INTERVIEW WITH RIVERDOGS VOCALIST ROB LAMOTHE
Conducted on Oct 3, 2018 by Tyson Briden.
Connect with Rob here: RobLamothe.com
Talking Rock: Hey Rob, great talking to you. I’m going to dive right in and ask you about your latest work And the River Reveals Herself which drops on October 27th correct?
Rob Lamothe: That is correct!
Talking Rock: It is a very eclectic mix of songs. I’ll simply ask what the premise of the title is. I think that’s a good place to start.
Rob Lamothe: The title really, is sort of a reflection of my connection with water. I grew up on the Pacific Ocean in La Jolla, California. I moved up to L.A. in 1985. That was the first time I didn’t live by the water. So, I just love water… If I look out to my front yard, I can look down the road and see the Grand River. There’s just a little boat launch there going right into the river. A lot of times if I am driving I am following the river. I just did that today when I went to Cayuga, Ontario, Canada. I may go up to Six Nations, even Brantford or Caledonia. Just following that river. I tend to personify things. I make the river a woman for some reason. It’s just something I do. It’s kind of a creative writing type of thing that I do. I encourage the people that I coach in writing to do the same. Personifying something that isn’t a person as an example. It kind of came out of that. It just made sense to me!
Talking Rock: The album is made up of yourself and your three children, Rose, Zander, and Josh.
Rob Lamothe: Yeah… They are 22, 26 and 30.
Talking Rock: I love how Rose and yourself harmonized on the vocals. Which I found to be a great blend. I was really taken by it.
Rob Lamothe: There are some voices on there that sound like Rose and I. It’s actually Zander and Rose or Josh and Rose. In fact, Josh sounds a bit like me, but Zander sounds exactly like me. There were times when I was listening to a track and I couldn’t tell if it was Zander or me. I had to go back and find either the name that was on the sound file or look at my notes because I wasn’t sure who sang the part.
Talking Rock: Wow.
Rob Lamothe: I know. It’s freaky.
Talking Rock: Both my kids are not really into music. My daughter is 17 but really shows no interest. As for my son he is only 9, so I am hoping down the road he will get into it and we’re able to play music together as I am a musician. I really thought it was fantastic that you did an album together.
Rob Lamothe: Thank you. I have to say, both my sons from the moment they could talk they were interested in music. They were singing. They were playing. Very, very early on. We had a recording studio in the house. We had rehearsal in the house. This was in California and then in Canada. So they were just immersed in it. Same thing as my daughter except she loved to listen to music, but she wasn’t that interested in singing or playing. We’d hear her singing in the shower and we’d say, “Ah, she has a good voice!”, but she didn’t want to do it in front of us. Then the Christmas that she was 14 she said she wanted to get a guitar. So we got her a guitar. Literally, five months later she toured with me in Europe singing and playing guitar. She taught herself. So you just don’t know right? It’s kind of their timing. We never pushed it. She was interested more in art. That desire to sing and play was always there. I think she shied away from it because her brothers were so into it. She was raised at folk festivals and recording studios. You never know because you probably have a lot of music in your house?
Talking Rock: Yes. A ton of music. It’s always on or I’m playing, writing, etc. In terms of the process of the album itself, you mentioned to me in our original conversation leading up to the interview, that these were songs that you had started putting together. How did it initially come to be?
Rob Lamothe: It all happened super organically. As I mentioned we’ve always played music in the house. Even when my daughter was little, I sang her to sleep at night. I sang my sons to sleep every night. At some point, Zander started singing along with me. He was just a little guy. The same with Josh. Come to think of it, it all kind of started in 2014 when we were rehearsing to go do this tour in Europe. Rose, Zander, and I. That’s when it started. I didn’t even think about that. I am so glad you asked that. We had all the instruments set up in the living room. It has now become my studio. In 2014, we moved all the furniture and we set up in a circle. We started jamming on some stuff. Just jamming in between songs. We thought some of it was kind of cool. Some of that jamming became songs on this record. I never even put that together until just this moment. We did it accidentally. I didn’t say, “Hey, let’s write some songs!” No one ever said that. We just started jamming on something. The next time I ran my snake out here from another room that used to be my studio. I miked up the drums. Rose was playing some keyboards and guitar. I plugged everything in and I recorded little bits of things. Some of those jams became songs on this record. My wife’s going to freak out when I tell her that!
