Austin’s, The Warm Guns play exactly the type of music you might associate with the city of Austin. Fun, laid back, a little bit country, and a lot of rock and roll. Fronted by singer Ricky Stein, The Warm Guns began when Stein, after playing solo shows, recruited bassist Phil Morris, guitarist Stuart Burns and drummer Cliff Real. Having recently released their first full length album, Something in the Night, The Warm Guns are currently on a nationwide tour, set to hit The City Tavern on June 10th.
Here’s our interview with frontman Ricky Stein:
BIJLM: We all know that Austin has a great reputation as one of the best music cities in the entire country. But what is it like as a fairly new band trying to make a name for themselves? Is it difficult, or do you find that the locals are pretty supportive?
Ricky Stein: Being in a band in Austin is a double-edged sword. On the one hand you’re surrounded by badass musicians that for the most part are very genuine and laid-back, friendly people. On the other hand, there are about a million great bands in Austin that are all trying to make it happen. It takes a long time getting established, but all in all I think it’s one of the best places in the world to be a musician. In general, the musicians there definitely seem a little more supportive of one another than say in LA or Nashville.
BIJLM: If you could open for one band from any time period, what would it be?
RS: If we could open for any band in the world….I don’t know, the Beatles in 1964? That would be some pretty good exposure, haha. As far as current bands go, we really like Fleet Foxes, the Strokes, Spoon, Wilco…too many to name. We’ll play with anybody that’s good, really….
BIJLM: If you could cover just one song for the rest of your music career, what would you cover?
RS: If I could cover one song for the rest of my career, I would have to go with “Julia” by John Lennon. It’s so sad and beautiful and the guitar part is so simple, yet haunting.
BIJLM: What inspired you to get started in the music business?
RS: When I was 14 I saw Stu (our guitar player), playing guitar at a party. That was pretty much it, from then on I just had to play music in front of people. For me, there’s no better feeling in the world.
BIJLM: What other artists most inspire your sound?
RS: Other artists that inspire our sound include the ones we mentioned that we’d like to tour with, as well as countless others. I try to take in as much music as possible without overloading….just listening to the radio or a friends music library until I hear a song that just knocks me out…then I’ll listen to it over and over again until I’m sick of it, haha. There’s nothing like hearing a truly great, unique song for the first time….I think if it resonates with you then a part of it will eventually come back out in the music you write.
BIJLM: We see you’re hitting about 20+ states in your upcoming tour. If you had to pick only five cities to play in for the rest of your career – what would they be?
RS: We would only play in Salt Lake City, haha. JK, we just had a really great show there last Sunday. I don’t know, it’s hard to say, really….personally I like going to the major industry cities like LA, NYC, Nashville, Seattle, etc. But then again, cities like San Diego, San Francisco, Boulder, and Tucson are just a lot of fun and really beautiful places to hang out.
BIJLM: How long did it take you to record “Something in the Night”?
RS: We started recorded “Something in the Night” in mid-January and finished up in early April. It would have taken considerably less time to finish, but our engineer, Mark Creaney, also tours with the Gourds, so we kind of had to work around their schedule.
BIJLM: Where did you record the album?
RS: We recorded the album in a shed that our buddy Mark Creaney converted into a studio in his back yard in downtown Austin. We had recorded our “In the Red” EP there last year….that session was originally just going to be a demo of some new songs, but we liked it so much that we released it. “Something in the Night” was sort of an extension of those sessions.
BIJLM: For anyone who’s ever been on an extended road trip, one of the most critical elements is creating the perfect playlist. With the majority of your tour ahead of you – what 5 albums are must haves?
RS: Our playlist for the rest of the tour:
Phil – Angles, the Strokes
Cliff – Sky Blue Sky, Wilco
Stu – Helplessness Blues, Fleet Foxes
Ronnie – Soft Bulletin, the Flaming Lips
Me (Ricky) – Modrag, Little Birdie
BIJLM: Finally – story time! For those of us who aren’t quite able to live the dream, what’s the most interesting experience you’ve had while one the road? No holding back now!
RS: I don’t know that’s a really tough one….seems like something new happens every day. Yesterday Stu almost got eaten by a coyote on the side of the road in Wyoming. Cliff almost drove the van off a canyon into a river later that night. Also, Hollywood nearly murdered Ronnie a couple weeks ago. My favorite story though is probably the time we were on tour 2 years ago in Nashville. We pulled up to the club we were supposed to be playing and there was a pad lock and a for rent sign on the front door. We found out that the club owner had stopped taking his medication a couple weeks before and no one had heard from him since. Then, incredibly, we saw him in downtown Nashville. I hate to say it, but he was completely out of his mind – he started fake-shooting people in the middle of Broadway with an imaginary gun. We ended up managing to hustle a gig later that night and had one of the best shows of the entire tour. Made friends with an awesome Nashville band called Buffalo Clover and they ended up putting us up and drinking whiskey with us all night. Incredible experience – probably much better than if we’d actually played the original club in the first place!
There you have it folks! Be sure to check out Something in the Night from The Warm Guns, and if you’re in Dallas, go see them at The City Tavern on June 10th.