War Brothers Interview

Date: August 13, 2022
Interviewer: Jeff Onorato
Photos: Jeff Onorato

Following their recent concert just outside of York, Pennsylvania, I had the opportunity to chat with the four members of one of rock’s most promising new bands in the War Brothers (vocalist Rich Crosby, bassist John Deets Crosby, guitarist Danger Crosby and drummer Jeremy Crosby). During our interview, several things were immediately apparent to me. Underneath their composed demeanor, the brothers seem primed and ready to turn the world of rock n’ roll on its side as they prepare for the release of both their forthcoming EP and their full-length debut album. And they have the enthusiasm, drive and talent to take them all the way to the top with their goals as musicians and as a band, firmly in place.

At their young age, the War Brothers are starry eyed but also have a true dedication to their craft. I’d say that they wear their hearts on their sleeves, however they’re usually not wearing shirts. Prior to sitting down for this interview, I caught their show and was floored by the level of intensity, fire and conviction that they poured into their live performance. But they’re going to need all of that and more if they hope to rise to the top in our current musical landscape. If what I’ve heard of their music is any indication, their upcoming EP and debut album stand to earn them a prime spot at the table. We discussed their upcoming EP, full length album – and more – in the interview that follows.

Sleaze Roxx: You’re currently recording your debut album at Obscenic Arts. How far along are you with the project?

Rich Crosby: Right now, we have our EP, which is fully mixed and mastered. That’s done. We’re aiming for October 27th. We’re just waiting on some art for it and then the release party and whatnot. The ten-song album is just about there. It’s just about ready to come out of the oven, but that’s a later release. Maybe next summer. We don’t really have a timeframe for that yet. We’re just trying to get the EP out. But the album is pretty much done. Little tweaks, polishing, but other than that, it’s almost there.

Sleaze Roxx: Have you signed with a label for the release?

Rich Crosby: We’re in talks. We haven’t signed yet. But the deal is looking good with Legendary Records.

Sleaze Roxx: With the band being based out of Connecticut, how did you hook up with Obscenic Arts which is in Pennsylvania?

John Crosby: Our friend Rob Esposito actually made the connection several years ago — probably in 2013 or 2014. And I can’t lie to you, we didn’t really think it was Anthony Esposito. So, we sent him a demo, and nothing came of it because again, we didn’t think it was him and I happened to get in contact with Rob again. He’s like “Anthony really likes you guys… Blah, blah, blah. He really wants to work with you”. So, I called him up on the phone, Anthony answered and was like “Hey, what’s up? What do you guys want to do?” He was like “We’ll start off with two songs and then see how you guys like it. Get a feel for the studio. If you like it, we’ll continue and keep on working.” Since then, it’s been nothing but uphill for us and probably our best move that we ever made in our lives as a band, of course.

Sleaze Roxx: Being geographically separated, do you fly ideas back and forth as they come up?

Jeremy Crosby: Absolutely not. We actually brew up about 20 ideas, we go there, and we bring them to the drawing board. From there, we find what’s good, what’s bad, what’s not even worth touching, worth breathing on and we go from there and literally work it like a fucking piece of steel. Until it’s a fine, sharpened sword that we all agree on.

Sleaze Roxx: Were any of the songs from your [2017] Crosby album brought back around to maybe get an update/facelift?

Danger Crosby: We have considered it. But we’ve got to move into the future. It’s almost like a photo album. You know what I mean? It’s like, you look back at the picture in your younger days and you’re like “Wow. I looked good in those pants or whatever.” Certain sounds sounded good back then but then we look at our more advanced stuff now and we’re like, “OK, it’s like a staple piece.” It’s almost like a job resume. Like when you go to give them your new music, they hear it and they’re like “Wow. It’s fucking awesome. Where are you guys originally from?” And then you show them where you’re originally from and they hear that and it’s like “OK.” It’s really, really cool.  So, I mean, it’s been a thought but, I don’t see it happening if that makes any sense.

Jeremy Crosby: The only song I would ever think about re-doing would be “Friday the Thirteenth.” It was written on a Friday the 13th, it was recorded in one take in a basement, and that fucking song is bitchin’. So hopefully we can re-release that, but other than that, Crosby’s done with.

Sleaze Roxx: “Assisted Scuicide” [sic] is pretty cool.  

Rich Crosby: That song is very sentimental to us. That one is very held to our heart because we had a cousin who killed himself and, if you look at it, it’s even spelled wrong. There’s a “c” in there. Because you don’t “see” the reason. You don’t understand. So, when you see that in the title itself, you don’t understand.

Danger Crosby: It’s very subliminal.

Rich Crosby: Every time, before we play it onstage, we’re like “If anybody out there needs to talk…”

Sleaze Roxx: Believe it or not, I actually did notice (the spelling) when I was looking at it on Apple Music. I thought that they just misspelled it.

