Interview: Royal Teeth (with Rooney @RexTheater in Pittsburgh on October 27)

af361916-f196-4cad-8920-cb33b2bb7a0cWhat is it to be an amateur?  Is it to be inexperienced?  Is it to lack the knowledge of how to do something at an expert level?  This is not what Louisiana-based Royal Teeth thinks when they hear the word.  Their new EP Amateurs, due to release on November 18, has a sound that is far from that of an amateur.

Formed in Louisiana, the band, with varying members, have been playing since 2010 and have been touring for about five years.  They have an upbeat sound that, according to Gary Larsen, is inspired by the music that is common to the New Orleans area where most of the members now reside.

The band has released two albums previously, all of which carry an upbeat sound similar to that of American Authors.  The band has been writing for a while, as their last album was released three years ago.    Singer and guitar player Larson would agree that it has been a long time, saying, “When you have that much time off and you still try to be busy, you end up writing way too many songs and we just have way too many ideas to know what to do with.  We have to start getting these flushed out as soon as possible.”

The latest release, a single with the same name as the album, is a fast-paced song with the pop sounds of today that also resemble the synth-heavy sounds of the 1980s.

The inspiration for the song, according to Larson and guitarist Josh Hefner, came from the book Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon.  The book has a chapter titled “Everyone is an Amateur.”

The two members explain that Amateur comes from a French word meaning passion.  Larson talks about an amateur passion.  It comes with the idea that passion has moments that aren’t sugar coated, and those moments are just as important as the moments of success that musicians experience.  “Life goes on. It’s nice to talk about the follow your dreams moment, but there’s more to it than that. . . You can follow your dreams, but you can still acknowledge that things can suck.”

The word amateur is to be looked at from a more vibrant perspective.  The band is passionate, and writing music and playing shows is still fun.  They don’t see themselves as virtuoso musicians, but rather a group of friends that truly love what they do in the same way they did when they first began their musical journeys.

How does the band keep the amateur mindset?  Adventure.  They have toured across the United States and into parts of Canada; they like to find something new to explore in every city no matter how many times they have visited.  Larson admits that, as a musician, this is not hard.  “You get really used to the interstate and a bar,” he says.  “You want a second get out of that, to, on some level, live there for just a small period of time.”

The band is currently half-way through the first leg of their tour, and is expected in Pittsburgh on October 27.  The second leg of the tour will continue near the west coast, and Hefner excitedly talks about some new cities on the tour.  “We’ve never played Vancouver before, and there is a Vancouver stop on the second half of this tour that I’m really excited about.”

Royal Teeth has also begun discussing the possibility of returning to the studio soon.  They promise fans that it will not be another three years before the release of an album.  For now, they will continue touring across the country, keeping lead singer Nora Patterson’s words in mind:  I have dreams, and they are gigantic.

Royal Teeth recently announced a new EP, Amateurs, set to drop on November 18th via Round Hill Music (American Authors, Bruno Mars)  — check out their recently released title track, “Amateurs.” The band has gained a ton of attention in the past with their hit single Wild,” including a performance on American Idol (by personal invitation of Harry Connick Jr. himself!).  Check out appearances on Last Call with Carson Daly and American Idol.

Interview and piece by Stephanie Connell

Official Site




STYX performing in Pittsburgh 10/1 at The Benedum

Legendary and multi-Platinum rockers STYX–Tommy Shaw (vocals, guitars), James “JY” Young (vocals, guitars), Lawrence Gowan (vocals, keyboards), Todd Sucherman (drums) and Ricky Phillips (bass), along with the occasional surprise appearance by original bassist Chuck Panozzo—are back on the road for their 2016 tour.


They’re performing in Pittsburgh on Saturday, October 1 at the Benedum Theatre.

STYX with very special guest star DON FELDER—formerly of the Eagles–will take the Las Vegas stage for an unforgettable five-night limited engagement at The Venetian Theatre inside The Venetian Las Vegas. The show, “Styx & Don Felder: Renegades In The Fast Lane,” will be held on January 6, 7, 11, 13 and 14, 2017. Tickets go on sale to the general public on Friday, August 26 at 10 a.m. PT Check out a trailer for this very special engagement below.


On September 2, Eagle Rock Entertainment released STYX: LIVE AT THE ORLEANS ARENA LAS VEGAS via DVD, Blu-ray and Digital Formats. Filmed in high definition, it captures the band performing in July 2014, showering the crowd with a set list of hits and fan favorites: “Too Much Time On My Hands,” “Fooling Yourself (The Angry Young Man),” “Renegade,” and more. It was previously released on CD in June 2015. The concert highlights the musical dexterity of the band, which is further boosted by a special surprise visit from a former Eagles guitarist –Don Felder–for a rousing performance of “Blue Collar Man (Long Nights).” To heighten the live STYXexperience, STYX: LIVE AT THE ORLEANS ARENA LAS VEGAS is punctuated with band / crew member interviews, detailing life on the road. Bonus features include the entire concert sans the interview footage, bonus interview footage, and a photo gallery.


