DOWNLOAD: Rookie of the Year - "Feels Like New" (MP3)
Last month, Rookie of the Year was in town for a show at The Studio at Webster Hall. I had the chance to sit down and talk with lead singer Ryan Dunson and guitarist Mike Kamerman before the show about the evolution of the band, the current tour, and plans for the future.
BrooklynRocks: Let's start with the show tonight. How far into the current tour are you?
Ryan: This part is ending - we have two more shows left. We have been out for about two months this time around and we have been out on tour pretty much non-stop for the last five years. Over this time, I've probably been home for about eight months.
BrooklynRocks: Where is home for you?
Ryan: I live in Fayetteville, North Carolina and Mike lives in Freehold/Marlboro, New Jersey.
BrooklynRocks: So Mike was the one from (New Jersey power-pop band) All Right Reserved?
Ryan: They were a big New Jersey band and really good. That is how I met Mike...I was doing Rookie solo and had my van and trailer stolen in Columbus, OH so I had to fly home. I was friends with Mike and this other band and they had a tour coming up so I agreed to go out with them for two weeks if they let me ride with them. So I was out on the road with them for about a month, become friends with Mike and then his band broke up. I snagged Mike when they disbanded.
BrooklynRocks: Now are you and Mike the only 'formal' member of Rookie?
Ryan: Me and Mike have been in the band since the beginning. There was only one other guy who was in the band since the beginning and that was our bass player who left about six months ago. We have never had a permanent drummer since our first one who left right before our record came out. We have always had people like good friends fill in for a while while they are out of school or aren't busy at the time and they will end up playing 6 - 7 months with us before going back to their other commitments.
BrooklynRocks: How did you go from a solo project into the full band?
Ryan: I started solo and started writing full band songs that I couldn't perform live so I got friends join and help out. We put out a five-song EP on vice verse virtue Records that they made 800 copies of or something like that. The label that I was on was based in Cleveland, TN and they ran all the school events at Lee University and all of the shows in Cleveland and Chattanooga so I got to open for all of the bands every time there was a show. I played all the time and would sell these EPs for $2.00 so I got rid of all them super-fast. The label made another batch of 1,000 copies and I probably gave away half of this next batch of CDs at shows and to other bands.
Mike: There aren't that many EPs out there so it is kind of cool when someone comes up with one after the show - especially if they have had it since that time period. It is cool to see that people are still coming back.
BrooklynRocks: What's the audience on the tour look like?
Ryan: The audience is fairly mixed; we draw young, we draw a lot of college kids but we draw an older crowd too.
Mike: Some of the kids are bringing their parents who end up getting into the music. Our stuff is melodic and acoustic based so they seem to connect with it. We listen to a lot of older stuff so it is probably a comparable experience.
BrooklynRocks: Now I read that you guys are doing an acoustic EP...
Ryan: Yeah - we go into the studio in a week. We will be there for two and one-half weeks recording. We are recording at Marigolds and Monsters Studio in Atlanta where we did our Sweet Attention record.
BrooklynRocks: What are your plans for the next year or so? What do you want to do?
Ryan: We are going put out this acoustic EP and really push it. One thing we have lacked is not pushing so hard on the internet because we have been touring so much. We are going to take October and November and work on building out our internet presence.
Mike: We are going to tour less and focus more on promoting the tours that we do. Music is in such a different state now - when we first started it was like tour, tour, tour because that is how you got your name out. Now you can get your name out to the same number of people on the internet if you get the right exposure.
BrooklynRocks: With you guys driving between stops on this tour, what do you listen to in the van?
Ryan: I have my iPod and listen to a bit of everything. I've been listening to M83...I was disappointed with the new Imogen Heap.
Mike: I listen to a lot of 90's music like Smashing Pumpkins and Bush. I like the new Nada Surf album a real lot; it is a different sound from their hits from the 90's. The new Superdrag album is good too.
BrooklynRocks: What do you want people to know about you?
Ryan: Give us a listen - we like writing music, performing and letting people know who we are.
Mike: Give us a chance and come out and see what we are all about. We really don't have a huge message that we are trying to get out there. We just want to try and write music that holds a special place in people's hearts. Those are the songs that I still listen to that bring you back to a time and a feeling.
Here are Rookie of the Year's upcoming tour dates:
Oct. 31, 2009, 7:00PM, Crocodile Rock Halloween Bash, Allentown, PA
Nov. 08, 2009, 5:30PM, The Social (w/ In Passing), Orlando, FL
Nov. 11, 2009, 6:30PM, Jack Rabbits (w/ Shut up and deal), Jacksonville, FL
Nov. 12, 2009, 7:00PM, New Brookland Tavern (w/ In Passing), Columbia, SC
Nov. 13, 2009, 6:45PM, Tremont Music Hall Casbah (w/ In Passing), Charlotte, NC
Nov. 14, 2009, 7:00PM, Halligans (w/ Meet The Sky and In Passing), Charelston, SC
Nov. 15, 2009, 8:00PM, Greene Street Club (w/ In Passing), Greensboro, NC
Rookie of the Year's MySpace Profile
Friday, October 16, 2009
DOWNLOAD: Rookie of the Year - "Feels Like New" (MP3)