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A Dirty Dozen with SAMMY LEE from RED REIGN – April 2021

| 9 April 2021 | Reply


According to a recent press release: “Just like all touring bands, Richmond, Virginia-based rockers Red Reign were forced off the road for much of 2020. But the group (singer/guitarist Carlton “Bubba” McMichael, guitarist Stevie Shred, bassist Larry Moore, and drummer Sammy Lee) are getting back on track for 2021 – the first matter of business being the release of a “2021 remix” of their song, “Not That Way,” and a video. So far, Red Reign has two live shows confirmed for 2021 (with more on the way), including a show with Jackyl on May 8th in Roanoke, VA, and a performance with Quiet Riot on November 6th in Woodford, VA. Earlier, the band created a buzz with the release of a self-titled EP (the Maximum Volume Music site said “It sounds as if RR are a band that is ready and primed to make a move”). And Sammy offers his thoughts – “When you listen to the Red Reign EP you will find a song for each music listener, but we believe ‘Not That Way’ is for EVERYONE.” We get drummer Sammy to discuss new music, influences, and 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 you put in the material or that only diehard fans might find?

Well, this is a remix of the original song “Not That Way.”  If anyone heard the original, they will find this mix boulder and fuller and edgier with all the instruments brought up in the mix. There are no hidden nuggets, just a kick ass rock song.

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

I got into music by listening to Van Halen I. I was young and wasn’t sure what instrument But I knew it was for me.

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

Again, Van Halen I started it all for me. It wasn’t just one song, it was ALL of them on that album.  Seeing Alex Van Halen and hearing that sound of his drums guided me to become a drummer.

4. Who would be your main five musical influences?

Van Halen, Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden Judas Priest, and Led Zeppelin.

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

That’s tough as there are so many, BUT for me it would be Steve Harris of Iron Maiden because of his song writing.

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 would describe the music as blend of today’s sound mixed with influences of bands from the seventies and eighties.  Well, we have had a lot of people compare us and I never cringe. People have their own perspective and if we make them think of a certain band they like, then all good with us.

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

We don’t really hangout too much outside of rehearsals and shows.  We all have different things going on in our lives AND keeps us fresh when we do get together, BUT we do talk as a band every day.  NOW if we did, then here you go: no one cooks, we all drink, and Bubba and Stevie pull out the acoustic guitars.

8. When was the last time you were starstruck and who was it?

Last time I got starstruck was August 19th 2002.  I almost bumped into David Lee Roth, backstage.

9. What is the best part of being a musician? If you could no longer be a musician for whatever reason, what would be your dream job?

Best part of being a musician is getting to play live in front of Rock and Roll fans. Then after the show meet new people.  If I was not a musician,  not sure what my dream job would be. Is there such a thing if NOT being a musician… hahahaha.

10. What is one question you have always wanted an interviewer to ask – and what is the answer? Conversely, what question are you tired of answering?

I have been fortunate that all the questions have been great and I don’t think I have a question that I wanted to be asked.  I am grateful and love answering any questions that are asked about the band and our music.  NOW, the question I do get tired of answering is “tell me how the band started”. I never have a good solid answer for that question.

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 really cannot think of a “misstep”.  This band and the great team we have surrounding us, discusses every move we make and we methodically go thru every scenario before we make the final move.  So far,  it’s all worked in our favor.

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.

Obvious answer is Van Halen I.  This record changed my life.  I was a little shy when I was younger and this record made me more confident in myself.  That record was the music of my childhood up to today.

BONUS QUESTION – Due to the current world situation with COVID-19 / quarantine / shelter in place, what have you discovered you miss the most from your life before the pandemic struck?

I will have to say, the thing I miss the most is playing live shows.  Everything else has been pretty normal.  I have been able to spend more time with my family and the band has been able to slow down and write new material for a new album.





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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