Interview with Pete Devine of Pete’s Rock News and Views (http://petesrocknewsandviews.com)
PD: How would you describe yourself or your band as an artist?
Boone Froggett (vocals/guitar): We’re a Kentucky USA homegrown blues-based rock & roll band! We enjoy blending elements of rock & roll, rhythm & blues, We’re driven by all the sources of American roots music. But, we also have an improvisational streak in us that sets us apart from the pack in our genre. All I can tell you is buy a ticket or hit the play button and see what it’s all about!
PD: Can you tell us briefly about your background – i.e. where you’re from, how you came to make music, etc.
BF: We’ve all got music in our blood! Individually we all carry a musical background in our families. For me, My grandfather was an award-winning old time fiddler, My father played Bakersfield type honky tonk guitar and they set me on stage at age eight and I’ve been there ever since, haha! John’s family brought him up singing spirituals around the piano, Alex’s uncle is a renowned blues-rock drummer known for playing left handed & Dale’s family is extremely talented. Get this – Dale’s mother ran front-of-house at our most recent show here in Kentucky. We’ve all been so fortunate to harvest the benefits of musical households.
PD: Who and what inspires you to make music, both in terms of musical and other influences? What do you like to write about in your songs?
John Seeley (bass): This goes right to the heart of the meaning of life. Music is emotion and intention in every type of possible combination. Throughout history every person with the ability to hear and or comprehend sound has been affected in some way by it and in many cases those people then add to it and pass it along to the next person and sometimes the world.
Along with all the usual sources of inspiration such as growing up in a musical family, fire pits with friends, live bands, and watching family and friends learn to play and take it to the garage then studio, on stage and then on tour. We find inspiration to create and perform music in the people who tell us it gives them hope and encouragement. Family, friends, and fans who walk up to us and say things like “Thank you, your music helps get me home at the end of a tough day.” Every time someone comes up and tells us that our music means something real to them, that it makes a difference in their life for the better it inspires us.
Other inspirational sources include the natural sounds of our home area of Kentucky. Summertime crickets or cicadas for rhythmic bass parts for example I’ve always been intrigued on late summer nights what combination of timings will come out next. So I guess just about any and everything in sight has a musical translation if you choose to listen hard enough.
Musical sources are many and include the culminated wide musical listening history of every member of OTIS, etc. Specific bands that we wouldn’t be who we are musically without include Gov’t Mule, The Allman Brothers, Marshall Tucker, the Kentucky Headhunters, and the many great bluesmen that inspired us directly. Plus music we played in country and rock cover shows with friends and family growing up.
We write about love lust and the folly of man. Greed, excitement, comfort, joy, being broke, longing, disgust, happiness, and contentment to name a few. In our writing process the musical side usually comes to life naturally during a rehearsal warm up jam. The mood and style of a jam or song in process may elicit enough of a melody or feeling that a song spontaneously erupts forth. Sometimes partial lyrics are introduced first with a melody. Sometimes we take a cover tune for a spin in our style.
PD: What are your aspirations as an artist?
Alex Wells (guitar): For us it would be to take hold onto the audience and get them to enjoy the evening with us. To have a connection. To meet those faces and put a smile on them knowing they’re in good hands. For another personal gain I would say to create music that we would want to listen to. Something that has a message whether it be instrumentally or vocally, something that has value to anyone who listens. Everything that can be gained after that is just a bonus. If you’re doing it for fame and money then your heart isn’t in the right place, which is sad.
PD: What is the proudest moment in your music career so far?
JS: So many moments to reflect on and narrow down. Touring Europe and the United Kingdom rank high on the list. Releasing original music is always a satisfying feeling. Buying my first instruments and amps. Getting released on a record label. Hearing fans sing your songs back to you. One thing that’s always surreal is hearing a hero figure tell you they’ve heard your music and dig it. Playing specific shows. All these things make me proud but the best thing is seeing someone smile when they see us performing live. The reciprocation from the crowd and shared live musical moments are priceless.
PD: Promoting one’s music is such a challenge these days, especially with so many new artists emerging from bedrooms in the day of the home studio. How is that going?
BF: Today’s music business is pretty tough and there’s really no rule book. We live in a time where vinyl & streaming are the big sellers and we’re all biting our nails to see how long the CD survives. Ultimately, every band has to come up with their own recipe, figure out what works and what doesn’t. As far as music production I think you get what you give so for us that means the four of us in a studio with real amps & real drums laying down live takes. It’s hard to get all the nuances and reactions of playing together if you’re not actually playing together, right?
PD: And how do you book and promote your live shows and tours? Any performances coming up?
BF As of now, It’s just the band working directly with promoters & venues until we have enough steam built up to have validity on an agency roster. We have two publicists that help promote our live shows and we enjoy working our own socials! Who better knows how to connect to our audience than us, we ain’t afraid of a hard night’s work, haha!
We’ve played two shows with this new lineup so far and it’s just been incredible! We’ve got a BBQ festival in Missouri next month the Arcadia Valley BBQ battle and we’re doing both nights, which is exciting because we get to change up the setlist each night. At this point, a new show offer comes in every day or two. It’s a really exciting time for the band!
PD: What do you think about downloading music online? What about streaming sites like Spotify?
BF Ah, That’s a tough subject isn’t it? The great thing about it is it makes your music accessible to everyone. I personally have Apple Music and it’s amazing that I have access to things like the big Humble Pie A&M retrospective that came out recently, I more than likely wouldn’t have been able to swing the $80 to get the physical release. But, the down side to all this is that streaming essentially devalues recorded music. Luckily, there’s still so many who want to hear the real deal on vinyl and in the flesh at a live show.
PD: What song do you wish you’d written and why?
BF: For me, This changes on a daily basis but I’d have to say Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young’s “Almost Cut My Hair”. When David Crosby passed it had a profound impact on me and like everyone else I sought out refuge in my turntable & scoured YouTube for rare live performances and I came across a video of Croz doing a solo version of the song. As I listened and read some of the comments I realized how many people he spoke for as the unmistakable voice for counter culture since the late 1960’s! This song has been on our setlist the last two shows. David’s powerful voice & acoustic guitar chord voicings will always be an influence to us and so many others.
PD: Is there anything you don’t like about the music industry, which you would change if you could?
BF: I wish this industry would encourage more people to find their own voice rather than say “Why can’t you be more this & that”. The type of music we play was founded on freedom and individuality and that’s the only ground that you can truly grow your craft on. If you’re chasing a trend, you’re already too late.
PD: So what are you working on at the moment?
Dale Myers (drums): Right now we have a lot of shows lined up throughout the year and we’re always adding more, but more than that we’re looking at going into the studio soon to record some new OTIS magic for everyone. We’re always getting together and jamming on new material, and even making some of the songs previously released have a bit of a different arrangement.
PD: Where can we learn more about you and buy your music/merch online?
BF: Check out our website https://theotisband.com/ our socials and music here, https://linktr.ee/otisbandofficial and sign up to our mailing list!
Band/Artist location – Kentucky
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3 thoughts on “OTIS – Interview”
Awesome interview. I have a new favorite quote: “If you’re chasing a trend, you’re already too late….” Word!!!
Great interview Brothers Otis!! Looking forward to seeing you guys in Macon!! It’s been a long time coming.
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