It is so hard to believe that another year has passed since last year’s adventure for Australia’s Ragdoll. Leon Todd/guitar, Ryan Rafferty/bass/lead vocals and Cam Barrett/drums returned to Pryor, Oklahoma for their third invitation to Rocklahoma to perform on the Retrospect Records Stage. Before hitting the festival stage, the band again set out across the USA to tour some favorite cities and stake claim into some new. Taking a bit of a different approach this tour, they begin in Ventura, California and into Hollywood for a night at The Whisky A Go Go before heading to the Heartland of America.
Ragdoll is definitely no stranger to sharing the stage with some great names. While touring they have had the opportunity to play with the likes of Guns ‘n Roses, Alice in Chains, Rob Zombie, Queensryche, Bret Michaels, Staind and Kid Rock. This year at The Whisky A Go Go, they opened for Skid Row. 2014 being their third year returning to the States, people who have had the pleasure of seeing Ragdoll perform have found they have a sound like no other band. “We sound like Ragdoll; we don’t strive to sound like any other band. We love classic rock and roll that range from the 60’s up to today’s heavy metal and rock and roll. I’ve said before: we want to play our music, we want to sound like Ragdoll. That is what is reflected in our performance, reflected in our sound and that is what comes across when we play live; we’re just all Ragdoll. For people to come up to us after a show and tell us how much they like our sound and our show, that’s what does it for us; being original and playing music with great melody, yet having that powerful impact,” states Todd. Their newly released album titled Ragdoll Rewound is a compilation of Ragdoll’s first two releases Ragdoll Rock and Here Today which also includes four live recordings, one of which is a new composition, Rewind Your Mind. “We decided to return to the first EP and have it remixed and polished the way we had always wanted to hear it. Songs like Foot to the Floor sounds leaner and meaner while The Feeling is even more extreme,” Todd says with excitement. These guys have an intense desire to make music they love. They believe in the mission of producing an unmistakable original sound and that’s exactly what they have accomplished.
Ragdoll Rewound is a 13 track album released as the band began the tour and just two days prior to taking the stage at ROK. Track list includes: Here Today, Tell Me, Could It Be Love, Heaven Above, Overnight Sensation, Foot To The Floor, The Feeling, Ashamed, In My Mind, Rewind Your Mind (Live), All I Want (Live), Tell Me (Live) and Foot To The Floor (Live). When asked why live recordings were included on the album, Todd states, “ We definitely took a chance with adding the live recordings, but we want everyone to realize what you hear on an album is exactly what you will hear live. There are the three of us and we are the sound. So if you’ve never heard us live, this is the perfect opportunity to do so and Ryan’s vocals need to be experienced to be fully appreciated.” The Rewind Your Mind Tour started on the West Coast where they took it to Rocklahoma, around the Midwest into Missouri down into Texas, New Mexico and finishing number twenty-one in Sin City. “We had some really crazy shows last year like Albuquerque, New Mexico where a mosh pit broke out. This year the wildest show we’ve had has definitely been ROK.” Sitting quietly across the table, Barrett smiles in agreement and says “Yea, ROK was much different than last year. Fans were really getting into the music of all the bands.” As they share the stage at ROK with some amazing other bands, they come back to say again that one of their favorites is Black Tora. Adding to their list of favorites this year was Nasty Habit. “It’s so awesome not only to share a stage with a band we really love jamming with, we also get to see them perform as well,” Todd declares, “and even more seeing another band go out there and tear up the stage, it fuels your own fire and it makes you want to keep the fire burning!” The last eleven days of the tour, they performed five back to back shows and were ready to enjoy a couple of nights off. After a show in Austin, Texas they express the excitement of being back in Vegas, but having bittersweet emotions of the tour coming to an end. “We are so glad to be back here and having another night off to meet up with you though it’s a bit sad that we’re stopping because we just love playing here,” Rafferty grins. Todd jumps in, “We love playing America because of the crowds. It seems that people are willing to relax and express themselves and are more open to others expressing themselves. We are very aware of the audience and seeing how they are reacting to us and our music.” Rafferty speaks again, “We love coming here and making as many waves as we can while we are here and each year the waves get larger. The past three years that we’ve been coming over, we love meeting our fans, talking with them and learning more about them. This is really what ‘Rewind Your Mind’ is all about.”
Not only does Ragdoll have the new album release, they also have a new video which is quite different from most rock videos you see these days. Tell Me was released during the tour and has had well over 1000 hits in the first four days and now well over 3000 in the first week. Another exciting moment, Tell Me is being featured in a video battle on Noisecreep where fans have propelled the only independent band to #8 during the first week and edged into the #5 slot the second week of the poll. “We needed a new video and actually needed a video to have representation from our first EP Here Today, so we chose Tell Me,” says Todd. Barrett is happy to share the story of the video, “It’s a really cool video, more of like a comic book in video as the lyrics unfold as the pages turn. You’ll see photos from our first tour here in America and I promise you’ll get a kick out of it,” he laughs. An animated style video, which brings to mind of an 80’s video that came to life with Aha’s Take On Me, but no! It’s not even close; extreme rock, fun photos and a very tongue in cheek way of expressing the song. Why an animated video? “We were tossing ideas around about recording a video and it just came about that a friend of ours, Chris Reeve, decided it for us; it’s all his creativity,” smiles Rafferty.
It is 2:30 in the morning as the guys decide it’s time to part ways and prepare themselves for their closing show some twenty-one hours later. Screamer admires the trio as they are instant friends with everyone they meet and each is kind enough to stop and speak to anyone that takes the time to befriend them. Todd even walks over to say hello to Vinnie Paul of Hell Yeah who is seated nearby watching the same local band. Friends, old and new gather round to say hello and goodbye as they make their way out of Mandalay Bay. During the daylight hours before the show, Rafferty exclaims how hot it is as he states, “this place must be right next door to hell.” They enjoy a day of heat, heat and more heat in the desert before arriving at Vamp’d Vegas. Overhearing Todd speaking with Korie Koker, wife of Count Danny Koker, his favorite item in the venue was the Hysteria logo from Def Leppard on the back wall. At 11:20 p.m. on Friday the 13th with a gigantic full moon above, Ragdoll takes the stage to play a forty minute set of eight songs. Needless to say the power packed trio has won over yet another venue of fans who are eagerly greeted after the show. The after party continues well into the early morning hours and Todd is overheard this time saying Vamp’d Vegas was the best venue to play and their most favorite gig ever. Koker told Screamer Magazine she had tried to persuade them to return in August of this year, but Todd stated it was only eleven months till ROK 2015. Leaving the venue and hustling straight to the airport, Leon Todd, Cam Barrett and Ryan Rafferty leave knowing they are welcomed back to Vamp’d, welcomed back to Las Vegas and even more so welcomed back to America with a new following of fans each and every show they play.