It is time to enjoy some Royal Bliss! These guys have been around for over 13 years and are a true to rock and roll band from Salt Lake City. Over the years, they have had their share of bumps in the road which includes near death experiences, serious accidents, totaled cars, label changes and so much more. One thing remained constant for them, their passion for their music and staying true to themselves. This shows more than ever with their recent CD/Album Release, “Waiting out the Storm” which is their first release on their own record label, “AIR Castle Records”. This album truly is all their own creation now that they are on their own label. I love it from it’s harder edgy sound to the emotion driven rock that each song brings out.
We had a chance to talk with Neal Middleton, lead vocalist and guitars from the band. So sit back and get to know Royal Bliss.
Music Junkie Press: Thank you Neal for taking the time out to talk with us here at Music Junkie Press! We had the great pleasure of catching a couple of your shows when you were opening up Hinder and Candlebox. We instantly fell in love with your music and we are so excited to tell everyone about your current album, “Waiting out the Storm”.
Neal Middleton: Awesome thank you very much! Glad to talk with you.
Music Junkie Press: I understand that this is the first release on your own label AIR Castle Records. Congratulations and we look forward to many more! From that, your single “CRAZY” shot up the charts. How was it to see your baby take it’s first steps climbing up the charts?
Neal Middleton: It is good. It is really interesting and it is a completely different game than being on a major label. Everything is in your own hands, in your own court. You can kind of do the things how you want. It is amazing! With the years of experience in the industry and all of the great relationships that we built with radio, magazines and everything else and then to have them still get behind us even though we don’t have Capitol Records on the CD is pretty remarkable. I think we are going to stick to it this way. It is really nice to not have the suits telling us what to do and we are able to make it all about the music again.
Music Junkie Press: This new CD just ROCKS! It has a heavier edgy sound to it that is awesome! Is that something that comes from being on your own label and being able to put out exactly what you want to?
Neal Middleton: Yes, we got to do the record WE wanted to do. Before, there was some struggle in the beginning with our old management and them wanting us to go in a different direction and do different things. We had written like 80 to a 100 songs for the album and we loved so many of them and they kept telling us, “Keep writing, it’s not there” Finally we said No, you’re wrong! It is there, and these are the songs that we love and we are going to do it this way. That was kind of the deciding factor that we were going to do this on our own and do it for the fans. It is definitely all our touch on this album.
Music Junkie Press: One of my favorite songs on the album is “Bleed My Soul” can you share a little about that song.
Neal Middleton: Well, that song actually was when Taylor and I sat down in Shreveport, Lousiana in our old beat up motorhome. Taylor was playing that little riff, that Bleed My Soul riff and I told him to keep that up! Keep it going! Then pretty much, we just wrote it right there. Then we had a bunch of people come from outside, tapping on the bus, clapping and singing along. We knew right then that we had something sweet. It was one of those moments where a song just kind of happens and luckily it was a good one. I love that track!
Music Junkie Press: How about some advice to all the young musicians out there? It seems that every day you hear more and more about how the music industry has changed, is dead, or is dying more each day. What can you say to the teens to keep them to still pick up their guitar or play their drums and decide to keep the rock alive?
Neal Middleton: I always go back to Don’t think about how difficult it is or everything else. Think instead about why you played the music in the first place. Why did you picked up that guitar? And, hopefully it is not because you wanted to be famous or to be on TV. Hopefully the core reason is because you love playing the guitar and love rock and roll. That should be the core. And if you don’t, then play in your basement! You have to love it, nowadays in the industry, you have to have such a passion in order to survive or succeed. So I would tell them if you love it, then keep doing it and don’t listen to anyone else. If you get someone on your side who wants to help you out, that is great and fortunate, but never forget why you picked up that guitar in the first place, “It was because you wanted to ROCK!”
Music Junkie Press: Very well said Neal! Growing up what was some of your biggest musical influences?
Neal Middleton: My brother was always bringing me home different music. He would bring anything from Suicidal Tendencies to Violent Femmes. Then he brought me home Pearl Jam 10 and that really changed my life. I loved Eddie Vetter, loved his voice, the songs, everything. From that point it changed the game for me. I loved all the classics too; Johnny Cash, Pink Floyd, Doors, Led Zeppelin, and even Merle Haggard. My parents used to rock out Merle Haggard pretty good. Then there was Sublime, 311, there is still a lot of influences all across the board from old school country to heavy rock. Korn’s first record was a big thing for me. When I sit and think about it, there are a million records that really affected me. It was all about the lyrics and the songs themselves. They had to have emotions behind it and something meaningful that I can connect with and that is kind of how I write my songs too; very honest.
Music Junkie Press: I am always a strong believer about how music can help people through the roughest patches in their lives or how music can heal a wounded soul. Do you recall a particular moment or can share a story of when music helped you the most?
Neal Middleton: So many times! It is funny one; but U2’s Joshua Tree was a huge album for me. It’s like when you were a teenager and you are going through love and everything else, and think that you are in love, all the relationship songs get you down. But Joshua Tree always let me kind of escape from all that. Then Pink Floyd has always been one of those too. I could go on forever about songs that have changed my live. Pink Floyd and Depeche Mode and all the ones back in Junior High. A lot of the songs are the ones that had to do with girls and relationships and things. Sublime songs always remind me of my friends.
