In 1992, Memphis band Roxy Blue released their debut album “Want Some?” on Geffen Records. Had it been released a few years earlier it would have no doubt been hugely successful, but the rock scene was changing and the band split not long after. Twenty seven years later, Roxy Blue is back, releasing a self-titled album via Frontiers Music on 9th August. I had the opportunity to speak to lead singer Todd Poole via Skype on 28th August. We chatted about Roxy Blue and the new album, as well as his involvement with the bands Saliva and 714.

You can hear that interview on the Friday NI Rocks Show from 6th September which is available now from our MixCloud page - https://www.mixcloud.com/NIRocks/interview-with-todd-poole-from-roxy-blue-on-the-friday-ni-rocks-show-on-6th-sept-2019/

The interview has been typed up and posted below.

 

 

 

 

Check out the band’s Facebook page - https://www.facebook.com/OfficialRoxyBlue/

 

 

Playlist for the Show

MÖTLEY CRÜE – Dr Feelgood

MICHAEL SWEET – Shine

CRASHDIET - Rust

TRUCKER DIABLO – Voodoo II

BLACK STAR RIDERS Promo for “Another State of Grace”

THE DEAD DAISIES – Righteous Days

ROXY BLUE – Rockstar Junkie

Interview with TODD POOLE Part 1 (12 min)

ROXY BLUE – Blinders

Interview with TODD POOLE Part 2 (11 min)

ROXY BLUE – How Does It Feel

Interview with TODD POOLE Part 3 (12 min)

ROXY BLUE – Scream

714 – Stand Alone

EVERY MOTHER’S NIGHTMARE – Too Far Gone

TORA TORA – Rose of Jericho

QUIET RIOT – Don’t Call It Love

MAD HAVEN – Are You Ready?

LEE AARON – Metal Queen (Live)

KXM – War of Words

SAINT ASONIA – The Hunted

BALEFUL CREED – Lose Religion

SONS OF APOLLO – Dream On (Live)

 

 

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NI ROCKS – HI Todd, thanks for taking some time to talk to Rock Radio NI.

TODD – How’s it going man, it’s a pleasure to be here!

NI ROCKS - The new self-titled Roxy Blue album was released on 9th August. I just played the track “Rockstar Junkie” from that album. What can you tell us about that track?

TODD – That track was actually the first song that was written for the record. I wrote that song with Wayne Swinny who is avery good friend of mine who plays in Saliva. He and I actually started the band Saliva together. That song has a lot to do with...from back in the day when Roxy came out in 1992 and the big Seattle wave kinda came in and demolished all the quote, unquote hair bands, I guess. As we go out and play I notice that there are a lot of fans that still love, and not that I think Roxy Blue is a ‘Hair” band, but they still like that genre and love that genre of music. I still see people out there carrying the flag for that rock n roll, so it’s really a song about the fans and the rock n rollers that are friends of ours and all the guys that are still out there playing who got knocked off their feet a bit and are brushing off the dirt and getting back at it. That’s exactly what that song is about – not being able to give it up; it’s just something that you love and you’re going to continue to do it forever.


NI ROCKS – It’s a great track. Where was the new album recorded and who did you work with in regard to production, mixing etc?

TODD – This self titled CD which is on Frontiers was recorded in Southaven, Mississippi in Broken Snare Studio, run by a friend of mine named Jimmy Fulp, who was the drummer in a band I had called 714. So we’d done a lot of work together and when we started working on this record I was just basically going over to the studio and laying down some demos to kinda get ready. I decided to produce the record myself – I knew what I wanted. Jimmy and I were working together, so he just kinda co-produced it with me and engineered the record. We have this great chemistry together and a lot of the times he already knows what I’m thinking and we kinda see eye-to-eye on a lot of things. So it wasn’t really much of a struggle, which is why we chose to use Jimmy on this. He was very easy to work with and I thought he did an excellent job.


NI ROCKS – The album was released through Frontiers Music. A few days ago I interviewed Rob De Luca from Spread Eagle; whose album on the same day as Roxy Blue’s on the same label. Rob was full of praise for Frontiers. They have a great reputation for working with bands from that era. What has it been like working with them?

TODD – First of all I must say that our experience with Frontiers has been nothing short of great. They’ve been great. Nick Tieder from Frontiers; he’s our aor guy over here and he has just been fabulous. I didn’t really know a lot about Frontiers, but my father-in-law is the late great Jimi Jamison from Survivor and he worked with Frontiers. So I kinda knew of Frontiers, but I had never done anything with them. As of now, I’m sure the future will be great. Frontiers has just been great and we love being on Frontiers. It’s a lot better experience than I even thought it would be, so yeah we’re very happy with Frontiers.