On July 24, 2015, Eagle Rock Entertainment released LIVE AT THE ORLEANS ARENA LAS VEGAS on CD and Digital Formats. Recorded on July 25, 2014, LIVE AT THE ORLEANS ARENA LAS VEGAS is a sonic showcase of STYX’s live prowess and razor-sharp musicianship. This show features a set list packed with hit songs, classic tracks, and fan favorites, including “Lady,” “Too Much Time On My Hands,” “Rockin’ The Paradise,” “Come Sail Away,” “Fooling Yourself (The Angry Young Man),” “Renegade,” and “Suite Madame Blue.” The evening also held a special surprise when Don Felder – a former Eagles guitarist – took the stage to join the band on “Blue Collar Man (Long Nights).”


On January 31, 2012, Eagle Rock Entertainment released Styx:  The Grand Illusion/Pieces Of Eight Live on DVD, Blu-Ray, and DVD/2CD.  This show was recorded November 9, 2010 at the historic Orpheum Theater in Memphis, on the tour that saw them perform both these albums in their entirety for the first time.  The 20-song, two-hour and 11-minute presentation features stunning high-definition visuals accenting the complex musical arrangements recorded in DTS-HD Master Audio, Dolby Digital 5.1, and LPCM Stereo.  The staging of these two multi-platinum albums and the fevered response makes this concert a must for all STYX fans. Styx:  The Grand Illusion/Pieces Of Eight Live also includes the bonus feature “Putting On The Show,” an inside look at the people and equipment needed to stage such a massive spectacle.  On May 7, 2013, Eagle Rock Entertainment released the entire concert as a 2CD set entitled The Grand Illusion/Pieces Of Eight Live.


STYX also released their double-disc REGENERATION, VOLUME I & II on October 24, 2012 via Eagle Rock Entertainment.  In addition to thirteen STYX classics and a brand new song, “Difference In The World,” the collection also includes interpretations of “High Enough,” and “Coming Of Age,” originally recorded by Damn Yankees, which featured Tommy Shaw, along with Night Ranger’s Jack Blades, Ted Nugent and drummer Michael Cartellone.  The band had originally re-recorded these acclaimed anthems to sell only at their live shows, as they continued to tour the globe and introduce a new generation of fans to their chart-topping hits.  Now, for the first time, this music has been made commercially available.


At each tour stop, Rock to the Rescue—spearheaded by Tommy Shaw’s daughter, Hannah and is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization founded by the band, whose mission is to build strong, healthy communities through the support of grassroots organizations across the country–researches local nonprofit organizations and picks one to see if they are interested in volunteering to help the band sell $10 tickets for a drawing to win a signed STYX guitar at the shows.  They give these organizations a percentage of the sales as their way of supporting their cause and thanking them for supporting the band’s cause.

Rock To The Rescue was founded on the principle that our communities are stronger when we work together in mutual aid.  Having played thousands of shows in the last 15 years, STYX has been strongly connected with communities across the country. With local fans and community members making an effort to join in support of STYX, it is important to the band to actively participate in these communities as well. What makes Rock to the Rescue unique is that they work on a grassroots level with small groups, giving real support to real individuals who are creating positive changes in their communities. Rock to the Rescue is building initiatives in the areas of music education, health and well-being, disaster relief and aid, and animal welfare and rescue.

Rock to the Rescue originally started in 2001 as a result of the 9/11 terrorist attacks and is the brainchild of STYX singer/guitarist Tommy Shaw and REO Speedwagon singer/keyboardist/guitarist Kevin Cronin.  The two musicians brought together bands and artists such as Bad Company, Journey, Survivor, Kansas, Lynyrd Skynyrd and many others to be part of “Volunteers For America” concert events in Dallas and Atlanta that ultimately raised over $775,000 for victims of 9/11, as well as the Port Authority police department in New York City.


In 2014, Rock To The Rescue raised $10,000 for the Philadelphia Fire Department Local #22 Widows Fund at the “Soundtrack of Summer” show (with Foreigner and former Eagles guitarist Don Felder) in Camden, NJ on July 3, as a thank you to the local fire department for cooling down STYX’s burning crew bus the day before.  And in 2013, Rock To The Rescue hosted a sold-out concert with STYX, REO Speedwagon, Ted Nugent, Survivor, Richard Marx and Larry The Cable Guy, in Bloomington, IL at the U.S. Cellular Coliseum that raised $450,000 for victims of the horrible storms in Illinois.  Also in 2013, Rock To The Rescue presented the Boston One Fund with a check for $108,000 for victims of the Boston marathon bombings as a result of funds raised during the “The Midwest Rock ‘N Roll Express” tour with STYX, REO Speedwagon and Ted Nugent.


