XS ROCK: Tell me about the latest band news? Any new projects coming out, live shows or announcements?
XS ROCK: How long has the band been together?
Rich: The band has always been myself and the idea and concept for this band came to me while on tour with Trail of Dead (as guitar tech) in October in Europe in 2012. in 2015 I decided to try and bring the band to life with Jason Reece from Trail of Dead. So we did.
XS ROCK: What was your main motivation for starting or being in a band?
Rich: In this particular project I’m involved with now I’d have to say Trail of Dead. Trail of Dead has an album titled “Madonna”. So originally the idea was to create a second version of that album, which happens to be my favorite album of theirs. Although my direction has changed a bit since then I would still say that I still hold true to the initial direction. Generally speaking if one asks me what my motivation for being in a band at all I’d have to say for my sanity. I feel worthless if I’m not creating music and that’s a dark place to be.
XS ROCK: What is your music background?
Rich: Born into metal. Grew up on Punk. Matured into Indie.
XS ROCK: What image do you think your music conveys?
Rich: I honestly would have to say dark. But not in a menacing way, just a harsh scary reality kind of way. Facing and overcoming fears.
XS ROCK: What are your immediate music career goals?
Rich: touring in Europe and Japan. Making ends meet and working on our 3rd album.
XS ROCK: What are your long-term career goals?
Rich: To feed and clothe my child through the music I create while simultaneously showing him that’s it’s OK to chase your dreams well into your 40’s and even after that.
XS ROCK: Which do you prefer? Writing new songs and recording or playing for a live audience?
Rich: Playing shows. However recently I’ve been diagnosed with vertigo which is pretty frightening sometimes so that needs to be addressed first and foremost. So for the moment, I would have to say writing and recording.
XS ROCK: What are your some of your songs about?
Rich: Death and the afterlife. Reincarnation. Ghosts and spirits. Dead friends and relatives whom I deeply miss.
XS ROCK: Do you have any outrageous tour stories from the road? I
Rich: Once while on tour in Thailand we (Trail of Dead) were staying at this super rad hotel. in the middle of the night, I was woken up by someone shaking me awake. I thought it was our sound engineer who I was sharing the room with. Then I felt a hand grip my forearm very tightly and aggressively so I started yelling in a panic because I felt someone was in the room attacking me. Our sound engineer turned on the light asking me what was wrong and I told him someone grabbed me. He didn’t believe me and told everyone I had a drunk freakout in the hotel the next day but I wasn’t drunk. That was super freaky.
XS ROCK: What’s the strangest request that you’ve ever received from one of your fans?
Rich: “Can I wear you laminate?” which of course the answer was NO, haha
XS ROCK: Were your parents supportive of your aspirations to play in a rock band?
Rich: No. Not at all. According to my mother, it was Satan HIMSELF who I had to thank for my musical ability which of course ensured me a one-way ticket straight to hell and forever bathe and choke within the eternal lake of fire. My father was convinced that every decision I had ever made in my life was wrong and that the style of music I’d chosen to write and play was wrong as well and would never be considered music nor would anyone ever take me seriously as a musician.
XS ROCK: What are your favorite tracks to play live?
Rich: We have a song called “A Tired God Looks On” That one I thoroughly enjoy live. Also, one we haven’t played a lot called “Before I Disappear” and I really look forward to playing that song live soon.
XS ROCK: Which band or artist inspired you to perform? Why?
Rich: The band Jawbreaker inspired me to play in a band. Jawbreaker’s music just really made me look at myself as a writer. Was I a player or a writer? I’m a writer. So I became more introspective on my writing game.
XS ROCK: If you could design a dream tour for your band, who would be on the bill?
Rich: Nobody. Just us. Us and a packed house for every gig.
XS ROCK: What do you consider your greatest accomplishment so far?
Rich: Musically? Working in a band with my best friends who also happen to be my heroes. Also being a single parent to a wonderful son.
XS ROCK: If you weren’t performing in a band what kind of career do you think you would have?
Rich: Still trying to figure that out. I’d run my own business though, for sure. Fuck a time clock.
XS ROCK: What type of equipment do you use for live shows?
Rich: Guitars: 1976 Gibson Custom Les Paul, Fender Telecaster, Epiphone Sheraton, Gibson SG. AMP: Marshall 30th Anniversary 100 watt. 4×12 Marshall Cab loaded with 4 Vintage ’30s. Pedals: Memory Man and passive Ernie Ball Volume Pedal.
XS ROCK: What do you think of the current music scene?
Rich: The underground scene is generally where I live and for that, I would have to say that there’s a ton of awesome music being churned out every year. I find this very inspiring because these are people with the same amount of love and passion I have. Sometimes I feel they have more and they end up inspiring me.
XS ROCK: For anyone that doesn’t know you, what would they be surprised to know about you?
Rich: I have vertigo. I’ve never once gotten poison ivy. I hate unicyclists (sorry they’re just stupid to me) and I haven’t seen one Game of Thrones episode.
XS ROCK: If someone had never heard you before, how would you describe your sound?
Rich: Sounds like older Trail of Dead albums
XS ROCK: Is there anything that you’d like to promote or say to your fans out there?
Rich: Please be kind to yourself and others. I look forward to meeting you at our next gig.
Ricardo Mendez – guitars/vocals/songwriterChristian Kyle – guitars/backing vocals
Jason Reece – drums
Jason Westbrook – bass guitars