Danger Crosby: Really? No, the “c” is silent in there. I write all the music and stuff. When we wrote it, my cousin had offed himself. We were feeling some type of way about it, and we didn’t see it coming so we put the silent “c” in there almost as like a subliminal thing. Watch your people, watch your friends.

Jeremy Crosby: It goes beyond just suicide. It goes beyond people who are overdosing and people who can’t find a way out regardless. Anybody who’s lost, that song, I don’t know if it’s saved lives or anything, but I hope it does because one day, I want to re-release that as well. But it means a lot for us to play it for the people that can’t reach out and get their hands on their problem. It has worked wonders on some people, I should say.

Sleaze Roxx: Back to the new music, with having the advantage of working with an experienced producer in a professional studio, how do you feel that has benefited your sound? A lot of bands don’t have that opportunity right out of the gate.

Jeremy Crosby: I’m gonna be honest with you. We’ve been through a lot of studios and through a lot of letdowns. Anthony is the fifth member of the band. Obscenic Arts is home. Every album from here on out, I want to record and develop at that studio. Not only does it have the greatest vibe I’ve ever sat and developed music with, but it literally feels like home. I would not feel at home in a giant studio at Sony for a couple million dollars to cut a fuckin’ record. When, at the end of the day, home is home, your bandmates are your bandmates, your family is your family, and we have it there. Like I said, Ant is the fifth member of the band.

Danger Crosby: The fifth Beatle.

War Brothers performing “Wild Child” live at the Bleachers Bar in Bristol, Connecticut, USA on August 7, 2021 (video from Pete The Video Guy‘s YouTube page):

Sleaze Roxx: A lot of bands that I talk to tell me that they bring in more revenue from touring, merch and meet and greets than they do from album sales. How important is a record label in this day and age?

Danger Crosby: You know, I thought about it. I have a solo album in the works that I’m actually going to release like that without label support or anything. Just as a hobby of mine to give people music. Because, if they want more, we’re gonna give them more so that they don’t have to just dive into Crosby. As far as the War Brothers stuff, I think that label support would be great because it just looks better. You establish a relationship with the people and stuff like that — trust, emotions, bonds, everything. And they’re gonna help us push the product. We’re gonna help deliver the product as best as we can for them, in the most professional manner with rock n’ roll, you know.

John Crosby: Some artists, like Dirty Honey for instance, they’re doing it themselves and they’ve achieved pretty great success. Their shows are booming. I see them all the time on Instagram. Millions of followers, 20,000 likes. So, it’s kind of a weird subject to talk about because yes, I do believe that bands need a label for success. It makes the band look a lot more pro, it makes things a lot easier as far as the artist being able to go and work on music and not have to worry about what a label would do, or management would have to do. They have their perks and their downfalls for sure. But personally, I think we’re better off with a label. But that’s just my opinion. Because that also gives us more time to focus on the music and the show and the whole production and everything.

Rich Crosby: Yeah, it does take a lot of stuff out of the band’s hands, meaning mentally and also to an extent financially. We did the whole Crosby album that way. It was all self-produced, self-marketed, art, everything. And it did do well. But as opposed to working with legitimate professionals in the industry, we could really buckle down as you saw tonight. I don’t know if you were here for our last performance here. We’ve grown immensely because were allowed to focus on the music and the show alone. And that’s super beneficial to our growth in our career and in this industry.

Sleaze Roxx: Being a newer band, do you feel that the advent of streaming services [Spotify, Apple Music, Pandora] has made it harder for a new band to get off the ground?

Jeremy Crosby: I’m gonna be honest with you. No, not really because now you have exposure to anybody in the world that wants to hear your music. Anybody who shares it. Anybody who talks about it. It’s not like MTV back in the 80’s, where you would hope your video aired and all is well. Now, if you catch your groove, if you catch your wave, you can float right into there and people are going to appreciate it because it’s genuine.

Sleaze Roxx: The War Brothers have a very strong classic rock sound. Who are some of your influences?

Danger Crosby: My main influences were definitely Van Halen and Black Sabbath. My father got me into them at a very young age. I just picked up a guitar and was like “Wow, I’m gonna try and take my influences and throw them in.” Not steal their music obviously. Anybody could play Black Sabbath if they wanted to but, just the way they did it influenced me. They were one of the first metal bands. Eddie Van Halen was one of the first shredders. The first person to do something is very ground-breaking so… I kind of put it as an influence on our music, because I want to make us that next ground-breaking thing. And we got inspiration from Led Zeppelin. You know the way they write their music, it’s different. You want to be different. So, all of our influences…

Jeremy Crosby: There is no way that we could actually label all of our influences as one unit. [Points around the room] He’s got 20 guitarists that he looks up to as gods. He’s got 20 totally different singers from 20 different bands. So does he. So do I. To actually try and put a label on it as far as where we’ve come from, it’s almost disrespectful to try and put that on them because we can’t mention all of them at once. I don’t want to delegate “These are our main influences” because we’re nowhere near that. We have developed so far from there and they have taught us so much that we have brought our own thing to the table as four individuals. We’re all twins. We’re all brothers. But we are four individuals in our own realm. The fact that we were able to bring that together with a developed sound, with our own individuality, it’s kind of magical. Not only because we’re brothers, but it’s a very magical thing to have four dudes, four different backgrounds, come into one realm. And really feel comfortable trying to break our own boundaries.

