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Welcome to Monday Morning Musical Mayhem: an online series that focuses on musicians, bands, artists, and whoever else in the musical industry that reaches out to us! The goal is help spread the word about people doing rad stuff in the music world! Are you doing rad stuff? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to be featured! xoxoxo
This just in! Mondays still suck ass! But one antidote to the suckage is another interview! This time we head to Montréal, Quebec to chat with Ritchy Nails! He has been fronting a band called the Nailheads for years and has travelled all over the world playing music. Join BRD as we chat with Mr. Nails about his band, secret Quebec delicacies and the merch purchasing tendencies of the fine folks of Hinton, Alberta! Let's gooooo!
BRUTAL REALITY DIGEST: Introduce yourself, your band, and weapon of choice.
RITCHY NAILS: Hello, I’m Ritchy Nails. I’m a singer/songwriter and I formed a band called The Nailheads that I put together back in 2008. The current band features various members of the Nailheads Crew, depending on which members are available at times of recording and touring. My weapon of choice is my music.
BRD: How's Montreal treating you these days? Are you rooting for the Habs or do you not care about hockey?
RN: Montreal, like the rest of the world, has been affected by lockdowns which caused venues to be shut for so long. But it’s slowly re-opening and I’m sure that the scene will reanimate. I’d much rather go and see a Ripcordz record launch than the Habs any day. It doesn’t get much more Montreal than that. Even if Paul Gott were to disagree. Unless Maurice Richard was still alive and playing in the NHL, then I’d skip the Ripcordz show.
BRD: It looks like you've been the main fixture of the band over the years. Can you tell us a bit about how the band was formed?
RN: Before this band started, I was either joining bands or forming bands for many years. None of which would have a long-term approach. And the only consistency was that throughout the whole rigmarole I was writing more and more songs. So, I decided to start a band that wouldn’t be so fleeting so that I’d have an outlet for the increase in songs I’d been writing. The rest is history.
BRD: Everybody thinks of poutine when they think of Quebec but what's another delicious food us Anglos should be eating when we visit your province?
RN: Steamies, no doubt about it. Or as we call them in French, ‘un steamé’. Everyone knows what a hot dog is. But until you’ve had a steamie, you haven’t really experienced a Montreal original. And if you don’t have an all-dressed steamie which is is topped with mustard, chopped onion, and fresh coleslaw, then it’s not really a steamie. I can’t tell you how many early Nailheads shows had back-alley ‘steamie’ chow-downs before the gig.
BRD: You've travelled to quite a few countries playing music. What are some of the highlights that come to mind when you think back on your tours?
RN: The hospitality of the Mexican punks, the heart of the German punks. DJ Greg the Egg and the young punks coming out to see us in Prince George and Chilliwack, BC. Hanging out with Sugar Coated Killers frontman, Sevli Atlantis, in Kelowna, BC. The merch-mad consumers in Hinton, Alberta. The metalheads at The Railhead Saloon in Oklahoma. And it goes on and on.
BRD: If you were on a 20 hour plane ride and could only watch one TV show, which one would you choose?
RN: SCTV, particularly the episodes featuring Roy Orbison, Andraé Crouch, John Mellencamp, Levon Helm & Dr. John as musical guests.
BRD: I'm sure you've played some pretty big shows over the years but who is one band you are still dying to play with?
RN: It’s a pretty fitting question because all the bands that I’d die to play with are already dead, to be honest. But if I had to pick a living artist, it would either be Mavis Staples, Ronnie Spector, Emmylou Harris or John Fogerty. Surprisingly, none of them have been cancelled yet either.
BRD: Did you learn any new skills while you were quarantined over the last year?
RN: I’m learning social media skills that I never thought possible.
BRD: What advice do you have to up and coming musicians who want to tour as extensively as you?
RN: Work hard at being a team player. It’s fundamental for everyone to know their role in a band for it to function properly. You must be able to handle long tours in a van. Never take for granted the kindness and the support of people that help your band out in any way. Treat everyone you meet with equal respect. If they don’t respect you, that doesn’t matter, you’re not responsible for their reputation but only your own.
BRD: Tell us about your plans for the rest of 2021 and beyond!
RN: Who knows? Maybe early retirement only to come out of it with a new album.