Jay Erickson of Red Rooster
Jay Erickson, a Princeton grad and founder of Bootstrap Software, is also the lead vocalist and guitarist for Red Rooster, a band that represents the best of American roots music with an urban touch. Their double disk release "Dose", can be described as a potent combination of country, folk, rock and hip-hop. Red Rooster started out as a very small, acoustic band of friends who thought it would be fun to take the late night sessions from the living room to the public. The live act now consists of the age-old combo of acoustic guitar, electric guitar, drum and bass; as well as mandolin, banjo, keys, horns, and/or turntablist. I would like to describe Jay the way he describes this music: "clean cut yet rough-around-the-edges-soaked- in-whiskeysmoke". Plans for Red Rooster?
We have a lot of plans for this year and the future. We are going to be booking more regional gigs in the Northeast and a 3-week tour this summer. We have about three quarters of our next album written and hope to begin recording in August after the summer tour for an early 2009 release. Producing is definitely one of my favorite things to do. To write songs and create a unified, unique listening experience. Luckily technology has made high-quality production affordable for us little fish -I couldn't imagine trying to do it on our own 30 years ago.
The next album will continue some of the themes of "Dose" by weaving acoustic, traditional instrumentation like banjo, fiddle and mandolin together with electronic sounds and motifs. Further on down the line with the "hick-hop" and "city-fried country" path. We have also been toying with the idea of including NYC subway musicians on the album for samples or overdubs. A little bucket drumming and Chinese violin never hurt nobody.
Best performance experience? One of the most memorable Red Rooster experiences was being flown out to Napa in 2000 for a private performance sponsored by an investment bank. The financial markets were flying high and two white stretch limos picked us up at the airport to begin a ridiculous weekend of wine and music. But i think the best on-stage experience, for me, was the album release show for Dose. It was the culmination of a lot of hard work and we had the full Rooster orchestra on stage (I think 14 people at one point) complete with french horn, DJ, banjo and sax. And it was packed to overcapacity. Which is fun.
It seems that a lot of people who live in New York are looking for some country in their lives. I think it is the perfect antidote to all the the slickness, the speed, the concrete and steel. Folk music is deeply human (folk meaning of the people) which also helps balance an environment which can seem dehumanizing at times. I think bringing the more urban traditions into the same musical fabric just makes it more accessible and lends itself to (hopefully) a wider appeal among urbanites. Some people may just think its weird.
Greg Brown, Bob Schneider, Spoon, Brian Keane (former Rooster and on Leila's itunes list), Gillian Welch, RL Burnside, Postal Service, Crooked Still, Banjo Jack, Steve Earle, Townes Van Zandt, Allison Krauss... Favorite books? The best book I read recently was "Glass House" and am currently reading "What is the What" which I highly recommend. Favorite books of all time? Hmmm. "On the Road," "The Prophet," "Narcissus and Goldmund," "Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters," "Winter's Tale" (Helprin), "Siddhartha," "Travels with Charley." And there are so many books to read! When I really think about it I get so overwhelmed it gets hard to just pick one off the stack next to my bed :)
Favorite color of Converse?
RR is performing live on April 26th at the "Some Kind of Jam" festival in Kempton, PA (www.jibberjazz.com) and May 28th at the Cutting Room. Find them on iTunes. www.redroostermusic.com