Interview: American Bang

American Bang are preparing for their self-titled major-label debut album this year. The album is said to capture all the amazing grace and guts of their deep musical roots and Southern accent with the aim to shoot straight at the heart of great American rock ‘n roll.

Produced by the legendary Bob Rock, American Bang has been crafted by a wildly talented gang of young rock ‘n rollers who’ve been playing together in assorted combinations all their lives. The son of a respected Grand Ole Opry drummer, Jaren Johnston (lead singer, songwriter, and guitarist) literally grew up backstage at Nashville’s illustrious Grand Ole Opry. He first followed in his dad’s footsteps by playing drums, but soon decided to follow his father’s advice instead: “If you want to pay the bills, you play the drums. If you want to make a living, you’ll learn how to write songs.” And with that, a young Johnston picked up the guitar and began to hone his songwriting skills.

After many incarnations of local bands, all four members – Johnston, lead guitarist Ben Brown, bassist Kelby Ray, and drummer Neil Mason – came of age musically as students of rock ‘n roll in the heart of Music City, which has paid off in the group’s confident sense of song craft.

A couple of weeks ago I had the chance to submit questions to the band which they picked a few to answer to which you can view below.

What does the name ‘American Bang’ mean?

We always wanted a name that was big, bold and in your face… We played our first show 5 years ago on the 4th of July, so when it came time to settle on a name it seemed fitting!

What bands/genres influence the band?

We are big fans of a lot of classic rock and southern rock… Bands like Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers and Aerosmith are big influences. We also like some newer bands, like The Dead Weather and The Whigs… they have a really cool sound.

Where ‘Whiskey Walk’ shows more of the bands grit and power whereas ‘Wild & Young’ has more of a summer anthem, have fun, go wild party atmosphere to it. Are these the sounds we can expect from the album or have you looked to experiment with styles throughout the album?

There are probably 3 sides to the album … the in-your-face-rock songs like Whiskey Walk, the melodic and anthemic tunes like Wild and Young, and then a few vibe-oriented, more stonesy type ballads.

How was the experience of working with the legendary Bob Rock on the album?

It was really an amazing experience working with Bob… He really helped take a really big bunch of songs that we had and break it down into a smaller group to form a cohesive record. He’s great with detail in the area of guitar tones and the song structures as well.

The band has already opened for some incredible acts such as The Pretenders and ZZ Top. What did it mean to you to have those slots?

Opening for bands of that calibre is an honour and a bit daunting as well! We’d go out there the first night to watch their set and realize how many amazing songs they have! We ended up going back and tweaking our set to make sure we were playing the best stuff we had. We really learned a lot about how to pace a show as well.

The tour with Saving Abel kicks off at the end of this month who have just released their new album and making waves in the US so are you looking forward to playing with them?

We just started a couple nights ago with those guys and they’ve been really great to us so far! They are good ole’ southern boys from Mississippi, so we get along well and have the love of Jack Daniels in common! Gonna be a great tour- I have a feeling!


About ??

Michael is the owner and creator of EspyRock. He is your general all round geek; sports fan; TV show fanatic. You can find him sharing his thoughts on his personal Twitter account. Contact Michael on Twitter or via Email.

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