Crash Midnight, a rock band with all the flavor and grit you can handle has been busy this summer! Not only has the Boston based band been in the studio, the guys have recently relocated to Las Vegas in order to further their musical careers. Shaun Soho (lead vocals), Bo (bass), Alex Donaldson (Lead/rhythm guitar), Steve Burchell (rhythm guitar) and Chris Bishop (drums), spent some time with me talking about the bands’ recent ventures in Las Vegas and their current summer happenings!
Q: Hey Guys! First, I want to thank you for your time. What’s going on for you guys this summer?
Shaun Soho: We have a lot lined up. We just released our new single, “Roxy,” produced by Steve Thompson (Guns N’ Roses, Metallica, Prince, David Bowie, etc.) along with some additional production added by Bobby Ferrari at Vegas View Recording. That’s starting to pick up steam here in the US and overseas in Europe. They’re working on deals to release it in Asia as well. It’s a first for us, doing things overseas.
Bo: We’re also in the studio right now recording, working on our tour plans for the fall, and just crushing it in general.
Alex Donaldson: Pool day. All day.
Q: Can you clarify the current band lineup for me, I see Shaun, Alex and Bo listed in your bio but are Steve Burchell and Chris Bishop also active members?
Shaun Soho: Chris and Steve joined up with the band after we began our move to Las Vegas. They’ve been great additions to the sound. You can really get a sense for what they’re bringing to the table on the new single, “Roxy.”
Alex Donaldson: My friend Eric Groseclose has filled in on bass as needed. He did the Pretty Reckless tour with us.
Q: This is just curiosity on my part since I’m from the southern tip of Ohio. Alex, what part of Ohio are you from?
Alex Donaldson: Born and raised in Columbus. I absolutely love the city. It has really taken off in the last decade or so.
Q: The band has released a new single, “Roxy” this past May. It’s rough around the edges, gritty and obviously about a stripper. I like it. Can you talk to me about its conceptualization?
Shaun Soho: I was living in the Chinatown area of Boston a few years back. That’s pretty much the heart of the old “Combat Zone” area of the city. I knew a little bit about the history of the area, but started going back and looking into it more, especially its heyday in the 1960’s. I wanted to do a song that dug into everything that went down in that area back in the day.
BO: We very much wanted to create something that harkened back to the bad old days in Boston’s Combat Zone which is now a much safer and a much more boring place to be. I know the old saying that only the people who didn’t live through it miss old Times Square or the Combat Zone, but there was an undeniable, sleazy, dangerous energy to the city back then.
Alex Donaldson: I actually had the riff for that song years ago. Shaun had the foresight to record a bunch of ideas I had years ago. He played the riff for me and I was like, “Wow, killer idea! Who wrote that one?” He told me it was me, haha.
Shaun Soho: The song itself is about exploitation. It’s drawing an analogy to the slippery slope of selling yourself as a stripper then turning to prostitution and the experience we’ve had as a band getting bought and used by various characters in the music industry. The music video really drives that home, showing obvious exploitive images of the strippers in the video, slam cut to the band on stage. We wanted to have the video stir up the right people, get them talking about that exploitative imagery, and then use that to challenge the way everyday people overlook how they are stealing, exploiting, and prostituting artists and our work. They [the listener] should be just as outraged at this “faceless” exploitation of artists as they are about the exploitive imagery they see in the video.
Q: The video for “Roxy” was pulled from YouTube for censorship reasons, is that right? You have this fantastically seedy track with a video to match it…and it gets censored. What initial reaction did you guys have?
Shaun Soho: Yeah the video was only up for like 72 hours before it got yanked. It got something like 20,000 plays in that time before it was removed. The scenes depicted in the video violated YouTube’s Terms Of Service, which is ironic given that YouTube does business. They have no problem using artists to generate free content to their site for them to use and keep nearly all the revenue from. YouTube is one of the biggest pimps out there, treating all of us artists like whores, but they apparently don’t like when you actually depict that in your content.
BO: I definitely saw it coming but it was still annoying, especially being the member of the band who worked most closely with Ron Sperling on producing it. There’s a point to the video and it’s certainly not censorship.
Alex Donaldson: You can still see the full uncensored version of the video on our Crash Midnight App though. It’s available on the App Store and Google Play. We’ve had a ton of fans downloading the app to check it out!
Photo By Tara Williams
Q: Will “Roxy” appear on a future album?
Chris Bishop: Actually, “Roxy” will appear on a remixed re-release of Lost in the City which should drop sometime this year.
Shaun Soho: We’re remixing and re-releasing our debut album Lost In The City with “Roxy” added on to the record. It’s cool. We have Bobby Ferrari at Vegas View Recording doing this all-new production on the original album. When you hear the level of production that Roxy had coming out of that studio, you can get an idea what this whole thing is going to sound like when he’s done.
