Robert Treman - rustBelt

March 18, 2005

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Tell me a little bit about your band.

Doug and Lindsay are from Detroit. Those guys go way back. They've been playing together for 20 some odd years. I started playing with them about six years ago. We're just doing this kind of rootsy no frills rock and roll a la Detroit. We're certainly '70s influenced guys. More than anything, they're just good guys to hang out with. We enjoy each other's company and have fun for the sake of just playing good music and chat about good music and good times. It's just very unpretentious and organic.

I listened to the CD and really enjoyed it. It had a Tom Petty feel to it which I liked.

Yeah, we use that Heartbreakers or even Mellencamp's band. That's just meat and potatoes rock and roll.

How long has your CD been out?

It's been out I think for over a year. It really took a long time to put together. I think it took two or three years of just piece mealing it together because we did it ourselves. Itís self-produced up in a little studio here in L.A. and we just got to it when we could. Weíre all real busy and we snuck in a day here and a day there and put it together with love and itís been out about a year.

I guess you guys all have different jobs.

Yeah, everybody has their day gig that they work on. Iím an architect.

I can see how it would take a while to put a CD together.

Yeah, and try to do things as inexpensive as possible. Get people to help out and pitch in their services without asking for a lot of dough is helpful.

For a CD that was recorded on a fairly low budget, it sounds just as well as one that cost a million dollars.

I know. We definitely are aware of that. We definitely made an effort to make sure that we recorded it on the two inch tape and just took our time with it.

You did it the old school way.

Totally. Weíre old school guys.

Who does the majority of the music writing in the band?

Guitar players tend to bring in tunes. Sometimes theyíre together. Sometimes tunes just start out with playing some chords and letting them build and fall into place over time. Itís probably 50 percent somebodyís brought something in thatís complete and 50 percent things just developed as a band.

Lindsay and Doug were actually born across the street from Motown.

Yeah, thatís what I was saying. Both of those guys are from Detroit and theyíve got great stories of growing up in Detroit. I grew up here in Los Angeles.

Is Hampton also from Los Angeles?

I think heís grown up here too and lived his life out here. Heís a cool guy. Heís a great drummer. He plays with different bands out here. Heís an in demand guy.

Tell me a little about the CD.

We had tons of material to choose from and with limited time and only I think we had two rolls of tape the first time we went in. We really went in and tracked everything. I think we did seven songs one day and three the next and used those tracks. Then just slowly but surely came back in and did overdubbing. We basically kept the drums and everything else got redone and layered as we went. Every time we went up there, we just had a good time and it was fun and productive. It was just a really enjoyable experience.

When you guys sit down and you write songs, what kind of thoughts go through your minds? Where do you draw inspiration from?

Thatís a good question. I donít know that thereís anything conscious. Weíve all been playing a long time and the kind of music that we play is spontaneous. Itís certainly less cerebral. Itís more just feeling what comes up at the moment. Thereís not a lot of thought put into it other than make sure that it feels good.

Do you draw from personal experience or maybe things you read?

You mean lyrically? Not being a lyricist, I donít know that I could really answer that for those guys. I think with a lot of musicians, itís a combination of both. Just life experiences in general.

What kind of musical influences do you guys draw from?,p> A lot of the classic Ď60s and Ď70s. The obvious Stones and Beatles. Skynyrd, John Mellencamp. Certainly Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers are just a great, great band. Springsteen. Anything from the Ď70s.

Lindsay and Doug also had a band called The Agents and they got a publishing deal with Sony Music.

Yeah, that was obviously before I knew them. They had some success back in Detroit. Theyíve always been in bands together and they have a laundry list of different band names theyíve been in and some of them did better than others.

What kind of direction is rustBelt taking?

A pretty just low key, letting it fall into place. Iíve personally been in a bazillion bands and these guys are just so unpretentious. Thereís no ego issues. It really just flows and falls into place naturally. Itís definitely a good way to do things.

Especially since everyone in the band are seasoned musicians.


Do you guys do a lot of gigs in the L.A. area?

Itís tough out here because there are a million bands. We tend to work the little bars more so than hitting up the clubs. The club scene in Hollywood is they want to shuffle in and out five or six bands a night. Itís hard to get an established draw at those types of clubs so we tend to avoid that and stay with more of the low key bar gigs for now. Like a couple of times a month.

Do you guys do little bars outside of the California area or do you stay in California?

Nah, weíre definitely just staying local at this point in time.

L.A. has kind of a strange setup where if you play a club you have to give them money instead of them paying you. To me thatís kind of odd. Here in Dallas if you want to play a club, you get paid.

There is a lot of that and we definitely donít partake in that. Itís lame. Itís really lame.

You guys arenít signed to a label?

No, we just did our own. Itís Jet/Electro Records so we got control of everything. We own the masters and the company. The logo.

I think when you do things on an independent level, you seem to have a lot more control over what goes on.

Yeah, not that we wouldnít be open to other things happening but for a starting point, this is it.

Have you noticed anyone taking an interest in the CD as far as label wise?

We havenít even really put it out there for that. The music business is in such crappy shape that we havenít even taken that route. Lindsay works in film and TV music so weíre actually trying to license some of the songs in TV shows and movies. Thatís gone a little bit better. Getting a little bit more notice that way.

Yeah, because people are like ďwhoís that band in the credits? Letís check them out.Ē

Yeah, we had something on Joan Of Arcadia a couple of months back. That was pretty cool.

Some of the musicians I talk to get their stuff licensed for video games.

Yeah, thatís interesting too.

Thatís another route you could take.

Yeah, yeah.

Any other thoughts or comments?

Iím glad you really liked the CD.