The Madstone are a three piece indie group that splices rock and country elements together to create a sound that appears older but feels modern. While remaining firmly “rock ‘n’ roll” (listen to the guitar solo on “Mr. Bones Wild Ride” if you want proof), the band leans toward a country sound at times.
What are your biggest musical influences?
We like southern rock, Allman Brothers, ZZ Top, SRV, Skynyrd, Blackfoot, Molly Hatchet, and Blackberry Smoke but we also are influenced by Zeppelin, AC/DC, and other rock. But we are a bit older, been doing this a really long time, so there are a lot of influences, not the least being everybody we’ve ever played music with over the years. I think musicians forget the people in their lives and really how much influence they have over everything else.
Do you listen to any band or genre that would surprise your fans if they found out?
I’m sure of it. We like Jason Aldean, George Strait, and a lot of the newer country bands that sound a lot like southern rock these days. We listen to as much country as we do rock n roll.
What’s next for the band?
Playing more often mostly but there’s a 4th CD in the works somewhere soon. Songs worth recording take time to develop, time rehearsing, time playing them live, seeing how an audience responds.
We have a few things ready at the moment but not yet quite enough for an entire CD. I think writers think it’s easy to come up with tunes. It’s really not. Sometimes ideas take a long time to get to the studio and they should. It’s the difference between a ho-hum regular old song and something that gets folks excited.
How do you think streaming services like Spotify and Pandora have changed how bands release music? Has it made it easier or more difficult?
Yes, of course, hard to tell where things are going because they keep changing. We maintain a lot of websites, Facebook, reverbnation, our own site, and the many other sites required to get your music out there.
Last year Instagram was the big thing, this year it’s Spotify and Pandora, who the heck knows what’s next. You just do your best to keep up. And there is so much music out there compared to even 10 years ago.
Even people that couldn’t put on a show with one song out there are competing for space. Makes it damn difficult to be different enough to be noticed.
Do you have any non-musical influences that show up in your music?
One of out tunes id dedicated to my wife’s son who served 4 tours in Iraq, over 18 years in the service, Bronze star, a hero. Due to PTSD. he took his own life, it devastated the family and especially my wife. “Freedom Isn’t Free” came out of that. I try and write tunes that mean something to me. In turn, others who have had similar experiences can relate like “She Said No” and “Angel’s Blade”. But then sometimes, a just for fun tune is cool too, like “Mr. Bones Wild Ride”.
Can you describe your sound?
It’s definitely a southern rock sound with a touch of AC/DC. Our sound has got a 70’s rock flare, but you’ve never heard it. People still listen to a lot of classic rock, so do we, that’s what we like, it’s still very relevant today. We didn’t set out to make it this way, that’s what we like, so that’s what it sounds like.
What are you listening to lately? Anything you would recommend?
Blackberry Smoke is probably the best new southern rock band to come out. I don’t always listen to Jason Aldean on the radio, but live, it’s like an acid rock show at times, very different from what’s on the radio.
What made you decide to “get into” music and start a band?
I’ve been playing an instrument since I was a little kid in 4th grade, cello to start with. Played the Kennedy center for the Northern Virginia State Orchestra in 8th grade. Quartests [sic] in 9th grade, but I always sang and played guitar. When I got out of high school, I joined a band as a bass player and I’ve been in a band ever since. I can’t stop if I wanted to. There’s that crazy guy inside that wants to rock, I have to let him out once in a while or I’ll explode.
How does your writing process work, do you all collaborate on the lyrics or is that job reserved for just one person?
It’s starts out with me usually. Some of the tunes have been riffs that someone showed me that sounded great. Then I write the words over time and get the construction of the tune down, the
various parts and make it a song. Then I bring it into a rehearsal. Then it morphs from there, sometimes the tune is not even recognizable from the original, sometimes the words change once or twice, and definitely different phrasings of the words as I start singing at the top
of my lungs. Then as we get closer to recording, the backup vocals and leads start forming, not just any lead, they take a lot of thought. Then as we get into the studio, the tune morphs some more. The studio has their influence as well with some additional morphing, usually in the vocals, and various recording techniques that change the sound. Sometimes the
leads get an additional makeover after you hear the raw recordings and you get other ideas or want to make slight changes. Making music is a lot of work and you better get your ego out of it.
If you had to pick just one, which album would be your favorite?
Our last CD, Heavy Thunder. 3rd effort. A genius studio engineer and putting what the 1st 2 CDs taught us made for an awesome CD. Every tune is awesome and they came out that way. “Heavy Thunder” and “Mr. Bones Wild Ride” are getting the respect they deserve both online and especcially [sic] live. Our fans love them. We usually have to play them twice at a gig.
Are there any bands you would desperately love to tour with someday?
Absolutely, I would love to tour with Skynyrd, but any southern rock genre band I would think would work well with us as opening for them.
What are your thoughts about bands releasing more singles, rather than following a traditional route and just releasing albums?
You got to do what you got to do. I like releasing an entire album but bands should get each single out as they can. I think being in a good studio with the best engineer you can find is critical though. I record things here first, then we go into the studio so we can get things done on out showstring [sic] budget.
And I’m pretty dang good at recording, but engineers that do that all day long are always better than a player. Don’t make the mistake of releasing a mediocre recording and expecting results. I know a lot of bands do that and I think releasing singles like that means you probably are trying to be an engineer and produce yourself. Get 8 to 10 tunes down, get them down by recording them yourself, then go into the studio totally pepared [sic], ready with ALL your parts. You’ll save a ton of money and end up with something you can’t manage on your own.