Talking Rock: In terms of what format the album will be available on? I am hoping you say vinyl! To me, this album is the perfect candidate in relation to what I think the album sounds like.
Rob Lamothe: Well, I am so glad you picked up on that. I don’t know if you noticed, but the timing is between 40 and 42 minutes. That was intentional as that is the length of vinyl. The max you can get on, although I wasn’t thinking of this being on vinyl. I just was thinking of a bit of a concept. Even though the songs happened organically, when I sequenced them I thought, “Oh my God! There’s a concept underneath this thing.” It tells this story and the end of the story gets you right back to the beginning. The first note of the record comes back to that at the end of the record. Vinyl now is a possibility as of yesterday. Somebody reached out to me who’ve I worked with before and he’s with a label. He’s interested in distribution for this thing. I was never even going to print it up or manufacture it. When I was talking about doing these shows coming up in the Netherlands and Belgium, which we’ve now added Germany, the person that’s promoting the tour over in the Netherlands said, “Hey, do you want to release your record while you’re here?” I said, “Oh shit! Is it a record?” I then realized I was the one that planted the seed. I was calling it an album project. I don’t know why? Just to give myself a framework for it so I would keep working on the songs, although nobody was waiting for it. Nobody had given me money, saying, “Hey, we’ve got to have this album by this time!” I had started thinking of it as a bit of an album just in my own crazy way. I did talk to the kids a little bit about it, but they weren’t even thinking along those lines. We were just getting together and adding to the songs that we already had. We’d get together and I’d say, “You want to try something on this? Let’s try something on electric guitar here!” We just really had no plan or strategy as we went along. Now that there’s this interest to go beyond the initial 250 copies that we were just going to get for the tour or a few for me to bring home. I’m with you and I’m so glad you picked up on that. You’re one of the only people that have heard the songs as the ten pieces together. Only a couple people have heard that and by you saying that vinyl makes sense, that’s amazing!
Talking Rock: It totally makes sense. It’s one of those things where you’ve got to sit down and listen to that album in its entirety. Turn the lights off, light some candles and really lose yourself within. In terms of it being like The Riverdogs, it’s totally different. As great as The Riverdogs are, this is special.
Rob Lamothe: This is amazing to me because I feel like it should almost have a warning sticker on it saying, “You’ve got to listen to the whole thing and it’s not rock!” We had no direction to the songs. I wasn’t trying to make it softer or harder than anything else. We were just following where the songs took us and that’s the honest truth. I’ve never made a record like that with total creative freedom. I wasn’t thinking about how many songs. Are there enough soft ones? Are there enough hard ones? Those things you sometimes think about when you’re making a record. None of that crossed my mind. It was just a matter of where did the song want to go? I never had ideas or Josh, Zander, and Rose to try stuff out. It was just, “Oh do you want to try something on this?” Then we would just see where it went. Josh and Rose both played keyboards and synthesizer. They’d just try different sounds. “Oh, that’s cool! Let’s do something with that!” The same with vocals, I didn’t design the harmonies. I said, “Here’s my lead vocal.” Most everything is based around my lead vocal or sometimes it’s Josh. Sometimes we’d build stuff around Rose. It was never, “Zander you take the lower harmony and Josh you take this one!” That never came up. We just went with the songs.
Talking Rock: That is impressive. I guess it was kind of second nature. As a family, you know each other so well that that’s just the way it is, right?
