STRONG LIKE BULL is a straight up Pure Rock N’ Roll band with rural roots in the land of motorcycle rallies, rod runs, and all night keg parties. Influenced by rock from the 70s to now, Strong Like Bull is delivering foot-stomping, fist-pumping, high energy rock ‘n’ roll and earning new fans at every show the band plays.
Strong Like Bull sounds like the first cold one you crack open to start the weekend… like your Harley when you fire it up to hit the road… like the smell of high performance octane and the roar of an engine at a drag race… yeah, that’s what rock ‘n’ roll is all about!
That’s Strong Like Bull.
Tell us about the history of the band?
DAVE GRAY: Vocals and sometimes rhythm guitar and harmonica.
SHAWN NORMANDIN: Bass.
JAKE BAUER: Drums and backing vocals.
NEVIN TRUAN: Lead Guitar and backing vocals.
DAVE: I started by calling Shawn as I had played in a band or two with him previously. After he was interested, I called Jake. I knew those two would make an amazing rhythm section. I had always been a lead guitarist in bands previously, but I knew Nevin was really getting good. He was my next call. I wanted to sing and not play guitar. We started out learning covers to just gel. We also started out as more of a metal band, and it fit both Shawn and Jake’s background well. However, as my vocal range started to expand about a year in, we added some AC/DC and received a killer response. We kept going in the direction the music led us and followed that path as we began writing. As we release more songs, I think fans will be able to recognize our own sound as a band.
SHAWN: I got a call out of the blue from Dave. He kicked around the idea of starting a new project. It surprised me when he said he wanted a new challenge and only wanted to sing. He knew a drummer named Jake, that had metal experience and thought we would fit well. I knew the guitarist Nevin, from previous projects. We all got together and the rest is history.
JAKE: I remember Dave kinda casually throwing the idea at me, just something fun if the right people were available. I’m thinking this is sounding pretty good, Dave’s one of the best guitar players I’ve seen! He said, “I’ll just be singing, no guitar.” Well, I have never heard him sing before but I already said yes, lol, so I guess let’s do it! A month or two later we’re jammin some Metallica, AX7, FFDP and people are digging it. These are some of the best musicians I’ve ever played with, so of course, things are going good. Then a year or so in Dave found another octave I think, lol. We started to try some AC/DC, which was quite a step away from what we were doing, but the crowd told us immediately with singing every word with us, to cheering and dancing, that we were heading in the right direction. We knew then that it was about making that connection with the crowd that we wanted.
NEVIN: Yeah when Dave approached me, I was still in my second band I’d ever played with (a local cover band). At the time I was just gigging for the hell of it and put some extra cash in my pocket. When we got together, Jake Bauer was the only member I hadn’t really spent much time around, but we gelled instantly. As for our sound, I think we just started out wanting to fill the void in our area for some hard rock and metal tunes, but one thing led to another and we started writing our own stuff. People liked it. We enjoyed writing it. Why stop there?
How would you describe your music?
Heavily-influenced by classic rock, but with a modern sound as well. We seem to fit well into the NWOCR genre that is getting big in the UK and Europe, but there are also many bands from the United States that have our vibe and some are charting. Dirty Honey just hit the top 10 in the rock charts. Of course, Greta VF is already huge. The Black Moods and The Rival Sons are also on the charts. Other bands like Black Coffee (name change coming I heard) and Them Evils have signed major label deals. There is a “new classic rock” wave coming, and we fit in.
What are your influences/ musical heroes?
DAVE: I keep going back to the classic albums like “Highway to Hell” by AC/DC, “High n Dry” by Def Leppard, and a handful of Led Zep and Black Sabbath albums. My first rock album was KISS Alive II, and it was given to me as a gift. I think I wore it out.
SHAWN: Metallica and Megadeth back in the day when I was first getting started.
JAKE: Metallica for sure, high speed and just adrenaline pumping fun, Rob Zombie for that straight driving drum beats, Godsmack for that primal drumming, all helped define my style.
NEVIN: Randy Rhoads (R.I.P), that man got me hooked on guitar. Zakk Wylde and Jake E. Lee are also big influences of mine, I guess I’ve got a thing for Ozzy guitarists.
What record are you currently listening to?
DAVE: The New Roses latest release Nothing But Wild and Electric Mary’s Mother.
SHAWN: I’m currently listening to Octane. CD player is shot in my vehicle.
JAKE: The new Tool.
NEVIN: At this very moment I am jamming out to Dirty Honey’s self titled EP!
What is your favourite song to perform live?
DAVE: Right now it is Live While You Can because I dig it when so many know the words already!
SHAWN: Live While You Can has a great live feel to it.
JAKE: Yep Live While You Can. It’s starting to be recognized more and more and the feed back from the crowd is what preforming is all about.
NEVIN: What they said.
What would be your dream tour to be a part of?
DAVE: We will be happy to perform with any rock tour since we are just getting started but my dream/wish list would be… 1) AC/DC on the tour they just announced. 2) The Wild!, Slash, Dirty Honey, Massive Wagons, The Lazys, Electric Mary.
SHAWN: Them Evils, we opened up for this band in Wichita, Kansas. Super cool dudes.
JAKE: I think Jackyl would be a great band to play with.
NEVIN: I’d love to see on a big new wave of classic rock tour with a bunch of fresh bands like Dirty Honey, Them Evils, Joyous Wolf, Kiss Kiss Bang, etc.
What is the funniest/weirdest experience you have had on tour?
DAVE: Nevin wins this one…
SHAWN: Go Nevin.
JAKE: I’m the drummer, soooo… nothing, lol.
NEVIN: Some older lady came up to me after a show and asked if she could lick my butthole. No joke. I’ve been offered a lot of things, but that was a first…
What are you current thoughts on the music industry?
DAVE: I like some of the changes that have already occurred in the industry. The web and streaming now lets a band like us, from rural Kansas, get our music out to the world.
SHAWN: Access to fans and being able to get instant feedback. Use to have to print CDs now your music can just be downloaded.
JAKE: With how much access there is now with streaming, and technology with recording new music, there’s an almost unlimited supply with new ideas from great musicians that might not have been able to even be heard before.
NEVIN: Technology, I love seeing how easy it is for bands to get their content out to the world! We wouldn’t have been able to make this all work without it.
What advice would you give to someone starting their own band?
DAVE: Have fun! And if you’re not having fun, don’t do it.
SHAWN: Have fun, work together, and practice…..
JAKE: Work together, with each other, and with other bands/musicians in the area. Each person has their own unique take on music and it’s an invaluable tool to improving your own creativity.
NEVIN: Practice, practice, practice. Keep an open mind to other styles, you never know what you might pick up. Always remain humble, and support your fellow musicians!
What are your future plans?
Our 2nd single release, Good Time which breaks out of just the hard rock genre. It has a heavy blues influence much like legendary bands Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath. Our producer, Carter Green, loved this track, and it will definitely surprise a few! There is also a U.S. radio campaign behind Good Time.
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