Here’s some questions I threw at my buddy Bobby from The Divine Right Of Kings (also The Lakeside Is For Killers). His guitar playing baffles my mind, and he is an all around hunny.
1- Let’s begin with basics, who are you, and what is your role in The Divine Right Of Kings?
-I’m Bobby, I play guitar and sing backing vocals in the group
2- Who are the rest of the folks in your band?
-As of now, there is Mike – Drums, Mark – Bass, and Vanstonial on vocals.
3- How did DROK come together as a band?
-We started playing together (V. and myself) somewhere in the middle of highschool, under the name October Fire. Check it out on myspace for a quick chuckle. After a couple of spontaneous line up changes and/or resignations V. and I found ourselves with no drummer or stable bass player to complete our arsenal. This is when we asked Mike if he wanted in on the mayhem – also the point in time when we decided to be known as Drok- to which he kindly agreed and has been with us since. Lastly but definitely not least, Marky Mark was a close college friend of Mike’s, who happened to play bass and be looking for a new project to undertake. One fateful night at a house party he was shown a couple of Divine’s tunes, the events that followed led to the very stoke worthy acquisition of a bass player.
4- Can you explain the origin of your band name?
-Hmm..This could lead to many theories as to why we chose this particular thing to be our band name. However, I will say that The Divine Right of Kings is a very interesting historical document that we thought reflected a unique point in time for human nature…and was a pretty sweet name for a band.
5-Up to this point in your career, what has been the most satisfying show you have played?
-I’d have to say last summer’s SOMF (Southern Ontario Metal Fest) was a pretty sweet experience for us. A full weekend of camping, friends, bands, drinks, and the Tiki Lounge We were lucky enough to open up the main stage on the second day of the festivities. Which was also Mike’s birthday! so we were on very high doses of good times and celebrations that weekend. The combination of all these things you see, made for a very satisfying show.
6- As a guitar player myself, your playing is very interesting to me. What are your guitar influences?
-Thanks for the kind words. I’m a sucker for anything blues, I love it’s strong and painful style of playing. I also really love guitarists that push the envelope of sounds and effects. Two amazing guitarists that come to mind are Buddy Guy, and Johnny Greenwood of Radiohead. Check out the song “Baby Please Don’t Leave Me” by Buddy, some of the sweetest riffs known to mankind. Greenwood is just on a planet of his own with the ways he uses his guitar too help make up one of the most unique bands of all time, in my opinion. Actually there’s one more massive influence on my playing thats developed more recently that I should mention, the ruthless Jack White, this guy just shreds in the perfect way. My goal is to be a hybrid of all these dudes and make my own flavor of guitar playing I guess.
7- If you could pick one song out of your catalogue, which would be the one your are most proud of? Lyrically, musically or other.
-So far out of what has been released to the public… …I’d go with the song Dead Beat, off of the ep we just put out. Fun riffs, and lots of fun on stage.
8- Every band has had that ”night” where things just aren’t right, vibes are wrong, instrument/gear failure etc. Have you guys had one of those nights?
-Oh man… we’ve definitely had a few of those. One of the worst ones I recall involved us being booked on a show that the venue bailed on half way through, shut er right down. At a sketch box of a venue to which we hauled all our gear only to find out the promoter was, not really a promoter at all. So that was cool.
9- The scene is incredibly tight knit, what bands do you go for advice or feedback?
-I also play in a band called The Lakeside is for Killers, both bands are all really close friends and are always supporting each other and offer good criticisms to help evolve and improve the other.
10- You are a wild bunch of dudes, and injuries occur during shows?
-Haha, we try, purely for entertainment’s sake of course. Though we do our best not to inflict physical pain on ourselves, but it can never be guaranteed when in the heat of things. V. likes to climb on virtually anything, and has been known for the occasional and involuntary backwards somersault off of the bass drum and/or PA system. We’re all pretty beat up and stiff after thrashing our bodies around at a show. Headaches and nausea may occur post stage. Other than that, s’all good in the hood. We keep it SAFE.
11- A lot of bands have a bad rap as ”douches”. Have you guys run into any of those bands, touring or other?
-A few band members with bad attitudes for sure, we usually just try and ignore things like that and do our thing. Keep the chi aligned as best as possible. Karma takes care of all those kinds of people haha.
12- Being from London, what are some of your favourite hometown bands, broken up or otherwise?
-I was really into Shotgun Rules when they were around, they ripped. Also a band thats doing some sweet stuff right now called Single Mothers, those guys put on a show and a half. Pumps me up.
13- What is your favourite piece of gear you own?
-That would be my custom Verellen amp head. For anyone reading this who hasn’t heard of Verellen amps, please go check them out. (ed- that’s no bullshit, I’ve had the pleasure to work on this head, and use it. Incredible). If your a fan of sweet buttery guitar tones that’ll tear apart foundations of houses…then these amps are for you. Not to mention they look intimidating as hell. Also, the owner of the company – Ben Verellen – is the nicest dude to deal with, and his brother played in BOTCH, and now plays in Minus the Bear. Fun Fact of the day.
14- As a songwriter, I often get writers block, and can’t write for huge chunks of time. Do you ever fall into this, and likewise, how do you get over it?
-Of course. Writer’s block is something I am all too familiar with, so naturally I’ve developed a couple ways to help me get over it. I find physical activity to help a lot when that happens; working out, going for a run, bike, walk…it clears the mind of stress and anxiety. Which for me are major factors that contribute to the block. If that doesn’t work, I’m sort of in to reading up on the human brain and human spirituality. Its so interesting to me, being a spiritual person myself, the relationship between humans and music. How they react to it and such, usually inspires the shit out of me.
15- What is the writing dynamic of your band? How do songs come together?
-Usually it starts out with either V. or myself just playing around with some guitar riffs in the studio. We’ll lay out a basic guitar structure and pass it down the line for the other guy’s input, and it evolves from there. Until finally we end up with something cohesive and flowing that we’re all happy with.
16- Every band has their favourite place for pre/post show eats. What restaraunt do you guys stop at the most eats?
-To be honest, we usually don’t do as much eating together as we do drinking. Simply put, we like to drink Pabst and Old Mill together before/during/after a show. Never fails. We’re very social drinkers.
17- Being in a band, In know this feeling. If there was one person in your band who you could take in a wrestling rig for 5 minutes to blow off some steam, who would it be?
-Hahaha good question. V. and myself are always beating the shit out of each other anyway, so there’s no steam ever built up. We like to nip everything in the bud to stay focused on important matters. However, a battle royale between the 4 of us would be of epic proportions.
18- Bands often have a lot of free time pre show. You load in, then have nothing to do for 3 or 4 hours until you play. How do you guys occupy your time?
-We usually like to hang out outside if its nice out, maybe throw around the football, or just kick it with friends. Also enjoy a couple of relaxing beverages to get us in the zone. We always say its all about staying as zen as possible before you play. Gotta make sure your all on the same brainwave and feeding off of one another’s energies.
19- Most bands have a family dynamic. Who would be the dad, mom, etc.
-Simply put I think our family is comprised of 4 brothers. no parents, cause we all know none of us are responsible enough for those roles.
20- If you described your band dynamic as a sitcom group (Friends, Big Bang Theory, Seinfeld etc) who would it be?
-I’ve never had to think about this before, but now that I do…I’d say our dynamic is similar to that of Arrested Development. Dysfunctional, hilarious, and full of love.