Rob Lamothe: We’ve got that communication thing without saying anything. We all have it. I’ve done gigs with just Josh. I’ve done gigs with just Zander and I’ve done gigs with just Rose. We don’t even have to think or look each other. The one song on the record that’s called “Song for Blair” was recorded with Zander and I live off the floor. He was here in the living room with the drums, all miked up and he had headphones on with me in the room that used to be my studio. I was in there playing guitar and singing. We couldn’t see each other. I just showed him how the song went and we played through it twice. That’s what’s on the record. It’s us communicating. Probably the way I went on guitar or vocally told him we were going to the chorus, I don’t know. He played with a shaker in one hand and sticks. He did that all in one take. The percussion and the drums. We couldn’t see each other and he really didn’t know the song. I literally just played it for him and we recorded it.
Talking Rock: That’s possibly why the album sounds so special. That could be it, right?
Rob Lamothe: Yeah, I think so!
Talking Rock: As I was listening to it, it kind of has a very Canadian rural vibe. That’s what I got out of it. That may be hard to comprehend?
Rob Lamothe: No, no… I’m going to follow that up and it’ll all make sense. Go ahead.
Talking Rock: Was that something you wanted to convey or was it a product of your environment?
Rob Lamothe: Again, we weren’t really trying to convey anything. We were just following the songs, but maybe a year and a half ago I had put these songs aside a little bit. We developed them a day here, a day there. Just slowly letting the songs percolate. Some we recorded aren’t on the record, they’re on my computer somewhere. I hadn’t heard the songs for about four months and I played them. As I listened, it sounded to me like some kind of very rural family that had not heard the radio. They were just creating music. Like they didn’t know what other people were doing. What you’re saying kind of connects to that in a way.
Talking Rock: Maybe it’s not really Canadian, but just a rural vibe. That’s what I get out of it and I think that’s amazing just the fact that when you listen to it’s a statement of, “We’re not connected to music.” When you think of music today it’s more of a positive rather than a negative.
Rob Lamothe: For better or worse… It’s weird. I haven’t even begun to figure out what this record is in a way. When I just realized tonight, we started it when we were rehearsing for Europe. When I think about the direction or the sound… To me, it doesn’t sound like a city record which was what I thought you were going to say. There’s a banjo, there’s slide guitar, a lot of drums. There’s a lot of organic stuff on it. The vocals with those kinds of harmonies. It could be Canadiana or Americana. It does have a rural vibe. I’m with you 100% on that.
Talking Rock: I interviewed Riverdogs bass player Nick Brophy last year, http://sleazeroxx.com/interviews/riverdogs-bassist-nick-brophy-interview/. He and I were discussing ‘California’. It was right after the album came out. He was describing some of the material on that album and how one or two of the songs were possibly about missing ‘California’ or the vibe within. As I listened to this album it was that same type of thing. Was it a matter of going for that in a different way?
Rob Lamothe: If you’re writing about details, lyrically this record is all about small detail. I think for myself, I can only write like that, like the writing for ‘California’ is similar in a way. It only comes from being content where you are. Maybe it’s not geographically content. You’re just content where you are in your mind or in your life. ‘California’ to me is a record about being so content in California. As you know I grew up there and I’ve been back many times. When we were writing the stuff for The Riverdogs record, that’s why we called it ‘California’. It ended up as ‘California’ as a state. ‘California’ as a state of mind. ‘California’ as a woman. ‘California’ as a little girl. It all connected. That’s very similar to what happened with this record. Maybe it’s just the way I write now? I don’t know. I haven’t analyzed it. I’m able to just observe things and think of things in a way that I couldn’t do when I was younger. I feel like I’m a better observer. Hopefully, I write it down and I capture something.
Talking Rock: Possibly, I may have picked up on that. I love the content of your songwriting and there’s some metaphoric material in there.
Rob Lamothe: You see you’ve already made me think about the moment this record started and you’ve also just pointed out something that I had not thought of for a second. That there is maybe a thread through ‘California’ and ‘And The River Reveals Herself’. There’s a songwriting thread that I didn’t even think about. It’s absolutely there. You’re asking these questions. I’m thinking about things I have never thought about before. It’s kind of amazing. Thank you.