Sleaze Roxx: What age did you guys begin playing music at?

John Crosby: Danger was very young.

Danger Crosby: I started playing at like seven years old. I didn’t have many friends. I didn’t play sports. I wasn’t big into all that stuff, so we stole our mother’s cigarettes and skateboarded and scraped together lunch money to get a pack of cigarettes or a bag of weed, whatever. So, I started playing because I couldn’t really fit in with anybody. I picked up the guitar and my mother and father were very supportive of it. They were mad that I was skipping school. What are you gonna do, but… I was very young when I picked it up and then John and Jeremy came along. Jeremy came along [first]. He’s been jamming with me for years. Probably a few years after I picked it up. Then John came into the picture, and Rich, we were looking for a singer. I was singing a little bit here and there and finally we convinced him to come in. I mean, we were a little harsh on him. Kind of gave him a beatdown / trial by fire but he came through. He delivered the goods.

Rich Crosby: The way I joined these guys was that they had multiple singers, and me and John would be listening to my father’s Iron Maiden records and I had a high voice when I was younger so I would sit there and I would shred the ‘Piece of Mind’ album. And it was always fun but I was always very shy. I had stage fright. I would watch these guys have their show. I saw them go through two different singers and one of our very close friends joined and I was like “This kid’s a perfect fit, but if he doesn’t come through, I’ll join the band.” Sure as shit, the next day he never showed up. So these guys were like “You… you said you would do it!” I was like “No, no, no.” They beat the shit out of my arms and legs so I couldn’t walk and they dragged me down into the jam room, put me behind a microphone, and we played the first two verses of “Heaven And Hell.” I was sold after that.

Sleaze Roxx: How did you overcome the stage fright?

Rich Crosby: I had a lot of difficulties. I went through some unfortunate circumstances at the time, and it really kind of mentally collapsed me into a gray spot and when I did that [joined the band], I finally saw my color again. And I knew that this is it. This is my therapy. This is my lifeline. And I get to enjoy it with my brothers, which is even better. Because it’s a comradery like none other.

War Brothers performing “Tornado Love” live at the Bleachers Bar in Bristol, Connecticut, USA on August 7, 2021 (video from Pete The Video Guy‘s YouTube page):

Sleaze Roxx: With the band being comprised of four brothers, how does the chemistry work?

John Crosby: The chemistry is amazing. It’s a matter of going to our rehearsal space to practice, but me and Danger have the exact same thought. Almost like a twin telepathy thing. And it works as we’re playing. I can almost read his mind where he’s going next. Same thing with the other two, Rich and Jeremy. They kind of feed off of each other. You feel it in your soul almost. It’s like [points at Rich and Jeremy], he’s in pain, he feels it. It’s the same with music. He’s going into the next chorus or whatever, “OK, it’s time to harmonize with him.” Or, “OK, let me do a drum fill right in between here.” Off the bass and Danger on his guitar. Me and Danger feel the same wholesome feeling about a song, whether it’s “Yay” or “Nay”.

Sleaze Roxx: So it’s the twintuition….

John Crosby: Yes, absolutely.

Sleaze Roxx: Is the fact that there are two sets of twins in the band something that you want people to focus on, or no?

Rich Crosby: At first, we thought it was cool. But with Crosby, we never really made it a niche. But when it came to War Brothers, it was kind of one of those things where it was like [pauses]… because when you hear that, especially about young guys in the music industry, you assume it’s a pop band or a boy band. You’ll hear my old man goof on us all the time and say it’s a boy band, as you heard when we were taking the photos earlier. As we’ve grown, and our reputation has come out, it’s become a good focal point because it pulls people. But when they look us up, they see it nothing like that and it’s very good because they have the question, they get the answer, and it’s all good. Very beneficial.

Sleaze Roxx: I knew going into the show tonight that you were twins. But had I not known, it wouldn’t have been glaringly obvious.

Jeremy Crosby: Can I ask you what you thought while we were playing?

Sleaze Roxx: I was pretty amazed by the energy level. Also, that authentic classic rock sound which, for a newer band, isn’t something you see everyday. It’s usually screamo, alternative, etc… I immediately honed in on Danger’s guitar playing.

