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We’re hanging out in the office with Ric and John, the guitar player and lead vocalist from Shotgun Rules, the 2 ½ year-old London-based band. In that short amount of time, these guys have managed to go on 211 tours, soon to be 231 by November 16 (2006), when they finalize the current tour they’re on with a hometown show at the Salt Lounge.With 2 CDs out and and a full-length album on the way for 2007, Shotgun Rules is a rapidly growing and successful band that works hard to rock your hearts out of your chest…or as they like to say, ‘melt your faces off’.
You’ve toured a lot and you’ve performed at all kinds of venues, ranging in scale from small to very big. You’ve played Warped Tour and even Taste of Chaos. How would you compare playing the bigger venues to the smaller ones?
Ric: I liked it just as much if not maybe more, I don’t know, for us, the more people, kinda the more excited we get type thing, so if there are more people, the better I feel we play. So if we put on a better show, then hopefully we’ll be impressing more people…Honestly, Taste of Chaos I think, was probably all of our favourite shows that we’ve ever played.
John: Definitely. And it was really weird though to play a stadium cause we’ve never done it before. It was really cool though. This is like a razor (about recorder).
What inspires you to write your lyrics and songwriting?
John: Honestly, most of it is fictional. The new, the newer stuff you’re gonna see on the new album, we kinda pick a topic that we feel strongly about and we think we want to address and we did a lot of the songs we wrote together as a group too so, you’ll see more in the new album. Yeah, nothing really straight up inspires me. Yeah, I don’t know.
So the band’s formula is to have no formula. Can you please discuss?
Ric: I think a lot for the first while, I think it was umm, it’s changing now, definitely, but in the first little while, we didn’t really have, you know, intro, verse, chorus, verse chorus, bridge, chorus, ending, right? We just, we’d have a bunch of riffs that would just work really well together, they’d build off each other and then we didn’t really have a chorus, we didn’t have choruses, we didn’t have verses, we just had parts, right? We felt it told a story as opposed to just having that hook or have that repeated you know part of a song that you know, people go back to and sing along with, although we found, everyone was singing along with all the stuff regardless of whether we had the chorus or not. It’s just kinda like where we were at and I don’t wanna say, well part of me wants to say we’ve grown up as like writers and stuff.
John: We’re more conscious of making structure, but I mean we still have songs we’re writing now, we just wrote our newer one and it has, it’s not structured, it’s more linear still.
Ric: Basically just part to part – linear – more linear. But uh, like a timeline as opposed to a circle. If that makes any sense. I kinda just spurted that out, I don’t know if I put enough thought into it, I probably shouldn’t have said it at all. (into mic) Hiiii. Hi, this is what my voice sounds like. Helllllllllo. Hey everybody out there in radio land.
What do you love the most about touring and what do you hate the most about touring?
John: I love it all. And I hate…Cory.I’m just joking
Ric: Honestly I think that just the fact that like when you get into a regular routine of having to go into work like a regular job or like a normal job type thing, and you wake up and you’re like, like bluhhhhhh, have that just like feeling, like I can’t, like I don’t wanna go in, right? There’s no I gotta wake up and go to work in the morning. It’s just like, you wake up and you’re like ‘where are we?’ or ‘where are we going?’ and then we do the same thing we did yesterday, which was the funnest thing in the world, which was play our hearts out, you know, play our stuff, which we love more than anything, with 4 or 5 other dudes that we absolutely love more than anything, and now that we’ve got like a tour manager/roadie with us, he adds to it too, he’s like our 6th member type thing, and that’s basically just like waking up and knowing that you don’t have to uh, your only responsibility for that day is getting to the next venue and just giving it all you’ve got, basically.
John: Really, what’s not to love? You’re just like hanging out with your best friends and I just touched a button! I don’t know what I touched! (on the recorder) Really, uh, you wake up, you hang out with your best friends all day in a different city and you meet new people every day so it’s just fantastic.
Ric: Probably the worst part though, my girlfriend is kinda like a second mom and she does my laundry all the time. Last time we went on tour we didn’t even end up hitting like a Laundromat at all, so we had just bags of dirty laundry and we ended up having to like put dirty stuff back on, but I mean really, I guess that’s still part of the fun side of it.
John: It’s not dirty if you haven’t worn it in a week.
Ric: That’s true!
John: Once you put it in that bag for like a week, it kind of cleans itself, there’s like a washer in there.
Ric: Just shake it a bit. Or sometimes what we do is after we play a show and we’re all sweaty, we’ll hang it in the back of the van door and then when we drive, it’ll like flap and it’ll dry off, hehe, so you know, it’s kinda reuse, reduce, recycle. We like the environment. We’re environmentally friendly.
John: We don’t waste water.
Ric: Nope. We just drink it. We use it.
Thank you Ric…ahaha….what do you do to relax and chill out when you’re not on tour?
John: We’ve never been asked that.
Ric: Yeah, that’s a new one. That’s a totally new question. Uh, I’d say, for me, it’s like, I don’t know it’s weird, because as much as it’s working for the band, I find I feel satisfied when I’ve like gone online and found either something new for the band or I’ve spent like all day on myspace talking to people, you know what I mean, and kinda like interacting with the quote-unquote fans cause I don’t want them to think we’re just all these dinks that sit around and receive all this fan mail and uh and then we just like we sit around in all their nice words and we sit around and swim and dance in it, but like I try to like comment them back and be like, you know, I thank everybody and blah blah blah, but I don’t know that’s how I like, at the end of the day, I’ll feel good for, if I look back at what I’ve done.
John: I do the same thing, but I really like to spend time with friends that I don’t get to see when I’m on the road. That’s fun times. I like that. Yeah.