Talking Rock: No problem. My pleasure.
Rob Lamothe: Let me interview you now! (laughs)
Talking Rock: I’d like to touch on a few of the songs from ‘And the River Reveals Herself’. The first one I’m going to touch on is “When the World Was New”. I’m not going to go into the lyrics, but the midsection guitar solo. Is that you playing that solo? I love the tone.
Rob Lamothe: That’s me, yeah!
Talking Rock: What did you do? Was that done in that very living room that you’re currently sitting in? It has such a big ambiance. The tone is phenomenal.
Rob Lamothe: It’s funny because my wife said, “It sounds like you got some hot shot, hired gun to play guitar on that solo!” I had a home space. It was kind of my mixing room. I had a bigger studio about five minutes from here, so I can’t remember. I might have recorded it over there at my little project studio down the road that is no longer in existence and that’s why I’m here in the living room. They raised my rent 50%.
Talking Rock: Did you use an amp on that solo?
Rob Lamothe: What I used on that actually and I’ve never used it on anything else. I feel like I can’t get a great sound on it. I used the Pro Tools 11 plug-in. It looks like an amp, but most of those plug-ins don’t really sound like amps. This is actually the light version, so the version they give you free with Pro Tools. You can get a gnarlier version that costs money, but this is the 4 X 12 Greenback with 25-watt speakers in the cab. This is the DC modern overdrive sound. The DC Vintage Crunch is what it is actually called. It has a vibrato which I used. I’ve got a compressor running after it. The 1176 mod. Then I’ve got a bunch of delay on there. There’s no reverb on the amp sound, but I am sending it to a reverb. I’m sending the delayed, compressed amp through some reverb. That, I just put on everything. The guitars, the piano. They make a rack mount version of it as well, which I used in a studio. Like I said, they don’t really sound like amps. The one that I think does is the Universal Audio that is a Plexi/Marshall thing which we used on the Riverdogs record. It sounds so much like an amp and a cab that you wouldn’t know. I usually don’t use plug-ins, amp simulators and all that. I probably accidentally found that sound. I don’t have the patience to get a great sound out of those things, so I don’t use them. Something happened. I just went and bent a string. You could hear all this crackle and finger noise in the tone. That’s why I loved it so much and why I kept it.
Talking Rock: I am very surprised that it was Pro Tools. Do you recall what guitar you may have used?
Rob Lamothe: I used my Godin Icon Convertible Type 2. It has the Seymour Duncan three-way pick-ups. There’s a single coil, a humbucker, and P90 in one. It’s called a P-Rail. They’re amazing. I’ve got these little 3-way toggles for each pickup. It’s like having a P90 in the front and a single coil in the back.
Talking Rock: “Maple Syrup Festival Queen”? I think there’s a Canadian reference there?
Rob Lamothe: My wife, my daughter and I were sitting in this room when it was a living room. I was just sitting on the couch and they were sitting in chairs. They were having a conversation. I had my acoustic guitar in my hand. I was just absentmindedly playing. I said, “Oh what am I doing? This sounds like something!” I wasn’t really paying attention. I was just listening to them. Half listening to them and half kind of tripping out. Then I realized I was playing something pretty. I actually got up, went into the other room and recorded it. That’s literally the guitar you hear on the record. That’s how this whole record was made. Really spontaneous.
Talking Rock: “Paper, Rock, Scissors”… It was funny when I looked at that title. It reminded me of the game I play with my son. In years to come, when I hear it, it will remind me of that game. With that said, can you explain the basis of that title?
