Born in New Jersey on May 15, 1976, singer/songwriter extraordinaire Scott Terry formed the Ohio-based band Red Wanting Blue (also known as RWB) while still in school at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio. While there, Terry met and recruited school mates Brian Epp (guitar), Jerrod Myers (bass) and Ryan Eisert (drums) to form the first incarnation of RWB in the fall of 1995. While still in college, the band released their first full length album (Velveteen) in 1996, and their second full length album (The Image Trigger) in 1998.
In 1999, RWB relocated to Columbus, Ohio, the city that the band continues to call its home. RWB has been touring the US for well over a decade now, performing approximately 200 live shows a year. World renown as an exciting, explosive live act, Scott Terry has been widely compared to some of the most dynamic and original frontmen in the music industry.
On April 20, 2010 RWB announced that after more than a decade of being an independent band, they would be signing a three album contract with Fanatic Records (EMI/Caroline) out of New York City, citing Fanatic Record's "mom and pop mentality" as the reason for the band's decision to sign with the label.
The band has released a total of nine full length albums to date. Their latest release, From the Vanishing Point (2012) has yielded the hit singles "Audition", "Walking Shoes", "White Snow" and "Stay on the Bright Side." From the Vanishing Point debuted at No. 10 on the Billboard Heatseekers Chart.
Taking a break from their hectic North American Tour, RWB's Scott Terry shared his thoughts with Examiner on the process of creating music of lasting quality, life on the road touring and much more. Here is Part One of a two-part interview with the band's dynamic frontman and leader, Scott Terry:
Scott, I've played your album to death! It hasn't gotten off my turntable yet.
You were born in New Jersey on 5/15/76…
Yeah, I was! Wow!
You formed the band in school, at Ohio University. Now that was in Athens, Ohio. Not to be confused with Athens, Georgia.
Right. Although the towns have a very similar “feel” like they are one and the same.
It’s a very eclectic community. Very “artsy” and when I think about Athens I
associate it with…it almost feels like a Colorado town. It feels like Boulder.
It’s a beautiful spot in the middle of a valley. I love that place. It’s a great school
and a great town. It feels like it should be further West than it actually is.
I don’t have anything against the East. It’s just a pretty neat place!
Tell our readers why you made the decision to make the move from Athens.
What was the reason for that?
The way it seemed to us…to me at the time…that Athens was a great, creative place to
get started. However, it’s an hour and a half away from anywhere, pretty much any direction you go. You’re pretty far away. So Columbus, being the center of the state and its capitol, it seemed to be the town with the most going on. It seemed like a natural, evolving move to go to a more central location.
It’s like when someone would say “Why did you guys choose to live in Hoboken, New Jersey instead of by Coney Island, in Brooklyn?” They’re both really cool spots, but in Hoboken you can jump right onto the turnpike and get moving! You’re more mobile, as opposed to you gotta go all the way to New York City and then go through it to get to the far side of Brooklyn. You know what I mean? You’re going an additional time out of the way, and I always thought that one day that it might…you wanna be as mobile as you can. Interstate 71 and Interstate 70 are two humongous arteries in the Midwest. They both cross in downtown Columbus.
When I was younger, it seemed to make more sense as far as trying to get out, trying to
go beyond the borders of our small bubble. It seemed like this was the right thing to do. Now that I've gotten a little older, I've thought “Oh man, would it have been so bad to have stayed there?”
City life is great, but at the same time a little bit of rural life seems really nice and relaxing too! I can’t make up my mind, that’s why I do this for a living, lol.
If I stay in the same place for more than four days I get heart palpitations!
Now, your band had already released two full length albums (‘Velveteen’ and ‘The Image Trigger’) before you’d ever left university. That’s a feat rarely seen by most bands and artists. What quality/qualities about your band do you feel played a part in its early maturation?
Wow, that’s a great question! That was at a time when bands were still making demos
on tape cassettes and trying to sell them for five bucks. For us, we were just starting to figure out “Wow! We can actually make a CD instead of a tape! How great would that be!”
It’s always been on my mind that I love making music and I love writing music,
but there is a part of me that wants to always remain…whether I like it or not I am aware
that getting a song and doing a cheap, do it yourself on your computer recording, just
burning your own CDs doesn't look as professional as going the distance and having an album with artwork that stands right up next to a major label album.
I've always been aware of where I am, where I was and what is currently considered the “norm” for successful, popular music in that medium. So I've spent the greater part of my life
trying to become a better writer, to make sure that the music on those albums gets better and better. At the same time I’m trying to narrow the gap. I was always trying to narrow the gap between being an unsigned college band versus a signed band to a major label. I think it was always in my mind to do that. Some people might say “Oh, I was just thinking big!” but to me it was a matter of just trying to make the best thing possible.
Maybe it’s that I've spent the majority of my life in bands, and other people I’d meet would say “Oh! I've got a band too!” and I’d think “Oh boy! Everybody’s got a band! Everybody and their brother’s got a band!” So it was those small things like paying attention and not cutting corners when it comes to album artwork, nor cutting corners on the quality of the album that you’re about to see and listen to. Questions like whether it will be wrapped in cellophane and will it have a sticker are all silly, minuscule things, but I think they're all important in the overall experience of getting someone’s album and putting it on. I've always wanted our music and its packaging to be like opening a Wonka Bar. You want listeners to go “Wow! There are so many interesting elements to it; so many surprises!” When you listen to it, I want it to be like when you bite into that Wonka Bar and you taste the raisins, the nuts, all those little extras you didn't expect to find there in the making of it.
Part 2 on 2/4/13
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