An offer you can’t refuse

Roadhouse Mafia (formerly The Rick Frazier Band) comes to Riff Raff

By Rusty Pate

Photo: Rick Frazier and Matt Stump perform at Oscar’s in Vandalia; photo: Rusty Pate

The Rick Frazier Band has been making music for the better part of eight years. The lineup has changed over the years, and it’s seen a myriad of music fads and trends come and go. Still, the band remains committed to getting up on stage in pursuit of doing something different.

A new lineup change eight months ago prompted the band to change its name to Roadhouse Mafia.

The band consists of Rick Frazier (rhythm guitar), Darryl Lawson (bass), Matt Stump (guitar), Chuck Honnell (keyboard) and Russ Reed (drums). Vocals are handled by all members, with forays into five-part harmonies.

Dayton City Paper recently caught up with Frazier to talk about unveiling a new name and going against the grain in a world full of bar bands.

Tell me about the history of the group. How did this group of musicians come together?

Rick Frazier: The band is eight years old. It was known as the Rick Frazier Band, but I’ve been through many changes with different musicians. About eight months ago, I changed up musicians again. We still play some of the music the band has played before, but with an addition of a new guitar player, we’re able to kind of stretch out and cover some ground we’ve never covered before.

How do your influences shape your songwriting process?

RF: I started playing guitar back in the early 1980s sitting on a stool doing a one-man show. Some of my influences back then were guys like Dan Fogelberg, Kenny Loggins and Michael Franks. Those guys are just prolific writers and their style just sank into me. I embraced that style of writing – telling a story with music.

We take a lot of songs and just kind of twist them around and make them our own. For instance, we take Johnny Cash’s “Folsom Prison Blues,” and turned it into an upbeat, funky, jazzy, bluesy type of feel. People love it. I try to dig back at the bottom of the pile – do a ZZ Top or Lynyrd Skynyrd song that people haven’t heard in 20 years.

Is it frustrating as a writer if people want to hear other people’s songs?

RF: Playing original music is not really a favorite of people sitting in a bar drinking a beer. They want to hear something and sing along to something that they know. If you play an original song, it seems like they lose interest. You step out on a limb by playing some original material in bars, but it has to be done unless you want to be a cover band. You just keep pushing those songs and you get them out on YouTube and different sites. It all boils down to writing a good song. You’ve got to have a hook line that’s catchy and hopefully it catches on. Every artist is different, but we like to do originals as well.

You’re from Sidney. How do you view the Dayton crowds?

RF: We love Dayton. This is our first year actually stretching our legs into Dayton. This year, I’ve picked up a lot of shows down south in Troy, Huber Heights, Vandalia and Dayton. We love it down here, because in Sidney, this area loves their country music – which we don’t do any. Nothing against it, we just don’t do any. Up here, people are in the bars shooting pool, throwing darts and drinking beer. I’ve found that they could care less what band is playing. In Dayton, we’re finding that people are going out on a mission to hear some good music. They sit there, listen, applaud and are a part of it. That’s what we like about playing in the Dayton area – people’s appreciation of live music down there is just so much stronger.

How does it affect the way you play when there is someone intensely listening and following you along the journey?

RF: It’s absolutely day and night. When people are sitting there listening to you, following along and interested in what you’re doing, it feeds you with that energy. You want to perform even better because you know someone is out there actually listening. Up here, if they’re throwing darts, getting drunk, yelling and carrying on – not even paying attention – it just doesn’t provide you with the energy as much as it does when you have an audience that’s actually there to hear you play.

We’re just trying to be different. There are so many bands out there that sound alike and are playing the same music as one another. I’m not knocking anything, but I just strive to be different – in song choices and as artists. I’m trying to play things that people haven’t heard.

Roadhouse Mafia (formerly known as The Rick Frazier Band) will perform at 9:30 p.m. Saturday, April 11 at Riff Raff Tavern on the Canal, 130 N. Patterson Ave. For more information, follow The Rick Frazier Band on Facebook.

Reach DCP freelance writer Rusty Pate at RustyPate@DaytonCityPaper.com.

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Reach DCP freelance writer Rusty Pate at RustyPate@DaytonCityPaper.com.

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