David and Jason from the Rustic Overtones (Rock/Jazz/Funk) Band Interview
1.What inspired your passion for music and who has been there supporting you from the beginning?
Jason Ward(guitar): When I was younger, I really loved the feeling of playing in a group, be it marching band, jazz band, and so on. I didn’t really have a concrete plan on starting a band, I just liked playing with other people. I had parents that knew I had a love of music and supported me, although I’m certain they were worried about me doing this for a living.
Dave Gutter(vocals, songwriter): I was inspired most by sucking at everything else I tried to do.
2. How do you feel about people downloading music rather than buying physical copies?
Jason Ward: If downloading is done legally, I have no issue. We in this culture love convenience, and sites like iTunes and Rhapsody fill that need. I do love having the actual album since I’m a geek for artwork, liner notes, and looking at the album as a concept rather than an impulse buy.
Dave Gutter: Recorded music in a way is an advertisement for musicians. I think it should be free, and people should go to more concerts.
3. How do you feel about the music industry today?
Jason Ward: Aside from the business model changing, where record labels and even commercial radio have waned, I don’t know if there’s much difference from where it was 10 years ago. For every Radiohead or Arcade Fire you have a musical atrocity like a Rebecca Black or Justin Beiber. The modern record industry does turn out a few good records, probably by accident. It also turns out a lot of sub-standard crap. Unfortunately people will buy it since as a culture we don’t demand better music. So the major labels keep shoveling it to us.
Dave Gutter: The “music industry today” is only make believe.
4. Where do you see yourself five years from now?
Dave Gutter: In 5 years I will most likely be drinking coffee or beer with Steadman.
5. Do you think singer/songwriters are the best interpreters of their own work or do you believe some cover versions can be better than the original?
Jason Ward: I think it’s special when we hear a songwriter sing their own material, but an artist can take someone else’s song and interpret it like no other. I always thought Aretha Franklin did a far superior version of “Bridge Over Troubled Water” than Simon and Garfunkel. It all depends what an artist can give to a song and how they phrase it and make it their own.
Dave Gutter: I like cover versions of songs when they offer something the original doesn’t already have. I hate copycats.
6. Who have you always dreamt of working with and why? How would you go about accomplishing this?
Jason Ward: I listened to Prince intently as a teenager, so I always thought it would be the ultimate to work with him. How to accomplish…..uh, rush the stage with my saxophone?
Dave Gutter: I would like to some day collaborate with Oprah Winfrey, cuz I would get rich quicker. I would go about doing so by making friends with Steadman over the course of the next five years.
7. As you are starting out your career in the music industry what steps do you plan on taking to reach your goal?
Jason Ward: I’ve been in the industry for over 20 years and counting. All I ever wanted to do as a musical goal was play on a stage in front of people and move them. Mission accomplished.
Dave Gutter: Captivate people.
8. Have you found that as you are starting out your career in the music industry there are aspects that have taken you completely by surprise. If so, what are they?
Jason Ward: In over 20 years, nothing has surprised me.
Dave Gutter: I was surprised at the lack of drugs at the top. There’s more at the bottom.
9. What is the greatest thing about working in the music industry? And what would you change if you had the opportunity?
Jason Ward: Practicing and playing live. I wouldn’t change a thing, since the ride has been all worth it.
Dave Gutter: The only good thing within the music industry is the access to other talented musicians, other than that I’d torch it all.
10. If you could have asked anyone for advice when you were starting out. Who would you have liked to ask? What would you have liked to ask? What would be your answer now?
Jason Ward: People who give you advice usually give it to you without you asking for it, and the advice is useless anyway. It makes it hard to see things clearly. A lot of the things I learned I did without asking anyone and then I made value decisions from there.
Dave Gutter: I would have asked “Hey can I borrow some money to make a record?” Today I would answer “No”.
11. From your experience in the entertainment industry what advice could you offer people looking to get where you are today?
Jason Ward: Go to law school instead!
Dave Gutter: Do whatever it takes put your music first
12. What courses/classes would you recommend someone take if they want to be a professional in the music industry?
Jason Ward: You definitely need to learn how to play. There are far too many rock “stars” that can neither play or sing and are not committed or don’t give a shit to getting better on either skill. If that’s you, quit NOW. The world doesn’t need another mediocre musician. Don’t keep bashing out three-chord bullshit. You need theory, composition, arranging, etc. but you also need to invest the time to improve your instrumental/vocal and songwriting skills.
Dave Gutter: Writing lyrics is an aspect of music that gets swept under the rug. Screw guitar lessons, learn to write how you feel.
13. How many years were you fighting to get to where you are today and what was that time in your life like?
Jason Ward: Part of being a musician is the struggle, for me it has never changed. The fight is the best part.
Dave Gutter: Part of being a musician is the struggle, for me it has never changed. The fight is the best part.
14. From your experience so far, what have you found to be most challenging? And how are you dealing with it?
Jason Ward: Balancing a music career with an actual life. I’m still working on it…
Dave Gutter: I find the hardest part of being a musician is keeping a girlfriend. It’s hard not to resent such a self-indulgent career.
15. Share with us your proudest moment in your career so far?
Jason Ward: There’s been a few…recording with David Bowie, playing with Ray Lamontagne, Soulive, etc. But there’s been more than one young musician that has come up to me and has said that our band inspired him/her to play music. That’s an incredible feeling; that you can affect someone that much to change the course of their life.
Dave Gutter: My proudest moment was David Bowie introducing me to Joey Ramone.
Dave Gutter recommends the band White Denim.
Rustic Overtones highly recommend the Port City Music Hall, the Brickhouse in Dover, and Putnam Den in Saratoga Springs, NY.
Rustic Overtones recommends the Steel Jams Festival in Bethlehem, PA.