INTERVIEW WITH RIVERDOGS BASSIST NICK BROPHY
Date: June 30, 2017
Interviewer: Tyson Briden
IT IS ALWAYS A BREATH OF FRESH AIR WHEN YOU DO AN INTERVIEW WITH A MUSICIAN WHO REALLY GETS EXCITED ABOUT THE MATERIAL HIS BAND IS ABOUT TO RELEASE. I RECENTLY DID A CANDID INTERVIEW WITH RIVERDOGS BASS PLAYER NICK BROPHY. FROM MY STANDPOINT, IT WAS A REAL PLEASURE. AS A MUSICIAN MYSELF, I COULD TALK ABOUT SONGWRITING, GEAR AND PRODUCTION ALL DAY LONG. AS YOU WILL READ BELOW, ALL THESE THINGS I JUST MENTIONED ARE WITHIN THIS INTERVIEW. JUST BEFORE YOU ENGAGE IN THIS DISCUSSION, I MUST MAKE MENTION THAT RIVERDOGS ARE IN THE MIDST OF RELEASING THEIR FANTASTIC NEW ALBUM ‘CALIFORNIA’ ON JULY 7, 2017 VIA FRONTIERS RECORDS. THIS IS A VERY MATURE AND ECLECTIC COLLECTION OF WELL THOUGHT OUT SONGS. PLEASE SIT BACK AND ENJOY.
Sleaze Roxx: Hey Nick, thanks for taking the time to talk. So let’s talk about ‘California’ right off the bat. In the press release I received from Frontiers, it states that “the album marks a definitive return to the sound of their critically acclaimed 1990 self-titled debut album.” Was this something that Frontiers wanted from you guys? I am sure there were discussions with the label regarding what they were hoping for.
Nick Brophy: They brought up the fact they loved the first album. It had been six years since our last album and we felt that album was a little unfocused. So Frontiers asked if we’d be interested in doing an album more like the first. There are quite a few fans of that album. An interesting fact about this new album is that when we started working the album, Viv [Campbell] said he had all the same gear he used on that first album in the Def Leppard vault. So he brought it out. We had some time after Marc [Danzeisen] had finished tracking his drum tracks early. Viv says “I can bring an amp in.” This amp had been modified by Reinhold Bogner. This was before Bogner was making amps. He was hot roding Marshalls. We did all the basic cuts with this amp on the first album. Well, it starts cutting out. So we went out, came back, fired it up. It’s working. Then I look and the transformer is on fire. So Viv sent it in and got it fixed.
Sleaze Roxx: Did he send it back to Bogner?
Nick Brophy: No, I believe his guitar tech fixed it for him.
Sleaze Roxx: Did you feel pressure to recreate the sound of the first album?
Nick Brophy: It wasn’t pressure. It was very inspiring. It gave us an idea of the direction we wanted for the album. We loved making this album. We went to producer/engineer Jeff Glixman who had worked with us on that first album. We picked his brain. We talked to him about mike positioning on the amps, drums and what not. We wanted the same thing. Lyrically as well we tried to recreate that sound.
Sleaze Roxx: In terms of the recording process, how long did this album take to record?
Nick Brophy: Well it is interesting, with scheduling and logistics. I am in Nashville. Rob is up in Canada. So we had to lock out certain days. So we decided to meet up in LA. We said “we’ll meet up this week.” We worked in a house and came up with the first six songs. Then we reconvened a month later and came up with another six songs. Marc and I tracked drums in three days. I came back to Nashville. Worked out my parts at home. We did it in short spurts.
Sleaze Roxx: From the footage I’ve seen, you guys were all in the studio together. What was the vibe like in the studio. Was it relaxed?
Nick Brophy: It’s easy with us. We stay in our own lanes. We allow each other the room to create. That is the Riverdogs. How it comes out the way it does.
Sleaze Roxx: The lead off cut “American Dream” has a very infectious chorus. A very radio friendly track and the first video. Did you write this song with that in mind?
Nick Brophy: That song was the label’s choice for the video. Rob brought in that song in from Canada. Rob has a studio up there. Rob and his son, who plays drums, did the song and brought it to the band. It was one that we didn’t write in the two sessions in LA. We took reference to “I Believe” from the first album. We got in that sort of ballpark. If you watch the video, Viv [Campbell] is using the same Les Paul he used in Dio. If you go on YouTube, and watch footage from years back, it is the same guitar. Watch our new video and then look up “Rainbow in the Dark” live…
Sleaze Roxx: Are there plans to do any other videos for the album?
