I recently had a chance to sit down with Eric Boatright, lead vocalist of Shallow Side to gather his thoughts on several issues concerning the music industry. The band played a killer show at L-Treyns in Keokuk, IA that featured Bobaflex, Vyces, and local bands Caught in the Crypt, and Best Kept Secret as well.
Fernetti: You guys have been at this awhile now, haven’t you?
Boatright: Umm…yeah…we started the band in 2010. And then, we started touring in 2011 and haven’t really looked back since. We’re on the road all the time. We’ve basically been touring ever since it feels like!
Fernetti: Okay, is this your first time in Keokuk then?
Boatright: We actually played here at this venue once before. At this point, there aren’t many places in America we haven’t been!
Fernetti: So, what do you do in Keokuk, IA all day…besides VIP stuff I guess?
Boatright: Well, that’s pretty much it! (laughs) We do have a few friends that live kinda close to here so they travel in and we get to spend the day with them. It’s a good time!
Fernetti: You guys came out with the new album back in January. For obvious reasons, I think the cover of Renegade is what sticks out to most people. Agree?
Boatright: Oh, yeah! Definitely!
Fernetti: It’s an awesome cover. Don’t get me wrong…But, the song that stuck out to me was Can You Hear Me…
Boatright: Yeah, that’s actually the latest single from the album.
Fernetti: Care to discuss the process, the motivation, behind the song?
Boatright: Can You Hear Me was my outcry, man. We’ve been doing this, we’ve been fighting. We’ve been working diligently. We work very hard at what we do, especially out on tour. Like I said, we’ve been touring for essentially five or six years now with only small breaks. And, uh…there’s a lot of people that love what we do and respect what we do. They’re fans of ours. They’re family of ours. We hold them very dear to our hearts.
But, there are other people: the big wigs, the white collar of the industry, if you will…and they seem to turn a blind eye to us. More often than not, anyway. So, that song was my outcry. And, I’ve been thinking maybe it’s time to let them know we’re alive, that we’re still here. That’s how the chorus kind of starts off right there with those lines. And the bridge of the song–we’ve been counted out. We’ve been told that we’re not enough. That’s kind of where the entire song comes from and where it stems from.
Fernetti: Okay, and that may lead into another thought I have. I’ve listened to you guys on and off again for a few years now, but recently was where I decided I need to know exactly WHO you guys are. I came across a quote of yours and I wanted to get this right so I actually wrote it down: (grabs a piece of paper) You guys have said you basically have a mission of unity and that, and I quote you here, ‘feel that a lot of the energy in rock and roll has gone missing.’ Was there one moment in particular that led you to that observation or was it more over a certain period of time? What was it that gave you the sense that energy was missing?
Boatright: Well, it was sort of those same people, the quote/unquote ‘up and ups’ in the industry. They were saying that rock and roll was dead. It doesn’t have a fight anymore. If you look around and really listen to what songs radio stations play now, it’s like they’re still battling with songs that were big in the ‘90s. They’re still playing songs that were big in the early 2000s. There’s nothing wrong with that. But, literally every day in 2017 great music is being released. And these stations are turning a blind eye to these incredible songs, because they think the listeners want to continue to hear these songs over and over, Guns ‘N Roses and Aerosmith over and over and over again. Those are INCREDIBLE bands. They paved the way for everyone…but get them off our damn stations! That’s where that ‘lack of energy’ thought process stems from! And they (radio stations) are choking out younger crowds; they’re literally choking them out.
But…what they aren’t noticing is that while they think they’re standing on the neck, holding everything down, and making sure it stays where it stays, they’re literally killing the world around them. They don’t see it but that’s what they’re doing.
Fernetti: That’s why I love what Larry (Roberts, owner of L-Treyns) is doing here. There are plenty of bands who I heard here for the first time. One of my passions–even though I’m new to this writing thing–is talk about bands like you that come here to smaller places like this.
Boatright: More often than not, people are starting to opt out of listening to regular radio stations, just because people are tired of hearing the same things over and over again. And then, when they actually do play the new bands, it’s in the midnight hour or something like that. They aren’t getting the exposure that a lot of these bands deserve. The national media has the power to create new musical stars literally every day…and they’re simply choosing not to.
I should clarify though: I mean they’re killing the scene FOR THEMSELVES! The scene itself is still thriving across the country. It is still well. We see it literally every single night. We’re going to see it as soon as we walk off this bus and get on that stage. We’re going to see that crowd who is willing to fight for that energy. Right there on that spot. We’ve got Vyces, we’ve got Bobaflex, and of course we’re all here at Shallow Side ready to roll. Right here in Keokuk, Iowa! And, we’re all fighting for the same thing. Rock and roll by no means is dead.
Fernetti: Dude! Vyces was so good! Tonight was my first exposure to them…
Boatright: Great band! Very good! They’ve been friends of ours for a while. Those guys formed when some other bands fell apart, but yeah, they’re great guys.
Fernetti: What can one expect from seeing Shallow Side live?
Boatright: It’s truly a show. We bring a lot of energy. It’s not just a performance. We don’t just simply get up there and play our songs. We put on a show. People work hard for their money and they’re looking for a release. They’re looking for an escape from that 9 to 5 job. They want to drink a few beers and fistbump with some cool people. People who are from where they are and understand where they’re from. People who are in their walk of life. That’s us! That’s us! We understand those things. We see those things every day. And, it’s not just here in Keokuk, Iowa. It’s in Mansfield, Ohio. It’s in Austin, Texas. It’s in Coldman, Alabama. You know what I mean? It’s in Battle Creek, Michigan. These people, these places are everything to us. These places are everywhere. These people are everywhere. And, they’re the ones keeping rock and roll alive and well. We’re there to entertain them. You can expect Shallow Side to be in anybody’s home town and doing just that: putting on a rock show!
Fernetti: What’s next?
Boatright: Man, touring is a relentless schedule! But, we’re just going to ride this tour out for probably the rest of the calendar year and then get back in the studio.
Fernetti: Awesome! Thank you for your time and thank you for the very powerful thoughts!
The “album” referenced a couple of times in the interview is “One” which was released back in January of 2017. See below for the videos of the releases “Renegade” (yes, a cover of the original song by Styx) and “Can You Hear Me” as well as some tour dates!
July 15 at RockFest in Cadott, WI
July 16 at Ink the Clink, Mansfield, OH
August 5 at Megs County Rockin’ Rally in Langsville, OH
August 12 at Rockin’ the Rivers in Haslet, TX
August 15 at Amsterdam Bar and Hall in St. Paul, MN
August 25 at Diesel Concert Lounge in Chesterfield, MI