XS ROCK: Tell me about the latest band news? Any new projects coming out, live shows or announcements?
Mason Keck: What’s up y’all! Now that the craziness of 2020 is behind us, we have a new album coming out really soon, and hopefully will get back to touring as soon as things make sense and are safe to do so. We just released a new single with another about to drop.
XS ROCK: So how long has the band been together?
MK: Fluff(Seth Aldridge, drummer) and I started the band when we were 14. We had jammed together for a year or so before we played our first show in June of 2006, our one show as a four-piece with my cousin on guitar before switching to a power trio for the next couple of years. Tyler(Schulz, guitar) joined about 10 years ago, and Keith(Ingalls, bass) has been with us for 3 years now.
XS ROCK: What was your main motivation for originally starting or being in a band?
MK: Fluff and I were best buds, and we already jammed for fun. My dad was a musician and saw potential in us and helped us find some direction. Once we started seriously jamming and learning songs, it was a whole different ballgame. I was never any good at sports when I was younger, but I liked to interact with a crowd, so I think playing music really tripped a trigger in my brain.
XS ROCK: What is your music background?
MK: I started playing guitar when I was 9 or 10, so I’ve played for almost 20 years. Fluff, Schulz, and I all went to Musician’s Institute in Hollywood once we graduated from High School. Keith has played music and been in several bands for the greater part of the last 25 years.
XS ROCK: What image do you think your music conveys?
MK: I like to think our music is Rock N Roll with songwriter sensibilities. We try to be as real as we can, and I think that comes across in our music. People sometimes tell us our demeanors off stage are much more calm and reserved than when on stage.
XS ROCK: What are your current music career goals?
MK: I’m excited to get this new record out, and it would be awesome for it to get picked up by a company that really knows what to do with it. Other than that, to keep building our fan base and to get back to touring really soon. We toured Europe in 2017 and we were supposed to go back in January of 2021, but that was pushed back a year. I’m hoping to continue to build those connections and make that a more common thing post-pandemic
XS ROCK: Which do you prefer? Writing new songs and recording or playing for a live audience?
MK: I like playing songs live for an audience…you can feed off of their energy and things can be fluid from night to night. That being said, nothing is better than hearing back the final mix of a track you have been working on!
XS ROCK: What are your songs’ lyrics about? (What specific themes do they cover?)
MK: Our songs cover a lot of ground. We play what we know, so there are a lot of songs about being on the road, love and loss, things we might encounter on the day to day. The new record cover topics ranging from the life of being a band in a van travelling around, to the woes of living in a crowded city.
XS ROCK: What is the single most important thing to you as a musician?
MK: The most important part of being a musician is to try to reach someone on a deeper level. The best feeling in the world is when someone tells me that one of our songs means something very personal to them.
XS ROCK: Do you have any outrageous tour stories from the road? If so, please fill us in.
MK: Man, we’ve seen it all! Broken down in the middle of a National Forest in Wyoming, a toilet upstairs dumping gallons of water onto the front of the stage for a solid 90 minutes, gear being held hostage, all sorts! The best was the woman claiming to play lead guitar for AC/DC before jumping into the sound booth and grabbing the console by the mic cables. She shook everything loose and it sounded like the building was going to implode!
XS ROCK: What’s the strangest request that you’ve ever received from one of your fans?
MK: we’ve had people try to pay money for sweaty clothing. We also once autographed a guy’s Motley Crue themed prosthetic leg. I guess he couldn’t find Vince or Nikki.
XS ROCK: Are your friends and family supportive of your choice to play in a rock band?
MK: Our friends and family are extremely supportive and our biggest fans! We couldn’t do it without them and are beyond thankful for their help and support.
XS ROCK: What advice do you have for new bands trying to get started?
MK: Practice, practice, practice! Get it perfect, then say screw that and do what makes the crowd FEEL. Learn some simple studio/recording stuff. Record yourself and listen back. Put out content constantly.
XS ROCK: What are your favorite tracks to play live?
MK: my favorite track of ours to play is “The Long Odds.” The parts are fun to play and I get to take 2 guitar solos! I also love covering “Have A Cigar” by Pink Floyd because it gets great response.
XS ROCK: Which band or artist inspired you to perform? Why?
MK: All of the Classics of course, then bands like The Black Crowes, Soundgarden, and a band from North Carolina called Cry of Love. There were a lot of local bands in our area that gave us encouragement as well. What really got me going was seeing a band from Wilmington, NC called Medusa Stone. They were amazing and I’m proud to call them friends. I also caught a band called The Steepwater Band that really made me want to play.
XS ROCK: If you could design a dream tour for your band, who would be on the bill?
MK: Oh man, I’d say The Stones, Aerosmith, Rival Sons, and Blackberry Smoke. Hell, I’d be glad to take the 20 minute opening slot!
XS ROCK: What do you consider your greatest accomplishment so far?
MK: We’ve gotten to play with some of our heroes, from Foreigner to Leon Russell and bands like Blackberry Smoke and Drive-By Truckers. Also, going to Europe was huge for us.
XS ROCK: If you weren’t performing in a band what kind of career do you think you would have?
MK: I would probably be an engineer or a physicist.
XS ROCK: What type of equipment do you use for live shows?
MK: I use Gibson and Fender guitars, and Germino amps or vintage fenders. I’m a huge Les Paul guy. I love BMF effects and my Cusack delay. Bury me with that thing!
XS ROCK: What do you think of the current music scene?
MK: It’s a wild world to be a band on the current scene. There is plenty of amazing music still being made. More than ever, in fact. It’s tough to make it in the genre we’re in, but its awesome to see there are still fans that crave Rock N Roll.
XS ROCK: For anyone that doesn’t know you, what would they be surprised to know about you?
MK: They might be surprised to know I almost went to school to pursue science! I focused a lot on education when I was younger and things like physics and engineering really intrigued me.
XS ROCK: Is there anything that you’d like to promote or say to your fans out there?
MK: Thank you guys so much for all of the support! if you haven’t, please go follow us on Social Media and your favorite music platforms, and share it with your friends and family. Thanks for having me.