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A brief chat with R. Ring


R. Ring, featuring the Breeders’ Kelley Deal plus Mike Montgomery, is a sparse, challenging, but ultimately thrilling group. They have a couple of split singles coming out, and they’re playing the Hi-Dive in May, so we chatted with Deal. R

Yellow Scene: When did the band form and what the vision?

Kelley Deal: It was around 2010. We had met through mutual friends of ours – a band called the Buffalo Killers. I was doing a song with them, and they knew this guy called Mike Montgomery who owned a studio called Candyland in Cincinnati. We recorded that song with him at his studio. I really liked his decisions, and he had a really good demeanor – he was funny. He had an opportunity to open up for a friend of his who was doing like a CD release party and he asked if I wanted to do the show with him. I didn’t know what songs we would do, and didn’t know either. We got together and out together six songs that we did. At that time in my life, my big thing was to say yes to more things. I was saying no to a lot, for some reason. I made a decision to start saying yes to more, whatever it was. Get out there and do stuff. I’m really glad I did, because it’ll be five years this year and it’s been a really cool, gentle meandering around.

YS: How does the sound differ to the Breeders?

KD: The Breeders is a full band experience with drums, bass, guitars, vocals. It’s a rock outfit. With Mike and I, it’s typically just two guitars and two vocals. We may have a snare drum and percussion with us this time on some shows, but typically everything is reliant on the sound and the ambiance that we can make with electric guitar, acoustics or vocals. I also have this made-up keytar – a little organ that I sling over my shoulders and make some sounds with. It’s fun for me, because it forces me to break down the song and to understand what parts of the melodic arc in this song or narrative has to be there or the song falls apart – in a bad way, not in a good way? It’s like a puzzle, and it’s fun to do.

YS: Do you like playing Colorado?

KD: We don’t hit Colorado a lot. I’ve plated there over the years a lot, but there are some places you kinda go to all the time, and I think because Colorado is kinda by itself there and right in the middle, I somehow miss playing it a lot. But every time I go it’s awesome.

YS: What can we expect from the set?

KD: I don’t know what day of the week we’re playing, and that can impact it. Sometimes we play the Empty Bottle in Chicago on a Saturday night, and that feels a little strange because people are expecting a rock band. It’s all set up for a rock band, for rockage. Expect not to get your face rocked off – that’s what I would say. It’s a journey.

YS: When the tour’s over, what’s next?

KD: Well, we’ve got two releases out right now. We’ve got a 7” coming out with Quailbones, which is a really cool band out of Kentucky that nobody’s heard of. We also have a single coming out with a band called Protomartyr, a really great band from Detroit. We met them last year at SXSW and we became fans. They liked us and because we’re from Dayton, Ohio and they’re from Detroit, we said that we should do something together. So often, people will say that and nothing comes of it. What’s really cool, especially in the music business nowadays, is it’s only limited by what you take action on. We all followed through, and I know it sounds simple but it gets really hard to do that. People get busy, and it’s something you want to do but you just don’t make the time. They came down in December, they went to Candyland, and Mike and I recorded their song, and I sang vocals on it. It’s a really cool song called “Blues Festival.” Then Mike and I recorded a song called “Loud Underneath,” and so we have a split 7”. It’s a really fun project.

R. Ring plays with Safe Boating is No Accident and Space Suits for Indians at 9:30 p.m. on Friday, May 15 at the Hi-Dive; 7 S. Broadway, Denver; 303-733-0230; $10.


Brett Calwood
Brett Callwood is an English journalist, copy writer, editor and author, currently living and working in Los Angeles. He is the music editor with the LA Weekly. He was previously a reporter at the Longmont Times-Call and Daily Camera, the music editor at the Detroit Metro Times and editor-in-chief at Yellow Scene magazine. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brett_Callwood

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