Rob Lamothe: That’s an interesting one actually. Again, it was totally spontaneous. What it was, I was working on a song with a friend of mine. She works for the school district. She was with the indigenous curriculum in classes where they have mostly indigenous kids or all indigenous kids. She’s an amazing, award winning, activist for peace. She worked for years in men’s prison doing outreach and counseling as a social worker. She’s just an amazing person. She said, “Hey let’s write a song!” So I said, “Okay, cool!” We were sitting in my little studio room… the other room. We were both playing hand drum and kind of jamming a little bit. We recorded a little drum thing. Just a bit of a groove with the hand drums. She’s not a hand drummer by the way. We came up with something that sounded kind of cool. Then I looped it. I showed her how to loop it in Pro Tools. Then I picked up my acoustic guitar and I kind of ‘D’ tuned the guitar. I can’t remember what it was. It was kind of like an open tuning. I’d probably have to listen to the record to figure it out. I literally showed her something and I said, “You know we can just record this and maybe work on it later.” I just played the part, that kind of hammer on thing. It’s like a droning thing. We ended up writing a song using that acoustic guitar that I spontaneously came up with and that little hand drum loop. Then we wrote words to it. I think she probably wrote all the words. The original draft of it. It was all about mother nature. It was actually called “Mother”. I said, “Hey, how bout I ask Zander if he’ll play on it? We can start building on it.” So I got Zander to come in on the drums to play over the two hand drums and the acoustic guitar, but then of course he took it somewhere else. It started getting heavy in the chorus. I said to her, “Would you mind if I took where we started and just build from there? Can I have your permission to slash, burn and edit? Have it just go where it goes?” She said yes! That’s where it started. She has a co-writing credit on that song. Another one of my friends has co-writing credit on three songs as well. Basically what I did was writing a lot with different people. I then asked for permission to really edit the shit out of the stuff. I said, “Can I just take it in a whole other direction or do whatever I want with it? Chop up your words. Replace your words. Just go with it.” Those two people that I collaborated with on this record on the four songs, they gave me total freedom to just do whatever I wanted. “Rock, Paper, Scissors”, to be honest, was her idea of the ‘she’ in the song being mother nature. I kind of went with that theme. I didn’t use any of her words I don’t think except for the word ‘she’. I got Rose to come in and sing that part. It then became about cycles, circles and seasons. It’s the rain coming down, with the rivers then running to the ocean, condensing and going back up into the clouds. It’s that kind of cycle of clouds, rivers and oceans. It can only move in circles. I was thinking about choices and consequences. Kind of connecting that to nature. Coming around again and you get another chance. That’s how I came up with that chorus idea.
Talking Rock: Very cool! Thank you. I’d like to switch gears slightly and talk about The Riverdogs. Mostly the album ‘California’. The song “American Dream”, which was the lead-off single and video. The guitar solo itself is amazing. That is one and there are not too many that I rewind to hear again. There is something about that guitar solo. Vivian (Campbell) does that run where it seems to go on forever, but it’s just so cool. As a band, how did you approach that solo? It’s probably the poppiest song on the album, yet the solo is intense.
Rob Lamothe: The solo takes it a million miles from pop radio.
Talking Rock: It goes in a different direction, but fits perfectly. Nick (Brophy) produced the album and I am sure you had a hand in the production side of things?
Rob Lamothe: Nick produced it. It wasn’t really me. That record was crazy. Talk about effortless. I don’t know if you’ve read any of the other interviews, or maybe Nick told you, but we got together and in three days we wrote six songs. On the fourth and part of the fifth we recorded those ideas. We just figured, here’s the tempo. Lay down a reference drum. Bass, guitar and a vocal track. Then we had another songwriting trip. Three days we wrote six songs. The same thing. In a way Nick didn’t produce a lot. I’m not trying to negate what he did because we sure got our money’s worth, but he didn’t direct anybody. He wasn’t that kind of producer. Absolutely he produced the record. He had the biggest influence by far on the sound of the record. He wasn’t guiding us though. He didn’t say, “Oh can you try that again?”, although he did on the vocals which was great. He really produced the vocals. That was awesome for me. It was super fun just to not be self-producing when I’m singing. What he really does is he’s so fast with things. He’s a cutting edge Pro Tools guy. It’s all about being comfortable.
