Louisiana's Tyler Read recently released their new record, Only Rock And Roll Can Save Us, and they are ready to take over with it. Take a look at what it's like to spend your days playing some sweet southern rock.
PPJ: To start with, can you tell us your name and what you do in the band?
Josh Johnson: My name is Josh and I sing and play guitar.
PPJ: How did Tyler Read get started?
Josh: Long story short…this band was formed by my brother (drummer) and myself way back in 2003. Back then Chris McPeters and Brent were in another band we played with a lot. That band eventually broke up and we recruited them after we lost some members. That accounts for everyone except our bassist, we picked him up from a Pentecostal school. It has worked out that everybody in the band is really passionate about music and what we do. We have a good time.
PPJ: Is there ever confusion related to the name of your band? Why did you choose the name you did?
Josh: Everyday someone is confusing us with an acoustic singer songwriter of some sort. It is confusing, but I think it makes it a bit original. If you had never heard of Pink Floyd or Lynyrd Skynyrd, you would probably think the same thing. We chose the name as sort of a tribute to a younger cousin named Tyler Reed McFadden, who has absolutely nothing to do with music. There you have it, the whole truth.
PPJ: You went through a series of bass players before settling on Chris Rimmer. What was going on there?
Josh: Well not really a series. My brother, myself, and our cousin Nacho formed this band. He (Nacho) got the both of us into playing music and is probably the reason we play it today. He left the band because he didn’t like touring very much. We auditioned a guy or two and it wasn’t really happening. Chris Rimmer called and asked to try out. We knew him from another band and liked him well enough. He came in, played a few songs and we went and played a show that night. It has worked out really great and he is turning into an unbelievable bass player. We call the bass line to Michael Jackson the “bass line of a generation.” And he is pretty to look at it. Which I like.
PPJ: Josh and Jordan, what's it like to be in a band with your brother?
Josh: Very much like Oasis. Screaming, fighting, the works. That part is true. But we love doing it enough not to kill or get rid of the other. We need each other to do this, we have two very different sets of talents that require the other to be there.
PPJ: What inspires you to write music?
Josh: It has gotten to the point where feelings inspire me more than anything. To keep it real and authentic, I am learning to put down what I am going through. I think that is the only way to write. But also great songwriters make me want to write more. I’ll hear something and think, “God, I wish I would have written that.” I would like to continually improve and I think that it takes time. Strangely enough, I enjoy the writing part of being in a band more than anything else.
PPJ: What prompted the change in sound between The Light, The Glass, The Transparency and Only Rock & Roll Can Save Us?
Josh: I think two things really contributed to the change in style. First off, we had a good bit of member changes going on between those releases. With both of the Chris’s in the band there is a different dynamic. We have a lead guitarist who can shred and a bass player that really holds it down. Putting it all together, it’s more like a big rock band rather than the more indie/emo sound we had on the earlier stuff. I think secondly time being on the road has helped us a lot. We toured independently a long time before getting our record deal and that helped us to try to find our own sound and work at it. While out on the road, we started getting into older music like The Rolling Stones and Queen, timeless rock bands. We decided we wanted to do something that would hopefully be as long lasting as that.
PPJ: You're a band that is touring constantly. How do you keep yourselves energized and entertained on the road?
Josh: A lot of Walmart stops, pulling pranks, and making up games. We work on our rapping skills in the car by putting on a beat and just going back and forth. We have shiested our way into dance clubs by pretending to be Hinder. (That also works with picking up the ladies). On the last tour with Showbread and Pillar, we brought some weights and worked out at what we called Tae’s Gym. It’s been fun but sleeping in the van sucks.
PPJ: How did you go about finding a label home?
Josh: A guy who tour managed the band Jonezetta sent them (Immortal) our demo. We were out on the road with Jonezetta a long time before they were signed. After a few phone calls, our A & R guy came out and watched us practice in a barn. He took us out to eat after that and said he wanted to sign us. I still don’t think anybody at the label has seen us play a show. But it seems like that’s how it works for us. Our booking agent hasn’t seen us play, or 2 out of the 3 of our management team haven’t either. We are pretty awesome….lol
PPJ: Did you ever think you'd be on the same label as Jared Leto?
Josh: Never in a million years. But he lived in a town very close to us growing up for a little while. Maybe it's destiny.
PPJ: Kathrine and Donna from Charleston, SC, want to know how you came up with the artwork for the new album.
Josh: The artwork was a ridiculously long process for us. We wanted to do a group picture to cement the idea of us being a band. But we were not getting anywhere with the pictures we were taking. So we found this drawing online from an artist who had drawn another band and we thought that would be a cool idea and would fit the album. We had someone at our label edit the pictures from our shoot into the formation that you see on the cover. The artist then drew the whole layout and it blew us away. It was a long process, but I’m glad we took the time to get it right. Some people have said it made them think we were on the “trail of rock and roll.” We love it.
PPJ: Finally, tell us three bands you think we should be listening to.
Josh: Brandi Carlile, Kings Of Leon, and Band of Horses are all in my sweet action playlist right now. Do it.
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