Crooked Doors, the sophomore release from Atlanta-based rock connossieurs Royal Thunder, has been making quite a stir in the hard rock scene. Garnering the band comparisons to Led Zeppelin and being labeled a major step forward in their musical evolution, this album is sure to pique the interest of many; but to judge them based on their studio recordings alone wouldn't be fair. According to guitarist Josh Weaver, where they really find themselves at home is not the studio, but on stage.
“We live to play live,” Weaver said. “That's what makes us tick.”
Judging by the content of their songs (which cover a number of personal and heart-wrenching topics from lead singer Mlny Parsonz divorce from Weaver to their escape from a Christian cult), it seems like playing onstage night after night, rehashing these experiences with your ex would get emotionally tiring, but Weaver relishes it.
“It's an honor to be able to get up on stage and do what you love and express yourself through music,” Weaver said. “It's a good feeling to work out life onstage, it's just such a great outlet.”
The stage is also where they've helped develop their signature hard rock sound. Preferring to gauge audience reactions over record reviews, Royal Thunder have experimented onstage with a plethora of sounds throughout the years, from progressive hard rock to bluesy psych ballads and classic rock throwbacks. If something works, they keep it in their set. If not, they through it out.
“You find out a lot about yourself on stage playing every night almost,” Weaver said. “I think that has a lot to do with the natural evolution of the music, playing out live.”
And if it's not obvious by now, they play live A LOT. Monster Magnet, The Dillinger Escape Plan, Pallbearer and many others have embarked on national tours with the band, and Baroness even crossed the Atlantic with them for a full European tour. But they don't travel exclusively with heavy-hitters. Their most recent tour found them trading in their usual metal tour buddies for the much beloved (and much mellower) rock group Wilco. Of course, this begs the question: can a band successfully tour with bands as diverse as, say, Dillinger and Wilco? According to Weaver the answer is a resounding yes.
“On both of those tours we had a really great response,” Weaver said. “It's so funny, Wilco and Dillinger fans are similar in that people who are into those kinds of bands usually have a pretty diverse palate for music.”
So after all of this extensive touring, what's next for the band? Well, more touring, it turns out.
“We wanna tour as much as we can, be on stage as much as possible and get out there and meet the fans and pour our hearts out onstage,” Weaver said.
Royal Thunder performs at The Pyramid Scheme in Grand Rapids on Tuesday, June 23, with special guests Wild Throne and Blue Snaggletooth.
$10-$12, 18+ only. Purchase tickets here or at the door.