Monday, November 21, 2011

Interview With The Ridgelands Part 1

Critical Mass: Thank you for taking the time to talk with Critical Mass, guys. I really appreciate it. For any folks who may be new to The Ridgelands can you give us a little history on the band and how you got started?

Tall Doug (Guitar/Vocals): Basically I was just sitting on MySpace and was just going from this band to this band to this band y'know. And it's cool, the musics pretty good y'know, and then you hear the singer...and it's like Jesus, haven't you ever heard a piece of music before? And I was sitting there like "I can do better than this!" And then my buddy Andy, who was our first drummer, was like "Yeah, I'll fuck around with you guys", which was basically me for 3 months.

Mike Schultz (Bass/Vocals): Then I get out of rehab....

TD: Yeah, then Mike gets out of rehab and we go to the local skate park and I go "Hey man, do you wanna hear some crappy demo's my bands made?" And he's like "Yeah." He puts the headphones in and is goes "Dude, are you kidding me? Who's in the band?" I go "It's just me and Andy. He plays drums and I play guitar and sing." And he goes "I'll be bassist." And seriously a week later he goes to Guitar Center and buys a bass and we started jamming.

CM: That's it huh? Just that quick?

MS: Yeah, and that was only like a year and a half ago. We haven't been a band for long at all.

TD: We're coming up on a year and a couple of months. And then our buddy Andy, I guess just wasn't feeling it, because he really wasn't a punk rocker. He just kinda hung out with us and drank.

MS: And skateboarded with us.

TD: So we kicked him out and we were kinda like playing for a couple of weeks thinking "Where do we go (from here)?". And then our buddy Chris (Shinstine) played drums, and then he got in it (the band). He's not here right now because he's sick.

MS: And that's our line-up now. But he's (Chris) actually enlisted in the army and come December he's gonna be doing all that. So, we got our buddy Tyler lined up and we're gonna start jamming with him. We gonna finish out November with Chris because he's one of our best buds anyway. It's a bummer he's leaving. But he's gotta do what he's gotta do. So that's where we're at.

CM: I was listening to your stuff on YouTube and I really like what you're doing. It's really down and dirty style punk rock. Not too polished, but in a good way! What bands influenced you and made you really wanna start a band of your own?

TD: Now that's the thing. We don't all agree on music. I'm more the pop punk guy. But I still love G.G. Allin and Rose Tattoo and shit like that.

MS: I feel like I can't really pinpoint an influence because I listen to everything and I love everything. I just love music. And I know Doug's the same way. I grew up listening to a lot of street punk. Obviously Doug grew up listening to a lot of pop punk. And the way we looked at it from day one is it's not so much being influenced by certain bands, y'know. We're just gonna write songs and whatever the fuck they sound like, if we like em, we're gonna play em.

TD: Our drummer Chris, he loves the fuck out of death metal. And he's damn good at it too.

MS: We really wish Chris were here. We REALLY wanna state that! We wish Chris were here.

CM: Do you feel your musical influences contribute to your personal songwriting?

MS: Definitely. Because we have so many influences that....

CM: It just all kinda gels together?

MS: Yeah.

TD: Yeah, I mean because I come from listening to the Ramones and 50s music just poppy shit like Tommy James and the Shondells. So basically the songs I write are about girls and friends. The girls part is more of the poppy part of the music. And then I'll come up with 3 or 4 chords and a chord progression and I'll be like "Mike, I got this thing" and he'll add in his bass. And it's kinda like the street punks coming out of him and the pop punk is coming out of me. 

MS: And Chris just always throws out some awesome fucking drums. And it's like what we always say, "You can't polish a turd. But you can spray paint it gold!" Doug comes up with the turd, I spray paint it, we put it all together and it's good!

TD: We put it on a big polished plate and BAM! Someone's gonna eat that shit!

MS: I just hope that some people dig it. I was stoked that you (Critical Mass) were as excited about us as you were.

CM: I saw you guy's play that gig in Downers Grove and I really liked what I heard. And then I looked you guy's up on YouTube, and heard that you can pull it off acoustically. Then I heard (the electric version of) Useless Wooden Toys, and I was like what the fuck! I e-mailed Doug right then and said I need to interview you guy's right now! Fuck this! Signed, sealed, delivered...I needed to interview you guy's right then! (Laughter)

TD: Fuck yeah.

MS: I like that.

CM: Sometimes it takes time for new music to grow on me. And sometimes it's right away. And when I heard you guy's it was BOOM right then I knew this was something great and special.

MS: I like that. I like knowing that our music can do that to people.

CM: Songwriting...does everyone contribute to the songwriting process?

TD: Yeah.

MS: Like I was saying earlier, Doug gives birth to the monster turd, I add some fucking gold dust and fucking gold spray paint and Chris just lays some fucking gnarly drums down and it's just whatever.

CM: So the bands got an album out, "Corey Webster Must Die". Is this the bands first album?

MS: Yeah, this is our first one.

CM: Do you release your own albums or do you have a small label who releases your material?

MS: Well, we were just gonna release our own. And then, it's not REALLY a label, it's called GoDIY Records, they got a website and shit...

TD: They're pretty rad.

MS: It's kinda rad, they find bands from all over. And it's not a label that signs bands, they don't tell you "Yeah, we're gonna sign you and put an album out." We haven't been THAT lucky yet. But these dude's are really rad because they tell you "You're really fucking good. And we would like to work with you." And I'm like, "Yeah well, what's the deal?" and they say "You're still on your own, but we work with manufacturers." And they get us discounts on getting our CD's pressed and shit. I did the artwork and our buddy Mike Cleary (sic?) recorded it and mixed it. And we even told him we just wanna sound like how we sound live. So, don't fuck it up too much. So, we put it out. We sent the label the shit, I sent them all the artwork I made and they pressed em up. I think they pressed like 100 CD's for like $250. So, it's good we get to sell our CD's for like $5 or give them away.

TD: And what's good about them contacting us was our album wasn't even out yet. We had 3 demos that were on ReverbNation. And they contacted us and said "I heard your song "You Blew Me Away"", which isn't even on that demo. At the time (of recording our album) we had like 12 or 13 songs. And we were like "lets just throw 8 songs on (
"Corey Webster Must Die"
)". And when you play shows, you only play about 8 to 10 songs anyway.

MS: I don't regret only putting 8 on there, because we still have like 16 songs that we didn't record for our next electric album. And we have another acoustic album we're doing.

TD: Which will have another 8 or 9 songs on it.

CM: It sounds like you guys have a lot of material spread out.

MS: Yeah, but I kinda wish we would have recorded more the first time.

TD: I wish we had enough money to record now!

MS: That's our problem, we're broke! 

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