It's always fun when you get the opportunity to speak with an artist about a new release, but when that artist is Logan Raskin, lead singer of The Raskins, and you are discussing the release of their debut disc, it is almost overwhelming - the excitement just oozes from his dialogue as he explains the process to us, in addition to upcoming tour plans...
Toddstar: Thank you so much for taking time out of your schedule. I know you guys are busy out on the road with Scott Weiland right now.
Logan: Yeah, you know it's been a great start to our touring this spring and summer. We're into our fourth show with the Weiland tour. We are doing a block of 12 shows with Scott. The show was just amazing last night. We're actually in Houston tomorrow night. We're doing a block of 12 with Scott. It's possible we might end up doing another block of shows with him at the end of May, but I know he's going to Canada at the end of June so it's really up to him if he wants to take the time to rest that period, or do some more shows. If he is going to take on another 12 shows, we're going to go out with him again there. Then we're signed on actually to do about 25 shows with Saving Abel as well. We start off with Saving Abel at the end of June so we have 3 shows in June and then all July and August. Funny enough we just found out two days ago, we just got offered the Motley Crue/Alice Cooper tour. It's interesting, that's a huge opportunity for us so I think what we're going to do with that tour is, we're going to start at the Hollywood Bowl, I think it's July 21, and then we got offered 27 tours on that show. I think we're going to take about 17 of them. Needless to say we have a busy schedule coming up. We're just trying to balance it all. Myself and my brother, we're just trying to knock them out one at a time. So far we're into our fourth show with Weiland. It's just been incredible so far and hopefully we can keep this train rolling.
Toddstar: Very cool. You brought up the tour with Saving Abel. That's one that I'm actually looking forward to, because the first show of the tour is actually in Flint, Michigan, at the world famous Machine Shop (http://www.themachineshop.info/).
Logan: We know, we've been hearing so much about that place. Everyone's telling me, 'wait until you guys play over there, you're going to really dig it.' I've seen things on line about it and some friends of mine have played there before as well. They are just like, 'you guys are going to love that place.' I'm really looking (forward) to that tour stop. We've never played with Saving Abel before and we're big fans of those guys. I'm really looking forward to that. We're all pretty ecstatic about it.
Toddstar: Very cool. The news about the Motley Crue tour, that's just huge for you guys.
Logan: I had to pinch myself when I got the e-mail. I was like, are you kidding me? Of course we're extremely excited about that. We're huge Motley Crue fans, huge Alice Cooper fans. They say that this is it, this is their last tour. It's pretty special and of course I get to play all those big stadiums where I grew up going to see my favorite band Guns and Roses, KISS. It's crazy. I think our last show that we're going to do with Crue and Alice Cooper is going to be at Madison Square Garden in New York. Brothers growing up in New York City their whole life, the pinnacle of any career is getting an opportunity to play Madison Square Garden. I still don't believe it, but it's on the schedule so if it happens, I pretty much can die the day after that show and I'll die a happy man.
Toddstar: Very cool. Listen you guys have a self-titled debut dropping in just about two weeks.
Logan: Yeah, we're excited about that. May 13 the album drops.
Toddstar: What can you tell us about the album and the process of putting together your debut record?
Logan: We're excited about the album. It comes out May 13 on Sony/Red. We actually released our single, "We Had It All," which came out February 18. Right now it got picked up by about 16 radio stations across the country. It's getting some really solid radio play. The response has been incredibly positive. I'm always so nervous, everyone is just like, are you nervous about the release and all that? I was like well, the album hasn't come out yet. I was nervous about the single release, I'm trying not to be too overwhelmingly nervous about the album release. The response has been incredibly receptive with the single. The video has done incredibly well on line. There's almost two million views now on the video so I'm pleasantly surprised at the reaction we've gotten so far off of the single. I'm hoping it carries over into the album. We really took our time recording it, probably took about a year and a half. We could have probably knocked it out in a month, but we weren't under time restraints with it. They were like, when you guys are ready let us know, we'll set up the release date. The original release date was in January and we pushed it to May because we felt as though there were a few other tracks that we wanted to get recorded that we thought might have had a good shot at making the album. We took our time, we probably recorded about 50 tracks for the album. We ended up choosing 12. We wanted to choose 12 songs that really represented my brother and myself, our writing styles. Some of our biggest influences growing up in New York City are a lot of those fans that came out of New York. Such as the New York Dolls, or Stooges, the Ramones, Velvet Underground, Patti Smith, KISS, Blondie. We even got into folksier stuff like Simon and Garfunkel. We're huge Simon and Garfunkel fans, Steely Dan, Richie Haven. There's a depth to my brother and I as far as our influences, and definitely our writing style. We really wanted to represent on this record, that depth. Not just have a record that was just all rock and all in your face. We kind of wanted to take you on a roller coaster ride, have its ups and have its downs and really show the world, the abilities of our writing and how those influences come out on this record. I really think that we accomplished that. A lot of times, a lot of these records that a few of these artists come out, you get one style right there. For us, a lot of these major labels out there, that's what they want their artists to do. They want them to release a record and they want them to really stick to what it is that they are. Whether they're punk, whether they're metal, whether they're hard core, whether they're rap, whether they're country. With Roger and I, we have folksier influences and we also have punk influences. We have pop influences, we have aggressive rock influences so we really wanted to try to have a balance of that on the record. I think that we accomplished that and it’s going to be interesting to see how it's perceived by the public, but at the end of the day, we're very, very happy with what we put on there because it really represents who we are, where we come from, and our influences. I definitely think we accomplished that and I really do look forward to seeing people's reaction from that.
