THE YOUNG ROYALS BRING THE HEAVY
By Michelle Spencer
Blasting through the bullshit, The Young Royals play solid rock ‘n’ roll. On their latest EP Prelude To a Good Heavy, they unleash the perfect combination of furious guitars, melodic angst, and meaningful lyrics with a force that doesn’t stop until the final chord is set free. This Monday, June 25th, they take it live at the House of Blues with Steel Panther. Recently, PressPassLA had the chance to sit down with lead vocalist/guitarist Eric Bradley.
Here's what Eric had to say about late-night inspiration, rock gods, and playing music straight from the gut.
PPLA: How did The Young Royals meet?
ERIC: Jason (guitar, vocals), and I worked together in Hollywood. When I was working at Guitar Center on Sunset, we stole him away from another nearby music store to sell vintage guitars. We became friends, and he’s been with me since the band began in 2007. Before we were The Young Royals, we were called Melt. But there was a band in Boston that owned the name, so I changed it. Jason replaced the guitar player that was in Melt, and Melt became The Young Royals. I’d say it’s primarily my band, and I’ve moved people in and out of it. Our original drummer, Josh Howser, and bass player, Adam Stanger, and myself—we played with Jerry Cantrell from Alice In Chains. But currently, Eric Leiderman is on drums and Shane Soloski plays the bass. Eric and I met playing with an artist named Pearl (Meat Loaf’s daughter). And Shane and I played in a Zeppelin/Beatles cover band from 2002 - 2006.
PPLA: What is your favorite song to play live?
ERIC: We have one called “Sunrise” which is a war protest song. I get influenced a lot when I come home late at night, turn on the TV with the sound down, watch something and just start playing along with it. I was watching a soldier’s story of endless bombings in Iraq, but he had hope. When they’re in the helicopter in the desert and the sun comes up, it’s one of the most beautiful things. Like, we’ll keep going. And that’s the point of the song. It’s a rock jam with dueling guitar solos—so it’s really fun to play live. We also have a song called “Falling Off the Bone” that I love to play. Those are probably my two favorites. And the first song we play is always fun—“Spilled Milk” or whatever it may be. It’s always exciting to just go, “Here we are!”
PPLA: I listened to your EP today. “Roll Me Over” kind of reminded me of Guns ‘n’ Roses. And “Falling Off the Bone’” made me think of Them Crooked Vultures or Queens of the Stone Age. Were these influences intentional?
ERIC: I don’t necessarily think they’re intentional. “Roll Me Over” was written by my guitar player, a huge Queens of the Stone Age fan. And without a doubt, he was probably extremely influenced by that. But I wrote “Off the Bone” before I knew there was a Them Crooked Vultures. Basically, our kind of rock music is distilled down to the four basic rock food groups—The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd and Black Sabbath.
PPLA: Since those are your main four, if The Young Royals could hang out with one of those bands for a night (and the Beatles were all still alive), which would you choose?
ERIC: The Beatles, without a doubt. I would flip out if I ever met any Beatle. I’m a huge John Lennon [fan]. He’s absolutely my biggest influence. As a songwriter, a singer, personally—just the whole thing. I did meet Robert Plant once when we played with Pearl’s band. We were opening for Velvet Revolver, and Robert Plant’s son’s band was the second support, but I didn’t know it. We were driving from London up to Birmingham, and they were talking about how he was going to be there. But I slept the whole way—I was jetlagged. And then we get there, soundchecked, and the kid’s band played and they sounded totally like Led Zeppelin. And they’re like, “Yeah, that’s Robert Plant’s kid on drums. He’s gonna be here.” I was like, “No!” So that night, after we played, we met Robert Plant backstage, and he told me I was a good guitar player.
PPLA: Were you about ready to hump his leg? Like, “Oh my God!”
