(former co-lead singer-songwriter of the band Year of the Dragon) via
BRML: What are your future plans for recording. Is there any music being released in the coming months(e.g. Hope Fiend)?
RP: I had a whole release plan for the new project, Hope Fiend. It will come out through A Fuller Sound Records, a label founded by a gentleman named Adam Fuller. He also produced the E.P. Anywho, there was a whole plan that just got screwed up by Covid. I’m trying to read the room to see what’s going to happen this year because if we can’t play shows, there’s no rush to release. If I can’t for sure hit the road though, we might go to a plan B that will see a release but with videos in lieu of no shows. It’s a wait and see at this point, whether you’re an independent hustler like me or a signed major label big shot band!
BRML: As an unabashed Black Rock musician, how important do you believe it is to foster the future generations of Black Rock musicians...of any gender...in the age of information technology and the current...likely extensive...pandemic ? Moreover, what stratagems do you believe should be used to reach those demographics on a larger scale?
I have some strategies in mind, that I’m not quite ready to
share because I don’t want others with more resources to employ
them before I can! But I think this is a great time for bands to
really be focused on how they can promote and get themselves out of
there. I can say that steps are—evaluate your work first. Is it
quality stuff, worthy of putting out there? A lot of musicians are
guilty of thinking just because they wrote something that it has
merit and is great, because they like it. One thing Dirty Walt used
to tell me regularly, from the process of being with Fishbone and
professional producers and then label filtering, is, “You
liking it don’t mean shit. First we all gotta like it, or at
least more of us than not. Then you gotta figure out if other people
gonna like it. If you want folks to pay for it and support you,
Then you have to figure out your plan. What is it? Are you going on the road? Are you shooting for support gigs locally for larger touring bands? Are you partnering with other local bands to see how you can pool your resources to help each other? Continuing to foster relationships with local club personnel? Are you making and promoting videos? All of the above, and if so, in what order?
Then there is implementing the plan. There will be bumps in the road, the steps may not happen in the order that you originally planned, but if you stay the course you should be good. It sounds corny but you have to believe in yourself more than anyone else, because you will spend long days working on this, sometimes in conjunction with a day job and maybe a spouse and kids too, and you will have to be your own gasoline for your own fuel tank.
BRML: In light of the social changes caused by the Covid-19 pandemic how do you feel about holographic technology being used to create virtual concerts? On a related note, how do you feel about having more drive-in concerts such as the ones recently pioneered by Fishbone?
RP: I think at this point whatever works to promote new music is what you use. There’s nothing bad at all; there is only effective and ineffective. So virtual concerts are fine, but I personally prefer them with REALLY great musicians, like someone so great at what they do that I don’t really care that we’re not in a live setting, or with a really high energy band that makes the show not boring. Other than that, mediocre or not great musicians doing virtual shows can be a shot in the foot for the band themselves.
Drive-in concerts are great. But they are like watching a stripper through a glass window peep show. If you can work your mind around that both from the fan andperformer side, that’s cool. I think the drive-in shows work better for a high-energy band like Fishbone or some metal and rock bands, in my opinion, than it would for say, a singer-songwriter. If I were the latter I’d be more inclined to do a virtual show in my living room.
BRML: Before we close, I'd like you to list 2-4 Black Rock musicians/bands from each decade, starting in the 1940's onto the 2020's, that you think everyone should know.
Miles Davis really does embody the spirit of rock with his “I
don’t give a f*ck” attitude of doing what he wanted
musically his whole career. I saw him live once, and to this day,
doing next to nothing on stage he was one of the coolest guys I’ve
ever seen, radiating confidence and power from the stage.
Sister Rosetta Thorpe. Hendrix. Funkadelic circa 1970-1979. Bad Brains. Fishbone. 24-7 Spyz. I really can’t go with just four bands. We are so deeply intertwined with American music history, I could name of Scott Joplin, Cab Colloway, of course Robert Johnson—and SO many others. But we can of course start here!
BRML: Finally, what all should we expect to see and hear from Roderick Palmer in 2021? If there's anything you feel compelled to share/impart about film, music, art, politics, science, or life in general, please do.
What happened at the Capitol, was kind of a turning point in American
history and society. It showed the huge difference between what
happens when white people feel angry and disaffected against when
black folks do. And with Trump gone, folks are starting to get
complacent already, less than a month and a week in, but the monster
he created is not going away. I think there will come a time when a
smarter, slicker version of him will be groomed to be the Anti-Obama,
like the antichrist, and there will be a new kind of madness after
I think this a time like the sixties where all forms of artistic expression—from music to writing to painting to friggin’ sculpting—is going be reflective of this time, if artists follow their heart and speak without fear through their art. Major labels do not want artists to speak through their art. We’ve had almost 30 years of pop and mindless b.s. shoved down our throats from major labels and movie studios so like any great art, the next movement will come from out of nowhere from the underground. I will do my part and look forward to seeing what other indie artists do. It’s a scary time on one hand, but a vibrant and exciting one on the other.