With the loss of two of its original members, the Austin, Texas-based band the Rocketboys was in danger of coming apart just as it was gaining altitude. However, with some new blood and a lot of perseverance, the band has come back stronger with a new album and a cross-country tour.
“I think it’s better than ever. We’ve grown a lot, and our new bandmates are amazing musicians,” Justin Wiseman, keyboard player for the band, said. “We love playing live shows, and they’re just crushing it all the time!”
Wiseman, Brandon Kinder (guitar, vocals) and Josh Campbell (bass) were three of the founding members of Homer Hiccolm & The Rocketboys. When Mitch Holt and Daniel Wheeler left the original band, the name was shortened and new players Josh Rodgers (drums) and Kyle Samuel (guitar) were added to the roster.
When the original circle of Kinder, Campbell and Wiseman welcomed this new pair to the band, they were prepping songs for their 2012 “Build Anyway” release. Wiseman said some of the album was about the tough feelings associated with the departure of former members.
“All of sudden everything got torn apart. Essentially, it’s like a breakup album. We got the bad stuff off our chests, but also found some bright spots, too,” Wiseman said. “It was partially therapeutic. We were inspired by our emotions about the situation.”
Exploring the emotions they went through as musicians really channeled a new kind of directness for “Build Anyway,” which was a rewarding creative experience according to Wiseman.
“The first song we wrote for the album was ‘Time Is The Devil,’” Wiseman said. “When Brandon wrote the lyrics, it was like putting your foot in a boot, and you feel that thud, and you know it’s a perfect fit.”
Wiseman also said their new recruits are younger, which leads to a “little brother dynamic” in the band and funny situations out on tour, especially around Samuel, the “baby” member of the Rocketboys.
“Kyle just turned 21 years old. There were times on the tour last year when the clubs would not let him in until it was our turn to play, then he would have to leave,” Wiseman said with a laugh. “But now he can legally get into all of our shows.”
Given that all of the band’s members can get into clubs, Wiseman expects that the Big Easy will be exciting for the new guys and comforting for the veteran Rocketboys who appreciate the musical soul of the city.
“New Orleans is an amazing music community, and I continue to meet people in great bands from New Orleans,” Wiseman said. “It’s different than Austin obviously, but I feel like it’s a sister city as far as a real deep culture and local music.”
The Rocketboys perform March 7 at the Hi Ho Lounge, 2239 St. Claude Ave., New Orleans. For tickets go to HiHoLounge.net or check into the band’s music at www.therocketboys.com