Believe it or not, Underride’s driving rock sound has origins in a Jr. high school band program. “In the sixth grade, when everyone was choosing an instrument, I picked the drums and ended up in the marching band, concert band, and jazz band — I wanted to play as much as possible” shared front man Rev in a recent phone interview.
He soon got a job to fund the purchase of a drum set (from a garage sale) and started up a band with friend — “we played covers, other people’s music, but almost immediately we also started writing our own stuff.” Throughout college at Ohio State, he played shows at parties, “we’d do 50 or 60 songs a night, lots of covers, but doing that teaches you about song structure and how words and music work together. Plus, that was how I hung out with friends.” A business major (who credits what he learned in college for helping him manage his band now — “we keep track of how much everything costs!”), he landed a full-time job after school but soon, the pull of becoming a full-time musician was too hard to resist and he moved to Seattle. Underride, which includes Suzuki Sixx and Princess on guitar, bassist El Barto, and drummer Double A, started there.
Their album, One of Us came out in 2008 and they hit the road, playing regional gigs and visiting radio stations relentlessly, building up a following. “We didn’t try to sound like anyone — we write and play and even record in our rehersal space, so when you hear us live, it sounds the same as on the album — it’s just us.” Their latest album, Distorted Nation, includes tracks you can hear here, as well as a much-lauded, solid rock cover of Lady Gaga’s “Paparazzi.” The songs are straightforward, but well-crafted and performed by skilled musicians. They’ve also gotten the writing down to a science. “Bart and Princess generate some riffs that go together, then I come up with chords or a chorus that goes with that, and then we work together to mash them up. Then if we still like it, we craft a song. If we like it after that, we record it. Then we play it around town to see how audiences react. We’re cooking up hamburgers here,” he explained.
For an indie-Camaro-rock band, cooking up hamburgers is a way to make a living. But Rev emphasizes the reality of making a living as a musician. Anytime someone hears something they like and decides to buy a shirt or a track or a whole album, the band sees — and appreciates — a piece of it. “File-sharing and mixes are amazing — they get the word out about music — but if you hear something you like from us, or any band — buy something. Support the artist.” Or reach out to the artist. Better yet, go see them live. Underride is kicking off a summer tour later this month at Rock the Falls in Idaho.
“Blinded By You”
“Love is Like Dying”