The rest of the story...

Here's where I tell you all the stuff that wouldn't fit in a 2-minute TV story.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Madrone: Rockers Trying to Make It.

During May, I am talking to two bands who are trying to "make it" in show business.  This blog is dedicated to the Roanoke based rock band Madrone.  The segment on May 15th will focus on the all-female band After Jack.

John "JD" Sutphin
I don't have a musical bone in my body, but I have always appreciated those who do.  Like many of you I watch American Idol and I see an enormous amount of talent.  When it's down to the final groupings, it's really hard to say who should stay and who should go.

But then even the winners don't often stick around for long.  Why?  Why do some people make it and some not?

Before American Idol and the other shows that have attempted to capitalize on the concept, people had to make it the the old fashioned way.
They had to earn their way to the top.  I thought it would be interesting to look at two local bands who have created a following to see what it takes.

Guitars stashed near the Tide.
I keep thinking of the Frank Zappa song, Joe's Garage, that we played on the college radio station: 

It wasn't very large
There was just enough room to cram the drums
In the corner over by the Dodge
It was a fifty-four
With a mashed up door
And à cheesy little amp
With a sign on the front said
"Fender Champ"
And a second-hand guitar
It was a Stratocaster with a whammy bar

Local rockers Madrone, made up of JD Sutphin, Joey Coleman, Blaine Davis and Tanner Dogan seemed the perfect people to ask.  They have had a top 50 hit on the rock charts.  (Daybreak) They play 150 gigs a year and they have opened for some bands that have already made it to the next tier.

They don't play in Joe's garage.  They play in JD's basement.  They have cool stuff all around their half of the cellar.  The other half has washing machines and lawnmowers.  They are living the dream.

We could jam in Joe's Garage
His mama was screamin'
His dad was mad
We was playin' the same old song
In the afternoon 'n' sometimes we would
Play it all night long
It was all we knew, 'n' easy too
So we wouldn't get it wrong

Madrone let me sit in on a practice session, and they answered my questions with enthusiasm.  They are as anxious to tell their story as they are for their next gig.  They love what they are doing.  Each band member said plainly that he would rather play music than do anything else.

Joey on drums
I push on the "making it" part.  How hard are you willing to work?  How long are you willing to be a short order cook by day so you can play at night?  (Blaine) Or in Joey's case -- how long are you willing to paint explosives trucks on 3rd shift so you can replace sleep with the drums?

For now -- they are all willing to do whatever it takes.  I expected that.  What I didn't expect was the definition of "making it."

While JD says it would be "awesome" to tour in the band's own bus, "pulling an suv," for the most part the consensus was that they would be happy to always be improving.  To hone their sound so that it is in fact their sound.  You hear the music and you say, "Oh, that's Madrone."

And they are working hard, in JD's basement to do just that.  "We'll never be Metallica" I heard during the interviews.

Well, maybe not.  I'm not qualified to say who has what talent.  But I think it's an interesting question, and in the meantime Madrone is on a roll to who knows where.

Here's a link to Madrone on Reverbnation:
The My Space Page:

1 comment:

  1. Great insight to a local band with potential to explode nationaly!