Today, I’m talking with Robert “BB” Ballinger, guitarist for the mighty Power Theory. If you’re a fan of any of the NWOBHM bands, you’ve got to love Power Theory’s sound. BB does a great interview and fills us in on all of the latest happenings with the band.
XS ROCK: Tell me about the latest band news? Any new projects coming out, live shows or announcements?
BB: Greetings! The latest news is we have a self-released 5 song EP on bandcamp.com with a new single ‘Brace for Impact” and 2 live tracks from European shows in 2015: https://powertheory.bandcamp.com/ as a hold over until a new album is completed. We are also in full pre-production demo mode for a new album which we plan to release in 2018.
XS ROCK: How long has the band been together?
BB: The band has been together since 2006, the current core of Jeff, Alan, and myself for 4 years now. We’ve been working with Carlos for 2 years now and he and Johnny have been playing with us since January 2017.
XS ROCK: What was your main motivation for starting or being in a band?
BB: Kiss LOL, I wanted to be Ace when I was a young guitarist! I think a lot of guitarists my age would say the same thing also.
XS ROCK: What is your music background?
BB: I started playing the guitar when I was 10 or 11 years old and my older cousin Dave turned me on Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, and Deep Purple, and I didn’t want to play Hot Cross Buns anymore from the Mel Bay Guitar Books, I wanted to play songs lol. So I found a great teacher that taught me how to train my ear as well as all the notes and chords, I played my first show at 14 yrs. Old!
XS ROCK: What image do you think your music conveys?
BB: Heavy Subject material from a crazy fucking world around us! I mean some of the themes and ideas just come from reading the newspaper and watching the news, so we try and do it without all the usual overused metal clichés.
XS ROCK: What are your immediate music career goals? (Next 1 to 3 years.)
BB: New Album, some US and mainly European tour dates to support the release, return to play European Summer Festivals!
XS ROCK: What are your long-term career goals?
BB: Become the next Iron Maiden LOL! But really they are a great role model for bands to follow their path of not any major mainstream support, and earning fans their fans from strong songs and great live shows. So that’s the long term goal, consistency and longevity without fucking selling out to what our vision is over the mainstream.
XS ROCK: Which do you prefer? Writing new songs and recording or playing for a live audience?
BB: Writing new songs and playing them for a live audience before recording them, LOL!
XS ROCK: What are your songs about?
BB: Mostly being a third party observer to people and situations, some history. For example, Long Hard Road is about a ton of bad mishaps on the tour we did opening for Vicious Rumors and Seven Witches in 2013, but we kept on going and didn’t quit. Dark Eagle is about the beginning of the Viking Age and Dark Eagle is really a Raven. Spinstress is about a crazy relationship one of the guys had with frumpy girl, LOL. Don’t Think Twice is about assholes on Social Media who don’t have their facts straight, or have to share every time they eat, drink, or take a shit. Cut and Run is about breaking away from people who are holding you back. Driven by Fear is about how 95% of the population lives instead of being driven!
XS ROCK: Do you have any outrageous tour stories from the road?
BB: Yes there is one from every time LOL! Hmmmm…. Well in Belgium 2015 we played a killer show with FireForce and Draakar and there was a fucking all out brawl in the streets in between band sets outside the club between a drunken TS guy in yoga pants and the bouncer, he TKO’d, and then he was swinging his bicycle at 4 cops before they barely wrestled him into the police van, it was crazy!
XS ROCK: What’s the strangest request that you’ve ever received from one of your fans?
BB: After a gig I Europe I was putting my guitar back in its case and I had a pick between my lips, a fan asked me for a pick and I said “sure they’re are logo picks at the merch table help yourself!”, and she said ” No, I want that one!” And pointed to the one in my lips LOL, so I said “OK here ya go”, Strange indeed!
XS ROCK: Were your parents supportive of your aspirations to play in a rock band?
BB: Yes, my mom helped me get an amazing deal on my first great gear; a marshall head and 4×12, and Gibson Les Paul I bought with my own money. I also remember my dad telling me as long as I give it 110% and not half ass it he’d have my back, because he said half- assed guitarists were a dime a dozen LOL
XS ROCK: What are your favorite tracks to play live?
BB: Beyond Tomorrow and Driven by Fear because of the great rhythm sections and dual guitar harmony parts.
XS ROCK: Which band or artist inspired you to perform? Why?
BB: Kiss, Ace to be specific! They just had an aura around them in the early years and were a great live “event”, and to me a live performance should always be and event.
XS ROCK: If you could design a dream tour for your band, who would be on the bill?
BB: Judas Priest and Iron Maiden co – headlining, Accept, and Vicious Rumors because they kick ass and are great dudes, and us opening but we have to get at least 40 minutes, LOL!
XS ROCK: What do you consider your greatest accomplishment so far?
BB: Getting to Europe to play 2 years in a row on our own for our first times and not having to “buy” our way to do so, contrary to what people may think! We earned it and got compensated as well.
XS ROCK: If you weren’t performing in a band what kind of career do you think you would have?
BB: Well in reality, in this day and age, being in a band as a sole means of income is really next to impossible. So I am skilled tradesman in all the building fields as well for a day job, I work with my hands!
XS ROCK: What do you think of the current music scene?
BB: Like our song says “It’s a Long Hard Road”, LOL! Locally, Philly doesn’t have too many places left to play, if there are some shows offered you have to sell a kidney or your first born child and pay to play, No Thanks! We can travel to Ohio, Michigan, NY, Rhode Island, and get some great shows with decent guarantees and sell our merchandise which has helped us grow our fan base. We did great on our two trips to Europe in 2015 and 2016, and are planning a bigger block of dates to support our next release in 2018, and if we are lucky we’ll be hopeful to break even. But in reality for bands it’s all about what you want to get out of it, some bands are happy being the local “big fish in a small pond” and just want to play a small local radius maybe 2 or 3 states and can say they “Headline” always and make money, basically they are happy being a “Bar” band and having all their friends tell them how great they are and buying them drinks! We are not happy with that, we’ve all done it before on some level; we’d rather humbly be a “small fish in a big pond” and spread our music live as far and wide as we can, and meet some great people along the way!
XS ROCK: For anyone that doesn’t know you, what would they be surprised to know about you?
BB: That I have 3 grown sons, who are all fine young men, and the oldest is 30 LOL. But I’m still very young!
XS ROCK: If someone had never heard you before, how would you describe your sound?
BB: We are inspired by the gods of Metal from the 80’s, and the NWOBHM, and also have a splash of the aggressions of modern power and thrash metal!
XS ROCK: Is there anything that you’d like to promote or say to your fans out there?
BB: First off, we’d like to thank XS Rock and all the fans we’ve been blessed with around the globe for their support, and if your new to us, please check us out at these links, Thanks!: