J. Roddy Walston Discusses New Album
The piano-playing frontman told Radio.com that when it comes to his latest release (out now), it's his opera singer wife, not his band, who's been with him every wrong note along the way.
"She's heard it from the time of me playing this one chord for 8 hours to the finished song," he said about the year and a half long album making process. "We recorded 20 songs for the record. She suffered through a lot of writing."
The two live in a cozy little house in Richmond, Virginia. "We paid for it with music money," Walston said with pride. "But it's very tiny so we fight over the piano all day. I'll be playing something and she'll just yell at me from the next room, 'Oh, that last chord was gross, don't do that. I like what you did before.' And that was an accident so I'm like, 'That doesn't help.'"
Walston's pounding style and mumbling delivery make a lot of his songs sound a bit accidental. It's part of the band's charm and one of the reasons why they've been able to build an impressive word of mouth following over the last four years.
But for anyone who's seen J. Roddy Walston and the Business live, they know it's their wild stage show that keeps their devoted fans coming back for more. Sometimes it's a room full of bearded metropolitan types, other times you get a gaggle of 80-year-old women. The octogenarian fans came out for a recent J. Roddy gig in Chicago, in which after a few songs into the band's set they decided to get up on stage and dance. "It was definitely an early climax for the show," Walston joked.
According to Walston, his band's live show has been weird for a long time. He chalks it up to growing up in the church, and not one of those quiet, sit-with-your-hands-folded-on-your-lap kind of places. We're talking about one of those praise-the-Lord-Hallelujah kind of places. "It was a really wild church," the singer said with a smile and no other explanation.
The wildness of the live show is meant to make everyone feel comfortable with themselves. "There's no way you're going to look like a fool in here," Walston explained. "We're all just laying it out going nuts. I'm literally dripping sweat. There's puddles around me."
This safe space Walston carved out for fans also helped him feel more comfortable in his own skin. The album is actually a reference to a nervous system condition he has, which causes his hands to shake. "It's kind of one of those things that's been around and you deal with it or don't deal with it," Walston said. "You can take medicine, have all these crazy surgeries where they go in and probe your brain. It doesn't stop my life enough to deal with the side effects of medicine." more on this story
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