Hi Everyone. Welcome to our new EMQ’s interview with Abilene, Texas Groove Metal band Rear Naked Choke! Huge thanks to them for taking part!

What is your name, what do you play and can you tell us a little bit about the history of the band?

I’m Chris from the band Rear Naked Choke. I play rhythm guitar and do backing vocals. The other members of the band are Mick Taylor – Vocals, Josh Finch – Lead Guitar, Paul Kidd – Drums, Don Bruton – Bass.

We formed around 2009. It started out just jamming for fun at my cousins’ house. It didn’t take long to decide that this was something we wanted to really form into a band. Early on there were a few member changes but after a few months the line-up solidified and we’ve been going strong since then. Mike “Mookie” Morgan, our original lead guitarist one of the founding members and my cousin, passed away in 2014 after a battle with cancer. His spirit is still a huge driving force for RNC!

How did you come up with your band name?

We get asked that a lot, especially with some raised eyebrows because it sounds like it could be a lot of things. But the truth is we’re all big MMA (mixed martial arts) fans and in the early days of the band we would get together at Mike’s, our original lead guitarist who passed away, house and watch the UFC fights. In between fights we’d go back and jam in the room he had set up. So we were sitting there watching a fight and Joe Rogan was commentating the fight and said “Oh he’s going for a Uma Plata (which is a submission in MMA)” and Mike and Mick were like “Oh that’s kinda of a cool name” and the Joe Rogan said “Oh he’s transitioning to a Rear Naked Choke, that’s the number one submission move in MMA” and they looked at each other and said “That’s it, Rear Naked Choke!!” and so that’s where the name came from. Once we had it set we haven’t changed it at all. So really Joe Rogan is the reason we’re named Rear Naked Choke, lol.

What country are you from and what is the metal scene like there?

We’re from Abilene, TX USA. These still a good metal scene in Texas and the US. I think like anywhere there are ebbs and surges, but overall it’s still good.

What is your latest release? (Album, EP, Single or Video)

In October of 2018 we released our debut, self-titled album, “Rear Naked Choke”, through Sliptrick Records. We’re really proud of this album. We’ve put 2 years of our lives into it and we’re happy we finally have it and can share it with everyone else. In March we released the second single from the album, I Will Rise along with a video for the song.

Who have been your greatest influences?

We have lots of influences between all the members. Metallica, Godsmack, Clutch, All That Remains, Trivium, Lamb of God, Corrosion of Conformity, Pantera, Scorpions, Kiss, Iron Maiden and the list could go on and on. Me personally I would say Metallica is my biggest influence and the band that really ignited my desire to play music.

What first got you into music?

For me personally it was Metallica that really got me into music. Before them I listened to music and I was aware of rock and metal and I listened to some of it, but from the first notes off of the Ride the Lightning album I was hooked.

If you could collaborate with a current band or musician who would it be?

There’s a ton out there that it would be awesome to work with. Metallica, obviously, but also Clutch, Corrosion of Conformity/Pepper Keenen, any of the guys from Lamb of God, I mean the list could go on forever really.

If you could play any festival in the world, which would you choose and why?

I would pick Wacken Open Air Festival. I’ve watched lots of video from different years and it always just seems absolutely amazing. The band line ups, the crowds, it is just one of those that it looks like I would want to get to play at least once in my musical career.

What’s the weirdest gift you have ever received from a fan?

I don’t think we’ve ever gotten anything really weird from anyone yet. We’ve had people bring us other bands albums, watches, hats and even their own artwork they have done for us, but that’s about it. Although this question has me worried about what we might see in the future, lol!!!

If you had one message for your fans, what would it be?

Really that we appreciate each and every one of them more than we can adequately express. I know it sounds cliché but it’s true. You know, we would still be playing and making music just because it’s in us, and something that we’re driven to do. But it’s the fans that allow us to do more than just sit in our house or a studio and write and play. The shows are really all because of them. If they weren’t out there then there wouldn’t be a need for shows. And really we love playing shows and getting to perform our music for others. It’s totally selfish but there’s just about no greater feeling than being up there on stage giving out all the energy you can and having the fans return all that energy and more.

If you could bring one rock star back from the dead, who would it be?

Without a doubt it would be Mike Morgan. I know that sounds selfish and not many had ever heard of him before this, but Mike was a real Rock Star throughout his whole live, even when he wasn’t up on stage playing. There are a lot of musicians that it would be great to have back, but none deserve to be back more than Mike.

What do you enjoy the most about being a musician? And what do you hate?

The process of making music and playing shows are all awesome. The travel and the business side of things can make it less fun and take a lot of the enjoyment out of it sometimes.

If you could change one thing about the music industry, what would it be?

Find a way for artists to make real money again. The advent of streaming and the digital age has really hit things hard and the music industry was not even close to prepared for what happened.

Name one of your all-time favourite albums?

Metallica – “Ride The Lightning”

What’s best? Vinyl, Cassettes, CD’s or Downloads?

Depends on what you mean by best. Best sounding, I’d say Vinyl. Best for bands, CD’s and Downloads.

What’s the best gig that you have played to date?

There have been some really good ones so it’s hard to pick just one. We’ve played with several large touring bands so all of those were great. We got to play a fair once, after they hadn’t allowed rock to be played for years, and that was awesome because there was a huge turnout and we had people singing along to our songs and it was awesome. But we accidently dropped a bad word and they decided no more Rock or Heavy music again at the fair, lol. So that was definitely one of the most memorable, if not the best.

If you weren’t a musician, what else would you be doing?

I’m also a working Professional Comic Book Artist and Graphic Designer, so if I wasn’t doing music I would still be doing art.

Which five people would you invite to a dinner party?

The other 4 guys in the band and a fan of course :-).

What’s next for the band?

We’re currently working on booking shows for the 2nd half of the year and we are writing music for the next album that we are hoping to release in the first half of 2020.
What Social Media/Website links do you use to get your music out to people?
We use the usual suspects, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter as well as Spotify and all other major streaming outlets. You can go to (https://www.rnctheband.com/) and find most info as well as links to all our social media, album, merch and more.

Jaffa Cakes? Are they a cake or a biscuit?

I don’t have any idea what those are…hopefully I can try some at some point and then I can give you an answer.

Thank you for your time. Is there anything else that you would like to add?

Thank you!! We just want to let everyone know that we are grateful for all the support we’ve been getting and, as I’ve said before, we truly appreciate everyone who has bought the album, streamed the music, attended a show or supported us in any way. We are continuing to book shows and expand our touring areas. Soon we’re hoping to get over to Europe as well and we can’t wait to get to meet many more amazing people from all over!!


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