Last summer while filming a TV show about the Broad Ripple Music Festival we stumbled into the Casbah and heard something fantastic.
The sounds were coming from the band Red Light Driver
The sound and energy reminded me of early U2 records with some new wave sounds. The song structures are excellent and they write good melodies.
My favorite songs of theirs are: Opportunist & The Crow of Roberts Park
I asked singer/guitarist Derek Osgood some questions about the band and life. This Friday they will be at Radio Radio for the Tonic Ball Artist Announcement show. Neon Love Life will also be showing their new music video. It’s an early show. Doors at 6:30 and It’s free too! You need to come out, have a drink and listen to some good local music….at a FREE show.
I remember doing a story on them around this time. We were hanging in their rehearsal area which was a storage garage in Sacramento, Ca.
After a few beers they decided to play me their new song..
They tore into I Walk Alone.
Right away I connected with the sound and words…and knew it could be a hit.
One of the treasured memories of my career for sure.
All the guys in the band were humble and very passionate about their music.
After a few hit records and tours they took a break….
Now they are back, and I caught up with Lead singer Thomas Flowers to find out what is going on with the band.
What’s up with Oleander?
We’ve been busily making up for time away. Our new album’s being mixed and mastered, we’re planning a marketing strategy for the release and preparing for live shows. It’s exciting!!
What does a good song sound like to you?
Good question. . . . good songs connect with me on an emotional level, whatever emotion I’m experiencing at the time. We’re all looking for something throughout the day that makes us feel like we’re not alone, good or bad / happy or sad. It’s pretty amazing what a “good “ song can do for a listener.
Pat Benatar or Joan Jett?
Joan Jett. . . . I love rock-n- roll (have you googled her lately??? Smoking hot after all these years!!)
Best Live Band you have ever seen?
Unfair question!! Oleander on a good night is pretty hard to beat, especially the singer.
What are your thoughts on the music industry right now?
Everything has changed while we’ve been away, which is liberating and terrifying at the same time. Old formulas no longer work, and bands like ours are giving a lot of thought to creative marketing options. Good songs and great bands will always have an outlet for their music.
Many bands are hoping to get their music played on the radio and to tour around the world. You were able to do that. How did that change your life and is it worth the struggle?
Life changing experiences are always worth the struggle. They have been for us.
How do you write your music, where is the inception point of creativity?
It’s collective process. One of us comes up with an idea and everyone pitches in. We’ve always leaned on each other in every aspect of the band, song writing is no exception.
First time you heard your song on the radio…where were you?
In a boat on the Sacramento river with a good friend.
We still get excited every time it happens. It’s not something we take for granted.
Favorite Oleander song and why?
Unfair question again Mark. . . . How about . . . .whichever one charts the highest and allows us to continue doing what we love. Probably “Why I’m Here” though, only because it connected with people on such a massive scale. I never saw that coming when we wrote it. I was just trying to get some things off my chest. . . .hmmmm.
How have you changed as a band?
Musically, we’ve never paid more attention to detail. . and at the same time we’ve never been more willing to throw caution to the wind.
Personally, the time away has allowed us to grow closer as friends and get back to enjoying what brought us together in the first place. . . our love of writing together. It’s the best part!!
Vinyl, CD, or MP3 how do you prefer your music?
Eight track tape!!!
You decide to start an Oleander Musical Festival…what bands are on that bill?
Whoever fills the seats and helps us pay the bills.
What are you all about?
At this point. . . it’s all about having fun, writing good music and keeping our expectations low. We’ll leave world domination and reckless abandon to the upstarts.
Any words of wisdom?
Have a good time, all the time. (said in English accent).
Is it better to fade out or burn away?
We stopped smoking pot a long time ago Mark. . . Much more attractive to fade into view!!
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I remember hearing “The Distance” by CAKE around 1996 and thinking what a cool song it was. Then I heard their version of the disco classic “I Will Survive” and that was one of the most interesting covers ever.
Just around this time we moved to California and through some mutual friends I met Vince Di Fiore.
Vince is a member of the band CAKE…and he is the master of many instruments, but he’s most famous for his trumpet play.
Through the years we have kept in touch and have traded new music suggestions…I’ve watched the band live a number of times and its always such an interesting show.
The have a new record out now called, “Showroom of Compassion.” Here is their video for the new song “Sick of You”
Q-What is new in the world of CAKE?
A-We have joined the almighty communication cloud of the internet. The mega-brain of collective thought has pulled us in.
Q- How have all the changes to the music industry affected the band?
A- If you keep things in perspective, it’s clearly true that changes have been rapid since the inception of recorded music. Our dream within the dream happened to be during a down-sizing of the business.
Q- You guys don’t do a lot of press and are kind of a private group…why is that?
A- We do! You just never asked.
Q- What is your favorite Cake song and why?
A- Federal Funding. It’s so optimistic.
Q- What is the strangest thing that’s happened on the current tour?
A- Attorney Gloria Allred simulated sex with a baseball bat on television, right in front of two young girls.
Q-What bands or music are you into right now?
Q-Has Cake made their best album yet?
A-Not there yet. There’s still another one coming.
Q-Any memories of playing in Indy?
A-Oh definitely. Every time has been great. Good people in Indianapolis, for sure. As a visitor last time, I was struck by that excellent bike path you all have that wraps around town.
Q- Is it better to burn out or fade away?
A- Neither. I can’t believe Neil only gave us two choices there. It’s like a CAKE poll from our website or something.
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The record was called Nevermind….you may remember it…the singer/writer was Kurt Cobain..
20 years after that classic record the 3 of them kind of quietly came together for one song….on the new Foo Fighters record “Wasting Light”
Is it about Kurdt?
That is for you to decide..but this song is excellent and it reunites the three remaining beings from the Nevermind sessions.
Make your way to the 2:54 mark in the song…you can hear Krist drop in with his nasty Nirvana-esque bass line…
The emotion and history of this trio making music for the first time in 20 years should make the hairs on your arm stand up…if not…Nevermind.