On November 19, 2015, Rock To The Rescue donated $25,000 to The Sweet Stuff Foundation to help victims of the Paris terrorist attacks. In honor of the musicians and crew who lost their lives in the attack at The Bataclan music venue in Paris where Eagles of Death Metal were performing, from that date through December 31, 2015, Sweet Stuff dedicated all money received directly to the surviving families of those who passed away, including that of the band’s merchandise manager, Nick Alexander. The Sweet Stuff Foundation was founded by Queens of the Stone Age’s Josh Homme, who is also a key recording member of Eagles of Death Metal.

“Styx & Don Felder: Renegades In The Fast Lane” trailer


Making of “Styx:  The Grand Illusion/Pieces Of Eight Live” DVD

Highlights from “The Grand Illusion/Pieces of Eight – Live” DVD & Blu-Ray:


“Foolin’ Yourself” from “The Grand Illusion/Pieces of Eight – Live” DVD & Blu-Ray


“Blue Collar Man” from “The Grand Illusion/Pieces of Eight – Live” DVD & Blu-Ray:

VH1 “Behind The Music Remastered” full episode (aired January 2012):

Kermit Ruffins’ “We Partyin’ Traditional Style!”



An authentic New Orleans Bar-B-Q slinging trumpeter and vocalist through and through, Kermit Ruffins brings us back to the early 20th century with his latest oeuvre, We Partyin’ Traditional Style! out today via Basin Street Records.

An intriguing collection of traditional and New Orleans jazz classics, We Partyin’ Traditional Style! gives a rare glimpse of the influences that inspired Ruffins while a youthful street busker working toward international celebrity.

On this album, Ruffins pulls classics from the 20th century like fedoras from his collection and puts them through the good-times grinder both reinventing and honoring the tradition of music ever present in his beloved Big Easy. He doesn’t do it alone, either. Ruffins hand-picked the finest in traditional jazz to form a deeply rooted band: Shannon Powell (drums), Steve Pistorius (piano), Richard Moten (bass), Don Vappie (banjo),Lucien Barbarin (trombone), and Tom Fischer (clarinet). Mykia Jovan joins Kermit for a delightful duet on the Gerald Marks and Seymour Simons hit “All Of Me.” 

While the songs may be old, their production by multi-grammy winner Tracey Freeman(Harry Connick, Jr., Rebirth Brass Band) guarantees that they’ll sound exquisite.

Sit back, relax, and enjoy the sounds of timeless classics like “Careless Love” and “I Guess I’ll Get the Papers and Go Home.” Then lace up your tap shoes, grab a dancing partner, and try to keep your balance while you Charleston to “Jeepers Creepers.” The dancing shifts to a waltz with “Over The Waves,” the Juventino Rosas classic. Ruffins reveals he has his own taste for the timeless with his original “Treme Second Line”rounding out the center of the album. A traditional jazz album would not be complete without a hat-tip to the most important figure of the era, Louis Armstrong. Ruffins boasts his own raspy voice and pays tribute to one of his biggest idols with “When It’s Sleepy Time Down South,” a song frequently regarded as Satchmo’s own theme song.We Partyin’ Traditional Style! triumphantly closes with the immemorial “When the Saints Go Marching In,” a song that needs no introduction and a recording that will undoubtedly have people around the world second-lining in the streets.

Kermit Ruffins gracefully channels the glory of the roaring 20s and opens a door to a rich history of musical heritage for all who will listen. But if you ask him, he’ll probably just tell you,

“We Partyin’!”

Upcoming Shows:
6/8 – New Orleans, LA – Album Release Party at Tipitina’s
6/13 – New Orleans, LA – Jazz in the Park
7/19-7/20 – Houston, TX – Red Cat Jazz Café
7/26 – Chicago, IL – Evanston Space
7/27 – Chicago, IL – Fitzgerald’s
8/8 New York, NY – Highline Ballroom
8/21 – Mill Valley, CA – Sweetwater Music Hall
8/22-8/23 – San Francisco, CA – Brick & Mortar Music Hall
8/25 – Oakland, CA – The New Parish

Kermit usually plays these regular weekly shows (unless otherwise noted):
Thursdays – Vaughan’s Lounge – New Orleans, LA – 8:00 pm
Fridays – Blue Nile – New Orleans, LA – 7:00 pm
Sundays & Mondays – Kermit’s Treme Speakeasy – New Orleans, LA – 6:00 pm
Tuesdays – Bullet’s Sports Bar – New Orleans, LA – 6:00 pm