BO: We’re re-releasing the album out in the UK and Europe this fall so “Roxy” will be included on that version. We’re still working on the details of our plan for the re-release in the US and exactly what we want to do with some of the new songs we’re working on as well.
Q: Speaking of albums, your 2014 album Lost in the City, in my opinion, captures the essence of classic rock. Was that your intention with the album?
Shaun Soho: So, all of us in the band have always really been into those more classic elements of what originally turned us on to rock n’ roll in the first place. For Lost In The City, we tried to take everything we loved about that and everything we felt was lacking from so much of the “rock” music of today and put it all together.
BO: I’ve always thought that rock n roll, punk rock, hip-hop, all different types of music genres that don’t necessarily sound all that similar have that type of outsider, f*ck you mentality. That’s what we were going for.
Alex Donaldson: Two guitars, killer drums, driving bass. Exactly.
Q: Favorite track to perform live from Lost in the City?
Shaun Soho: For me, that changes on a nightly basis. It’s like sometimes you just want to get aggression out up there and songs like “City Girl” or “Welcome To Boston” really hit that vibe. There’s just so much history behind these songs. I get into the head space of where we were or what was going on at the time that inspired that song and it’s more like this feeling of reliving some of that live on stage each night.
BO: Easily “City Girl” but I’m a much bigger punk rock fan than the rest of the band so things that are loud, loose, and fast are exactly my jam.
Steve Burchell: I dig “151” for that relentless “train taking down everything in its path” type of song.
Chris Bishop: I’d say “Diamond Blvd”.
Alex Donaldson: “Diamond Blvd” has an awesome riff. I love my solos on “City Girl” too. I get three of them, haha.
Shaun Soho: You know, “Roxy” has actually been my favorite recently. The crowd reaction to that song is just wild. You know you have a hit when people hear it live for the first time and get so into it that they’re singing along with you.
Q: You guys have done some touring recently. Since you are now based in the Las Vegas area, are you looking to build a west coast fan base with another tour in that region?
Shaun Soho: That’s the next step with us. We love it out west. It’s definitely a challenge with so much more distance between major cities compared to our east coast stomping grounds, but the fans are incredible out here. We’ve been ready to take over Hollywood and Vegas since we started this thing.
BO: So we’re working on some pretty huge TV appearances for the fall right now that should end up taking us all over the country and even possibly Canada. We’ll be hitting up the west coast touring circuit for sure though soon.
Alex Donaldson: We loved playing Hollywood last fall. That was our first string of shows out there and the reception was incredible. We got word about industry people talking about us for weeks afterwards which is a pretty big compliment.
Q: Does the Vegas casino scene lend more opportunities for the band to perform live shows or do you tend to get more opportunities from other venues?
Shaun Soho: We’re working on some casino stuff right now that, once we can announce it, is going to be a real big deal. This is something that I don’t think anyone has ever thought to do before so you’ll have to stay tuned on our sites and especially the new Crash Midnight App to catch the announcement.
Q: Is there anything else you guys would like to add?
Shaun Soho: So this whole Crash Midnight App thing is something we’re really excited about. There just aren’t a lot of other bands out there doing this. The music industry has become such a challenge dealing with what’s essentially a f*cking free product at this point. So many people are fighting this losing battle with that. We decided with our business manager to embrace that and go a different direction. With the app, we have some awesome partners like motorcycle companies, leather jackets, jeans, liquor brands …all shit we and our fans are interested in anyway, funding the band so they can reach our audience. It lets us give our fans a ton of free music, experiences, and giveaways and not get stuck in the trap of fighting the trends going on in music right now.
BO: Each month we put a new exclusive and unreleased song up on the app for our fans to download free and collect. We put up posters that you can download – both new ones and some vintage ones from way back in the early days, early music videos, and of course the uncensored version of the “ROXY” video, haha.
Alex Donaldson: Steve and I do cool little guitar videos showing how to play some of our songs and riffs too. We’re always adding more stuff as we come up with it. There’s going to be some live acoustic performance videos we’ll put exclusively on there. [There are] tons of footage and pictures of us at rehearsals and in the studio so you can hear how the new songs are coming, and also clips of us just partying out at the bar or whatever.
Shaun Soho: It’s really become this cool All-Access Backstage Pass to everything Crash Midnight. You guys gotta’ check it out!
You can check out more from Crash Midnight and get access to exclusive content by downloading their app here!
Writer: Amanda Knight
Feature Photo Credit: Ron Sperling
All Other Photos: Ron Sperling, Tara Williams