Salt Lake City rock n’ roll staples, ROYAL BLISS have casually made their way around the industry for over 20 years. We got a chance to chat with their frontman, NEIL MIDDLETON about the band’s past present and future.
ROYAL BLISS has been a band for over 20 years.. that’s insane! How close are you to the original lineup?
Myself Taylor Richards-guitar, Neal Middleton-vocals, Jake Smith-drums are the originals. Brian Hennesy on bass, has been with us for a year and half.
You recently released your 7th (correct me if i’m wrong) studio album .. what are the new album’s themes, and how does it speak about your experience?
OK- so this might get confusing….but we have officially put out 5 albums.
After The Chaos 2 (2006) Pretty much our first national release, or “real” record. We got screwed over during the recording, the studio essentially took all our money and we left with half of 5 songs recorded.
So we ended up recording the remainder of this album in a living room and kitchen (with now 2-time GRAMMY winner Matt Winegar). This album was a remix/re-record of the original “After the Chaos” Album. Some songs stayed the same, some got remixed and some got re-recorded and we added a few new tunes (Brave and Here They Come).
We had some interest from labels and our management at the time asked us to remix it and add a few new tunes, so we did, there are only 1000 copies of the original. But AFT2 is officially our first national release, distributed by Caroline Records.
Life In-Between (2009) This was our Major Label debut. Capitol Records. Essentially we were signed because the song Devils and Angels was getting airplay and started being the most requested song at those stations. So once the deal was made, we recorded the album inPortland, OR with Rob Daiker and Matt Winegar(who both did the AFT2 Album). I think this album was cut very lively and had that classic feel. It really stepped us up from the local favorites, to a professional rock band. We toured and toured and toured off this album. Save Me, Nothing Wrong, I Was Drunk, and Devils And Angels are the top tracks that still get payed today.
Waiting out The Storm (2012) After parting ways with Capitol, we released this album. Recorded in Nashville, TN with Brian Virtue (30 Seconds to Mars, Chevelle). This was a tumultuous time for RB, after leaving the record label, our bass player left to start a family, and our guitarist left to finish school. But we weathered the storm and came out with one of our most popular songs in RB’s history “CRAZY”.
Chasing the Sun (2014) Funded entirely by our fans through a hugely successful Kickstarter campaign. Recorded in SLC by Matt Winegar. This record had lots of experimentation going on with it. Using electronic drums and synths. The alternative roots shined on this record and it spawned the hits Cry Sister sand Turn Me On that have turned into RB Classics. , The most recent
Self Titled (or The Lion) (2019) This album took over a year to make. The theme of this album was it had to rock! To start off, we recorded the song Devil With Angel Eyes back in Jan of 2018. During this time we were supposed to be on a much needed break. So after we recorded the song, we sent it to a rock radio panel in Las Vegas, where it received rave reviews. Radio and tours started to come in and off we went again on the road. In between tours we went in the studio and cut tow songs at a time until we had enough material to release two full albums. We narrowed it down, and released it April 19th 2019. Pain the lead off single is rising up the rock radio charts! All other releases were either Live/Acoustic albums, or EP’s and singles.
It hasn’t always been an easy go.. you’ve been bruised, beaten and broken, yet still always pushed through. how have you gotten through your hardest times as a band and as individuals?
I don’t know. Just sticking it out. Loving what we do. The fans. The music. Our families support.
You’ve made it through the record label circuit, you’ve been a contestant on NBC’s ‘The Voice’ and you now run a kick-ass venue in SLC called ‘THE ROYAL’ – which is a dream for many DIRTBAGS – how did you decide to take this route?
The route was never what we expected. But its what we do. The whole venue thing came about when Neal was talking to a long time friend and old venue owner that we used to play back in the day. She had sold that place and was itching to start a new venture. She and Neal found a spot. We did some remodeling. They brought me on board for the booking side of things. I also used to work at her old venue booking all the bands, so it was a seamless transition. The Royal. Our home in Salt lake City. Our bar. Our venue. And many other bands have played there, from BuckCherry, POD to Fortunate Youth and Brett Young. We’ve been open for 6 years now. And it has been a wild ride. All of it really. But we keep building and building and building and its kind of like our own little empire now.
What is next for ROYAL BLISS?
We’ve got our tour with Hinder coming up in July and August. Some “can’t announce yet” tours in Sep/Oct. Then we’re playing with KISS on their Kiss Kruise in November. And I’m pretty sure there’s another record already recorded and ready for release next year.