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Interview with Rockets To Ruin:
Cleveland Willis - Vocals
Mike Grimmett - Guitar
Chris Taylor - Bass
Rob Hammersmith - Drums


Interviewed by the Rock Queen
Date: March 2007

the Rock Queen: Good afternoon, and welcome to Orlando, FL!

Chris: Thanks, glad to be here.

the Rock Queen: First, Iíd like to ask you about the exciting news. You were recently signed to Alabama Records out of Sweden, right?

Chris: Yes.

the Rock Queen: How did you come to know those guys?

Chris: Andreas, who is the owner of the label, saw us open for Paul Stanley at the Hard Rock in Orlando and talked to Rob .

the Rock Queen: It was kind of weird. It was about halfway thru Paulís set: I was standing in the backstage area somewhere. He (Andreas) just came over and introduced himself. We exchanged information, went back and forth on the internet a couple times, and then to be honest with you I forgot about him ( laughing ). We just kind of corresponded, and then like through December and January we didnít really communicate much. Then things kind of picked up.

Cleveland: We tend not to take people seriously the first time, you know? We hear that all the time: people say, ďOh, we are going to do so much for you,Ē you know, and then whatever.

Mike: Sometimes you just canít believe everything these people say until they actually follow through.

the Rock Queen: So, how long of a time frame was that?

Chris: It was pretty short. We played with Paul Stanley in Orlando in October, and we just signed the deal last month.

the Rock Queen: Can you tell us the details of the deal?

Chris: It is basically just a distribution deal in Scandinavia. Thatís about it.

Mike: He is going to promote the record over there and sell it in some retail outlets.

Cleveland: It was just like, you know, we didnít take him seriously, honestly, and then all of a sudden he ended up calling Rob and things fell into place. It is a distribution deal, and that is great and we are very glad to have it.

the Rock Queen: So, does this mean you are open to other deals of the same kind from smaller labels around the globe?

Chris: Yes, definitely.

the Rock Queen: Are there plans to tour Scandinavia?

Chris: If the label wants to bring us over, you know, that depends on finances and stuff, but we would be open to the idea.

the Rock Queen: All right, youíve announced some dates with BROKEN TEETH, Jason McMasterís band, for the early summer. How did you get hooked up with those guys?

Cleveland: We played with them in Atlanta.

Chris: We did play with them in Atlanta. We met them through a band called IRONHEAD based in NY now. Basically they were good friends with the guys in BROKEN TEETH, and they set up a show with us in Atlanta about a year ago. Weíve just kept in touch with them ever since. Theyíve played in Atlanta a couple times and we went to the shows, and basically kept in touch and said weíd love to do more shows together.

the Rock Queen: Iíve noticed on this set of dates that you guys are playing more of the smaller venues. How does that compare for you to, say, playing in front of a huge audience with a huge stage, like you did with the Paul Stanley tour? How do you make that transition from large stage to small and back again?

Cleveland: I can answer this, actually. Itís pretty simple: we are so used to playing the small places that we are very comfortable doing them. Wherever we play we feed off the energy of the crowd: whether itís a small crowd or a big one, the energy for us comes from there. Regardless of the size of the place, itís the people in it who give us our energy, and thatís what gives us the reputation for being the live band that we are.

Mike: It is pretty much the norm for us to play smaller places, so when we get to play a bigger venue itís a real treat.

Rob: Ultimately the experience is different in that, you know, you get used to playing eight feet away from someone, and one day you look up and they are 30 feet away, and you think ďWow.Ē I like to go into each show and take in everything about it: its part of what makes the experience for me.

the Rock Queen: Do you think you guys would ever feel comfortable in a venue as big as, say Madison Square Garden?

Cleveland: Oh, definitely. I think thatís where we belong! We want to pay our dues in a respectful way, but we definitely want the treats as well.

the Rock Queen: I see you guys are scheduled to play the Florida Music Festival in May. Do you have details about that yet?

Chris: We really donít yet. We got the show through our BMI agent, and all we know is we did what we were supposed to do on our end and we should have the show. But as far as what day and where, we donít know that yet. We will post that information as soon as itís available, though, probably in April.

Cleveland: From what we know that festival is pretty good, and since weíre probably on the BMI stage we think thatís a good place to be, weíre just waiting for the details.

the Rock Queen: When you guys visit a new city to play in, what kinds of things do you guys look for?

Cleveland: Starbucks (laughing)

the Rock Queen: Well, those are everywhere (laughing). What I mean is, what kind of mentality brings you to a show in a place where you are fairly new to the area?

Rob: With respect to the show, for me, itís kind of like this: I donít know anything about the place. Tonight, for example-we donít know anything about the club, or what kind of turnout we will or wonít have, and that. Any band on any level will tell you that there are going to be good gigs and bad gigs. You always hope people will come at least and give you a shot.

Cleveland: For example, we recently played a gig where we pretty much had our humble pie handed to us. But there are times when that happens to us, and then there are times where we play and the places are packed. We just hope for the best. We always end up having a fun night, even if there arenít a lot of people.

Mike: What we really hope is just that people show up. If they come, at least we know they gave us a shot. Thatís all you can ask for.

the Rock Queen: Ok, I have a hot topic now. Recently there has been an uprising about the future of internet radio. According to the new fee schedule set by the Copyright Board, it is going to cost internet webcasters more money to play songs for bands, due to an increase in performance rights. For some major stations, this could result in extinction. How do you guys feel about that, and how do you feel internet radio is as a value to unsigned bands such as yourself?

Rob: If the only stations that are viable options for playing your music go out of business where does that leave you?

Chris: For us, at this stage of the game, I would rather have airplay than the few pennies a spin we might get on our royalty statement.

Rob: I agree, if hearing us on the internet brings you to our show, we really could care less about the royalty end of things. If donating a hundred spins of my song means twenty people come out to my show when we come to your town, itís worth it to me to donate that royalty. Weíre more interested in people coming out to see us. The name of the game in this business is getting your name out there: if a hundred people listen to us on the internet, and just one of them goes over to iTunes or to our website and buys a disc, I have already made more progress with that than I would ever get on my BMI statement or from royalties. Reaching that fan is more important. You have to look at it that way that reaching the fans is the most important thing, and internet radio is a help in accomplishing that.

the Rock Queen: All right, Cleveland, Chris, Mike and Rob, any last words?

RTR: Yeah come and check out our website and MySpace www.myspace.com/rocketstoruin and thanks to all our fans new and old!

the Rock Queen: It has been a pleasure interviewing you, and good luck!

 

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