NI ROCKS – The Roxy Blue line-up features three of the four band original band members from 1992. Yourself, Josh Weil on bass and Scotty Trammell on drums. I read somewhere that your former Saliva bandmate, who you’d mentioned, Wayne Swinny was playing guitar with Roxy Blue at some stage, but the new guitarist is Jeffrey Wade Caughron. What was the story there and how did you team up with Jeffrey?

TODD – I’m still friends with Sid (Fletcher) and Sid went on to be a dentist. We had talked for a few years about getting back together and a couple of times it felt good, but it just wasn’t the right timing. I don’t think Sid was ready to put his heart and soul into it. He’s like me; he’s either all in or all out. When the opportunity came for us to play a show and I knew Jeff from playing in Full Devil Jacket. He played in Full Devil Jacket and Jasmine Cain and played a little bit with Every Mothers Nightmare. I’d been friends with him, so he had actually sought me out and asked if we were going to ever get back together, and that if we did and Sid wasn’t going to do it, he’d be glad to step in. So he played one show and he did a great job so we asked him to join and he jumped in there. It’s the new Roxy Blue man!


NI ROCKS – The new album clearly isn’t “Want Some?” part 2. It’s quite a different album. Was there a deliberate decision to change the band’s sound or did that just come naturally as a reflection of changed times?

TODD – Yeah, that’s a great question, because I’ve been asked that a bunch and I gotta tell you that it came naturally. The thing is, with Roxy Blue, we didn’t stay together. We all went our separate ways and we all got influenced by different things. Josh went and played with Dust For Life, Scotty plays with Nelson and played with all kind of people in Nashville and of course I started Saliva and then I had 714, and I told you about Jeff and the bands he played in. So our influences changed and I think getting together....you I pretty much wrote the whole record this time around, and the guys, they put their influence on it without a doubt! It wasn’t brought up when I gave them some demos. I remember Scotty said hey man this sound really good, it’s kinda heavy; I think we’re going to freak some people out, from the old days. I think my reaction to all that is that we’re not looking to do a one-off here, we’re looking to get back into the scene and do our thing. So, in a nutshell, it was not forced at all; it’s the way that I write and I think it’s a good stepping stone to where we’re going. You can’t please everybody, but you just try to make a record that you feel proud of and hope that people dig it. With me, and I think I can speak for all the guys, but with me writing the record, when the record came out it was kinda bitter sweet; because you’re excited about the record coming out, but you’re also wondering what kind of reaction you’re going to get, because I know it sounds a lot different from “Want Some?”. But hey man, twenty seven years later we’ve all evolved; we all grow. Our fans grow. I think we did it naturally and I think it’s a good representation of the band and where we’re going.


NI ROCKS – Are there any plans to get the band out on the road sometime soon to promote the new album?

TODD – That’s what we’re working on now. We’ve got a new agent we’re working with, new management to try and get us out. With Roxy Blue, and I think this is probably true with most bands; we enjoy recording obviously, but the whole reason we started this whole thing in the first place is to play live. And that’s what we’re tying to do. And going out overseas; we’ve already talked to Frontiers about trying to get as much overseas stuff as we can. Roxy, in the early days, we didn’t get a chance to do much of that. We were planning on it, but as I said, things got kinda messed up. But yeah, we’re looking to go overseas and play and we’re trying to get as many dates in North America as we can get. Playing live is something we’re very interested in and hoping to do soon. We’ve played a few shows that were really good. We played a show with Warrant, and man that was a great show. We got received really well in the three shows that we’ve done – the big shows – and yeah, we’re excited.


NI ROCKS – We’ll play another track from the new album now. Can you pick a track and tell us something about it?

TODD – All the tracks are very important to me on this record. There is a track...everyone in the band really likes the song “Collide”, but there’s not a real big story behind “Collide”. We are planning on making a video for it, but that song is basically love at first sight, that’s what it’s about. I think the song that means the most to me on the record, as far as emotions go is a song I wrote called “Blinders”. My father passed away a couple of years ago and the first lines of that song are exactly what I said and put on my recorder. It paints a picture of exactly what I was doing – I was sitting in my bedroom, the lights were out, the TV was on with no sound and I was just thinking. Everybody loves and loses; they love and lost and I was trying to figure it out. I think that song is not so much about my father passing away, but how I dealt with it and how it changed me to hopefully be a better person. When someone loses someone they always ask.....my dad battled Parkinson’s disease for sixteen years – you always ask yourself were you there enough, what could you have done. It’s a common question that people ask when they lose someone, but that was my way of dealing with the whole situation, was to put it down in a song. I think that song probably is the most dear to my heart as far as the lyrics go.


