XS ROCK: Tell me about the latest band news? Any new projects coming out, live shows or announcements?
Ritchie Randall: Nice! Right out of the gate we have all kinds of shit going on! 1st off we have an vinyl EP on pre-order through NoSlip Records here: https://nosliprecords.bandcamp.com/album/demon-face-stalingrads-cross-ep
We are also on a double vinyl compilation called Doombanomicon through Black Doomba Records that will be released in May here: https://blackdoombarecords.bandcamp.com/album/doombanomicon
Our list of live shows is right here:
Mar 09 Blackthorn Pizza & Pub Joplin, MO – our 11 year anniversary.
Apr 20 420Fest TJ Leland’s Pittsburg, KS – celebrate 420 yo.
May 17 Fubar St Louis, MO – our 1st time in St. Louis.
Jun 22 Bad Ass Renee’s Tulsa, OK – love playing B.A.R.
Aug 03 Traumafest Iola, KS – cool outdoor fest.
Sep 14 Bullshittin In The Backyard New Albany, KS – BMX competition with us providing the soundtrack.
Sep 21 Topeka Metalfest Topeka, KS – this will be EPIC!
Sep 28 Legacy Of Rock TJ Leland’s Pittsburg, KS – benefit to keep music in public schools.
XS ROCK: How long has the band been together?
Ritchie Randall: We’ve been together for 11 years now! Crazy to type that out!
XS ROCK: What was your main motivation for starting or being in a band?
Ritchie Randall: I totally blame digging through my dad’s record collection and seeing Judas Priest’s ‘Unleashed In The East’ record. It was over for me when I put the needle down and ‘Exciter’ came on. I had to play music!
XS ROCK: What is your music background?
Ritchie Randall: I was raised in a household that always had music playing. Lots of Deep Purple (I’m named after Ritchie Blackmore), Rainbow, Uriah Heep, Led Zeppelin, Judas Priest, and the list goes on. My parents bought me a guitar and amp and paid for lessons for a few years. I took them from the best musician in our town, Johnny Rose. I think what I mainly took away from lessons was that it trained my ear very well and taught me discipline. I’m not a great player by any means but my rhythm playing is ok.
XS ROCK: What image do you think your music conveys?
Ritchie Randall: Intensity mixed with humor. We tend to write stuff that has an intensity to it. Stylistically it’s all over the place, but it’s always delivered with sincerity.
XS ROCK: What are your immediate music career goals? (Next 1 to 3 years.)
Ritchie Randall: Do more touring, write and release a new album, play some big time shows, and just keep building the name up.
XS ROCK: What are your long-term career goals?
Ritchie Randall: To just be happy with whatever we do. I don’t want to regret anything doing this music thing. It should always have that intent of making you happy, providing some sort of therapy, and satisfying that need to create.
XS ROCK: Which do you prefer? Writing new songs and recording or playing for a live audience?
Ritchie Randall: That is a tough one! I can’t say I prefer one over the other really, but honestly, it’s all about sharing what you create with other people isn’t it? It’s that final step in the creative process really. Everyone getting together and enjoying the music is really why we do it.
XS ROCK: What are your songs about? (What specific themes do they cover?)
Ritchie Randall: They range greatly from history, comics, personal accounts, books, to even lighter fare like Dungeons & Dragons, skateboarding, Aquaman, etc. We all tend to write what we are feeling that particular day or what we see or hear that inspires us.
XS ROCK: Do you have any outrageous tour stories from the road?
Ritchie Randall: Yeah one particular show comes to mind! This was actually a local show but still the craziest thing. We are getting ready to start playing when we notice that some people had a bunch of LARP weapons, like swords, clubs, etc. We start playing and it was like some medieval mosh pit with sword fights, various beating of clubs, all kinds of craziness! It was incredible!
XS ROCK: What’s the strangest request that you’ve ever received from one of your fans?
Ritchie Randall: I had someone want to play my guitar once during a show. Yeah buddy, not gonna happen. Hahaha.
XS ROCK: Were your parents supportive of your aspirations to play in a rock band?
Ritchie Randall: Yes, they were very supportive when I started out and still are to this day. They still buy our music, t-shirts, etc to help monetarily as well.
XS ROCK: What are your favorite tracks to play live?
Ritchie Randall: It tends to change when you introduce new material, so right now it’s the 2 new songs from the upcoming EP, ‘Demon Face’ and ‘Stalingrad’s Cross’, but there are still a few that never get old, like ‘XR-750’, ‘Destroyer Of Worlds’, ‘Kill For Sport’ to name a few.
XS ROCK: Which band or artist inspired you to perform? Why?
Ritchie Randall: Judas Priest man. Digging ‘Unleashed In The East’ out of my dad’s vinyl collection, seeing that cover with KK holding his Flying V in the air, and putting the needle down to hear ‘Exciter’ blasting through the speakers. My 7 year old mind just had to play that guitar. My first guitar was a flying v too! I still play V’s. It’s the epitome of ‘metal’ to me.
XS ROCK: If you could design a dream tour for your band, who would be on the bill?
Ritchie Randall: Wow….another tough question. For me it would probably go something like this: Gravehuffer, Morbid Angel, Slayer, Judas Priest, Black Sabbath.
XS ROCK: What do you consider your greatest accomplishment so far?
Ritchie Randall: Probably releasing the 12 inch vinyl we just put out, called ‘Your Fault’. It’s on red vinyl and everything about it came together in such a cool way. From the art, the layout, all the goodies we put with it, the music, sequencing the songs, having bonus tracks exclusive to the vinyl, having Carlo Regadas (formerly of Carcass) play a solo on the album, all that stuff. It took a couple of years to execute but now we know what to do and what not to do.
XS ROCK: If you weren’t performing in a band what kind of career do you think you would have?
Ritchie Randall: Definitely working in conservation or some sort of job in a biology field. I love everything that has to do with nature.
XS ROCK: What type of equipment do you use for live shows?
Ritchie Randall: We are actually endorsed by the following companies! Check them out:
Custom Audio Mutation Amplification
Killer B Guitars
Sinister Guitar Picks
Zombie Dust Pickups
XS ROCK: What do you think of the current music scene?
Ritchie Randall: It’s different to what we’re used to seeing growing up, but that’s ok. Artists have always had to adapt to get their creations out there and right now is different. It seems to be thriving. There are more bands than ever now, so it can be overwhelming to a degree, but it’s part of it now, isn’t it? I personally enjoy partnering with so many artists, labels, networks, groups, you name it. Networking is the name of the game if you want to stand out.
XS ROCK: For anyone that doesn’t know you, what would they be surprised to know about you?
Ritchie Randall: That I listen to other music besides metal and punk, and am actually a fairly quiet person. I think the music helps release a lot of the pent up anger and aggression and our variety is definitely due to our other interests in musical genres.
XS ROCK: If someone had never heard you before, how would you describe your sound?
Ritchie Randall: Intense and sincere with some tongue in cheek humor. Just a good old metal punk thrashing!
XS ROCK: Is there anything that you’d like to promote or say to your fans out there?
Ritchie Randall: We really hope to see you at the aforementioned shows and hope you continue to support us and the local/underground scene. We appreciate any and everyone who gives us a chance and hope that it’s worth it.
XS ROCK: Thanks again for taking the time to talk with us at XS Rock!
Ritchie Randall: Cheers! It’s been a pleasure! Great questions too!