Toddstar: You mentioned the different influences you guys have and the different sounds that you guys like. Even the difference between the first two singles, we had this huge rock track without being super heavy. It's a good singer songwriter, rock track, but even your second single, "The Radio Song," it runs in the same theme, but it's not the first single regurgitated.
Logan: Exactly. Interesting enough it was tough for us to try to decide what the first single was going to be. Getting back to what I said, obviously on this record you're going to have a little bit different styles on there, but those are styles that are very important to us. Whether they're rock, or whether they have more of a pop feel, or whether they have more of a valley, folksy kind of feel, but all in all, everything is going to have hook coming through the courses, you're going to hear a lot of harmonies on there. There are songs that I really feel like people can sing along to. But it was difficult trying to decide on what the initial single was going to be. We went with "We Had It All" because that felt as though that represented us the best style of music. It was an aggressive rock tune but had the hook cords. The song was just written about our trials and tribulations going through the music industry and realizing that my brother and I, we had everything we needed all along. We had everything we needed. We recorded the album on our own, we worked our fan based and built up our fan base on our own. We hired all the people to shoot our videos, we did all that on our own. We never really had to stray too far from where it was we were growing up to accomplish everything that we always wanted to accomplish in music. Especially the way the music industry is changing now. I really think it benefits the artist, the way how everything has gone with the digital market and the way Twitter and Facebook, and You Tube, and the on line market is set up now. It so benefits the artist and it's taking that power and that control away from these major labels that used to just suck the artist dry. Crazy. It's such an awesome time for music right now. The labels may not think that, but for the artist, it's unbelievable. My brother and I really took full advantage of that and all the assets that were at our finger tips. That was really what that song was written about, that we had it all, all this time. We didn't have to chase after the dream, the dream is right there in front of us and we just had to fit the pieces of the puzzle together, and we believe that we've done that. "The Radio Song" is a great pop song, and it's in fact written about just that, the first time we ever heard ourselves on the radio. For any artist growing up, any artist coming up, I don't care who you are, I think probably one of the biggest, most important moments as an artist is that first time you hear your music on the radio. It's something that you never forget. It's like maybe parents when they have their first baby, or something like that. For us, it was a very impactful moment in our musical career, and I felt it was very important that I address that. As simple as that and we decided to write a song about it. I felt that that song should really be a pop song in every sense of the word. Something that young kids, and older folks alike can all sing along to, a really feel good song. I think that we definitely accomplished that with "The Radio Song." I felt like the single "We Had It All" was more important for us to have as our initial, single release. That's really the story behind those two singles.
Toddstar: Very cool. Listen, I know you're a busy man so I've got one more for you, if you don't mind before we let you go today.
Logan: Sure, no problem Todd.
Toddstar: With everything going your way, and again, the tour with Scott Weiland, you got headline dates coming up, you've got the tour with Saving Abel, you've got this huge announcement of the Motley Crue/Alice Cooper dates, you've got an album coming out in less than two weeks, you've got a single and a video that have almost a million view. Every thing's coming up roses. At this point for you, what's the meaning of life?
Logan: Well look, for my brother and I, the reason we got involved in music is because we love music. I grew up with it. My parents were musicians, I grew up in a musical family. My dad was a big Broadway singer. I used to see my dad in all those big Broadway shows - Oklahoma, South Pacific, Damn Yankees, Annie Get Your Gun, West Side Story. My mom was a huge jazz singer, I used to see my mom in all the clubs and stuff like that. Music is a part of my soul. I eat, sleep, and breath it. What makes my brother and I happy is just being able to do music. Not only being able to do music, but being able to do it as a living, it's a dream come true. We don't require a lot. The Raskins don't require a lot. I'm not out there to try to make millions, that's not what makes me happy. What makes me happy is being allowed, and being able to do what we're so passionate about, full time. That's a dream come true. The money is one thing but, I don't need it. I don't really care about it. Just the fact that I'm able to do this full time, and do this as a full time gig, is a dream come true. If we can just continue to do that, I'm in Heaven. I'm in Heaven and that's all I've ever wanted to do. It's been tough. It hasn't always come up roses for us, believe me. Things are just starting to come together right now for us and it seems like everything is firing on all cylinders. But let me tell you something, there's many, many, many years went into that. Struggles and heartaches, I was worry about whether or not I was going to be able to pay rent. The most important thing I always tried to keep in my life was music. Everywhere we went, everywhere we traveled, and I traveled with an acoustic guitar. I had that acoustic guitar on my hip all the time. Wherever I went on this planet, I had an acoustic guitar with me. We were always writing music. But just the fact now, that we're able to do this full time, it's a dream come true. That's all I ask and that's all I ever wanted was to just be able to follow my passion, which is just to write music, create music, being able to put that message out there to young kids around the world. Being able to put out a positive message through our music, and I hope and pray that we can be able and continue to do that for as long as possible. That's what makes my brother and I click, and tick. So far everything is coming up roses and I couldn't be more excited about how things are going. I'm incredibly excited about the future to come and we're just taking it day by day. I really look forward to the future. It's really an exciting time for us all.
Toddstar: Very cool. Logan listen, I really appreciate you taking time out today and I cannot wait to hear the whole disc when it gets released to the public. I cannot wait to see you guys rock the Machine Shop in Flint, Michigan, in June with Saving Abel.
Logan: Hey Todd, let's definitely stay in touch. It was really my pleasure talking to you. If you're going to come out to the show out there in Flint, Michigan, definitely stop by the tour bus, hang out. Look forward to seeing the band play live. I think you'll really dig it and, let's just keep this train rolling and keep rock and roll alive, right?
Toddstar: Sounds good brother, we'll see you in June.
Logan: All right, thanks a lot Todd. Take care my man.