Jeremy Rodgers is a performing musician, session musician, artist, producer, and writer. He has played in many East coast bands over the years and is well known regionally for his outstanding session work.
We caught up with Jeremy recently to find out what he’s up to.
Our favorite part of this interview is his answer to the question, what you wish you had known when starting out?
“You can just do things. You don’t need permission, you don’t need to be an expert, you don’t need to make it a job, it doesn’t even have to be good. The process is more important than the output. Just do the thing you want to do.”
Read on to hear more.
What are you excited about currently in your creative life – “My band Helltown Riffraff released a pair of sister albums last year, The Ocean and The Space. We are already hard at work on the next album, and I have enough music written for another 3 or 4 albums after that. Since I have a new home studio and seem to be in a creative peak, I am also recording tracks for the second album of my main side project, Gods Go Down. I have several books in the editing phase, which is both exciting and exhausting.”
How and when did you get into performing music – “I was a quintessential band geek in high school. I went from euphonium to tuba to bass to anything else I could get my hands on. I went to GMU as a music composition major, before dropping out to play in rock, funk, metal, and jazz bands. Oh, and to earn rent money.”
What you wish you had known when starting out – “You can just do things. You don’t need permission, you don’t need to be an expert, you don’t need to make it a job, it doesn’t even have to be good. The process is more important than the output. Just do the thing you want to do.”
Tip for young musicians – “Listen to as much as you can. With Spotify, YouTube, iTunes, etc., there’s no excuse not to have a broad palette of influences.”
What artists and bands have you enjoyed playing with – “I’ve toured the most with Chelsea McBee, and I’ll still play shows with her whenever she’ll have me. All the artists and musicians on the fringe of bluegrass and country have been the most fun and enriching. Every style is allowed, everybody is relaxed, and the food is amazing.”
Do you have a story from playing that might amuse or inform our readers –
“Too many to mention, really. Playing a nudist colony and being amused that we didn’t sell any t-shirts?”
Thoughts about the local music scene – “There is so much talent up and down the valley. I wish Front Royal had more venues for original bands.”
Favorite instrument – “Too hard to pick. I’m not really a fan of spotless and shiny things. Give me something beat-up and scratched with a story to tell.”
Are there creative similarities between writing your novels, your visual art, and writing music – “Definitely. I’m an old goth kid, so I spend a lot of creative energy exploring death, existentialism, mythology, and crime. I like to find beauty and humor in all the darker aspects of humanity.”
Does producing and recording inform the way you approach performing and vice versa – “It used to. I tended to treat recording as just documentation of a live performance. I’ve come to view recording as its own artform, and by extension, performing live as its own artform.”
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