one-on-one with bassist rick burch
What’s it like to go from not having a record deal a year ago and now being on the Warped Tour?
How did it go down?
We were on Capitol and we got dropped off them and we were really psyched about that because they weren’t working really hard for us. So they dropped us and we took a year off and did a tour in Europe and the States and kept that money. Instead of signing and then recording, we just recorded it ourselves and took it to labels and tried to get a deal after the record was done. Dreamworks had the best people and attitude.
You would have paid for the album either way.
Yeah, usually you sign to a label and then record after you get an advance and have that deficit. But we just wanted to record on our own so it was one hundred percent ours.
How much difference was recording?
With the label’s big advance, you are thinking how you have plenty of money and you don’t need to rush anything, but this time we had to get focused before the studio and make sure we were in there and not wasting time because we had a limited budget.
Was Capitol just lagging or were you sorry you signed with them right off?
Well, when we signed with them we were only like eighteen years old and it was like we could either go to college or tour. We didn’t know how the music business worked and signed a deal without knowing what it was about. We signed a really shit deal. We were on the label, but it was like we weren’t. They didn’t do anything with us. They paid for us to record and bought us a van. As far as promotion and budgets for other stuff, there was nothing there. We had to keep doing it DIY style.
When you were recording, did you just want to avoid labels all the way around?
We didn’t know if we’d go with an indie label, a major, or do it ourselves. We would have made our investment back if we would have pressed and sold it ourselves, but overall we thought Dreamworks was the best investment.
When you are a kid, signing to Capitol would be huge. I mean, it’s the home of the Beatles.
I know, we thought we were all set.
How long has this album been done?
We did some demos about a year ago and they leaked onto Napster.
I have to admit, I downloaded them.
(laughs) They were new songs but they were just rough recordings. We finished the album about six months ago. But I loved Napster because it kept us going.
When you were in the studio, how much time did you have to record?
About two months.
How do you write?
Jim, the singer, is a genius and a major force behind the writing. Sometimes he’ll write the song and bring it in and play it for us. Sometimes he’ll just have a chorus part and we’ll hash out a verse or bridge together.
How far in advance were you writing before getting into the studio?
Before we went in with Bleed American we had about twenty songs, but we cut it down to eleven songs so when we went into the studio we could focus and put a hundred percent into those eleven songs.
How do you sort out song placement?
We have the song, we used to think about it like an LP, like side A and side B, so instead this time we went with the flow and the whole album. On Clarity, the album opened with a very mellow note, but on the Bleed American album we wanted to come out full force and blasting so we put “Bleed American” up front. We did three kicking songs and then slowed it down and we sort of followed that throughout.
(photo op is taken during our interview as fans can’t believe that he’s one of the band dudes)
It has to be cool that someone wants a photo with you.
It’s cool. There are a lot of new fans and people are coming out of anywhere. People are just thankful and it’s like ‘Whoa!’
Is it odd for you?
It can be weird because I’m not used to it. People are so surprised I’m standing here and get really excited, but I’m really just some kid from Arizona who plays in a good band.
The cool thing is that you must feel some revitalization with new fans.
Yeah. It’s great.
How have you been fitting in with the punk cats on the tour?
It is pretty much punk rock, but we are fitting in well. They have diversity with D-12 and stuff, so it’s diverse.
Speaking of diversity, what are your musical tastes like?
I listen to the Beatles, Stones, and I never really listened to Neil Young until recently, but he is awesome. I like Willie Nelson as well.
You can hear some Beatle influences in there.
Yeah. I also like Beach Boys. I love the harmonies.
I think when everyone thinks Beach Boys they think “Surfing Safari”, but there is so much more to them.
I know, Brian Wilson is a genius.
What do you listen to today?
A band from Boston called Wheat. They are this poppy rock band, they are super good.
Where are you going from here?
We are going to LA and will do some rehearsals and then we are looking to tour across Canada.
Was there more pressure recording on your own or less?
It was weird, the pressure was totally off and totally on in a different way. It was off because we didn’t care what happened with it. We just wanted to beat Clarity with this album and we think it did. But we put the pressure on ourselves to do something better than Clarity.
So you feel like it succeeded?
Yes. We always said that no matter what happens we want to be able to look back, like when I’m sixty and have my grandkids around and show them the album and still be stoked on it and be very proud.
+ charlie craine