One of my favorite songs of all time is Nickelback’s Rockstar. Can I play a guitar? No. Can I sing a tune? No. I can sing out of tune. Would I want to be a rock star? Oh, hell yes. I would “trade this life for fortune and fame and even cut my hair and change my name” in a heartbeat.
But I know damn well that the road to living in “hilltop homes driving 15 cars” and “hanging out in the coolest bars” is one paved with hard work, steadfast determination and deep love for the music. And know I am not up to the challenge.
But New Jersey’s own good guys who rock, alternative rock band Throwing Color is.
Dave Ryan, guitarist and vocalist for the group, took time out to talk to The Ride following the band’s return to the Garden State from Austin, TX and the SXSW Music Festival which brings together a slew of bands from all musical genres and levels of notoriety. Dave described the experience as “brutal and fun”. The brutal part was the 33 hour ride there and back. The return trip was especially hard with the band having to sleep in a parking lot of a McDonald’s.
That’s right. No limos. No tour bus. Nothing except free neck and leg cramps for everyone. Obvious discomfort aside, Dave said that it was a “great experience”. “Everyone in Texas is nice and genuinely excited about music. They respect music,” said Dave. “It opened [our] eyes to people who love music for music. It’s something you don’t see a lot anymore.”
Back in NJ, that appreciation for music isn’t always present. And although Dave has great love the state of NJ, gigging in the Garden Staten can be a bit rough at times. There are fewer venues and with fewer venues comes fewer opportunities to be seen, and importantly, heard. And there is that small problem of everyone fashioning him/herself a rock star. Just like every person with a computer thinks himself a writer, every person with guitar (air or real) thinks he’s rocker and has a band of his/her own to prove it.
When talking with with Dave, you get the sense that he’s a dude that has been in the game a while. At one point, he mentioned something about having been at it for about 10 years. Wait a minute. I had to ask how old he was. He’s 22. Okay, I’m impressed. So what the hell was I doing at 12 years old when Dave was working on his craft? You guessed it. Nothing. (because watching cartoons doesn’t count). Yet another reason why I am NOT a rock star.
Like I said, Dave started early. He talked about meeting lead singer and songwriter, Drew Duddy while in high school through a bass player in one of Dave’s old bands who was looking for a singer. The band broke up but the two stayed together and went on to play with other bands.
The Dave and Drew were in and out of bands for a while. During the downtime, Dave decided to enroll in college and major in media production. “I wanted to do something to keep learning about music and about life.” Dave has almost finished his college education. And just in time.
After a number of years and several bands later, Drew and Dave finally found a group of like-minded individuals that they could grove with. And Throwing Color was formed. According to Dave, the band recorded their first record in August 2008, played their first show in November, will release their debut EP The Static Seas in April and will begin touring this summer.
You might be inclined to call Throwing Color some kind of overnight success. That’s only if your measure your nights in years rather than hours.
So, I guess you are wondering about their sound?
Dave described Throwing Color‘s sound as high energy alternative rock with some pop elements. The band’s influences include Blink 182 and Dave Grohl and the Foo Fighters.
Throwing Color’s process is pretty uncomplicated: Dave mainly writes the music and Drew writes the lyrics and the rest of the band members work together with Drew and Dave to help shape the songs. When asked about the recording process, thinking it might be like that of the hot mess fiesta called MTV’s Making the Band 4 in which band members literally come to blows over a song, Dave said that working in the studio was “tedious” but without conflict. “Recording is fun but brutal. We are all best friends so it’s super fun.”
The product of their labor of love (sorry about the trite phrase), the six song EP Static Seas is described as “a journey through overcoming life’s everyday obstacles and challenges”.
Sounds like they are singing about the real rock star life to me.
Throwing Color’s “The Static Seas”, released on April 14, will be available on iTunes, Rhapsody, Napster, and Amazon. Want to check out Throwing Color on MySpace, click here.
MORE WITH DAVE RYAN OF THROWING COLOR
What’s in a Name?
Singer Drew Duddy came up with the name Throwing Color which, according to Dave means “taking something dull and dark and brightening it up.”
Dave’s Fantasy Rock Star Life
Buying a cup of coffee from Starbucks in the morning. Producing records. Touring and writing songs for television. Yes, that’s it. No big house. No bling.
What is Dave listening to on his iPod?
You might be surprised: Katy Perry. (“Can’t help it,” he said. “I love her.”), Green Day and “some random stuff.”
Has he ever played Guitar Hero?
Dave said played it in college and was so “embarrassingly good” that he had to stop playing.
Worse Advice Anyone Has Ever Given Him
To cure a hangover, take a drink the next morning. He tried it. Needless to say, it didn’t work.
It came from his dad who told him, “What’s the point of living if you are not doing what you love.” Sounds like a pretty smart dad to me.