When I was eighteen years old, I played in a band with Chris Hembrough. I smashed the windows of his house one night in a drug and alcohol-fueled rage. By 2008 (about four years later) we were friends again, but the kind of friends who rarely – if ever – hung out. He called me and asked if I’d come see his band play. They asked me if I could help them out with a few things and one thing led to the next. I convinced them to change their name (originally Portman). I helped them put together a demo. I booked an East Coast/Midwest summer tour. I started Traffic Street Records to make their next release appear more legitimate.
We drew some boundaries after a bit of tumult. I continued to put out their records, but I didn’t want to have to do any other chores for them and they didn’t want to put up with my mental illness. Part of me thought that without my incredibly skilled hand on the wheel, the band would crumble to shit. Part of me was wrong. Rational Anthem has grown to become one of my absolute favorite bands. And thanks to some serious, long-term inpatient treatment, I’m no longer a mixed blessing or a liability for them. I’m just a friend and a fan.
We sat down for two hours the night before they left town for their sixth annual U.S. tour to talk about their (often our) misadventures along with the kind of personal stuff that wouldn’t normally come up if we were just hanging out as buddies.
That’s the introduction I wrote for my interview with Rational Anthem in the new issue of Razorcake. If you’re not a subscriber, you can get a copy right here. The interview’s really lengthy and came out really well. Thanks a ton to Todd Taylor for being an excellent editor, to Bambi Guthrie and Marc Gärtner for their photographs, and to Keith Rosson for doing a killer layout.