HOPKINS COUNTY, KY (1/31/13)–As each member of Sideshow Romance has come to understand through years of both on-the-road and onstage experience, true musicians and staunch music lovers are a breed all their own. Yet, it’s this sense of being an artist, an outsider, or—as Sideshow Romance coins it—a “freak,” that they believe binds the music scene together, thereby making it more potent. And it’s really a pretty interesting idea; musicians can be weird together, and we can have a lot of fun doing it.
Staying true to this idea, Sideshow Romance has created a regional “Freak Army” by reaching out to fans with accessibly energetic, hard-edged riffs, a roaring rhythm section, and catchy, yet torridly unabashed lyrical content.
What’s more, their singular blend of original, hard-driving tracks has resulted in performances alongside an impressive lineup of popular, nationally recognized acts, including Puddle of Mudd, Theory Of A Deadman, Papa Roach, Saliva, Drowning Pool, Black Stone Cherry, and more. They’ve even been privileged enough to work with acclaimed producers Brett Hestla (Dark New Day, Creed, and Framing Hanley) to carve out their first single, 'Take Me Down,' and Brandon Wootten (Framing Hanley) to record their first nationally released single, 'Numb.’
Today, their “freaky” fan base is growing more and more each day, and they have plans to record their first, full-length album with well-known producer, Travis Wyrick, in the near future. However, to complete this goal, they are calling on their fans for support via a popular funding website—Kickstarter.com.
To find out more about their campaign, as well as what Sideshow Romance is all about, what their thoughts are on music’s place in society, what kind of plans they have for the future, and more, I was able to interview the personable band members from the road via email. The results are as follows.
Luke Short: What are the names and positions of everyone in the band? And where is everyone from?
Larry Deffendoll: I’m on vocals. I’m originally from Boonville, IN.
Brandon Osbourne: I’m the drummer. I’m from Evansville, IN.
Joe Hillenbrand: I play guitar. I’m from Evansville, IN.
David McCord: I also play guitar. I grew up, and still live, in New Harmony, IN.
Trent Riley: I play bass. I’m from Dawson Springs, KY.
LS: How long have you all been playing music as a group and as individuals? Basically, what’s everyone’s music background?
Larry: We’ve been Sideshow Romance since August of 2011. As for my musical background, I started playing music right out of high school. I started as a drummer, playing both in church bands and garage bands, and then I got into bands that traveled. I’ve seen a lot of the U.S. through music.
Brandon: Before joining Sideshow Romance, I toured the country while playing in bands such as Pop Tart Monkeys and Joan Red.
Joe: I've been jumping around the music scene here for 10 years playing different clubs, venues, festivals, national shows, basements, and backyards. I finally hooked up with these fellas through playing some local shows together.
Trent: I got to know most of these guys from sharing the stage with them through my former band, Sexstone.
David: I have known most of the members of Sideshow Romance for several years through mutual and separate gigs. I started off playing bass when I was 13, and switched to guitar a few years later out of necessity to fill an empty slot in the band I was in at the time.
LS: What ultimately led to the formation of Sideshow Romance?
Larry: Brandon and I were in a band together called Calling Corners. After the departure of other members, we picked up Joe, and we eventually evolved into Sideshow Romance. From there, we went through a few bass players, but Trent came along and now we are what you see.
LS: Where did the name Sideshow Romance originate and how does it fit with your music?
Larry: We were very focused on branding this time around. We really felt that it was important to create a brand that people could relate to and remember. So we started trying to come up with something for like three weeks; we were just throwing out name idea after name idea. We ended up with almost 100 ideas, which we narrowed down to 5, then two. And, finally, we went with what looked best on a t-shirt. I also think the “freak” aspect is the way that it fits into our music. Musicians and hardcore music fans in general are considered a very different breed. We choose to embrace that and follow our dreams. We have no desire to be “normal” or live what’s considered a normal life. With that, the “Freak Army” was formed.
LS: Since you all formed, how has the response you’ve gotten changed?
Larry: I think the response is much bigger now, because after everything we’ve been through, we’ve learned so much. And what we learned first and foremost, is that the things we felt were most important in the beginning—management, big booking agents, radio, etc.—were not really the most important after all. The fans are the most important. Even if, and when, you secure the agents, radio, and such, the fans are absolutely your lifeline. So we really made it our focus to connect with our fans both on and off the stage, and once we did that the fans gave it right back to us.
LS: What genre or style of music do you all consider yourself?
Larry: We’re straight forward rock; a melodic kick in the teeth, if you will.
LS: How many original songs do you all play? Do you play covers?
Larry: We currently have an original set of about 12 songs, and a cover set of about 70 songs.
LS: Tell me a little bit about the kick start campaign you’ve got going on?
Larry: We’re trying to get back in the studio with Grammy nominated producer Travis Wyrick, and right now, with little to no budget and a super expensive studio bill, we’re asking the fans to help out, to donate towards that effort. And with their help in making that happen, we will be able to give them lots of cool things in return. With just a few days left to go, fans can check out our kickstarter campaign at http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/sideshowromance/for-the-freak-army.
LS: When you guys approach writing a new song, what’s your process?
Larry: We don’t really have a set process. One of us usually comes in with an idea and we build off of that. If we start building and it’s not working, we move on and come back to the idea later so that we might hear it differently or put one of the more recent ideas with older ideas to make it a song.
LS: What kind of influences do you draw from?
Larry: As far as sound, we draw from the musical influences of each member. We’re all huge fans of bands like Sevendust and Dark New Day, so we draw from them. And then, as far as the lyrics go, I take ideas from past and present experience, or something I may be feeling at the moment.
LS: Overall, what’s the band’s goal with playing music?
Larry: We just want to be heard and have fun.
LS: How, and why, is music important to a community, or even to society at large?
Larry: Music opens doors that other people or things may not be able to. Everyone can connect with a song in some way, and I believe the release that music provides is very important. It’s like an escape from the real world. Music has always been important to society and culture, from early history to anyone's own life today. Think back to your high school days, for example. Regardless of fashion and general opinion, music always has always had a way of bringing people together.
LS: In what ways could the local music scene be improved upon? And what are the positives from your perspective?
David: I think one thing that sometimes lacks from the local music scene is a sense of community, but it isn't all bad. In fact, I think it's more good than bad. I guess you could fairly compare the music scene to society in general. It's easy for everyone to go their own way, but if anything serious happens, the whole community kind of pulls together for the bigger cause. I feel fortunate to be a part of it.
LS: Where can people find your music?
Larry: You can find us on iTunes, Amazon, CDbaby, Spotify, and basically anywhere that digital music is sold.
LS: In closing, feel free to give any shout-outs you want.
David: I have to thank my fiancé Kate and my daughter Karmyn for being so supportive and understanding. Then there's my mother for all of the encouragement over the years. And lastly, my brother Dan and my friend Ryan for the inspiration.
Trent: I want to give a huge shout-out to all our fans, for without them, we wouldn't be able to do this.
Larry: Hey Popeye’s Chicken owners, you need to sponsor Sideshow Romance!
To check out the latest updates from Sideshow Romance, including music and tour dates, visit the band’s official Facebook page by clicking here. You can also check out Sideshow Romance’s music by visiting their ReverbNation page or by clicking on the music player attached below this article.
Want to help in funding the creation of Sideshow Romance’s first full album? Check out their official kickstarter campaign page by clicking here.
Sugg Street Post
Written by Luke Short
Photos provided by Sideshow Romance