Nick Brophy: It depends on success of the album. If it does well, then I am sure there would be another.
Sleaze Roxx: “The Revolution Starts Tonight” has a ’90s vibe to it. How did you approach this song?
Nick Brophy: That song came out when we were in the groove. It came from Viv just playing. Ideas he had on his iPhone. We’d take a break and there would be Viv, sitting, listening to this idea. He then played it. That’s all it took. It was arranged on the spot from there. Then we’d say, “any more ideas?” Viv had tons of riff ideas.
Sleaze Roxx: I find the vibe of “You’re Too Rock N’ Roll” has a very open feel to it. Can you give me an idea of what this song is about lyrically?
Nick Brophy: Basically the reason for this song is California. We’re all from Southern California. That song was raised out of that. With Rob living in Canada, being in LA was taking Rob back. The song puts you in sleazy California.
Sleaze Roxx: “The Heart is a Mindless Bird” is a very interesting title. I would assume this is from a metaphoric standpoint. What can you tell me about this song?
Nick Brophy: We never really discussed it. It’s colorful. That’s what was great about it.
Sleaze Roxx: I really love how it gets fast and heavy.
Nick Brophy: Yeah, it’s in two sections. The second part has a Dio feel.
Sleaze Roxx: So with the release of the album, are there any plans to do any concert dates? I am sure with Vivian’s busy schedule, it makes it difficult.
Nick Brophy: There are primary things. With Viv’s commitments to Def Leppard and Last In Line, they play into that. It would be great to find a few. We’re open to that. It is also what the demand is and the success of the album. There’s a lot that comes with that, gear, rehearsals, etc.
Sleaze Roxx: Let’s discuss the first album. The album really never got the credit it so deserved. It kind of got lost in the shuffle of the industry at the time. What do you recollect from that time?
Nick Brophy: Basically what happened was Vivian came off doing Whitesnake in ’88. We were signed in ’89. The album didn’t come out ’til ’90. So that was year and a half. Viv was itching to get moving. So for him, it was a lot of overhead. For us, it was different. We were a local LA band. So when it came out in ’90, we did our debut show at the Roxy. Prior to the show, we met with the new label president. He then said he wanted us to go in and record a new record. He wasn’t a fan of the debut album. It was very disheartening. So Viv came to us and said he didn’t know if he could do another year floating around. Viv had a fixed amount of time he had set forth for this project. He felt he had to look elsewhere.
Sleaze Roxx: Who came in on guitar after Vivian left?
Nick Brophy: After Viv left, we were on the label for about a year. We felt there was no commitment from the label and we asked to be removed. I then moved to guitar. It was my main instrument anyways. With me on guitar, we could keep the same sound. We then hired a new bass player.
Sleaze Roxx: How many shows did you actually do with Vivian in the band?
Nick Brophy: We did a handful of gigs. We debuted in June of 1990. We did do a few shows before that. We did a few gigs with Cheap Trick.
Sleaze Roxx: I must add that when I listen to Vivian play with the Riverdogs, it is different from Def Leppard and Last In Line. I find he really gets to open up a lot more in terms of his expressionism.
Nick Brophy: I have heard that before. With Viv, he has limited time. On this album, he did all the guitars in three days.
Sleaze Roxx: There is a lot of guitar on this album. He plays his ass off.
Nick Brophy: Yes he does!
Sleaze Roxx: Well Nick, thank you very much. I wish you the best of luck with the new album.
Nick Brophy: Thank you very much.
Riverdogs “American Dream” video:
Subscribe To Be Alerted When We Add New Videos – http://radi.al/SubscribeFrontiers / From the album CALIFORNIA. Get your copy NOW: http://radi.al/California Frontiers: http://www.frontiers.shop Amazon: http://radi.al/CaliforniaAmazon iTunes: http://radi.al/CaliforniaiTunes Google Play: http://radi.al/CaliforniaGooglePlay Listen to Riverdogs on Spotify: http://radi.al/CaliforniaSpotify Follow the “Newest From Frontiers” playlist on Spotify to keep up with all the new songs we release each week: http://spoti.fi/1rQz5Zm Connect with Riverdogs: http://riverdogsmusic.com/ https://www.facebook.com/Riverdogs-167501139972389/ Riverdogs “American Dream” Written by: Riverdogs and Zander Lamothe Directed by Jamie Brown for Smoking Gun Productions.
Riverdogs “Welcome To The New Disaster” song:
Subscribe To Be Alerted When We Add New Videos – http://radi.al/SubscribeFrontiers / From the album CALIFORNIA.