a vacation… which I do… Lord help me I do! And we have other songs about just about everything you can imagine: love, hate, hooking up, breaking up, addiction, perseverance… you name it, all of the usual lyrical tropes. But no matter how serious, the subject is usually presented with a wink and smile in a way that makes you enjoy the song while it plays, but makes you dig a little deeper once you pick up the liner notes and start reading the lyrics. To quote Mary Poppins “A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down”. That’s always been my approach to dealing with tough subjects in my lyrics.
Probably over a thousand. I honestly could not tell you but its a whole dump truck full of shows. We like to think of ourselves as the country music version of KISS. The shows are big loud, crazy, and sometimes we have pyro! It’s trying to keep it really fun and get the audience to participate. We try to make sure everyone has a great time and leaves with a smile on their face.
What’s the wildest thing you’ve seen or done at a live show?
I am not sure If I should tell y’all that… I will just say it involved a jack-o-lantern and a gallon of cottage cheese…
What kit do you use / guitars do you play / etc.?
I have my own guitar company, Valkyrie. We all have a few other than that here is a quick rig rundown for everyone
- Guitars – Valkyrie (Sunset Strip, Modern country) Gretsch (White Penguin) Tagima (Seattle) Gibson (Les Paul-Studio Lite)
- Amps – Valkyrie (Sunset Strip) Laney Ironheart 15, Laney Cabs
- Guitars – Valkyrie Sunset Strip #1, Gibson (Les-Paul JR) Epiphone (Les Paul Custom)
- Amps – Peavey (Valve King) Orange and Laney Cabs
- Guitars – Valkyrie (Sunset Strip) Music Man (Axis) Epiphone (Sg)
- Amps – Orange (Crush 120) Laney Ironheart, Laney Cabs
- Bass – Music Man (Stingray), Ibanez (Soundgear) Tagima (P/J)
Grayson Latimore Jr.:
- Drums – Mapex (Mars) with Remo Heads
- Hardware -(Mapex+DW
- Cymbals – Soultone, UFIP, Sabian
What, if anything, are you plugging/promoting at the moment?
My new single “Lawnchair”.
What are your plans for the rest of 2019/2020?
We have a ton of shows coming ups, I will be at CMA Fest in Nashville signing autographs and doing a meet and greet. After that, we will be hitting the studio to do to more singles. Hopefully, we can land a label and drop a full new full-length next year…
If you were second on a three-band bill, which band would you love to be supporting and which band would you choose to open for you? A chance to plug someone you’ve toured with, or a mate’s band we’ve not heard of before!
Man I have had the chance to play with a lot of my idols! My dream concert would probably be to open for a Sammy-fronted Van Halen, with Halestorm on right before us. I have a serious celebrity crush on Lizzy, I think she is the best female vocalist of her generation-
What is your dream venue to play?
I like playing festivals… so my dream venues would be the main stage at Download (England), Sonic Temple (Columbus) or Rocklahoma… I have played the side stage there. Main stage would be unreal.
If you could create your own MTV show what would it be?
Well I don’t have to pontificate on this… I was on season 11 of the series MADE, and I once had a meeting with the top brass about taking over Headbangers’ Ball.