Today’s Feature – June 21-22: Paper Rival

June 22, 2008 at 10:51 am (Today's Feature)


I guarantee that once you give Paper Rival a listen, you’ll find it damn near impossible to disagree with me when I say this band has more talent in one guitar strum than half the artists that currently reside on the American Music Chart’s top 50. Paper Rival appreciates every ounce of passion that goes into their work and their solid, loyal fan base is the best proof they could possibly ask for.

Their latest release, “Dialog” just hit the streets and is mix of elements both today and yesterday, “alternative rock with a folk twist. Each band member adding a bit of what makes them tick (as well as some of the essential pieces that make good music into classic hits). They dove back in time to find what moved them in their musical direction – Lead singer Jacob Rolleston says it’s like “when you are riding in your car with your mom and she’s listening to Jethro Tull and it’s embarrassing because she’s got the windows down. Then like 15 years later and you realize they are real awesome.

It’s a defining record for Paper Rival, one that shows their change in attitude, at least in Jacob’s case: “In the beginning I was always making music to only please myself. But as I got older I realized I wanted to make music to please others and myself. I’m doing more for myself by making music that others can listen to. There’s something for everyone on “Dialog, bringing in new sounds from the upright bass, the piano, fiddle, even some new synth additions. It pulls out the warm tones they aim to provide, tunes that get into your veins. These guys will tour and tour until they start work on the new album, so catch a performance. And hurry – they’ll likely be tackling Europe soon. Get into the XXQ’s to learn more.

XXQs: Paper Rival PensEyeView.com (Richie): Hey, Jacob. Where did I catch you?

Jacob Rolleston: I am in my living room in Nashville, watching YouTube videos of other bands.

Richie: How’s living in Nashville? Do you like it?

Jacob: Actually, I don’t like Nashville. Everyone in my band loves it and hates the fact that I don’t.

Richie: What’s the scene like in Nashville?

Jacob: The bands here are phenomenal. It’s rough to play here because you have to impress everyone. It’s hard to do that. People are trying to do anything to make themselves noticeable. Even the bands whose music you may not like are ten times better than any other bands that are signed and doing the same thing. It’s just really a pretencious city. A little too much for my taste.

Richie: How did Paper Rival first come together?

Jacob: Well, I am actually from Chattanooga, Tennessee, which is about two hours south. I was in a different band and Patrick was actually recording that band’s record – that is how we met. He and the guitar player of his band came to me and asked me if we could form a band and then the others came together. That is how this band started.

Richie: It’s a rather interesting name for a band. Can you explain?

Jacob: We used to call ourselves Keating. But there was a Keating in Canada and their lead singer, it is her last name, so they kind of had it first. But you know, they were our “rival.” We were trying to get the name for everything first, like the MySpace and Pure Volume. We would get mixed up on paper for like contracts and gigs. We played in Edmonton, Canada one time and people came to us, thinking they were going to see them, so they were kind of our “rival on paper”. It was our way to kind of keep the Keating name.

Richie: That’s pretty cool.

Jacob: Yeah, we got it from the movie, “The Dead Poets Society.” That was the name of Robin Williams character’s last name. It was kind of annoying because they are an awful band.

Richie: Tell us about your first performance together as a band.

Jacob: It was actually really good because all of our old bands used to play together. The first show was very laid back and calm. We all felt like we were doing the right thing. It really felt good. I felt that everything meshed together like it should. I didn’t have that in other bands before.

Richie: So it was like an instant connection?

Jacob: Yeah. But some bands say that they had some kind of click from the start. I mean it wasn’t totally that. There were some speed-bumps along the way. After the first four or five practices it came together. After Cody came into the band, we knew immediately he was going to be our bassist. But up until our first show, it wasn’t like we didn’t get along, but it took that first show to prove that we were really going to do this.

Richie: Tells us about your latest release, “Dialog”.

Jacob: Our full length that comes out June 3rd, “Dialog”, on Photo Finish Records! For us it is about our influences growing up and our parents’ as well. Maybe when we were riding in the car and it sinks in. Like when you are riding in your car with your mom and she’s listening to Jethro Tull and it’s embarrassing because she’s got the windows down. Then like 15 years later and you realize they are real awesome. Then you realize you were some asshole kid for not liking it then. I would say it is a 90’s alternative rock, with a folk twist. Kind of Van Morrison and Dinosaur Jr. Even more modern groups like Indigo Girls. Kind of like a Todies, Breaders… A folksy mix.

Richie: How is this project different than your others?

Jacob: For me, it’s like an incredible change of pace. In the beginning I was always making music to only please myself. But as I got older I realized I wanted to make music to please others and myself. I feel like I’ve done that with this record and accomplished that. I’m doing more for myself by making music that others can listen to, rather than just making music for myself. If we’re not there, than we are getting really close. I really love this record. Everything about it just feels real nice.

Richie: You have a lot of touring coming up. What is road life like for the band? Best and worst parts?

Jacob: The best part is just having a good show. Ask any band, that is the answer. It doesn’t really matter how much merchandise you sell as long as you play a great set. The worst is when you are using your own money to pay for gas. The past tours we’ve done have not been moderately successful. We’ve just been out supporting other bands. We drove out to California with only three shows and not really making any money. With gas being close to $4 a gallon, we spent a thousand bucks getting there and back. Then we went from Nashville to New York without a show in between to get paid. That is the absolute worse part. It’s not 1992 when gas is a $1.40. Bands have to get paid. It sucks for bands like us and for local bands trying to get their name out there.

Richie: That’s a good point; gas prices affecting the music business.

Jacob: Gas prices the way they are are killing bands. I mean, I speak from experience. On a regular night, Paper Rival gets $100 a night, I’m not ashamed to say it. There is no reason right now for a promoter to pay us any more and we understand that. But if the next show is more than 4 hours away then we’ve already spent our entire pay for the next show. So, if we have two shows in a row, we start spending money that we owe people, plus losing money, plus… It just adds up.

Richie: Has there been a certain city that has been the best for the band?

Jacob: My favorite cities are Seattle and Portland. No matter how the shows went, just the feeling of being there meant so much to me. I have a little bit of family in Seattle, so it is nice. It is just so beautiful. Just the normal cities to play, like New York, LA are always great.

Richie: In your spare time, what can we find you doing?

Jacob: Well, we pretty much all work in our spare time. With the gas prices the way they are, we have to. I work in a mall. My girlfriend manages a clothing store in a mall and I work there, kind of doing stock (laughs). Brett does carpet, Cody paints, we all have normal, every day jobs when we are home.

Richie: Is there an up and coming band right now we should all be looking out for?

Jacob: I wouldn’t say “looking out for” only because I don’t think they want to be popular, “Why?”. They are just an incredible band. Kind of like Soul Coughing and Cake. But more indie then that.

Richie: Ten years down the road, where do you see the band?

Jacob: I honestly don’t know. We all want to see this band succeed but we all want other things in life. So, I mean, hopefully I’ll still be making music down the road with this band. But I would like to get an English degree and teach high school or something. I still want be making music with this band for sure.

Richie: So what is next for Paper Rival?

Jacob: Just getting this record out and touring our asses off. Other than making another record in a year or so, we are going to be touring the country and possibly Europe.

Richie: Well thanks man, I appreciate you taking the time with me.

Jacob: Hey man, thanks.

For more information on Paper Rival, check out www.PaperRival.com band info and links to their MySpace and Pure Volume pages.


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