Jeremy Crosby: [Looks at Danger] I don’t deserve to play drums with this motherfucker right here. I don’t. I might have started a couple of years after him, but I’ve been chasing his coattails as a drummer. Trying to keep up with him. And over the years, I’ve seen this man develop into such an animal, that I don’t think the stars could touch this motherfucker at this point. It’s pretty brutal.

Sleaze Roxx: I agree. I wanted to ask you what planet you’re from [laughs].

Danger Crosby: I could say I’m a time traveler. Or I could tell you I came from hell itself [laughs]. The mystery remains a mystery as far as where I came from. All I can say is I appreciate everybody and value your opinions on my playing and I’m glad that a lot of people see that. It truly touches me in ways that I’ve never been touched before. No pun intended. Yeah, I can’t really tell you where I came from. I just knew who I was at a young age. I made a deal back in the day and here I stand, you know? I made a deal with myself and that’s where it all started.

Sleaze Roxx: I’m proud to say that I got to see this all as you guys were starting out, because I’m sure we’re going to be hearing your names a lot in the years to come. What bands would you really like to tour with?

John Crosby: All of them. Anybody from ’78 to late 80’s.

Jeremy Crosby: Mötley Crüe, Def Leppard, Joan Jett, you might want to let us open up for you guys. We might just need to get our foot in the door. Thank you so much in advance.

Danger Crosby: I would really like to open up for War Brothers [laughs].

Rich Crosby: If you’re cool, let’s play a show. That’s it. If you’re cool, let’s play a show.

John Crosby: I think it would be amazing to play with our heroes. We’re already working with one of them. Anthony and Max Norman jumped in. He’s done so many records that we’ve listened to. We got to work with him, and he mixed a song for us.

Danger Crosby: I think the best fit would be Red Dragon Cartel with Anthony. I would love to tour with them. I think that would be something special.

Sleaze Roxx: Just to be able to say that you worked with Max Norman on your debut album is pretty amazing.

Jeremy Crosby: The whole team is a fucking amazing machine. You have people that are almost in a brotherhood at this point. Everybody works together. Everybody supports each other, and everybody through thick and thin will be there for each other. It’s a beautiful thing to be a part of that. So, I’ve got to thank Anthony for bringing us into that realm of brotherhood where… Max Norman, Roger Lian, Jake E. Lee — they’re all beautiful people. All they want to do is help each other out. Thank you for welcoming us and thank you for having us. We look forward to working with you all.

Sleaze Roxx: You just purchased your RV. Are you planning a full-scale tour?

Jeremy Crosby: Yes, first tour should be a month from October 27th. Taking off from Columbia, Tennessee to wherever the tour manager has us going at this point. We don’t have to come off tour, but we’re aiming to be back in Connecticut on November 13th. And from there, anybody who wants to book a tour with us – we’re on board. So let us know. We’re ready.

Sleaze Roxx: Being based out of Connecticut, have you had the chance to play New York City yet?

John Crosby: Yes, we did. We played at Black Door 51 with John Corabi. He was doing a solo show. It was great. He’s a great guy. He’s awesome. He stayed for our set and watched us play. That was our first New York show. We do have another one coming up in September — Otto’s Shrunken Head on September 16th. The Big Apple, like Frank Sinatra said. If you make it there, you can make it anywhere. So the Big Apple is a yes.

Sleaze Roxx: Fortunately, you’re in such a great part of the country where there are a lot of rock clubs ([n the Northeast].

Danger Crosby: Yeah, I would say that the rock scene is pretty big on the east coast. A lot of people appreciate it. We met some really interesting people that really appreciate the music. Not just the Van Halen cover songs that we play. There’s our original music. They appreciate it and they’re like “Wow. You guys literally have something that’s so cool and it’s your own thing.” It’s like, nobody can touch that. It’s such a cool feeling. I don’t mind the east coast. I would love to be on the west coast, just to play. I would say the east coast, it’s just ripping for rock. It’s awesome.

Sleaze Roxx: Can you give us the title of the album yet?

Danger Crosby: I think we’re just gonna keep it self-titled, you know? All of our heroes did that. Like Black Sabbath, their first record was called ‘Black Sabbath’. Van Halen, Led Zeppelin… So as far as an album title goes, I think we’re just gonna keep it as it is. We shall see though, it could change. Sometimes stuff is spontaneous like “That’s a great idea, let’s go for it.”

Jeremy Crosby: On the east coast, we live by one minute. And it’s a New York minute because we’re on New York time. So whatever happens, happens.

War Brothers performing “Bleed Me” live at the Space Ballroom in Hamden, Connecticut, USA on April 22, 2022 (video from Pete The Video Guy‘s YouTube page):