Rising Phoenix-based rock band HEADROOM has released a new album “Radio Cries. The band was just nominated in the “Rock Album of the Year” category for the 2011 Los Angeles Music Awards. ”Headroom is a cutting edge and original sounding 21st Century band with few rivals,” says LAMA Executive Producer, Al Bowman. “Their album “Radio Cries” is first-rate, loaded with well-written and arranged songs unlike many others we have heard in the past ten years.”
All Access Magazine (AAM) recently conducted an interview with the band’s drummer, Gavin Washburn (GW).
AAM: Why the name “Headroom” for your band?
GW: The name was conceived due in large part to the meaning(s) of the word headroom; meaning among other things the maximum distance above one’s head and closer to the truth as we like to see it; the difference between a nominal signal value and the maximum undistorted value… translation; we have lots of “headroom” kinda’ like a zero limits attitude I guess
AAM: How did the current band come together?
GW: I got fired from my previous band for landing myself in jail for 5 days in Vegas… long story of course. My bass player was fired from his band “Soul Driver.” We were all mutual friends… so (bassist) Derek (Axman) and I started talking and playing. We decided to build a studio and find some seriously committed guys for a band with no rules, no egos, and no limits. I found (guitarist) Dan Buitron at a house party and I already knew (vocalist) Travis Boltz. I think we auditioned guitar players for about 6 months before we locked Dan into the picture. Travis just does what he does… I personally already knew what he was capable of and kinda had my heart set on him doing lead vocals too anyhow.
AAM: Talk about some of the songs on your new album, “Radio Cries.”
GW: Radio Cries took us about a year and a half to write and four years to record (laughs)… another long story but the songs are all pretty dated. We cranked em out fast and still do actually… the title track I wrote in my sleep; just woke up ran downstairs and wrote it down and got Dan into the studio as fast as I could and we wrapped it up. “Already Over” is about an encounter between one of us and another woman – “it was already over before it began” says a lot about the song… and was the first song we completed and actually some of the guitar parts were written by a friend before Dan came in. I think Dan actually souped em up a bit though. “Like a Thief” is probably my favorite song to play on that CD – it’s about a guy that broke into Travis’ mom’s house… something about the physical movements that just gets me every time – it didn’t really happen though until Travis finished the lyrics. “Rocky Mountain” is our anthem to just good ole getting’ it on. We have some better ones coming on the new CD though. “Unresolved” is definitely a fan favorite – we piss a lot of people off when we don’t play it live – too bad for them (laughs again).
AAM: Headroom is from Phoenix but the band has played some shows in the L.A. area. What is the club and live music scene like where you live compared to here (L.A.)?
GW: L.A. is definitely more alive… a lot more places to play and a lot more people just out to see music period. Phoenix is kind of like a twilight zone; there is so much talent here but none of the artists team up and ever start anything. We have tried to get several circles moving out here and it seems like people either have a chip on their shoulder or they just don’t believe in it. We think we have finally found a vein out here where we can all play big shows together… the club circuit is growing with more and better places to play and downtown is finally starting to catch on. I might be wrong but it seems like in L.A. if you’re good and original, people will catch on quick! I think with all the people that have already “made it” opportunities are more prevalent; either way we see the internet as the premier venue these days. We’ve got lots of plans and finally some small investments coming through the door. We are in it to win it period – no looking back here.
AAM: What have you found as some of the most effective ways to get fans of the band to come out to your live shows?
GW: PERFORM! ENTERTAIN! Do something, anything at all that nobody else is doing. Be nice to everybody no matter what. We are trying to find ways to do things for others at the show so everybody sees it… it makes people feel good, makes us look like the good guys, and people like to talk. We spend more money than we make at shows right now actually… always trying to put on a show and take care of everybody.
AAM: What’s the best gig you’ve ever played, and why?
GW: The very first time we played a show live together – because as soon as we played the first note we KNEW we had something different and we knew other people felt it, too.
AAM: You have been nominated for “Rock Album of the Year” for the 21st Los Angeles Music Awards in November. How did that come to pass?
GW: Well honestly (LA Music Awards Executive Producer/Founder) Al Bowman has been a tremendous benefactor for us. I’m not talking us down cause “Radio Cries” is really good and we get raves about it too… BUT every year his programs seem to find us “looking really nice at the end of the night.” We don’t always win the awards and I gather we’ve had ten or so nominations and won six or seven awards – if it was baseball we’d be killing it (laughs). Seriously though we probably believe in what Al is doing more than he does and it probably gets translated …you know, mystic rhythms and all that… his program is awesome and it’s just him and Susanna…I think Al is a good judge of talent; I think he’s human too though, right… but it’s all good, very good. We submit, we show up to all the events, we talk about it with our peers, we get others out to the shows, all that stuff. We are just happy to be involved with the spirit of the whole production – what’s not to like.
AAM: What’s it like being a professional musician in 2011?
GW: It is the best… it’s like a football player that is working the circuit hoping to get drafted, except our odds are better. As volatile as the industry is we are seeing HUGE opportunities for us… we just need a little more seed money and we are going to do things (that) people are going to freak out about – game-changing stuff, seriously. We are looking for 2012/2013 to really big years for us… I think 2011 is almost over isn’t it??? (laughs).
AAM: Where do you see Headroom being, career-wise, five years from now (what’s your 5-year plan)?
GW: 2012: Sophomore release; shows at Whiskey, Viper, House of Blues… regular support for national acts at home stuff like that
2013: Guinness Book of World Records holder for “Loudest Band in the World” ssssssssh it’s a secret I can tell ya this though: the current record is 129.5 db and we are going to annihilate that and come in around 160+ db (laughs)
2014: Share the stage with the Foo Fighters and play at the Grammy Awards
2015: Release a third album and revolutionize how artists tour – sssssssssssssssssh it’s another secret but it kicks a**!! It also includes revolutionizing the gear artists use to play big shows with – gotta love advanced technology.
2016: I think we’ll take our time writing our fourth album… maybe rent a couple nice spots, one in the mountains and one around the equator – catch some waves, hit some slopes… you know just kinda see what happens.
AAM: Tell our readers one scintillating fact about yourself and/or the band you’ve never told anyone before.
GW: We are all gay!!! Just kidding!!!! We’re kind of an open book… we all wear our emotions on our sleeves. I guess nobody knows how hard we’ve had it, though… it’s not scintillating but it’s true… we haven’t had any breaks and we brought a lot of undue suffering in on ourselves, too through it all… jail, drugs, and girls… we are definitely out of the woods now though – whew we’re lucky (laughs). Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm scintillating though… I’m hard to please so can I get back to on that in the next interview???