All it took was singing along to a Garth Brooks CD in his mother’s station wagon for a young Derek Randall to find his direction in life. He grew up in Missouri where he found his love of sound from artists Frank Sinatra to Klaus Meine. Now he is taking his rock roots and lively stage presence to the country music world. His diverse experience and influence allow him to create his own unique sound — a mixed-drink of emotion-packed country and fist-pumping rock ‘n roll.
Music and family. Read you sang along to a Garth Brooks CD in your mom’s station wagon and were hooked. Which other artists did your family listen to as you grew up in Missouri?
We listened to all kinds. My Father was into all genres of rock and modern country at the time. Some of his favorite bands to listen to were The Scorpions, Van Halen, White Snake, Tom Petty. My father’s favorite Country artists were Brooks & Dunn, Reba, and Garth. My mother was into rock also, as well as bands from the 60's and 70's. She liked bands like Jim Croce, John Cougar, Three Dog Night, Sammy Hagar. Growing up we used to play a game in the car on road trips. If you could guess the name of the song and artist of three songs in a row, we would stop for root beers.
Little bit country, little bit rock n roll. The two genres began a fusion in the late ‘60s-early ‘70s. Bob Dylan. Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. Emmylou Harris. Eagles. Which songs from that era are your favorites?
Right off the bat who doesn’t like “Fishin in the Dark” by the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. Such a great song to sing along to. But I think my favorite from that era would have to be Jim Croce. I just loved his singer songwriter delivery. “Operator” and “Photographs and Memories” are a couple of my favorite songs.
Opening for bigger bands that you look up to is an amazing experience. To be able to share stages with idols is also very humbling. It was a taste of what could happen if you work really hard and maybe catch a little luck with it.
Believe in the Music. Expanding music education in the schools. How can artists connect with students to encourage them to participate in the arts?
I think the bigger the platform the more you can do. At a very basic level though artists can continue to create. Art inspires art. The more art that it is in the world, the more opportunities there will be to inspire the next generation to pick up an instrument or a paint brush.
I love how music brings people of all backgrounds together — especially at live events. What are some of your favorite fan moments from your shows?
There are two moments that stick out to me most. A fan asked if he could propose on stage during the couples favorite song. Of course we said yes. And so did she! The other time that really sticks out to me was the first time I could hear the crowd singing one of our songs back over the PA. That connection where the crowd and band become one, is a feeling I’ve been chasing ever since.
This is me. A wholesome blend of country and rock for you to dance, cry, and jam out to. Being relatable means being yourself. Growing up, which artists appeared to you as the most approachable?
I never really thought about approachability of an artist growing up. But looking back, I’d say the ones where you connect with the music the most. For me it would be Garth.
Guitar Game Strong. What influenced your unique design?
I can’t take credit for this one. I have the best guitar players in the game. You hear a lot of guitar players say that the guitar is an extension of your body. Both of my guitar players Jonsey and Jesse Benton take that to the next level. They both have guitars that they have customized themselves to show more of their personalities. I couldn’t be more proud and grateful to have them both on board.
Create and you can move Mountains with a Song. Many times songwriters go on retreats to write. Where have you been the most inspired to write?
I don’t actually have a place that I go to write. I personally don’t set out to write a song at any particular time. I find I write better when the song is not forced. In short, wherever inspiration strikes. Also, I’ve never been on a writers retreat.
“Destroy negative energy with the power of music”. What does this quote mean to you?
I think music is the great unifier. A song can resonate with people of all backgrounds. When you are at a show and everyone is singing along, or at a bar everyone starts singing along with the person singing karaoke, or around a campfire everyone joins in, it’s magical. At that moment no one cares about your politics, or your background, or where you’re headed in life. In that moment you all become one and all the negative things that are happening in everyone’s life are wiped away. You are one big family for that snapshot in time. The positive energy that can come from that sort of unity can spill over into the lives of everyone involved. Even beyond music. And if ever someone is feeling low, they have that moment to hold onto. It is something that can never be taken from you.
I want you to feel it in your chest. How does your debut single, “Light the Night Up”, capture the positive energy of your live shows?
I think it showcases our high energy rock background, while still having that sing along country anthem feel. At least I hope that’s how it comes off.
The band. Sean Jones. Jesse Benton. Nicky Page. Dustin Taberski. Favorite venues you’ve played to date and why?
My favorite. venue is the Music Factory in Battle Creek MI. The people there treat you like family. It’s such an inviting atmosphere and the sound is always amazing!
That’s a supper difficult question when you’ve been to so many! I don’t know if. my favorite venues have anything to do with the venue itself but more the beauty around it. Sunshine Studios is absolutely gorgeous surrounded by the Colorado mountains. I really love The House of Rock in Corpus Christi bc it’s right on the water in a beautiful little marina. The Whiskey in LA is always a great choice for history and culture shock.
Other than Red Rocks, well because it’s red rocks. I’d say the Funkhaus in Berlin, Germany. It was an abandoned radio station where Hitler and his goons used to broadcast his speeches, I’m a history buff. This was the first show I’ve ever done “in the round.” At first I was nervous, nervous because there wasn’t a safe (side stage) area for gear nor barricades on any sides. To my surprise everyone was extremely respectful and polite. I’ll always remember this show due to the amazing feeling and the sheer magical feeling it had.
Mine would be Chain Reaction in Anaheim, California because it’s a small and intimate venue and pretty much all my favorite bands have played there.
Besides music, what have you and the band been doing during the downtime?
Trying to use this time to create, so we are ready to be off to the races when things open up. We have been in the studio quite a bit. We have roughly 18 months to 2 years worth of music that will be ready to release.