Happiness isn’t purchased goes the old saying. Seeing a rock star light up like a Simpson’s cartoon sticking their finger in a light socket, priceless.
Yes, the names of the guys in the band, Rubikon, are Jae (Vocals), Josh (Guitar), DR (Guitar), Hubes (Bass), and Diggs (Drums). Yes, they have a new CD dropping Aug 21, 2015 on Round Hill Records entitled, Delta. Yes, their colons scare their proctologists by the sheer amount of ground swine these window shopping rock and rollers have consumed so far, just this year. And yes, this has to be in the top five interviews this author has had the pleasure of doing. So enjoy, my friends, and remember the sphincter is the only muscle in your body that can discriminate between a solid, a liquid, and a gas. Don’t abuse it for shameless debauchery, just saying.
NRR: “Imagine if Wolfmother plus Queens of the Stone Age mixed with Lenny Kravitz, then add in dash of blues/stoner rock and you have Rubikon,” comes from your press release. Would you say that sums up your sound or can you get further into it for me?
DR: Ooooh, thatâ€™s a nice little band cocktail right there. Delicious. I would add in a shot of metal, since thatâ€™s where my musical roots are, and maybe one of those little umbrellas with the fruit on it. That umbrella would represent classic rock, and the fruit would be old R & B/soul. The straw would just be for drinking the cocktail.
NRR: I think I need to ask a serious, in-depth question early in this interview. You are strong proponents of sausage. Where do you stand on sausage versus bacon when completing your breakfast order?
DR: There is bacon-wrapped sausage AND sausage stuffed with bacon in this great big world of ours. Plenty of room on the plate for both!
NRR: Did you know of or about the 70s version of Rubicon when you first formed in the early 2000s as RUBIKON?
DR: We didnâ€™t know about that Rubicon when we formed and found out a few years later when one of our musician friends found a copy of their record while digging through some crates in a record store. I have it framed on my wall. Iâ€™m a big fan of Night Ranger and Styx, so Iâ€™m not sure how that little project slipped by me; I probably blocked it from my memory so we could just be â€œRubikonâ€ and not worry about the band name too much. Naming a band = hardest thing ever.
NRR: Speaking of which, how did you settle on Rubikon and what did taking that particular moniker mean to the band?
DR: We were struggling with the name for MONTHS and a random girl at a bar in NYC said, â€œHow â€˜bout â€˜Rubikonâ€™?â€ So we kept it â€“ and thatâ€™s the truth.
NRR: Making babies is one of those “or die trying,” kind of things. You guys came out of hiatus so ahead of schedule, you returned to the game a five piece. Was it the same feeling when you started as a band as when you came back for round two, or was it a completely different experience?
DR: When Josh joined the band, a whole new wave of creativity swept over us. He brings such a deep knowledge of blues and jazz into the group, plus he can absolutely rip the shit out of the guitar. Weâ€™ve been on a creative tear ever since.
NRR: I know you’ve worked with some legends on the other side of the glass before while recording your previous albums and the new one coming soon, Delta. When you were encouraged to go back to your roots, what was the initial reaction of you guys to that and in the long run was it good advice?
DR: We had some growing pains for sure, but it was nice to have a challenge to respond to. Sometimes itâ€™s fun to have a set of rules or expectations to try to meet or create around. I think our sound now is really a reflection of a direction that all of us really feel comfortable working toward.
NRR: If I read it correctly, you didn’t take ten years in between releases and only have one original member of the band left by the time a new CD dropped, but it did take some time for Delta to come together. What were the reasons that made this effort a year plus long endeavor for you guys?
DR: The main reason is distance. We live all over the US so we can only truly write â€œtogetherâ€ in the same room about four or five times a year. During those rare occasions, we lock the door from the inside and play 13 to 14 hours straight. We share ideas remotely, of course, but we get SO much more done when we are in the room together. Thatâ€™s why it took a few years for Delta to come together.
NRR: What has been one or two of the more difficult lessons you’ve had to learn since you started out to make your mark in music?
DR: Wow, great question. There are so so many lessons to share, but Iâ€™ll offer just two: Follow your heart, the band heart that is, no matter what. Listen to outside ideas, comments, and opinions, but do not let them define you. And have fun. Being in a band is ENDLESS work, thereâ€™s no path to success to follow, and touring is a relentless grind but often wonderful. When you spend 23 hours each day working to make sure that 24th hour on stage is amazing, make sure you enjoy that 24th hour. Youâ€™ve earned it.
NRR: Is there a moment, that thinking back on it now, in the your career that you can’t help but still feel a tad bit embarrassed about, makes you laugh about despite yourself, or just still makes you shake your head in disbelief? A Spinal Tap moment if you will, that you’d be willing to share with me?
“The band quickly emerged as something of a musical meat grinder, merging layers of progressive hard rock riffs, soaring melodic vocals, complex harmonic structures, mile-high atmospherics and claustrophobic metallic outbursts into a flavorful musical sausage.” ~ Band Bio
DR: Hmm, letâ€™s see â€“ beyond the parachute pants, the Mohawks, the dreadlocks, the body paint, the cornrows, the soloing-on-top-of-a-UHaul-because-you-think-youâ€™re-cool-because-you-have-a-wireless-rig-on-your-guitar, the falling-off-the-stage-mid-solo, the getting-electrocuted-on-stage-so-badly-that-you-squeal-like-a-pig, and the accidentally-making-a-boom-boom-in-your-pants-because-you-were-trying-to-impress-everyone-with-a-nasty-fart-and-youâ€™ve-never-admitted-it-until-right-now-in-print stuff?
No. Nope, Iâ€™ve got nothing that comes to mind.
NRR: Okay, so nothing really for you, got it. I touched a bit on what on it took to make the new record. Now, will you tell me what makes the finished product special to you? And what would you like new and old fans alike to take away from a first listen?
DR: We recorded most of the album live, over two weekends. It was spontaneous, perhaps a little rough around the edges. But it feels GOOD. At least to us. So what Iâ€™m interested in is feel, I hope it feels live and real and inspired to listeners, like it does to me. People grow and change over time, and so it makes sense that our music has as well. So, I hope old and new fans alike just enjoy the album for what it is.
NRR: If the Rubikon of today could give the Rubikon just starting out on their quest for righteous ground pork products, a bit of sagely wisdom, what would you say to help them grow?
DR: Follow your own path, and donâ€™t be afraid to experiment a bit with what you put in your sausage recipes.
NRR: Is there an adult beverage maker of choice that if it decided it might want to make its way on the tour bus or even on stage to help keep the vocal chords to stay well oiled or the fingers especially limber, who is the drink of choice?
DR: Well, weâ€™re an American band, so it only makes sense for us to enjoy a cold Budweiser now and then. BUT, we also want to maintain our girlish figures, so make that Budweiser Light. Thatâ€™s right, not Bud Light, BUDWEISER Light. Order one like that the next time youâ€™re at a bar to get a giggle out of the bartender.
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