10 Questions with ... Rush Of Fools
October 31, 2011
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
- Wes Willis (vocals, guitar)
- Kevin Huguley (guitar)
- Jacob Blount (guitar)
- Jacob Chesnut (bass)
- Jamie Sharpe (drums)
- eOne Christian Music
- We Once Were (2011)
- Wonder of the World
- Rush Of Fools (2007)
1) Catch us up real quick on the Rush Of Fools story since the last record. And how did you connect with eOne Christian?
A lot has happened to Rush Of Fools since our last record. We've seen our fair share of ups and downs. Mostly downs if you ask us. Since our last record we've seen the departure of our original guitar player, JD Frazier (he left all on good terms; he'll even fill in for one of us). We've had our trailer and all of our gear stolen; most of it has been returned. We purchased an RV and as we traveled in California, we watched as our drive shaft and transmission fell out on the interstate and then picked up a $20,000 invoice, which was money we didn't have. We walked with our drummer Jamie as his mother was diagnosed and battled breast cancer. To top everything off, we were informed that our label at the time had closed it doors and gone belly up RIGHT after our second record came out.
These last two to three years as a band has been the most difficult walk of our lives that we've had to endure yet. There were many, many nights I would lie awake in tears, anger or worry, pondering the questions of "why are all of these horrible things happening to us" and "God, are we even going to be able to be a band anymore?"
Our battle with our former label was a long and trying one. It ended in the form of a lawsuit in front of a judge, a place we never wanted or intended to be in, but a place we ultimately found favor and victory. This time for us as a band was one of those "we wouldn't wish on our worst enemy" type of things but in the end was THE most pivotal time in our career. We LIVED in James 1:2 trying to count all these trials as pure joy. We also believe that these times are what gave us the entire concept of our new record, "We Once Were." We just aren't the same band as we were before. We've spiritually grown and we now even have families and babies! YES! We are so thankful for these difficult moments that seem to not have an ending point in site. This time has produced our writing for our current album, as without it we wouldn't have "We Once Were."
2) What's the story behind the latest single "Grace Found Me"?
"Grace Found Me" was birthed out of a demo recording session. We were neck deep in these trials and had been living life together so naturally that we were all able to feel the same emotions, pain, hurt and joys. And we have ALWAYS written about grace. We don't deserve it and our minds can't comprehend it, so we continually try to write about God's grace in our lives. The song came VERY quickly, maybe only taking 45 minutes or so to write. Originally an up-tempo rock tune, it found its pace slowed down a bit and mellowed out some. The first line says it all in the song: "I never thought that I would amount to anything, at all." If it weren't for God's grace intervening in our lives we would be worthless. God's graciousness to us is something we wanted to write about yet again in this song. Grace has found us. What more can we say!
3) What's the message or theme behind the new album?
The message behind the album is very much about being a different band. We've just been through so many tragedies and God has been teaching us SO, SO, SO much that we literally can't be the same group of guys. I don't say that arrogantly, but coming from a heart that's been battered and beaten only to find that Christ has always been there and has taken us through this valley so we can be more like him and bring him more glory.
This record is also very musically different for us. It's way more aggressive and inspired by what we heard on the radio growing up, which was that late 90s and early 2000s alternative rock. That Jimmy Eat World, Third Eye Blind, Matchbox 20, Weezer type of feel. God's done much through us and so we can never go back to being who "we once were."
4) And what will we hear sonically on the new record? How is this record different from the previous two?
Sonically this new album is a HUGE leap forward for us. We were able to trace the lineage of some of our favorite produced and mixed albums, and it landed us at Dennis Herring. Dennis is a legend in his own right, although he'd never say that! He lives in Oxford, Mississippi, and owns Sweet Tea, his studio. Dennis was able to work on some big records with big artists like Counting Crows, Modest Mouse, Buddy Guy, MuteMath and others. I can't even begin to describe how amazing it was to work with him, but take my word: it was!
Dennis also brought in an incredible producer/engineer named Russ T Cobb. Russ T is an Atlanta guy and has worked on some big stuff as well with the likes of Butch Walker, PINK and Family Force 5. He was able to dial in the tones like you wouldn't believe. He is SO talented and always kept us in shape by making us do push-ups!
Sonically, this album was a departure from us making a record in Nashville. While it was great making our last two there, there's something unique about renting a house in a small town for three months, making an album with two new guys and working in a hand-wired boutique studio. It was incredible and we hope you can hear the difference on the album.
5) What inspires you to keep doing what you're doing, creating music and playing shows as Rush Of Fools, especially with the ups and downs the band has faced?
I think the ups and downs ARE what inspire us to keep doing what we're doing. Everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, has ups and downs. Happiness and tragedy. And if you haven't yet, well, you will. It's guaranteed as a believer. It never says, "IF you face trials of various kinds." No, it says, "WHEN you face trials of various kinds." We're promised the tragedy, but we're also promised the grace and mercy of Jesus Christ. Being able to write and share that with people and then being able to play a show and see people be moved by that is what keeps us going. It's seeing that we're all the same; we just write songs about it!
6) Do you have any inspiring or humorous stories from recent radio visits?
We just did a 3-week radio promo tour from coast to coast, and while it was SO much fun, I must say that I can't remember every single name of every station employee. I CAN say that we had a blast. One week we went out with our legendary radio promoter Chris Hauser. One week with our amazing radio promoter Matt Ingle (aka little Chris Hauser) and our wonderful manager Mo Thieman. I think our favorite moments were simply spent laughing it up with those guys. THOSE are some amazing memories.
7) Do you have a favorite song on the new album?
I'd have to say MY favorite song on the new album is undoubtedly "A Civil War." This song speaks straight into my walk - my constant struggle between wanting to be first and needing to be last. "It's time to bow out of this race, about time for me to be in last place. I got myself in a civil war. It's time to fight for, fight for what's worth fighting for." I need Christ to be first. I need to be last.
8) Is there a favorite song that you guys love to perform live?
We honestly love playing the new songs live. I think our favorites to play right now are "We Once Were" and "Won't Say Goodbye." They're just rocking tunes! Our last two records were never really super fast or rock-and-roll tunes. These two alone make up for the lost time! We love it.
9) What song do you wish you had written?
Hmmm. If I could have written any song I think it would be Third Eye Blind's "Jumper." Such an incredible use of lyrics and especially melody. You can hear a bit of this song in our song "A Civil War." I also really love Dara Maclean and her unbelievable song "Suitcases." LOVE it.
10) Do you have much time to check out other artists' music? What are you listening to right now?
Like most everyone else who has a brain and any taste for good music, I'm ALL about some Switchfoot and Needtobreathe. Two of my favorite artists and they have new records out, too. Also love me some Mat Kearny! Can't say I don't listen to our new album, too. [wink]