ERIC: I was just…in shock. That was like the greatest night ever! How could I ever top this? Well, the next night, we’re playing with his kid’s band again. And we’re sharing a dressing room, at this point. And he comes into the dressing room and just starts talking to us like he’s a normal person. He was really nice…like, (emulates British accent) “Don’t call me Robert. Call me Bob.” He sounds like C-3PO when he talks. He couldn’t be any more gracious. I mean, he doesn’t have anything to prove. He’s Robert motherf$#king Plant. Super-cool guy. And…do you remember that skit on Saturday Night Live, when Chris Farley was like, “Y-y-y-y-ou were in the Beatles?” I turned into that guy. I couldn’t talk to him! He’d ask me a question, and I’d be like, “Maahaaaaa…” Finally, he leaves the dressing room to walk his kid’s band to the stage, and I run down the hallway: “Is he gone?” I come back into the dressing room and just scream at the top of my lungs like, “F%&KKKKK!” Then, after the show that night…probably the hardest thing to see was Robert Plant helping his son load his drums—like the doting dad—into the back of the Range Rover. We’re like, “We can’t watch! Does not compute! Robert Plant can’t be a dad. He’s the Golden God!” It was pretty hardcore. That was a good time.
PPLA: What was the first record you remember listening to that inspired you to want to be a musician?
ERIC: Sgt. Pepper’s. I was five or six years old. I had an older brother who showed me how to use the record player. And the cover of the record just looked cool. So, I came home from school, put it on and turned it up. I grabbed a tennis racket, stood on top of the table and pretended I was in the band—rocking out. And my grandma walked in. She’s like, (yelling) “What are you doing on the table?” I was like, “Wow, I’m doing something cool if she’s freaking out.”
PPLA: You were like, “I play the racket.”
ERIC: Yeah, I played the racket. We had a piano in the house and a Beatles big-note songbook. I taped letters of the notes to the piano and figured out how to play melodies. I remember going to a friend’s house and they had a keyboard. I was a bit of a showoff, so I was like, “Oh, I know how to play.” And my friend’s mom was like, “Okay. What do you know how to play?” And I started playing “Yesterday” by the Beatles. She’s like, “What? You’re seven!” I taught myself that. And I started playing guitar when I was nine.
PPLA: Do you have an EP or full-length album coming out?
ERIC: We just put out our EP, available on TheYoungRoyals.com and on iTunes. And we’ve been working on new stuff that’s really cool. We’re going to try to put out a whole record by the end of this year. You can also hear our songs on Spotify, Soundcloud and the other music sites. It’s difficult, though. The concept of ‘making it’ has changed so much. If you have a product and you know how to market it—it wouldn’t matter if what you were doing was any good. And I’m kind of the reverse. I do what I think I need to do. There’s so much music out there, so you just try to make the best music you can. Hopefully, people will find it and go, oh, this is really good.
PPLA: But the more exposure you have, the more it generates awareness for your band.
ERIC: Absolutely. You’re just competing with so much. Actually, this year, we had two songs—“Sugar Blues” and “Cut You Down”—on a movie soundtrack called Loosies, which stars Peter Facinelli, from the Twilight series. Apparently, people liked it. I get people finding us on Facebook from Russia, Japan, Thailand, that are just like, “Wow! That opening song was great!”
PPLA: What’s the one thing that people should know about The Young Royals?
ERIC: We’re an honest rock ‘n’ roll band. There are no tracks going. We’re gonna play loud. We’re gonna play heavy. We’re gonna mean it. Our songs all come from a place of integrity. Whatever the feeling is, it’s going to be very honest, very in-your-face. I just want people to recognize that, collectively, in our group, there’s over 100 years experience playing live rock ‘n’ roll music. We’re seasoned. When you hear it and see it, you get it.
PPLA: Anything else you’d like to say about music?
ERIC: I would hope when people hear our music, if they were going to play music, too—they try to adopt that same sort of mentality. No matter what kind of music you play, make sure it’s from the gut.
Purchase tickets to their House of Blues Show with Steel Panther this Monday!