If the most rebellious thing that Winchester Rebels lead vocalist does in his down time is MotoX, that’s OK. His more rebellious side definitely comes across in the Santa Barbara, CA based band’s music.
When I spoke with Nick Hunt (vocals), Barry Carter (Drums) and their manager Rand, everyone was doing their best to hide their inner rebel.
It soon became clear that Carter’s inner rebel wanted out!
From the offset, the self-confessed “short attention span, John Bonham crazed” drummer was giving me the low down on life at 100 miles an hour.
I asked him if he was so quick to divert his attentions in his daily life. “I think it is true of most musicians” he admitted, “we are always trying to figure out the next paradiddle.”
Carter and Hunt are the only two professionally trained members of the band. Fitz (Guitar), James (Guitar) and Jesse (Bass), who replaced original Bassist John Livergood when he quit to concentrate on family responsibilities, are all self-taught. It fails to show on their first record!
Carter was quick to offer an explanation for the lack of a record company to this point in time. “We were slow to get ourselves out there on the social networking sites and we are still paying for that. It took us probably eight months (the band formed in 2009) before we seriously made a conscious effort to promote online and I had never even heard of Reverbnation until very recently, a friend of mine told me about it. I started making a site while he was still on the phone.” With just over 27,400 fans on the site, it would seem that he did the right thing.
Rand explained that they have only recently employed a booking agent and publicist and was confident that the band’s popularity will increase further because of this.
“I was stoked to know we were doing this interview too” butts in Carter, who reminds me by this point of a younger Motley Crue drummer on his show Tommy Lee goes to college! He is probably tapping on the table with a pencil or a random cucumber as we speak! “We want to be known everywhere. Well, first California you know, Ventura, L.A., San Diego. The bigger places, Santa Barbara is not a very big place.”
I offer to Hunt that he has similarities in his singing style to Cult frontman Ian Astbury and an impressively wide vocal range. He accepts graciously and tells me that while he likes the band and the man Astbury, his influences are more 90’s Seattle-based Pearl Jam, Alice in Chains and Soundgarden, with a dash of Stone Temple Pilots. “Of course I did have professional training, before and after college.” He advises! Not only talented but educated too.
Is this starting to sound too good to be true?
I quietly wonder if Hunt could be considered for the front desk, the next time Scott Wieland goes all Cheshire cat on the band!
Judging by the vocals on Down and Snake, two of the darker, raunchier songs on the record, he probably could.
As I return to the record to take another listen later on, I can also hear remnants of Philip Lewis’ ever so proper (L.A. Guns before they became twin bands) Ballad of Jayne, English sex lullaby voice (for those in doubt, yes such a thing does exist!) in a few more songs.
Not content with being gun slinging rebels, the entire band are putting themselves out there to try and guide our misguided and rebellious youth back to a path less slothenly. “Kids these days just sit in their little holes and stare at screens,” they explained. I acknowledge that description; I have one in the next room! “We are trying to change that, get them out playing basketball, football, music or whatever. When we were kids growing up we were always out on our skateboards. Now it just doesn’t happen.”
What next then for the band that wants it bad?
I wonder if they are ready for a two-year trip in a filthy, vomit odoured, dirt covered RV. “It can be cleaned,” Carter almost shouts as I imagine he is on his way out of the room to grab a cloth and the hose.
“Aw f!*k it,” he offers, “We’ll take it as it is.”
I’m presuming at this point he is packing his overnight bag!