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A Dirty Dozen with STEPHEN DAMON-TILLEY from RENEGADE CARTEL – October 2019

| 5 October 2019 | Reply


According to a recent press release: “Boston based Hard Rock Band RENEGADE CARTEL has released the official live video for “Break Your Chains.” Shot by Michael Cox, “Break Your Chains” is the debut single off of the trio’s upcoming LP, Dear World, due out 10/31/2019. Renegade Cartel looks to break the mold of todays music, and the niche sub-genres of rock. In a world ruled by cover bands, we are still roaring forward with original music to prove to the world that rock and roll is here to stay. With influences across the 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s and beyond, our hope is to play music that everyone can groove and vibe to.” We get singer / bassist Stephen to discuss new music, influences, and much more…

1. Tell us a little about your latest release. What might a fan or listener not grab the first or second time they listen through? Are there any hidden nuggets the band put in the material or that only diehard fans might find?

We think it’s going to take a few listens through before everything sinks in. The Family knows we have a pretty wide spread in the rock genre, but when new listeners go from a heavy, groovy tune, to a crunchy, classic rock style tune, they may have to take a second to stop their heads from spinning.

2. What got you into music, and can you tell us about the moment you realized you wanted to be a musician?

I have always been into music. My parents had got me into Prince and Guns ‘N’ Roses pretty young in my life. But it wasn’t until I heard Metallica that I wanted to play. Hearing James Hetfield sing and play was my main driving force. I got a guitar, spent the next two years down picking and singing along, and the rest is history. Been playing and singing ever since. I’ve had a few bands where I just play or just sing, but I’m home when I have an instrument in my hand and I’m belting my heart out.

3. Building on that, is there a specific song, album, performer, or live show that guided your musical taste?

I think it was Metallica’s “Unforgiven” that really set me going. James Hetfield’s voice jumping from growl to clean really made me appreciate clean tone vocals.

4. Who would be your main five musical influences?

James Hetfield, Chris Cornell, Myles Kennedy, Koshi Inaba, and Prince.

5. If you could call in any one collaborator to do a song with, who would it be, and why?

I’d love to do some kickass harmonies with Myles Kennedy. I think our voices would mesh well together!

6. How would you describe your music to someone who’d never listened to you before? What is the one comparison a reviewer or fan has made that made you cringe or you disagreed with?

We just say Hard Rock. We have some heavier stuff, we have some lighter stuff, but our roots are loud and proud. No one has given us a bad comparison. I get called Meatloaf a lot because I’m a big white guy, but that’s about it.

7. What’s the best thing about being a musician?

It literally fixes all of my issues. I vent through it, I relax with it, I express through it, and it’s amazing to be able to share my creations with everyone. Hopefully our songs will help in some of the ways that music helped me. I love that there is always something to learn. Some days I won’t want to touch a guitar, so I’ll play piano, or smash on the kit in the jam room. It just makes me feel better.

8. When the band are all hanging out together, who cooks; who gets the drinks in; and who is first to crack out the acoustic guitars for a singalong?

Well for now, when we have the luxury of being in the same are, we all pitch in. We’ll usually order pizza, everyone grabs a nip of Fireball Whiskey (Official Drink of Renegade Cartel!) We usually just chat, as we’ve done enough music together to get it out. When I stay at Vic’s place after a show, there is always a guarantee that he will be working on something. Some of our newest songs were written like that. I’ll just start singing over his riffs and we keep it for the next jam session. I’ve always loved sessions like that.

9. When was the last time you were star struck and who was it?

I’m always star struck whenever I get to meet with Paul Gilbert. It happened when I saw Mr. Big on their reunion tour for the first time. It’s been a couple times now, but for some reason I just get speechless. His songwriting is amazing, his guitar playing is legendary. I’ve been super lucky to be able to become close with Eric Martin from Mr. Big as well. I talk to him quite often, and I still get excited that one of my heroes is so cool with me. My most recent event was talking with dUg Pinnick from King’s X at the NAMM Show this past year. I always get nervous talking with King’s X when they do their meet and greets, but this time with dUg talking about bass tones and their importance was just awesome. Really inspirational.

10. If you weren’t a musician, what would be your dream job?

Haha, as if I don’t have a full time job at the time of writing this? I currently work as a Security Systems Integrator, which means I make sure camera and badge systems work properly. It’s been surprisingly interesting and I guess I could do this forever. Dream job? Maybe an English Teacher in Japan. Or a professional wrestler. Haha

11. Looking back over your career, is there a single moment or situation you feel was a misstep or you would like to have a “do over”, even if it didn’t change your current situation?

I would have been more active as a musician over a few years that I took off. I had a slow going project that did quite a lot but only when we wanted to be active. I should have picked up a couple more projects to work on and better myself as a musician. There is always a need to improve.

12. If you could magically go back in time and be a part of the recording sessions for any one record in history, which would you choose – and what does that record mean to you?

Oh man, tough one. I’d have to say The Beatles’ Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. Man, watching them geniuses work must have been amazing. Hell, I’d sit in on any record with them. They just re-issued Abbey Road with a remaster and demo takes. Some of those demos and isolated orchestrations are stunning. There’s a stripped down demo of George Harrison playing “Something” and it’s just stunning. That man could make magic with his songs, he just needed an acoustic and his voice. Chills every time.





Category: Interviews

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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