Rocklahoma is a three day festival put on by AEG Live and it is always held Memorial Day Weekend in Pryor, Oklahoma. What used to be a pasture, is now where the largest music festival in Oklahoma is held. The Rocklahoma line up changes from year to year, but several bands are regulars to the Rocklahoma grounds and stages. It makes those who follow the bands the opportunity to meet them during this three day long festival. While the variety of music and genres is becoming more vast, but maintaing the common thread of Rock N Roll.
With plenty of live music, vendors of all sorts, VIP tent and of course we cannot forget the Merchandise Tents. There are always free samples from Monster, while supplies last and Hard Rock has a wheel to spin for prizes, while supplies last also. This year Cracker Jack had bins of their new Spicy mix. They brought thousands of bags for everyone to try. Thousand Foot Krutch was given handfuls to take with them as they left. Making them ready with snacks for their flight to Canada the next morning.
Each year there are the familiar faces and those that you shake your head at and wonder how they are allowed to leave the house. But each and everyone in attendance are all there for the same reason, ROCK N ROLL MUSIC. Who better to start the Main Stage this year than Black Stone Cherry. The hit they stage at 4 PM CST and the weather was a mild 81 degrees, which was unusually cool for Memorial Day weekend, but the music was hot!
The Healiners: Friday night brought Five Finger Deathpunch, Saturday night the amazing Staind and Sunday night Kid Rock rocked the entire festival grounds!
The Chimpz: Rocklahoma is filled with bands from all around the world. Many return year after year and they are always ready to talk with us in the Media Tent as well as anywhere onsite. Returning once again to the Axis Stage at Rocklahoma are California native band The Chimpz. They have some big news and want everyone to be informed that until the release of their new album on in mid June, they have made it possible for fans to go to their website and request a free download of their single War Machine. Time is running out so send your request this weekend. The big news is the fact that they will be at the BOK Center in mid October for Battle Grounds MMA. They will walk out with the fighters! Writing the theme song for the MMA fight was easy for them. They were already in the studio recording their album when they were asked to write the theme song. They were mad at each other that day, making it an easy one hour job of writing. MMA enthusiasts and The Chimpz fans are in for a real treat. Check out their website and their Facebook page to stay up to date with all of their release dates and when they will be coming to your city. www.thechimpz.com
NICNoS: OKC native band played on the Axis Stage today at Rocklahoma. They are about to have an album release in OKC and Tulsa soon. A name is everything, so where did their originate? Funny story, they were on stage and asked what their name was and they said, "I don't know, Nick knows." It stuck and here they are playing at Rocklahoma! No set Genre, the play everything. From jamming, fiddle playing to Rock and Blues. They consider themselves a melting pot. www.thenicnos.com Just a thought, Van Halen & The Rolling Stones started out as a local band. NICNoS may be the next Van Halen?
Adelitas Way: Frontman Rick DeJesus walked into the Media Tent all smiles as usual. When he walked up to the Twin Metal Publication table, he had his arms out and ready for a hug. Rick is always ready to talk about the music, but I could tell there was something more on his mind, so without sitting down for a "formal interview", we began. Asking what was new since the last time we talked and he smiled from ear to ear and said "I'm a dad now!" Being a mother first in this world, I wanted to see pictures and the phone came out and he talked about each one of them. It has been amazing watching them blossom as a band and now with Rick becoming a parent, priorities have to have changed. "I have to be spectacular and make my mark. It's a Butterfly Effect; most spectacular before and tighter with a new lineup." Rick does the vocals, Keith took on a solo venture. Rick said they wish him all of the best in that venture. "We worked for 6 months jamming and getting the tone and transition right, with very little post production. It's an organic album." The goal they have set for 2015 is to Headline the United States. "Adelitas Way and Halestorm are the next big bands from this generation. We've created music in an oppression."
London's Dungeon: Playing all three nights. "We go on after Staind tonight." What brings you back each year? "The people, the music, a lot of drinks and fun!" With a set of ten to twelve songs on tonights set, along with Scattered Hemlet and Motortrane. When asked how they get their perspective, "We keep it as simple as an average listener can comprehend." As of now they are still an unsigned band and they are learning to do it on their own, but in need of sponsors.
Station: Play at 5:40. This is their Debut Album. "We have a ton of new music with an old school vibe. All old school, nothing automated about our music. Mixing is an art all of its own." Before coming to Rocklahoma, where did you play last? "We played in Chicago last night." That's a long drive to get here. "Yeah, we are pretty tired. One of of has to stay up while someone else drove in turns, but we are all ready to play for all of our fans out there!" About the tour: "We are touring more. We bought a station wagon. We have a way to haul our crew and equipment. Rocklahoma opened us up to a lot of new people. Other places aren't open to new music, but Rocklahoma is. Here we get to see old and new faces. Our fanbase has tripled since Rocklahoma last year." It is humbeling to know that Oklahoma welcomes music better than anywhere else in the United States.
Kill Devil Hill: On the Hard Rock Stage at midnight. "We are Rocklahoma Virgins!" Where did you come up with your name? "The pirates called their rum Kill Devil." From Rocklahoma they leave for Europe. Ten shows in Europe and that will be their first tour in Europe. Touring has made stopping smoking and food habits harder. Current album "Revolution Rise" on Century Media Records label.
