Royal Thunder – Eyes of the South
By: David E. Gehlke
No one will accuse Georgia’s Royal Thunder of trying to advance the course of metal on their CVI (Relapse) debut. This thing has 70’s rock written all over it, from the production, to the song’s eerie glow, right down to singer Mlny Parsonz’s Joplin-esque vocals. The band couldn’t have timed things any better, for the retro rock resurgence in full-swing and is literally begging for a band to come out swinging with a brash female out front. Lest we not forget that Royal Thunder as the songs to boot, including the Southern swagger of “Parsonz’s Curse,” “No Good” and the most excellent “South of Somewhere,” a song tailor-made for hoisting lighters after some hooting and hollering.
Currently criss-crossing North America is support of CVI (which is receiving quite the rapturous response), we snagged guitarist Josh Weaver for a quick round of questions. Brevity, in addition to soul-charged songwriting, is apparently one of the man’s long-suits…
Blistering.com: To this point, CVI has received quite the critical acclaim. For a new band out of Georgia, that has to feel good, right?
Josh Weaver: It has been really great to hear that people are into the new record! We could not be happier about that and it feels great!
Blistering.com: Can you tell me a little about your formative years, as in the time spent slugging out in clubs/bars, etc.?
Weaver: We have really cut our teeth as a band playing out live. I'm thankful we have played so many shows. We have played in front of five people and in front of hundreds! It has made us the players we are today and would not have it any other way.
Blistering.com: How critical were those years in terms of honing the band's sound?
Weaver: It was very critical, we would not be the band we are today without years of playing out live. It takes years to even start to be comfortable playing out live.
Blistering.com: Furthermore, you’ve developed quite the work ethic over the years. What drives the band (other than your van ha-ha)?
Weaver: The music has always been the driving force in this band. It has always been our passion and outlet in life. We realized early on that you have to work hard to get the results that you want. Nothing comes for free and there are no shortcuts! 110% or nothing at all!
Blistering.com: Relapse is certainly known for its death metal, but recently, the label has diversified its sound. How did you end up signing with them?
Weaver: We played a show in Nashville with a band Javalina. They were friends with Relapse and told them to check us out! Relapse contacted us and said they wanted us to be on their label and we said yes!
Blistering.com: What do you think it is about your brand of vintage rock that is resonating with people?
Weaver: I would not consider us vintage rock, but I do think it's a influence in the music. I do really love vintage rock and the revival of that old sound that is happening now. I think the vintage rock sound has soul to it and people really can relate to music that has a lot of feeling to it.
Blistering.com: Along those lines, you're going to be associated metal because of your label and subsequent touring, so I'm curious - do you get a kick out of proving the ever-picky metal naysayers wrong?
Weaver: We do have a lot of metal naysayer fans and non metal naysayer fans! It's funny, some people consider us metal and some not. I'm down with anyone that is into our music, or not!
Blistering.com: “South of Somewhere” and “Minus” are the two songs that stand out the most for me, and they’re two of the more laid-back songs on the record. Do you think playing this minimal style of rock is one of your strengths?
Weaver: I do really love having diversity in our music and I think that songs like Minus really show that off. Is it a strength? I haven't really thought of it, but I guess it is!
Blistering.com: Mlny has one hell of a set of pipes on her. It’s almost like her voice is so strong that it’s hard to control. Do you feel like you’ve barely scratched the surface on her abilities?
Weaver: Mlny is so very talented! I think that she has just started to scratch the surface as to what she can do. I think that goes for all of us. Playing out live really changes and helps us to grow as musicians and we have a lot more of that to do in our career!
Blistering.com: If afforded the opportunity to utilize a time machine, which era of music would transport to, and why?
Weaver: I think if I had a time machine I would love to go back in time and witness the time period when the Beatles, Zeppelin and Black Sabbath were just hitting the music scene! It was such a great, creative time in music.
Blistering.com: Finally, what’s on the agenda for the rest of 2012?
Weaver: The biggest plans of 2012 is to get on the road and stay on the road to support the new record CVI. We look forward to the experience of traveling and meeting new people and bands!
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