Hi Everyone. Welcome to our new EMQ’s interview with Boston, Massachusetts based Hard Rock band Renegade Cartel! 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?

We are Renegade Cartel. Vic and Stephen started with a totally different line-up. After 4 drummers, 3 bassists, and 2 rhythm guitar players, we finally settled on the Power Trio line-up we have now. We’re well equipped with 21 original songs on an EP and our upcoming debut LP. Feel free to groove with us

How did you come up with your band name?

As Star Wars nerds, we wanted something close to the “Rebellion”. Renegade was a cool choice, so we needed a type of group. We ride as the Cartel, because everyone knows the cartels are no joke. Renegade Cartel is a group of musicians that are rebelling against the cover scene. We have only a small window on this earth to make a mark. We intend on doing that by playing originals.

What country are you from and what is the Metal/Rock scene like there?

We are from the USA and the rock scene here is ABYSMAL. There is nothing new here. To quote Steven Wilson from Porcupine Tree fame, “How is it that one of the birthplaces of Rock and Roll and there is no music among the top hits?” But we think the country is hungry for it. It’s all underground right now, but we want to be part of the resurgence.

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

We are releasing our debut album “Dear World” on October 31st, 2019. It’s coming up close and we are super stoked to share it with everyone. With a little hard rock, blues, classic rock, and groove, we hope there is something for everyone.

Who have been your greatest influences?

We are inspired by a ton 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. A bunch of rock artists. Vic’s heroes are Slash, Jimmy Page, Rich Robinson, Eddie Van Halen, and Marc Ford. 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 first got you into music?

Well for me, I heard Metallica’s ‘Unforgiven’. The amazing blend of hard rock/metal verses, and the laid back, clean verses really showcased their breadth and it immediately made me want to sing and play guitar. From there on out, it was all about Metallica for a while. I’ve always credited James Hetfield for making me the musician I am today.

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

Oh man. Of course my first choice would be James Hetfield. I don’t care who’s singing or who’s playing what instrument. Anything he touches is gold. But I’d also love to work with Myles Kennedy on some vocal harmonies. dUg Pinnick on vocals/bass/guitar. I’m sure the other guys would love to work with anyone of their heroes, as would I.

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

I always wanted to play Ozzfest. That was THE festival growing up. I want Main Stage though, or headlining second stage with Rob Zombie \m/! I wanted in on ‘Orion’ by Metallica but that was short lived. My old band had a change playing with Locobazooka opening for Alice in Chains when they reunited with the new singer, but they wanted us to front an absurd amount of money. I guess I’d love to do the Family Values tour and try to get arrested like Rammstein. Haha!

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

Nothing has been too weird to answer this really. I wish I had a good story for this but I really don’t. I guess I could say that fans give me a gift of a “compliment”, as in “Oh you remind me so much of Meatloaf, I mean that in a good way!” What a compliment…

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

You guys aren’t fans. You are our friends, our family, and our lifeblood. You keep us going through every show, release, comment, photo, anything! We are so happy you come along with us for this ride, and I hope we can continue on and provide you with more rock and roll as time goes on. Thank you for everything!

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

Man, that’s tough. I want Chris Cornell back. Is that selfish, considering he didn’t want to be here? I don’t want to bring him back if he will continue on suffering. How about Bowie? I know he was almost 70, but I never got to see him live. Again, another selfish reason!

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

I love the feeling of playing. Pouring my heart and soul into my song and seeing the reaction from the crowd. That’s all that matters to me, that the crowd can groove to what we’re doing. Of course, we love our own songs, but when that room is pulsating with the many that are hungry for new rock, and they cheer us on, we are in euphoria.

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

Bring back the old days where people used to give a chance. Bring back the old days where a rock artist had even the slightest chance. I’d also like to make it so that independent artists make more money from streaming and stuff like that. I mean, our music isn’t more valuable, but we pay and struggle harder that the people on the inside. It would certainly be nice if a few hundred listens equalled even one album sale. It takes a lot.

Name one of your all-time favourite albums?

Metallica’s Self Titled, or “The Black Album”. It’s chock full of amazing tunes, and it’s the entire reason I play music. Before that, I had listened to some terrible music. I mean I always listened to Prince, which ended up becoming a huge influence for me. But ‘Enter Sandman’. C’mon, it’s only dumped on because it’s been played a bajillion times. ‘Sad But True’ ripping, ‘Of Wolf And Man’ tearing, and being able to chill with ‘Nothing Else Matters’, and ‘My Friend Of Misery’. Just an amazing album overall!

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

I love Vinyl most. I have to have a physical copy of something if I love the band. I have a complete Metallica collection and Bowie collection on vinyl. Plus much more! My second is CD’s. I know that Tape is a superior fidelity format to all but I can’t be bothered by sticking a pencil into the wheel and rewinding.

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

We had a real awesome gig opening for Damon Johnson of Brother Cane/Thin Lizzy recently that not only went superb, but had Damon praising us. It was such an honour that he liked our stuff, as I’m a huge fan of him. But the BEST gig so far? Probably something up at Live@212, one of our favourite places to play in Maine. It’s a bit of a drive, but the place is awesome, the owner is an amazing host, and the people are so accepting. Love it.

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

I’d probably just be doing what I do now, but no music. I work full time as a security systems integrator. I’d probably be travelling as much as possible. I recently went to Tokyo and would love to be back there. There are so many places I want to see. I’d be working, saving up the dough, and travelling. It would be awesome if I could do that as a tour. Two birds, one stone!

Which five people would you invite to a dinner party?

Like, just regular? Or celebrities? Umm my mum, my sister, the boys in the band, and my other bandmate. Is that hard pressing journalism or what?! Hahaha, sorry for my horrible Jimmy Carr style sarcasm! I’d have David Bowie, Prince, James Hetfield, Chris Cornell, and dUg Pinnick over. We’d talk about music, I suppose. I’d love to have just one dinner chatting with all of them. Absolutely wild!

What’s next for the band?

We will continue to push the album as far as it can go, hopefully touring off of it until the end of 2020. By then we may have enough material for another LP or at least and EP. We hope it takes off, gets picked up by someone, and we can tour the world, making people happy with our songs! It may be a pipe dream, but sometimes dreams come true.

What Social Media/Website links do you use to get your music out to people?

We’re all over Facebook and Instagram. Twitter is kinda meh for us, but we still post! We’re getting into the Facebook live shows, and uploading videos to YouTube and all that stuff. We’ve paid for all the fancy streaming places like Spotify and Apple Music. The stuff is up for sale on Amazon and Google Play, We’ve got the original EP streaming everywhere, including the hub where you can reach all of our social media, up at RenegadeCartel.com – we also have a bunch of cool media up there too, if you want to check it out!

Jaffa Cakes? Are they a cake or a biscuit?

Jaffa Cakes are heaven. Here I’d call them a cookie, so maybe a biscuit. But I’m a huge fan of anything that tastes like oranges, so if I open a pack, I’m pretty sure I’ll eat them all. And I wonder why I have trouble losing weight! Do a lot of people from the US know Jaffa Cakes? I consider myself so lucky to have indulged in them!

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

Rock and Roll forever. God Save the Queen. Thank YOU for your time.



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