Talking Rock: Were you there when Viv did that solo?
Rob Lamothe: When Viv did that solo as an example of Nick producing, I’m pretty sure he gave him all the time he needed. I might have just looped some stuff so Viv could play as long as he wanted. I don’t if you notice, but that solo is weird. It’s almost like there’s three sections, three sections and three sections. It’s not a round number. It’s not 16 bars or 32 bars. It’s just as long as Viv wanted to go. It’s just an odd number of measures. That’s how Nick produces! “How do I create an environment where Viv can do his thing? How do I create an environment where (drummer) Marc (Danziesen) can do what he wants to do on this record? How do I make Rob comfortable enough in the studio?” He knows how comfortable I am in the studio. You have to be fast to work with me because I can engineer stuff really quickly. I spend so much time recording. I know he’s aware of that. He’s a very smart guy. You don’t have to wait for anything. If you’re ready to sing, he’s ready to do it. Then he can edit stuff insanely fast. It make’s it fairly easy. We got all the vocals done in a short amount of time. I went down to Nashville to record the vocals. We didn’t have a ton of time. We didn’t have a budget to luxuriously work. We didn’t have a Fleetwood Mac budget (laughs). He is more responsible than the rest of us for the sound of the record. He just didn’t have to guide us much. If any of us had needed it for instance when there was a need for vocal guidance he could absolutely do it. If Marc needed guidance on the drums, Nick could do that. If Viv needed guidance on the guitar, Nick could have done that as well. It wasn’t really necessary. Same with me on guitar, he just let me do my part.
Talking Rock: When I spoke with Nick, it blew me away that Viv had brought in all the same equipment from the first Riverdogs album. He said, “Yeah, Viv’s got a warehouse full of equipment!”
Rob Lamothe: In the actual recording process, like I said he wasn’t really producing us, but he did his homework ahead of time. He was in contact with Jeff Glixman who had finished up that first record. Nick asked, “What was that chorus thing you used on the vocals?” Nick picked his brain for hours and hours. I am sure it was his idea to say, “Hey Viv. Where’s that amp? Where’s the Mojave amp?” They went and dug around in the Def Leppard warehouse or maybe one of Viv’s storage spaces. They found a bunch of equipment that was used on the first record.
Talking Rock: I couldn’t image having that much gear. That is just amazing.
Rob Lamothe: That was Nick’s idea. That’s where he had the vision. We probably should have given him a vision credit, even more than a producer credit. I’m not trying to discount his production because he’s an amazing producer, but we didn’t need much instrumentally or songwriting wise. I brought in “American Dream” and “The Revolution Starts Tonight”. The first two songs I had co-written with Zander, my son. I brought those in. They were demo’d up. Everything else we created on the spot. It was never any of us saying, “Oh, should we make the bridge twice as long or should we cut that chorus?” We just did what felt good and that was how we wrote the songs, which is a crazy way to do it. We took a big risk. We could have ended up with two album quality songs from the first songwriting trip instead of six.
Talking Rock: Did Frontiers release ‘California’ on vinyl?
Rob Lamothe: They did. I have one.
Talking Rock: I bet it may be gone now?
Rob Lamothe: It’s not like we sold a million copies. There still might be vinyl available. I don’t know. Frontiers has a great website, right? Honestly, I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s out there.
Talking Rock: Was the first Riverdogs album released on vinyl?
Rob Lamothe: Yep
Talking Rock: That one’s probably hard to find?
Rob Lamothe: That one’s probably real hard to find I bet!
Talking Rock: You mentioned “The Revolution Starts Tonight”, which is actually a favorite track of mine on the album.