Theory Of A Dead Man: New album will be released on July 8th "Savages". The current single Drowned is out now. TOADM goes on right before Kid Rock.
Staind: People in the pit were screaming "TURN THE BASS DOWN!" It was making peoples teeth rattle. Made it hard to enjoy a show when the sound is off. Many were more than disappointed and some left.
Dellacoma: Third time for singer, previously with Sunset Riot. This is the first time that Dellacoma has been to Rocklahoma. It's an unusual pairing of people. Two members are from Australia and the other two are from Texas. In their words, "Northern part of a Southern band." They were influenced by the same bands; AC/DC and Aerosmith. It's refreshing to see newcomers say, "We are staying true to our roots. We record and we play it back." They are definitely going towards their goal of being old school. "We want the energy from the stage on our cd and for you to be able to hear it and feel it." When recording; "The studio is a different beast! If I can't hit it in practice, but in the studio I can. We have have to know the songs front to back. You have to be able to see what we are saying. We stay with good music and capturing an emotion and moment, because it may or may not happen again!" With Rocklahoma being their first festival, they started with one of the best.
Kyng: Life on the road for them, "We are hardcore Bohemians. We own our Merchandise. Our meals come out of gas stations. We do all of our own driving. We each drive for four to six hours at a time. We sleep in Wal Mart parking lots and truck stops." Some bands have taken to connecting with fans along the tour and staying with them, but that is not the case for these guys. "We don't like staying in other peoples houses. We want to sleep and not hang out and party all night." Makes total sense. When it comes to their merchandise, "We stay all night. First there and last to leave. We just got off the Lacuna Coil Tour." It's not that often you hear artists say, "Come to the shows and support your Rock N Roll." They are fortunate that after they play they get to head home.
Able The Allies: Their EP has 4 songs on it. Ironically they are from Tulsa, but now live in Oceanside, California. "We love Rocklahoma! While we are here we have a chance to play and see friends at home." There are five members in the band. They are influenced by the Black Keys and Incubus. "We don't have a specific genre, but we have a slower and softer Country style. We sing very little cover songs. If we do it'll be 1 or 2 at a home show. We play our own stuff in a 40 minute set." Collectively writing and Billy works his magic with the software. "The ocean is cold, but we all got in it." Came out of nowhere, but we all laughed. Once they moved, "Writing is so much easier now, but the venues are cut throat and genres cross over. I've noticed that playing after another band, it makes them stand out more." Are you proud to be Oklahoma boys? "Fuck yes ma'am!"
Redlight King: Opened up on the Main Stage. Super excited about playing at Sturgis. They aren't sure what stage they are playing on yet. They brought the band, tour manager and guitar tech to Rocklahoma. 6-8 people. "We have a van and a trailer this tour. 20 shows in 4 weeks, with a total of 15 weeks on the road this round and it's full of festivals." So energetic and all about meeting their fans. "You have to be able to walk the walk and talk the talk." They draw inspiration from the military that serve and protect us each and every day and their spouses. They have not been overseas to play for the troops yet.
Eve To Adam: This is their second tome to perform at Rocklahoma. "It's nice to be back again." Current single Locked and Loaded is in the Top 20. They are touring the rest of the year and in the fall they are going to Germany and the UK. "We burn it out fast. With us only playing 25 minutes and 35-40 minutes on support nights. We try to change up the sets when we can, we hate playing the same set back to back. It keeps us on our toes." What do you think about the music industry today? "It's a cut throat business. You have to be ready for anything." With so many musicians here today and then they aren't heard of again, it makes sense. "You are broke until you have a high enough notoriety. Most times we take a loss to put on a show to make the fans happy. It's all about sacrifice! And you have always have to be willing to be on fire for every show."
Tom Keifer: Going from 80's hair band Cinderella to solo and performing at Rocklahoma. "I'm having fun at Rocklahoma." With your making the leap from being part of a band to it being your band, was it an easy transition? "It took 10 years to make the record. I never used a voice memo to write and remember." With there being no medical cure for his vocal chords, Tom retrained himself. Although he could not sing for awhile, he has managed to get his range back with his left chord not working. How do you keep fit for touring? "Vocal training and breathing. Doing the shows puts you into shape." With Tom being my last interview of the festival, I asked Are you ready to play for another 20 years? "I am very fortunate , but yes I will take it one day at a time."
Artist are not only in the Media Tent to talk about their current album and the tour, they are also connecting with the Media that has become family to them. They know who is in each city and they do look for them. When someone is not present, they too get concerned and ask questions. The connection that each artist makes along their career also helps to ground them as a band and as individuals. It does not go without saying that they are people too. They are away from their families for weeks or months on end, so the normalcy a familiar face means a lot to them too.
Reach out to your favorite bands via their Facebook pages or websites. They will have all of the current information about themselves on there. Some bands offer Meet N Greets; some you have to win through them or a radio station and others are charging for their Meet N Greets. Please remember, they have a high overhead while touring and this is money that keeps them fed and the van or bus rolling from town to town. Merchandise is always available at the Merch Tent with their current CD and t shirts. Support your favorite bands and buy directly from them!