 

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NI ROCKS – In 2013 FnA Records released three Roxy Blue albums; one of demo tracks, one of alternative versions and unreleased tracks and a live album. How did that come about and what was your involvement in those albums?

TODD – Well, we were approached by Steve Lockett of FnA, or I was! We weren’t even a band at the time. It’s funny, because I’ve always considered....I’ve always been Roxy Blue; but we weren’t a band. They offered us some money and I talked to Scotty about it; Josh and Sid were kinda...they’d gone off and I really didn’t talk to them that much. I approached Scotty and said hey dude here’s the deal; we’re not playing live or doing anything, why don’t we get some songs and demos that we’ve had and put them together and get them put there for the avid fan and the people that maybe missed out. Really, there is only a few songs that I think we gonna be on the demo for our next record, but for the most part they were just a bunch of demos that.....some were acoustic versions that we had done of songs and some were done live on the radio, but “Want Some More” is basically a bunch of tracks that we had just cut in the studio. Some of them were back in the day before we really got going. We were just in there shooting stuff around.

So we made a deal with FnA and they sold out really quick, which was good. They’re all demos. That’s another reason that I’m glad that we were able to get out and make a new record with Frontiers, because I wanted to release a studio record. But those were fun to put together and Scotty T and I basically put them all together ourselves. You gotta understand, some of those songs were done on a cassette, so to get them sounding even remotely good enough, even with the technology that we have in the studio, was really tough because some of the tape was deteriorating. We had to use our imagination and really just tweak out some stuff even to get it to work. But I’m proud of everything that we’ve done.

 

NI ROCKS – Did those releases inspire the band to get back together and start playing?

TODD – You know, I don’t think that it did. I think that the thing that inspired us to get back together was that we had done a show for Patrick Francis who had cancer, our friend in Tora Tora. Thank God he’s got a clean bill of health now. That was our first thing and we didn’t really get back together; we just played the show. It was a great show and we had fun. But then we were asked to play a show with Bret Michaels of Poison in an amphitheatre. So we got back together to do that show and that was the show that made us think...because we got the call from Frontiers whilst we were in rehearsals for that show. We were sounding really good at rehearsals and we were kinda throwing it around and said maybe we ought to get back together and play some shows; and then when Frontiers called, we were like man, let’s make a record. I think everybody in the back of their minds wanted to get back together and I think we needed a solid reason to put our eggs in one basket, because everybody was kinda doing their own thing. I think timing was everything. The timing was perfect and now we’re all really happy to be back doing this again.


NI ROCKS – You mentioned Saliva earlier. A few years after Roxy Blue split up, you were one of the founding members of the band Saliva – playing drums and providing backing vocals. Was there a conscious decision at that time to move away from the lead singer role?

TODD – Well, the reason that I did that. I was actually playing guitar and singing in a band, with Wayne Swinny, and our drummer at the time; we had not even played live with that band, Wayne and I played live in a few bands together; the drummer was going through a custody battle at the time with his girlfriend or wife or whatever and he had to step away. So I had a studio, basically underneath my house, which we had built, and I had always played drums, so I just started playing drums and writing songs with Wayne. We called Josey (Scott) up and that was the beginning of Saliva. I kind of enjoyed it because I had always been in the spotlight and I enjoyed playing drums; whether it was a conscious decision or not, I think it was good for me to step back and not play the leading role. And I played drums for my father-in-law, Jimi Jamison, too and of course he was the major rock star, so I was very proud to be backing him up. So yeah, I enjoyed it; the older I’ve gotten, I’m not so much of a ham anymore and I’m all about the music and making good music, so I’m not worried where I’m placed. But with Roxy Blue, obviously I’m the front guy and I’m kinda the gasoline in the engine! So to speak!


NI ROCKS – You left Saliva after the first album. That was as a result of an accident that you had I read somewhere? Did you ever consider going back to Saliva?

