Interview with Rick Ruhl - The Driving Force of Every Mother's Nightmare

by Jaide Alicia / 255 days ago / Comments
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Let’s start talking about the history of you as an artist. When did you start doing this whole music thing?

Man, I think I got into this when I was about 7 years old. My mom took me to go see Alice Cooper on the ‘Welcome To My Nightmare’ tour so I was kinda hooked after that. My Uncle was a drummer so I’ve just kind of always been around it. Another one of my Uncle’s worked for Charlie Daniels for 29 years so I’ve been around it and I just love it, you know? It’s part of my life.

So, Every Mother’s Nightmare. Is that your first band or have you just been in bands forever?

I was in a band called Hard Knocks** who had a record out in Knoxville, Tennessee back in ’86 for a short stint. Got fired out of that and then moved to Nashville and put a band together in Nashville, you know, maybe was in a couple bands before that but basically just this one. Nobody else could put up with me!

And what led up to the formation of Every Mother’s Nightmare? I know you leave the other band, but where do you find the players? Are they friends?

Basically one of the guys ran into Travis Butler, who’s playing with me now, he came and tried out. And me and Troy Fleming have been together going on 22 years now, so him and Lonnie Hammer came out and we just started jamming and the first practice we ran through three or four songs and right then we decided to start writing the ‘Grind’ EP and now we’re here.

And you guys had a few hits, yeah? I know you had a couple songs on Headbangers Ball.

Oh yeah.

‘Walls Come Down’, ‘Love Can Make You Bind’- all that good stuff. Now, what are your favorite songs to perform? Because I know you, of course, have to play those songs in some way but they may not necessarily be your favorite.

You know, I think right now my favorite song is a song off the second record called ‘Closet Down The Hall’, I don’t know why but we started playing it one night at practice and then added it to our set. And I’ve come back to love ‘Walls’ and ‘Love Can Make You Blind’ and all that stuff because that kind of got me where I am. For a long time I hated playing it because everywhere you go you’ve gotta play those one, two or three songs and I just finally broke them back down and started working my way through the songs and really fell in love with them again. You know, just made my peace with it because that’s what got me here. There’s a lot of people who pay their hard earned money to buy it or come and see it so I try to give it my all on those old songs.

That’s such a great point because I know on Iron Maiden’s last tour they didn’t do quite a few of the hits that people wanted to hear, and a lot of people were really mad about it.

You’ve gotta play what made you. There’s a lot of people coming to see us from the day and the thing about the new record and us playing lately is that there’s a lot of new faces and younger faces so it’s very cool.

Yeah! So, back in the day as you said, you were signed by Clive Davis to Arista Records and tell me what led up to that signing.

He had a sent somebody to come down and see us play at a place in Memphis, Tennessee and he was still not really known for having many rock bands at that time anyways. So two or three weeks later after he came down that we got a call that said Clive wanted to come see us, so we set up a stage in an old warehouse and did a little show there with some of our friends. He came in and signed us on the spot.

In all the years that you guys have been together you have opened for numerous acts and been on multiple tours, so tell me about those.

You know, we’ve opened for just about everybody that we love and looked up to and I think my favorite has probably been Cheap Trick. The guys were just the nicest dudes. They gave us the whole stage. Most of the time they’ll just give you a little corner of the stage- no mic, no P.A., no nothing. But they were really cool. You know, they were probably like “we’re not worried about some little band from Tennessee”, but they were very very awesome. That is probably my favorite.

Very nice! And I just remembered this, but did you guys happen to play M3 a year or two ago?

Yes! Yes, we did. I think it was two years ago. Eleven o’clock in the morning.

Okay! Because when I was told I was doing this interview I was like…I know for a fact I’ve seen you guys but I could assume it would have been at M3. So, tell me about that because that’s my festival. The one I look forward to every single year.

I’ll tell you what, it’s probably one of my favorites too because even though we played that early in the morning and they were opening the gates as we started, we filled the seats and the crowd was excellent.  It was tremendous and the people were great, it was a beautiful day. We’re very thankful especially when we can pull in any shows like that. We’re just rednecks from Tennessee, we’re happy to get out of the house!

And I know I’ll be seeing you guys later this year at Sleazy Slimey Sunday put on by Brad Lee Entertainment as the M3 after-party which I’m super excited for.

Yeah! I just heard about that after-party so I’m pretty excited myself.

So, tell me. You guys recently released your first full-length album in what, fifteen years?

Yes, ma’am.

Talk to me about that! It’s called ‘Grind’- what made you want to write this after fifteen years?

Well, like I said, music took such a dip there for a long time. The band has only been disassembled for maybe only a year out of all the time I’ve had it together, and there was time for me to clean my act up and get myself together. You know, when we started practicing with the new guys and writing we went ahead and put out that five-song EP because that’s where music was a few years ago. Everyone was throwing out EP’s and singles every couple of weeks so we just started writing it. And a friend of ours from KNAC turned me onto Bill Chavis, and I’ve known him for probably over 15 years, and he called me and wanted to hear the record. He called me back and basically said ‘hey man, let’s do a full-length record’ and I had some more songs I was ready to record so I threw three more on there, some live songs and I threw three videos on there too so I called it the one-stop shop of EMN.

I was going to say you really threw it together! There’s a little bit of everything. And I know you’ve got Zach Myers from Shinedown on this record which is pretty badass, so tell me how you end up having him on the record.

I’ve been playing around Memphis for so long and he’s been playing, too. I was friends with his Dad and back before the Shinedown days he would come over to my studio and we would record and we just became buddies. We were just crossing paths and I asked if he felt like playing on it and he said ‘sure’, and I thank him very much for it. Throwing a name like his on there, plus Wayne Swinny who played on a song too. And you know what, Jim Dandy came in to sing on a song too so I just got everybody I could that wanted to come hang out and help make it everything that it could be I guess.

And how long was it in production for?

It was very, very quick. When we rounded up everything, it was probably within a three months span. When we first talked to Justin I wasn’t even sure if he would work with us because we were considered a, what do you call it, an 80’s hair band, you know? I always considered that we were a little off the sides of that, but whatever. I didn’t know if he would work with us so I went and talked to him and he was real cool and he just said “let’s do one song and see how it works” because you know, recording today is a lot different than what it used to be. So we went in there and tore down ‘Loco Crazy’ and rewrote it and just loved it. So within a three-month span, we threw the record together and put it out!

And before I let you go, what’s on the horizon for you guys? I’m sure you’ve got some things planned.

Well, we’ve got a pretty big year. We’re finally getting to go overseas in June which is something we’re really looking forward to and we’ve got a couple dates that we’re gonna start doing here. I think we’re gonna do three or four leading up to Sleazy Slimey Sunday in May…just ride it until it bucks us. 

 

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About Jaide Alicia

Jaide Alicia Journalist

For as long as I can remember music has been my entire life. Due to starting my own website about music, my life has turned into a total dream come true. I've been able to interview some of my life idols and make great friends within the industry- something I thought was a complete long shot. On top of music, I went to a great cosmetology school for one year, and although I never finished the curriculum (because I decided music was a better way to spend my time) I still learned a ton about the industry, which has given me the opportunity to write about hair and beauty on many other platforms. I do the best I can to make my family and myself proud, and the best part of my life is seeing what the future has in store.