Music Junkie Press: Yes, Music has always been a mood changer or there for me. I would like to share that one of your songs on your album, “ I will catch you” is one of those songs for me that personally touched my soul. The first time I heard it I was putting the CD on I was thinking about my father who I had recently lost and the first song that came up on the CD shuffle was “I will catch You” and that is a saying that my father always would say to me and I listened to that song maybe a dozen times that night and I really felt like it was a perfect moment. “The words “Even if I am not around, I won’t let you hit the ground, I will catch you” still bring chills to me and a smile in my heart. It was a beautiful moment and I wanted to share that with you and thank you for that! It isn’t often that I can actually tell someone personally how their music impacted me.
Neal Middleton: That is awesome. I love that track. I am glad that is something that you can relate to and works for you. I mean it is one of those songs, that one and “Wake Up” on the record that a lot of people can really connect to. That is what it is all about for me, connecting. A father being there for one of his kids, or whether you have a loved one that you are there for no matter what they are going through, if you are losing them to Cancer or Alzheimers or things like that. That has been happening a lot to me in my inner circle of family and everything lately. So, it is something that I can relate to. A lot of my songs are like therapy to get out of my head so I don’t have to just dwell with them.
Music Junkie Press: If you could do a remake from any song from any genre, what would it be?
Neal Middleton: Lately, I would have to say, “(I did it) MY Way” by Frank Sinatra.
Music Junkie Press: WOW! That is incredible, are you really thinking about doing that?
Neal Middleton: Yes, I would really like to. I have thought a lot about it in the past. It is so meaningful right now for me. I was recently busting it out in the shower the other night. You know it is one of those things where I have had a lot of people tell me, “You don’t listen and Blah, Blah, Blah”. No, I am sticking to my roots, I am sticking to the reason why I did this in the first place. I am going to do it our way.
Music Junkie Press: WOW! Neal, I have to tell you why you took me off guard with that response because my Father must be here or something. That song, My Way was my father’s song and he requested we play it at his funeral. It was all who he was! That would be incredible if you could do the remake. My son always wanted to do one in a heavy rock version and I would love to see what you come up with!
Neal Middleton: Oh! That is very cool. Very awesome!
Music Junkie Press: I have another one for you. If you could go back and talk to your 14 year old self, what advice would you give yourself?
Neal Middleton: Oh man, at 14?? Always be honest ! Well, I guess it depends on what mood I would be in. There is a lot of things I would tell my 14 year old self. I mean I would be like Don’t worry about girls. Just date as many as you possibly can and have a blast! But honestly, more than anything would be to believe in yourself and never give up. I really doubted myself a lot at that age and was down on myself. I would tell myself that everything will work out. Keep being who you are and don’t try to be anyone else.
Music Junkie Press: Lastly, I got to see the Royal Bliss Pizza from Santa Monica Pizza Company and have to ask, What if you had a Royal Bliss ice cream named after you guys. What would it be?
Neal Middleton: It would be Rocky Road! Rocky Road for sure, because it has been a rocky road for us and mix in a little bit of everything. I think that would be a perfect ice cream!
Music Junkie Press: Neal, thank you so much for your wonderful music and we look forward to telling everyone to check your website for the tour dates and get to a show to see you guys! You are heading out on tour next week?
Neal Middleton: Yes, we are next Wednesday in Atlanta and then next Friday and Saturday with Marilyn Manson Robb Zombie with All That Remains. Thank you.
Now you are going to have head over to their website and check out their upcoming tour dates and get tickets to the show nearest you! Here is a rundown of their upcoming shows:
- Oct 24 120 Tavern (ALL AGES) Marietta, GA
- Oct 26 The Daily Buzz Tampa, FL
- Oct 26 WJRR’s Halloweenie Roast – Tinker Field Orlando, FL
- Oct 27 Halloweenie Roast – 1-800-ASK-GARY Amphitheatre Tampa, FL
- Oct 27 Hard Rock Casino Tampa, FL
- Oct 31 RSR – WJJO Halloween Show Madison, WI
- Nov 02 3rd Street Live(formerly Big Dogg’s Rock Bar) Cedar Rapids, IA
- Nov 03 Pops Sauget, IL
- Nov 05 Freakster’s Roadhouse Wilmington, IL
- Nov 07 O Sheckey’s Columbus, OH
- Nov 09 Adelphia Music Hall Marietta, OH
- Nov 10 Rockhouse Providence, RI
- Nov 13 Club envy Muskegon, MI
- Nov 14 Bada Brew Crestwood, IL
- Nov 15 The District Rockford, IL
- Nov 17 Machine Shop Flint, MI
- Dec 06 Buster’s Mankato, MN
- Dec 07 Johnny Bang Bang’s Quincy, IL
- Dec 08 Brat Stop – WIIL Rock XMas Kenosha, WI
Also make sure to get your copy of “Waiting out the Storm”
Lastly, before I sign off, take a moment and enjoy the video for “Crazy”, one of my favorite songs from this album.
~ Enjoy, Marisol
Royal Bliss Information & Links
Royal Bliss is:
Neal Middleton – Lead Vocal, Guitar
Taylor Richards – Guitars, Vocals
Dwayne Crawford – Bass, Vocals
Jake Smith – Drums, Percussion