TODD – No, that was a really, really weird situation back then, in that era. I was doing a lot of drugs, like everybody around me, and I was not in a great place. I was still playing all the time, but I was always wanting to move forward. I think what slowed me down on everything and opened my eyes to what life was really all about, was that I raced motorcycles and was really into that for a while. I was practicing before a race and I hit a telegraph pole at 90mph on an R1 and...I was graced by God to live. It took me about a year to get over that and I think that was someone’s way of telling me to slow down, re-evaluate your life and try to look at things a little bit different. It really changed me a lot – to be more positive. It woke me up and cleaned me up and made me a better person. It made me who I am today. I know that’s a lot to answer from your question; but.... no, I don’t like back-peddling. I make my decisions based on what they are and I feel good about my decisions. I had some regrets at first, but I would never have met my wife and never have had my daughter if I had stayed with that situation.....because I’d probably be dead (laughs). I was living hard and rockin’ and rolling, but I do everything for a different reason now.


NI ROCKS – Good answer. We’ll go back to the new Roxy Blue album and pick another track to play. Do you want to pick another track and tell us something about it?

TODD – I could tell you about “How Does It Feel” which was our second single and it’s being played everywhere on the radio right now here in the States; and hopefully it’ll be picked up more. That song, as easy and light-hearted as it is, is a really deep song. I could tell you a huge story about it, but I can sum it up by saying that people, everybody in the world, goes through the hustle and bustle of life, which has its way of tugging on you really hard sometimes. You get by yourself sometimes and you have that moment and take a deep breath, even for five or ten seconds and have no worries. Close your eyes, kick back, by yourself. To me, people are at their purest when they are by themselves. That’s who they really are. They don’t have to put on a front for anybody and don’t have to do anything. It’s that freedom of not having anybody tugging on you and having no worries. Even if it’s only for a moment. So imagine if you could feel that way all the time! That’s what that song is basically about, from my perspective when I wrote it. I’ve always been that kind of writer though, that whatever it means to me....as long as someone gets something out of it, it doesn’t have to mean what I think it means! I like that song. It’s a real simple song, but it came really easy and it was a cool song for me to put out.

 


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NI ROCKS – Back in the early 90’s you worked with big names from Geffen like Tom Zutaut and producer Mike Clink and Doug Thaler; people like that. Looking back at it now, that period must seem like a bit of a whirlwind or a rollercoaster ride? What are your lasting memories?

TODD – Ah man, I could tell you that back then we were all very grateful and fortunate that we were surrounded by such a strong team. With Tom Zutaut who signed Guns n Roses, Mötley Crüe, Tesla. And Mike Clink – we loved Mike Clink; Mike was just great to be around. And of course Doug Thaler with Top Rock who had Mötley Crüe and took a chance on Roxy Blue because he liked us. It’s hard for me to think of one memory, because....we were like a tornado back then. Because of our team we were always put in all the’.......it was a lot of pressure on us. And I don’t think that we realised the pressure that was on at the time; and I’m kinda glad. We were supposed to live up to the next best thing! Well, that’s hard for mid 20’s band coming out! We didn’t really think much about it because we felt good about what we were doing.

All of my memories with them were very good. I will tell you one thing that I remember was that Tom Zutaut and John Kalodner who had Aerosmith, amongst a bunch of other people; they were at Geffen. Two A&R guys talking, and I think John Kalodner might have known that music was getting ready to change in some form or fashion, because Nirvana was on the same label. And I remember being in that meeting – it was in the hallway at Geffen – I remember standing there and John Kalodner telling Tom Zutaut, ‘hey man, you should put the demo for “Times Are Changin’” out now while they’re making their record and they’ll be half way gold when the record comes out’; knowing that it could be a short-lived deal because obviously that’s what happened. I don’t regret anything from that time, because people ask me that – should you have done this or that. I think things happen for a reason and it is what it is. You can ponder on the negative or you can just try to make the best of the positive and try to think about what’s around the corner and what can you do next.

All our experiences with Doug Thaler were absolutely amazing. Doug was like our dad. And I would work with Mike Clink any day of the week. He was probably one of the most fun producers that I’ve ever been around. He always tried to make our recording sessions fun. And we recorded in a lot of different places. Everything about back then - we were living the dream; I can’t deny that. We were living in Malibu, I mean come-on! We were in California living in a humungous house overlooking the ocean, so it didn’t suck!


NI ROCKS - The music business obviously has changed completely today, especially for rock bands. Having released albums in both eras, and I believe you actually managed a young band at one stage I read somewhere, what advice would you give to new bands?