Rob Lamothe: That song was totally spontaneous. So “American Dream” and “The Revolution Starts Tonight” were literally from a 90 minute songwriting session Zander and I had over at my other studio. We were recording some heavy metal stuff actually that day. He was playing drums on a session that I was recording. When the session was over I said, “Hey, I’m going to L.A. to write with the Riverdogs. I’d love to take a couple ideas with me.” I had a bit of an idea for “American Dream”. Just a couple of chords. I didn’t have a chorus or anything. I set up a vocal mike right in front of one of the drums. Like three feet in front of the cymbals and everything. I faced him. We put on headphones and I plugged in. Everything was miked and ready to go. We kind of jammed. In those 90 minutes we came up with “American Dream” and “The Revolution Starts Tonight”. At least the bulk of the music and all the parts. Definitely some lyric ideas as well. I just laid those down and I was able to take that with me to L.A. as our starting point on the first day.
Talking Rock: Lyrically, what were you going for on “The Revolution Starts Tonight?” When you think about that title, it’s kind of deep!
Rob Lamothe: I was thinking about personal revolution. To be honest, it was about change and the possibility of change. Responsibility. I’m involved in a lot of community work. Social initiatives. So I facilitate courses for people who are identified as living in poverty. It’s all about them finding their power. It’s not me giving them their power as a facilitator. You can’t give an addict or someone suffering, in poverty or mental health issues… you can’t hand them change or say, “Hey, here you go. This is what you need to do! Just follow this and it will work for you!” They have to figure it out. All you can do is support them. That’s what I was thinking about as I was coming up with those lyrics. It was just about power. Peoples personal power. What stops us from embracing our own power. That’s the kind of stuff I think about Tyson.
Talking Rock: I think that’s fantastic because I think about that stuff too. When I hear someone writing a song about it… I like those songs that are not just about having a good time. There is a time and place for that, but there is also a time when you want to listen to something a little bit deeper.
Rob Lamothe: Yes and that’s not all the time. It’s not for everybody and that’s okay. I love to rock out. A couple weeks ago I was down in the Bahamas rocking out with my buddies Stevie Salas, Matt Sorum, Phil X, and Billy Gibbons. We were just rocking, having a good time. I still celebrate that I get to rock out with my friends sometimes.
Talking Rock: I was surprised to see Stevie Salas because I hadn’t seen anything from him in so long. I remember when his album came out in the 80’s. Stevie Salas’s Colorcode I believe it was called?
Rob Lamothe: Oh yeah. That was late 80’s or early 90’s? It might have been 88′, I suppose. I was the original singer in Colorcode. I don’t know if you knew that.
Talking Rock: No! I didn’t.
Rob Lamothe: Yeah, we grew up in San Diego. We’ve been friends since we were teenagers. I was singing in Colorcode… so it would have been in the 80’s for sure because I was in Riverdogs by 89′. It might have been 85-86. Somewhere in there would have been that Colorcode stuff with Winston Watson on drums, CJ on bass… I think. At some point, I decided to pursue more of a straight rock direction. Stevie and I have been friends all this time. He does a lot of stuff. He was a music director on American Idol. He also does a lot of global stuff. He produces bands in Brazil and Asia. He made a big record maybe two years ago. It was with this guy from Japan, Koshi Inaba. They made a record called Inaba/Salas. It sold a lot of copies and they played big, big stadium gigs. Unfortunately, that doesn’t translate to North America. We don’t hear about that kind of stuff. I just know about it because I know Stevie. We recorded some of the parts for one of the songs on the record at my little studio. He’s like a global entrepreneur. He’s all over the place. He’s like an ambassador. Kind of a liaison for some business stuff. He’s really such a people skills oriented person.
Talking Rock: You try to keep up with everyone you’ve listened to over the years, but it still can be hard.
Rob Lamothe: Yeah, even with the internet.
Talking Rock: Sometimes you’ll see something on Facebook and think you should look that artist up. There’s just so many artists.
Rob Lamothe: Yeah, exactly!
Talking Rock: So what is the next step for you? Promoting this new album I would assume.
