Facebook R&B crooner Mario has been relatively quiet on the music front for…
- Posted on Mar 14th 2010 8:00AM by Melissa Harrison
For audiences who haven't heard you yet--describe your sound.
J Roddy: I usually just ask somebody what they like to listen to. When they're done spouting that off, I say, "Yeah, that's what we sound like."
How did the band form?
Steve: The band was formed in J Roddy's hometown of Cleveland, Tennessee in 2002, and moved to Baltimore in late 2004. Two of the band members left the band shortly after the move, and Billy and I were recruited to join. We both knew the band from playing shows around town with them. The lineup has been solid since March of 2006.
Biggest musical influences?
J Roddy: I go with my gut. The first evidence of a life changing moment for me is a feeling I get in my stomach. I think my efforts in music are an attempt to try to give me that feeling again when I hear my own stuff.
Musically, when else have you had that feeling?
J Roddy: First time I heard 'Jail House Rock' by Elvis. First time I heard 'Twist and Shout' by the Beatles. First time I heard my grandmother sing 'Wildwood Flower.' First time I heard Prince's 'Purple Rain' played like a country song in a honky-tonk in Tennessee. The list goes on.
Can't think of a bigger 180 than relocating from Chattanooga to Baltimore. How do they compare?
Steve: Crowds across the South are generally friendlier, more responsive, and just more ready to come out and get rowdy any night of the week. We had an easier time building crowds in places like Athens, Georgia than we did in Baltimore for quite a while. Music just seems to be in the South's DNA in a way that it isn't in the North and the East--it's less about being part of a scene or being seen, and more about what's being played.
J Roddy: You can't get sweet tea in Baltimore unless you make it yourself. You can get black heroin in Baltimore and you don't have to make it yourself. But overall, it seems a litter easier to gain a faithful audience in the South. The North has a more obvious mix of true listeners and trend-seeking tourists, but once the bad apples are gone, it feels good to play for both.
Is this your first time playing SXSW?
Steve: We were in Austin for SXSW in 2008, but this will be our first time playing an official showcase. We had a blast last time but it put playing in a band into a weird perspective. Seeing 1,500 bands and 6,000-odd band members over four days really gives you a sense of the odds facing you.
What other bands are you most looking forward to seeing at the festival?
Steve: A ton of our friends who are going to be down there, like Ponderosa. And Gringo Star from Atlanta – they had one of my favorite records of last year. Wax Fang from Louisville. Murder by Death, who we have the real honor of playing with at the Vagrant showcase.
What's in your SXSW survival kit?
J Roddy: Sunblock, water, Bryan Ling.
Billy: Whipped cream, duct tape, turkey baster.
After SXSW, what's next for JR&TB in 2010?
Billy: Tour everywhere, great success, band action figures, Taco Bell sponsorship.
J Roddy: Spiritual domination, diabetes, touring.
Any musical guilty pleasures?
Steve: I like to listen to children sleep.
J Roddy: Carmen. The greatest white-Italian-Christian rapper of all time. Check out his work on the album 'Radically Saved.'
Craziest thing you've experienced on tour?
Steve: In Little Rock, Zach and I were part of an after-hours pool party that got chased by a samurai sword-wielding maniac who sliced one of our friends in the back, causing him four staples and 20 stitches worth of injury. He then vanished into the night. When the cops broke into his empty apartment the next day, it was filled with cats and Asian weaponry--throwing stars, nunchuks, more katana blades. We never found out if they eventually caught the guy.
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