TODD – That’s actually a really good question, that I don’t get asked at all! If I was to be so gracious enough to give new bands any advice at all, first of all I’d say play your instruments, don’t depend on a computer. Learn to play your instruments – get in a room and jam with guys, jam with people! To me that’s what makes music great. It’s the emotion and interaction between musicians. The other thing I would say is don’t go against the grain, just to go against the grain; stay true to what you believe in and don’t try to follow the leader. Play your music from your heart and from your soul. Don’t worry about whether you’re going to make money at it or not. You can’t determine that; all you can do is play your best. Being different is actually good. To me, if you try and be like everybody else, you’re just one in a million. Just stay true to your music and have fun. I manage a band called Under The Radar and I’ve been with them for four years. They’re only fifteen and sixteen now and they’re incredible. The advice I gave them was work hard and have fun. Work very hard, knowing that someone else out there is working hard. If this is what you want to do, it’s a brutal business. Work hard but make sure you’re having fun. That’s my advice.

NI ROCKS – You mentioned earlier the band 714 that you were part of. I think they’ve released two albums; one in 2011 and one in 2012. What can you tell us about that band?

TODD – 714 was a band that I started after Saliva. I still get a lot of people talking about that band. I enjoyed that band and that band was my baby. It was a cool band and I had some really great musicians playing with me. I’m still friends with all of them. We had some really cool songs and people still talk about that band now. But as I said before, things happen for a reason. There were a few internal things that were going on with one of the members and it kinda washed out. It opened the door for me to dabble in getting Roxy back together. I’ve heard people say that there are hints of 714 in the new Roxy record; but I wrote the songs. I wrote all the songs for 714 and I tried to write a Roxy Blue album. I think the thing that separates those bands more than anything is the fact that Josh and Scotty T, when they play bass and drums, they have this thing about them and they have their own chemistry, their own sound and they bring that to the table on a Roxy record. Once again I’m fortunate enough to be playing with some great musicians. 714 was a great band and I was pretty upset when that went kaput. I’ve had a lot of people ask me if we were going to do a reunion or whatever, but right now my heart and soul, and 100% of my time is with Roxy Blue now. If that ever happens, then it’ll happen.


NI ROCKS – I had Rick Ruhl from Every Mother’s Nightmare on the Show about two years ago. (http://www.rockradioni.co.uk/interviews/3195-ni-rocks-interview-with-rick-ruhl-from-every-mothers-nightmare.html). Another Memphis band of course that made it big back in the day and is now back together. What’s the Memphis rock scene like now and are there new rock bands coming through?

TODD – Back in the day when Every Mother’s Nightmare, Tora Tora and Roxy Blue – they called us the three headed monster here in Memphis. We were the three bands and the scene was insanely crazy back then. People were coming to the shows and there were great places to play. After Saliva it kinda died out. Then it was all covers bands – bands that played cover songs. Now it’s starting to get back, with the resurgence of Every Mother’s Nightmare. All these people are friends of ours, we’re all really great friends. With Every Mother’s Nightmare coming out with “Grind” and “Voodoo” and Tora Tora having “Bastards of Beale” out now; they’re on Frontiers, and Roxy Blue; man there is a big resurgence in Memphis and I think there’s a lot of great music and a lot of great bands right here. The scene is pretty lit up right now and you always hope that the so-called powers that be recognise that. I think people are waking up a little bit. The scene is getting a little bit cooler, like it used to be. I don’t know that it’ll ever be like it used to be, but all three bands are alive and kicking. We all talk about it and laugh about it because we’re older now; but we’re getting that second breathe and we’re back out here and loving it and putting out some good music and having fun doing it.


NI ROCKS – That’s all the questions that I have for you, but we’ll finish by playing another track from the new album. Can you pick a track and tell us something about it?

TODD – I tell you what, I love doing this! I think I want to give you a hard track. Everybody has heard “Silver Lining” it was our lead off song and I like that song a lot and there’s a song on the record called “Til The Well Runs Dry”, But here’s the song that I want you to play! It’s the third track on the album and it’s called “Scream”. “Scream” is dear to my heart too because I’m a father. It’s weird because as innocent as kids are.....you’ve seen your kids to school and whether they’re innocent or not, kids have a way of being mean to each other. They get their feelings hurt and as a parent you deal with that and try to make them feel good. When I wrote “Scream” it was basically about becoming your own and not letting someone else dictate who you are going to be in life. Stand true to who you are and stand tough. Let it out – scream it out, scream out who you are from the inside. Don’t let somebody knock you down to where you feel insecure about yourself, because you’re trying to please someone else. You need always to be who you are and why God put you on this earth is to be able to mould into who you’re supposed to me. That’s what “Scream” is about and I love the song.


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Last Updated (Sunday, 03 May 2020 04:50)