Rob Lamothe: Yeah, I haven’t even talked to my wife about this interest I got today as far as distributing the record further. I thought we would get maybe 250 copies, go do some shows, maybe come back here with 40-50 copies to give out to friends. Maybe sell a couple. I didn’t think too much beyond that to be honest, but now that’s expanded a bit. Going over to play in the Netherlands turns into the Netherlands and Belgium, than we add Germany. Now it’s possible I might go to England right after that. I’m just going with the flow a bit, trying to keep it reasonable. We’ll see where it all goes.
Talking Rock: Will there be another Riverdogs album?
Rob Lamothe: Gosh, that’s a great question. I played guitar all this past summer for a really amazing artist named Logan Staats. He signed a deal with the Big Machine Label Group down in Nashville. We’re going to have a business meeting actually. I have to figure out how much of a commitment I can and will make to play with him next summer. That could be a four or five month commitment, which may very well be what I end up doing within that time frame. I’m only saying that because I am not sure what my availability will be next year in 2019. I know Viv, he’s going to be doing Last in Line shows. I think they’re going to start those fairly soon. They’re going to be going into early next year. I don’t know. I never thought that last one would happen. Nobody was talking about a record deal. We weren’t even hoping it might happen. We’ve always stayed friends over the years. We’ve gotten together, had some Mexican food and a beer. Maybe we sat around with acoustic guitars. That kind of fell in our laps with Frontiers. It’s a super appropriate label you know for rock from the late 80’s/early 90’s. They’ve mentioned early on when they heard ‘California’… they mentioned about a second record. We were like, “Yeah, sure!” I just don’t know how that timing will work out. It worked out brilliantly for ‘California’, for us to have the time to write and record the record the way we wanted to. Will that happen again the same way? I don’t know! It’s barely crossed my mind, to be honest and I bet it probably hasn’t crossed anyone’s mind in the band yet. Viv probably played in front of 12 000 people last night somewhere. Like I said, that Last in Line record… Is that out yet? Do you know?
Talking Rock: I don’t think the second one is. I remember hearing talk of it.
Rob Lamothe: I don’t think it is. My wife’s saying no. She would know. She says they’re shooting videos, so it’s probably getting close.
Talking Rock: Vivian’s super busy. Singer Andrew Freeman is super busy too. He does dates with Mick Sweda from Bulletboys.
Rob Lamothe: Oh, I didn’t know that.
Talking Rock: Yeah, he’s playing in Lies, Deceit & Trechery.
Rob Lamothe: What is that?
Talking Rock: It’s the three Bulletboys guys without singer Marq Torien. With Andrew Freeman singing.
Rob Lamothe: Ohhh!!! I didn’t know that!
Talking Rock: Marq Torien owns the rights to the name Bulletboys, so they go out as Lies, Deceit & Trechery, which was a line from one of the songs from the first Bulletboys album.
Rob Lamothe: That’s super cool. That’s fantastic. Good for them. My wife and I went to see Def Leppard play three months ago or so when they were at the Roger’s Center in Toronto. It was a lot of people. Viv and I, we keep in touch, but neither of us has mentioned another Riverdogs record. It could happen if the timing is right. Hey, who knows?
Talking Rock: There is probably going to be another Def Leppard album at some point too.
Rob Lamothe: They’ve probably got a schedule. They don’t just throw that together obviously. You know that. They probably have one on a schedule somewhere. When did they release they release their last one? I don’t remember.
Talking Rock: That was ‘Self-Titled’. 3-4 years ago maybe!
Rob Lamothe: Yeah, so they might be due to do one next year. I don’t know.
Talking Rock: I think that one was independent too. They funded that one.
Rob Lamothe: I think you might be right. Yeah.
Talking Rock: I think that is all I have.
Rob Lamothe: Thanks so much Tyson.
Talking Rock: Yes Rob. You are very welcome. Thanks a lot man!!!
Interview conducted by Tyson Briden.
Listen to the track “When the World Was New” off the album And the River Reveals Herself by Rob Lamothe and Dollarstore Hacksaw here:
“American Dream” by the Riverdogs.