An Interview With Rainbow Death Rocket
A new album from Rainbow Death Rocket hits all the hard rock and classic metal sweet spots with attitude and style to go along with ripping guitars and a massive soundscape that feels driving and even cinematic at times.
The A Thousand Words album is packed to the brim with killer riffs and vocals that boast a lightly mysterious undertone with huge hooks and a ton of character.
The record boasts this perfect hard rock aesthetic, and it comes with squeals, changes, smashing drums, and enough singles to shake a stick at.
The record is addictive and the whole vibe becomes quickly infectious, and it feels like throwing on a record you did when you were a kid and being blown away by the sounds made on it.
There are all kinds of crazy licks and hooks on this record along with a brutally heavy undertone that lurks just beneath the surface as the songs rock on in a vast style.
These guys are arena rock at its finest. You can't ask for much more out of pure rock n roll music really. They do their thing with heart and there is a clear love for their craft all over every single song.
The first single from the record is a pinnacle for the sound you can expect from the album as a whole.
"Dead Man's Blood" is actually the first song on the record and serves as a perfect introduction to the world you're about to step into.
This single and album represents a rock that we love and miss.
RAG: Okay so let's start with the "Dead Man's Blood". This song has an alt-rock feel to it! Where did this single come from?
“Dead Man’s Blood” was a title floating around in my head for a year or more. I thought it was an intense title but never found the right riff to match. After I finished recording 11 songs that were intended for A Thousand Words, I listened back and felt like it needed something more. It needed another rocker and something crazy to get things started.
One day I was warming up before a show with my other band, Restless, and I started noodling this open string riff with just hammers and pulls, and it all seemed to fall in place for me. That riff was Dead Man’s Blood, and Dead Man’s Blood is exactly what the album needed! I went into “obsessive writing” mode, lol. I had that song on the brain day and night until I got it all worked out.
Musically, the song is the craziest stuff I thought I could pull off in a live show. The main riff is all played with the left hand, no picking, so that looks pretty cool. The solos were more whammy bar and tremolo picking to give my left hand a break and put more on the right hand so in a live setting I can hopefully pull it off without my left hand falling off!
RAG: The video for the single was really cool? Did you guys come up with the idea?
Thank you! I have a buddy named Navoneel that has done graphics for RDR since the beginning. He designed our “Rocket Guy” logo and did the lyric videos that are on YouTube for our first album, Crazysane. When I asked if he could do a lyric video for Dead Man’s Blood, he brought up the idea of doing an animated video. I thought a huge chase scene would be perfect for the song, and Neel just ran with it. He did such a great job! (@Navoneel_Nag on Instagram, look him up!)
RAG: So how did this all begin for you guys?
I’ve loved music for as long as I can remember and I’ve always wanted to be a songwriter, but for most of my life I couldn’t play any instruments. When I was younger I tried learning to play guitar and piano but had no luck. I wrote lyrics but could never put them to music. I tried collaborating with musicians and produced some songs that I’m very proud of, but in the end nothing really clicked.
At the age of 35, of all things, my amazing wife got me the video game Rocksmith as a Christmas gift and things just took off from there! About an hour into that game, I had the confidence that I could finally learn to play guitar. I dove into YouTube lessons, took lessons in person and over Skype, and really picked up as much as I could. Through the years of collaborating with other musicians I had spent lots of time in recording studios, so I was familiar with the technical side of recording. It wasn’t long before I was able to start recording my own songs.
The biggest leap in my playing happened when I joined a cover band named Restless. Preparing for live performances made me step up my game big time. Performing was a bit of a phobia of mine that I had to get over and it really raised my standards. Those guys keep pushing me! (@Restless_Rocks on Instagram, check us out!)
The hardest part was finding a singer, because even though I learned how to play music and learned about music theory, I still couldn’t sing worth a damn. I tried working with about a dozen singers before I found Adam, who had the perfect mix of grit and versatility for the wide range of weird stuff RDR does.
RAG: Who is in all your headphones right now?
I’m listening to a badass rock band named Paralandra right now. They have some killer stuff! I’m also a fan of indie music and one of my favorites is someone named Marza Panther. She’s on steady rotation for me as well. And finally, Alice in Chains because Jerry Cantrell is the coolest mfer on the planet!
RAG: What inspires you to write a song?
There are so many different answers to this question! Through the years it was my journey through deep depression that inspired a lot of my lyrics. That led to some dark stuff! But as I got older and made it into happier times in my life, I was able to balance my depressing lyrics with some songs that were more fun and sometimes even happy. That made RDR a lot easier to listen to than any band I would have been a part of when I was younger. I was just so full of anger and self loathing that nothing else ever made it into my lyrics.
The songwriting process for me used to be lyrics first, that led to a “mood” for the music, which led me to the song structure and eventually the music. Lately though, I’ve been able to reverse that and do what most people do, which is start with music first and build the song from there. Sometimes I start with a groove or a guitar riff, and wait for a line or a chorus to jump out at me to use as the foundation of the song. Sometimes I end up with something fun, sometimes it’s depressing, but hopefully they are still enjoyable for people. I just go where the mood takes me!
RAG: I'm hearing some great styles on this record. Who are some of your biggest musical influences?
So many! From a songwriting perspective, early Megadeth stuff had a big impact on me. Not their shred style so much, but the tempo shifts and song structure stuck with me. Living Colour’s sense of experimentation is in there, too. The band Blue October had a huge impact on my lyric writing, the way they bring so much raw emotion into their songs. Guns N’ Roses had a big influence on my songwriting as well, and Jerry Cantrell is probably my biggest influence on my guitar playing. Overall we’re probably a healthy mix of blues based rock from the 80’s/90’s and some weirdo stuff I’ve picked up along the way.
RAG: What are you all doing when you're NOT working on music?
Video games and sports! I watch a lot of football and play a lot of PlayStation. A LOT of PlayStation!
RAG: Would you say live performances are a big part of what you do?
Unfortunately, Rainbow Death Rocket is spread across the country (and almost a one man show), so we don’t play live shows. But playing live with Restless took my playing and writing to a totally different level. I wouldn’t be two albums into RDR if it wasn’t for the guys in Restless pushing me. Playing live raises the bar for everything I do in practice and recording.
RAG: What can your fans expect from you in the near future?
We have some exciting things happening! A Thousand Words is out now so people can hear what we’ve been working on for the last two years. I’m very excited to have this album finally hit the airwaves. I think this is a big step forward for us and I can’t wait to see what people think of it.
We’re recording album #3 as I type this! 12-14 songs will be on that album and we go even further with the experimentation and weirdo stuff. But, at the same time, there is still a lot of straightforward rock and power ballad type songs on #3. With a couple extra songs to work with we got to just have fun and go wherever the music was leading.
We're also working on some exciting partnerships and cross-promotions that will let us bring some fun content to instagram and youtube. That's something I'm looking forward to, but it's a bit early to give any details quite yet. But keep an eye on our instagram page and hopefully there will be some new stuff soon!
RAG: Before we go, what would you like to say to fans of the music?
Thank you, thank you, thank you! We are incredibly grateful for everyone that listens and enjoys our music! Stay tuned, because there is plenty more to come!