Many people are now familiar with Inglorious guitarist Drew Lowe and he, unsurprisingly for such a gifted player, has another band, an alternative rock four-piece from London called Just A Ride.
The band have so far released two singles, their debut track ‘I Wanna Know’ was released in July 2017, and ‘Razor’ was released on 11th July 2018 . DTF caught up with singer Rod Henderson to talk about writing, the single releases and being tempted back to the rehearsal room.
So how did the band get together? Rod says “The band formed in early 2015. Myself and Drew had played briefly in Violent Delight together during 2003/2004, but had kept in contact. Drew had been working on some tracks with our bass player Eddie Hoffman and was looking for a vocalist and eventually convinced me to come out of retirement, having not been playing for about 10 years. We managed to smash out a few tracks and soon found a drummer in Alex Bailey and started practising and gigging.”
‘I Wanna Know’ is a solid song, how did this come about? “It’s a heavy, punchy song that really rocks when we play it live,” comments Rod, “We had great fun shooting the video on a cold December night in one of the outbuildings of a cider farm. I guess it’s kind of about going back to making music again. The whole industry and, for that matter the world, has changed and lyrically it explores that a lot and weighing up whether to go back to it with the voice in your head.”
I couldn’t agree more with Rod, the song is certainly heavy and punchy, full of grimy, fuzzy riffs and a kick ass chorus, it has a heavy flood of music which grows with a tsunami of vocal deliciousness.
Asked if experiences have influenced their writing, Rod replied, “I think our writing musically is all about making tracks that are influenced by the bands we loved growing up. There are a lot of mid ‘90s rock/grunge influences like the Stone Temple Pilots and Faith No More. You don’t tend to hear so much from this great era of music and we want to bring that spirit back and rock. Lyrically, there is a mix of subjects tackled in our songs. There are a few tunes like ‘The Secret’ and ‘No Way Out’ that are about the financial crisis and the impact it has had on people, and others that are generally more self-reflective and introspective about life, relationships and the changes you go through as you get older.”
With ‘Razor’ there are distinctly grunge ridden undertones, with big dirty riffs and lashings of hard drumming. Rod’s voice has a great tone sitting above the music, the track was recorded with John Mitchell at Outhouse Studios in Reading, “It was written about a year ago,” explains Rod, “And is a riff driven, big chorus, sing/shout a long! I like to think of it as Cochise meets Livin’ On A Prayer...ha,ha!”
DTF wanted to know about musical influences, how the band write, what works for them? “What we tend to do is write bits and pieces and put that together to form a backing track,” continues Rod, “I will then work on vocals at home and then once there is the base of a song we will go into a practise room and jam the track until we get a more complete song. There is a lot of emailing bits back and forth. We all have little home recording set-ups so we rarely get together and write a tune from scratch in the rehearsal space. Once we have played it through a few times together and settled on all the little details we will demo the finished song and then gig the track. Once you’ve played it a few times you get an idea of what you would put down in a recording. We all have a shared love of rock music from our teens and up, but I think we all have pretty broad musical tastes. I think everything you listen to can influence the direction of your writing even if it is unconsciously. Sometimes you listen back to your ideas and you can hear how the strangest genres have had an influence on your song-writing.”
The single releases have whetted my appetite to see the band play live, so can we expect some live shows soon? “Not yet,” says Rod, “We are taking a little break from live shows as I’ve just had a daughter and am spending a little bit more time with my family. Our focus is getting more material out there and sharing our music and ideas with as many people as possible in this period. We will be back on the road soon though so watch out for us!”
As for an album release this year, it’s looking very positive. With quite a few songs ready to go the target this year is to finish recording and get that released, “We have some great tracks ready to go and every time we finish a new song I feel it’s the strongest yet,” explains Rod, “Getting 10-12 tunes down and getting a complete piece out there is our aim so people can really get an idea of what we are about and the range of our music would be our number one goal.”
It is no secret that it is difficult for new bands coming through on the live circuit with some iconic music venues closing down due to lack of people through the doors. For the bands, advice on how to move forward from those bands who have made progress is invaluable, “My number one piece of advice to bands wanting to play live is to appreciate the audience. Sometimes you are going to play gigs that aren’t going to be as full as you’d want. When you’re starting out you can work really hard practising, spend a ton of money getting to a show and find you’re playing to 3 people and a dog. It is really easy to get down about the situation and play a half arsed show, but you have to rise above this and give the people that did come a performance they won’t forget. An old tour manager said to me, ‘It’s not their fault other people in their town aren’t interested’, so why should they not get the show that people that turn up to a sold out show get? If you can push yourself in the hardest moments the next time you come back there the show will be better.”
Every band has a dream venue, a stage where they want to play be it an iconic venue or a stadium show. Where would Rod like to play? “I would need a time machine, but I would play a headline set at the Astoria in London. It was my favourite venue growing up and I saw some amazing bands play there. It’s really sad to me that it’s been knocked down for a shopping mall, but hey that’s the way the world is going. I was really fortunate to play there years ago in a support band, but I always dreamed about headlining there.”
Away from music with a young family, what does a rock singer do to relax? “Away from music it’s about time with your family and looking after your health! Rock n roll is a tough business and it’s important to keep yourself positive and in top shape creatively. Drew is an avid cyclist and has racked up some epic distances across Europe. Alex and I always try and get to the gym to keep as in shape as much as possible and Eddie has a great passion for coffee!”
Turning up the stereo and kicking back, what bands does Rod Henderson listen to? “Avenged Sevenfold, The Gaslight Anthem, Jimmy Eat World and The Smashing Pumpkins. Nothing that new for now, something I should really change!”
Yes, you should Rod! Thank you for your time and we at DTF wish you and the band every success.
Check the band out on their social media