by Deb Rao
– Senior Columnist —
Hot off the heels of performing at Rocklahoma, Ragdoll is currently taking the U.S. by storm. Hailing from the land down under, this is the Australians band third tour of the U.S. The band is touring in support of their latest release Ragdoll Rewound. Ragdoll will be performing in Las Vegas on June 13 at Vamp’d.
Guitarist Leon Todd recently checked in with Hardrock Haven to discuss the current tour and release.
HRH: Leon welcome to Hardrock Haven. What was it like performing at Rocklahoma?
Leon: This was the third year at performing at Rocklahoma. We have been invited back twice now. It is kind of like a big family gathering for us. This year by far I think we most enjoyed it. Mostly the reason from the bands we go to see and the show we played. We had a really good slot. We went on Sunday right before Kid Rock. There was a huge turnout. The show itself was crazy. I think it was one of the best shows we played as a band. There was crowd surfing in the air. Every part of the festival seemed to be a lot more put together. It was for us a fantastic experience.
HRH: The band has a released a new album. Actually it is a compilation of Ragdoll Rock, Here Today and four live recordings called Ragdoll Rewound. Tell us about this.
Leon: It is called Ragdoll Rewound. We had so many people asking us when are you going to put out a full-length album? We would love to. But we are completely independent. We manage ourselves. We book ourselves. We fund everything ourselves. We don’t have any label. So for us putting together a full-length album that is a huge expenditure. We put out an EP once a year and do press and tour regularly. But still there are people that want a full-length album. We approached Ragdoll Rewound, as our first EP Ragdoll Rock never got released in America. We wanted to revisit that. We recorded all the guitar parts. We had the CD remixed. Basically, now it sounds as good as any of our other releases. We started recording that one in 2010 and 2011. It was a big of a learning experience. Our sound has changed since then. So we updated that one. Same thing with Here Today. We took the time to have that remastered. Because we were so deep into the process, we thought it might be a nice touch to bring it up to full-length album length. So anybody who hasn’t seen us live we included four live tracks. It is essentially three independent EPs that have been mixed and mastered to sound like a cohesive album.
HRH: Now for the live tracks were they recorded in Australia?
Leon: Yes, they were. The final track “Foot To The Floor” was recorded in 2011. The other three tracks were recorded in March 2014. They are really fresh. One of them “Rewind Your Mind” which is also the name of the tour. Is a brand new track.
HRH: How would you describe your sound? I know you are a three-piece unit.
Leon: Without sounding pretentious, we never try to sound like anyone else. We sound like Ragdoll. My favorite review of the sound of the band was hair grunge. It is a complete oxymoron. Because those two musical movements are different. To us we love to combine all of our favorite elements from the ‘60s, ‘70s, ‘80s, ‘90s, right up to today. We kind of roll it together with this old school ethnic with modern production. For us it is just music that we love to play.
HRH: That is interesting. I think the industry is looking for that new sound. We really haven’t had a breakout band this year. The band has a great sound.
Leon: Thank you. Like I was saying being independent is really tough. We have to do everything ourselves. Some bands have hundreds of dollars to promote their stuff. But it works in our advantage because there is no one telling us what to do. When we go home after this tour, we are going to be working on our fourth EP. It is like we had this organic process to grow and develop as a band. And figure out the music we like. And the music to people react to. We have been playing two new songs on this tour. The reaction has been great. It always warms my heart to hear positive feedback. . Just like people from the shows and people like yourself who come in with fresh ears.
HRH: Now the band is playing Vegas on June 13 at Vamp’d. Tell us about this.
Leon: Correct. We are super excited about that show. It is going to be the end of tour party as well.
HRH: Awesome. We will be out to review the show. Is this your first time in Vegas?
Leon: We played there last year. But the club was in the outskirts of town. Everyone tells me Vamp’d is an amazing club. We are so stoked.
HRH: Thanks Leon for the interview. Looking forward to hearing your band from down under.
Visit the band online: www.facebook.com/ragdollrock