Saturday, April 28th was going to pan out to be a very big day for DreadMusicReview. I had a bunch of interviews lined up along with some great artists playing the River stage. I got to the Media Tent early to prep myself for the big day ahead. While I was setting up my gear at the table, we had some special guests come through. The Student Experience was providing kids the opportunity to see behind the scenes of what it takes to produce a festival. The Media Tent was one of their stops. One of our media members talked to the kids to get an understanding of what it’s like to be a photojournalist and the amount of hard work and effort media members put in covering these festivals.
I decided to do something different. I talked to a few of my fellow media members and asked if I could interview them. I wanted people to know about some of the other media groups that are out there.
First, I spoked with Rei Haycraft of Fuel The Scene from North Carolina. When not working a full-time job and being the vocalist for the band Raimee, she runs this non-profit online and print publication. Their group is entirely run by volunteers and their mission is to help keep the live music scene alive. You can watch the full video interview with Rei here.
Second, I spoke with the local guys Brian Paul and Shoeless Joe of Sonic Assault. Their internet radio show airs out of Rock 98.9 in Jacksonville, FL. Both guys work really hard on their show and make it fun, interesting, and they show how much they care about the music industry. You can watch the full video interview with Brian and Shoeless Joe here.
The first band of the day I covered was Joyous Wolf over at the Metropolitan Stage. Joyous Wolf and DreadMusicReview built a great working relationship since we covered them at Louder Than Life 2017. The band from Orange County in California has been on the rise over the past year from performing at multiple festivals, a tour with Drowning Pool and Adelitas Way, performing at ShipRocked, and being signed by Roadrunner Records. And they were ready to kick off Welcome To Rockville’s Saturday lineup with a bang. Nick Reese (vocals), Blake Allard (guitar), Greg Braccio (bass), and Robert Sodaro (drums) rocked out hard on stage with passion. You could see from their facial expression how much they love being on stage and performing for the crowd. The Welcome To Rockville fans were there early to see them perform and cheered loudly after every song. Joyous Wolf left it all on stage to start off Saturday.
Next up was another interview with the Lajon Witherspoon (vocals) and Morgan Rose (drums) of Sevendust. Sevendust has been in action since 1994 and after 24 years they are still going strong with no signs of slowing down any time soon. Sevendust doing the rounds on the festival tour, while also going on tour, to support their new album ‘All I See Is War’. Their 12th studio album was released on May 11th and is a solid piece of work that brings some new vocal and musical techniques to the Sevendust name while still keeping their hardcore metal intact. I was honored to have the opportunity to speak to Lajon and Morgan about the new album, their tour, and some other fun stuff. You can watch the full video interview here.
I headed back out to the River Stage to catch a band known as The Wild! The band from Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada went viral in 2014 with the release of their single “Road House”. They went on the road as a support act for various bands and released their debut album ‘GxDxWxBx’ (which means God Damn Wild Boys). They went on to release their follow up album ‘Wild At Heart’ in 2017. Dylan Villain (vocals, lead guitar), The Kid (rhythm guitar), Boozus (bass), and Reese Lightning (drums) were ready to rock the Welcome To Rockville attendees. The band was quite impressive on stage. They were in sync moving on stage and performing as one. Their music was embedded with blues and gritty rock and roll and it sounded amazing. This is a band any rock fan will love. I’m looking forward to see more from them in the next few years.
Back at the Media Tent I was ready for my next interviews. I had some time before the next artist was set to arrive, so I did another interview with one of our media members. This time I interviewed Billy “Pharoh” Ramsey of SkullCrusher the Podcast. Pharoh has been in the music review industry for a while and needed to take a step away due to injury. But, he’s back again and stronger than ever with his new podcast. You can watch the interview about his history, injury, and the new podcast here.
Following that, I had a great interview with Ryan Williams of Red Sun Rising. Their debut album ‘Polyester Zeal’ definitely made me a fan and they released their follow up album ‘Thread’ this past March. We talked a little bit about the album and why they creatively went in a different direction from their first album and discussed the tour. I remember we laughed a lot during this interview as Ryan was very laid back and personable. You can watch the interview here.
My schedule got changed up a bit as Andrew W.K. was available earlier than I expected, which was a good thing. Andrew W.K. is such a positive person and focuses a lot on enjoying life and making the most out of it. He was invited to multiple colleges over his career as a motivational speaker and I completely understand why. He was definitely one of the most interesting interviews of the weekend and speaking with him is an absolute pleasure. You can watch the interview here.
And then the weirdest thing happened. Ricky Miller from Red Sun Rising is apparently a huge fan of Andrew W.K.’s work. So after I had finished my interview he Ricky went over to ask Andrew for a picture. After he did, some conversations took place and suddenly Ricky is going to interview Andrew W.K. and I was videotaping it. If you want to read the whole story behind it and see Ricky’s interviewing skills you can watch it here.
I also happened to be in the right place at the right time for that interview and to get a chance to interview the Butcher Babies. Jason, Carla, and Chase were in the Media Tent and available for a few minutes to talk. We discussed the Kings and Queens tour, the new album ‘Lilith’, and other stuff. You can watch the interview here.
It wasn’t too long after that interview that I headed over to the River stage to photograph Butcher Babies’ set. The Los Angeles band formed back in 2009 and made a major splash on the music world. They self-released a self-titled EP, which caught the attention of Century Media Records. They signed with Century Media Records they released their debut album ‘Goliath’ in 2013. The album hit the Billboard 200 and ranked in the Top 5 on the Billboard U.S. Heatseeker Chart. The band went on to release an additional EP and two additional full-length albums, with the most recent, ‘Lilith’ released in October 2017. The band had a massive crowd of attendees and media waiting to see them perform. Heidi Shepherd (vocals), Carla Harvey (vocals), Henry Flury (guitar), Jason Klein (bass), and Chase Brickenden (drums) did not disappoint that day. The band thrashes a stage with powerful vocals and heavy metal grind in the most aggressive and intense way. Their setlist included “Lilith”, “Monsters Ball”, “The Butcher”, “In Denial”, “Gravemaker”, and “Look What We’ve Done”.
When I got back to the Media Tent, Joyous Wolf was there still doing interviews. Nick asked if I wanted to interview the band since I hadn’t gotten all of them yet in an interview. We discussed a whole variety of things from their uprise, their signing with Roadrunner Records, and some other interesting tidbits. It was more like talking to family than artists. You can watch the interview here.
I wrapped up the night photographing Andrew W.K.’s set over at the River Stage. Andrew W.K. is a songwriter, producer, instrumentalist, motivational speaker, and was even TV host. The charismatic artist has writing songs since age 16 and released 5 albums in his career. The most recent release was ‘You’re Not Alone’ released in March 2018. Andrew W.K.’s stage performance is like one big party. Bright lights, fun music, and a party attitude as he performed on stage. Some of his songs included “Music Is Worth Living For”, “Take It Off”, “Tear It Up”, “Break The Curse”, and “You’re Not Alone”.
Overall, it was a good way to wrap up the evening before leading into the final day of Welcome To Rockville.