Who would be the ideal band for you guys to play with on tour?
John: I don’t know if there is just one absolutely ideal band. F*%k. Umm, what do you think?
Ric: Oh, Fully Down.
John: Yeah, Fully Down.
Diana: No, but you always tour with them.
John: What do you mean no? Yeah, I’m with Fully Down because they are absolutely the most ideal band.
Ric: Because we always say the Fully Down, okay. For the record, The Fully Down is the best band in the world for us to tour with because they are…
John: Our best friends.
Ric: Our best friends and they are phenomenal musicians and we love each and every one of them and each and every one of their songs. But outside of them, because we always say them, because we love them more than life itself.
John: Oh, yeah, I don’t know.
Ric: They’re just like the go-to…
John: Because their music’s great and on a personal level they’re awesome too. I could say someone like say Thrice or The Used or something, but I don’t know them on a personal level and they might be huge dicks. Or they might be great.
Ric: Maybe someone like Boys’ Night Out.
John: Yeah, Boys’ Night Out would be fun. Moneen would be great. Fully Down. Fully Down. Fully Down. Fully Down.
Ric: Red October.
John: Red October.
What’s the greatest advice someone’s ever given you?
Ric: I like these questions. These ones are good. They’re new ones and I think it was when, probably honestly when like on a number of smaller occasions, not one in particular, my mom would say, you know, ‘don’t worry about paying me back, just…’
Ric: No, ho ho hold on, no no, here it is, cause there’s a wrap-up to it. There’s a finish. ‘Just do whatever it is that makes you happy.’ Cause you know if I had a regular job where I could actually, you know, pay all the bills on time, and then have no worries financially I could like, cause my parents have helped me out forever, right? But it’s like when they would be like ‘don’t worry about our financial situation, go do whatever it takes to put a smile on your face and go there and don’t stop until you get there type thing’, so…
John: I had something, and then I was listening to your story and I forgot it. Basically probably just something along the same lines. Do whatever makes you happy.
Ric: Just don’t settle basically.
John: Yeah, don’t settle. That’s our advice. Take that.
Ric: Our advice is not to settle. Or to not settle.
So a lot of people turn to music while they’re going through a difficult time. What do you guys think about that? Could you tell a story about something that’s inspired you during a hard time in your life? Or how do you think that music can help people?
John: I think music is one of the most powerful things that can get you through almost anything. Like, especially if you find something in a song, be it lyrics or just a part of the song that like you connect with on the same level, you’re like ‘oh, that guy kinda understands me’ or something like that. It’s really powerful. I think every break up I’ve ever went through I’d turn to music, you know, you go in your room, you wallow, and listen to music. And it helps. I’ve thought it helps. Sometimes it makes it worse but in the long run, I think it helps.
Ric: Yeah, definitely I think that if there’s ever a point, like everyone’s got their ups and downs, right? I mean there are times obviously when things are amazing and then the music just like keeps you there, like keeps you on this high right? But I’d be lying if I said I didn’t listen to some quote-unquote Emo tunes and didn’t shed a tear after like some break-ups that I’ve gone through, some serious messed-up stuff. I think it is just like when people, I don’t think people necessarily look for it, like ‘this CD is going to be MY record for getting through this hard time’ but it’s like people just obviously listen to random whatever and then if something that they listen to while they’re in that position, hear something that sounds like they also went through that position, it just feels better to know that other people also went through it, right? I think that’s what it is, it’s just that sympathy, it’s that sympathetic like first voice that tells you it’s gonna be okay type thing.
John: Yeah, kinda what you said. I don’t think people look for it, but I think it can actually kinda find you type deal.
What would you say is the primary emotion conveyed by your music?
John: Oooh. Ok, I know what you mean.
Ric: I would say drive, motivation. Like, kinda like that feeling, maybe for me anyway, just that power and strength kinda just to keep doing what you’re doing.
John: Honestly I think that’s a question that has to be answered on an individual basis because what I find this song may reach out to me and it may strike me as sad and someone else may take it as more powerful or something, but I think that overall our songs are separate entities to each other, they each have their own kind of emotion behind them, I think you’ll find more if you look into that, whereas as a whole from a group.
The End. Anything you’d like to add?
Ric: I just wanna say Waaaa…on a self-promoting kinda level, I think when the new record comes out, it’s gonna absolutely change people’s lives. I mean it’s nothing necessarily new in the music world, but I think it’s powerful enough and uhh, I think people’s faces will melt off, basically, and/or they might make messes in their pants.
John: You guys made fun of me for saying people’s faces will melt off.
Ric: I don’t remember saying anything.
John: I! When we were in that place where Cornell or something, Prince George, I don’t know, someplace anyways, I was like, ‘…you guys are gonna melt your faces off’ and then you guys made fun of me for the whole tour.
Ric: Did you actually melt your face off?
Ric: I like it. I think the record is gonna melt people’s faces off is basically what I’m gonna say. The new record will melt your face off. In the best possible way.
John: If you like it, it’ll melt into something better.
Ric: Ok, music is powerful, but I don’t think it has the power to change your face into a prettier face.
John: Dude, the new record will.
Ric: Ok, yeah, that’s right. Our new record is like cosmetic surgery.
Diana: This is like That 70’s Show.
Ric: This interview is like That 70’s Show. Except it’s a microphone and not some sort of foreign substance.
Heather: That may or may not be legal. Oh, did you set a date?
John: We’re playing November 16th at the Salt Lounge. It’s us. Shotgun.
John: With 10
John: Hero. And maybe someone else, probably not though. Doodledoo.
Diana. Yup. The End Part 2.
Photos by mindyourmind