Renegade Cartel are a three piece hard rock band hailing from Boston, USA. In a world ruled by cover bands, they are still roaring forward with original music to prove to the world that rock and roll is here to stay. With influences across the 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s and beyond, their hope is to play music that everyone can groove and vibe to.
Tell us about the history of the band?
It all started in the missed connections section of craigslist… No I mean the wanted ads. Vic (Guitars) had started a hard rock band and needed a singer. Stephen responded and sparks were flying! The original bassist and drummer both quit, as they knew now serious we were about to get. So over 4 drummers, 3 bassists, 2 rhythm guitarists, and about 4 years, the band finally settled on a ROCK solid (pun intended) lineup of the power trio! Stephen on vocals and bass, Vic on guitar, and Rob on drums. Rob originally filled in for a gig, but then became a full time member soon after. We released our self titled EP in May of 2018 and we are finally releasing our full length album on October 31st 2019. There, all caught up!
How would you describe your music?
We say our music is Hard Rock. We certainly have stuff that people would classify as metal, and other songs that you could classify as classic rock. We have a blues tune, some groove pieces, and a few grunge inspired riffs. Everyone tries to come up with their own genre now. I’d say we’re a mutt of sounds. But you won’t catch us coming up with a new term. Sludgey, semi-doom, classic, sunny-side-up bluesrockcore.
What are your influences/ musical heroes?
We are inspired by lots of music. Guns N Roses, Led Zeppelin, Black Crowes, Metallica, Black Sabbath, B’z, Iron Maiden, KISS, Slash, Alter Bridge, The Beatles, Van Halen, King’s X. Just tons rock artists. I’d say Vic’s heroes are Slash and Jimmy Page. Stephen’s are Myles Kennedy, Koshi Inaba, James Hetfield, dUg Pinnick. Rob’s biggest influences are Peter Criss, Nicko Mcbrain, Tommy Lee, Tommy Aldridge, Alex Van Halen, John Bonham
What record are you currently listening to?
Stephen is bouncing between the new Darkness album “Easter Is Cancelled”, KXM album “Circle of Dolls”, and the new Alter Bridge album, “Walk The Sky”. Of course we are still listening and obsessing over the mastered versions of our upcoming album “Dear World”. Ever since visiting Tokyo in September, I’ve been listening to a lot more B’z again. More people should do that. They’re incredible.
What is your favourite song to perform live?
Personally, I love playing the 11th track off of our album, “Labyrinth”. The riff is super fun, and I love how it transitions from a heavy part, to a more classic rock sound. The melody is so fun to belt out, and I get to play a little bass lead. I also pour a ton of emotion into the vocals. It’s kind of a puzzle lyrically, but to me, it’s a pretty personal and deep issue. So when I’m letting loose and belting, it’s really coming from the heart.
What would be your dream tour to be a part of?
Oh man. I can imagine a big one! I’d say Metallica, Slash feat Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators, and Renegade Cartel. I’d wanna join a Metallica song on guitar, do some harmonies with James, both vocally, and on guitar. Then I’d come out and sing something epic with Myles while Slash is ripping it up! Hey, a guy can dream!
What is the funniest/weirdest experience you have had on tour?
Some of the places we’ve stayed. It’s hilarious. We just played in Maine and all that was available in the area were these little cottage like places. They were tiny and quaint. I mean, we loaded our gear in them, turned the heat on and slept like a rock before heading to Western MA for the next gig. They weren’t bad, but just hilarious. Another funny aspect is the mad dash to the closest Taco Bell to make sure we can order our 12 pack of tacos and baja blast!
What are you current thoughts on the music industry?
It’s a totally different place now. With social media and YouTube, so many more people can find outlets and make money with their music. I mean, I don’t think there is any greater feeling than playing live, but having a hit video or post feels pretty good too! I wish that labels were looking harder and on the hunt for new rock acts. But how can they, when the majority of listeners choose pop or country? It’s a bit sad, but I think the world is hungry for more awesome rock. Let’s bring it back!
What advice would you give to someone starting their own band?
I would tell them that it is certainly going to take a lot of work, money, pain, sacrifice. But if you love playing enough, and love the music you are working on, then keep on pushing. If your band members suck, find better ones. Keep on improving as much as possible to expand your skill set. And I’m not just talking about scales and music theory, but musicianship and playing with others. Getting that vibe to be able to adapt with other players well. There’s a ton of work, but it’s so worth it.
What are your future plans?
We plan to keep rocking, anywhere and everywhere, playing our original tunes, forever. Even if we gain one fan at each show, even if we only change one heart per gig, it’s still so worth it. We love it more than anything and nothing will stop us. Renegade Cartel for life.