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by Keavin Wiggins

It was because of bands like the one we are featuring here this month that we started this series. There are so many killer unsigned bands out there that people should know about and Buttonhook is among them. 

After hearing their independently released CD, I’m really amazed that these guys haven’t been signed yet. They fit in with today’s heavy music scene but also bring their own unique perspective to it. The music is powerful and vocals just blew me away. No Scott Stapp here, Roman delivers incredible vocals in the tradition of Chris Cornell. Unlike a lot of modern hard rock band’s Buttonhook isn’t afraid to utilize the “lead” in lead guitar parts. That adds a lot to the music but they keep the leads in the context of the songs and don't go overboard. The songs are solid and you can’t help but hit repeat once the CD is over. 

Buttonhook came to our attention because it features the former guitarist from a band we have been behind since day one, Neurotica. Fans of Neurotica should love these guys since they too a solid rock band, but don’t expect them to sound too similar, Bottonhook has their own things going on and they do it well. This is one of those bands, that as a rock critic that I love hearing. One that you know you’ll have to keep your eye on, because if the stars line up correctly and they catch the breaks they deserve they have it in them to really go places. So join us as we talk to vocalist Roman Carson and Guitarist Mike Gaudreau, true unsigned heroes. And then click on over to their website to find out more about the band and to hear the music for yourself! 

RNW: The standard opening question, how did the band come together?  And where has the journey taken you so far?

Roman: Mike moved up here from Florida after departing from Neurotica because of musical differences, and I had been looking to start a new band. After auditioning 60+ guitarists, I was introduced to Mike by a mutual friend that thought we would click. He and I hooked up and started writing. Soon we found the additional guys to complete the unit.  Steve Iannelli on drums, Curt Taylor additional guitars, and Skyler Ross on bass. The journey has been good so far and gets better with each show and each day. We are in the works to making this a long and productive career.

RNW: where did the name Buttonhook come from?

Mike: From Adam Sandler’s skit with the talking goat.

Roman: He got buttonhooked—taken by surprise.

RNW: What first inspired you to become a musician?

Roman: Seeing the reaction that music can bring to people. It can be so powerful and being on stage and seeing people get off on your music is such an honor.

Mike: Music has always been something I was into and it was something I always wanted to be a part of.

RNW:  You are easily the heaviest band we have featured in this series.  Where would you place your sound in the musical spectrum? In other words, how do you describe yourselves to those haven’t heard you?

Mike: Just heavy rock that still has a melodic feel. In everyday life we are pretty much silly f***ers but our music comes from daily frustrations.

Roman: Frustrations that we feel everyone has. We are just heavy groove with a touch of melodic-ness, guitars that crush, and lyrics that stay true to life.

RNW: If you only had one chance to win a fan over with one song. Which song would you use, that you think best represents what you are all about?

Mike: Boar has the heaviest fattest groove, and it best represents our individual skills.

Roman: I agree with Mike. This song just has so much energy it is fun as hell live. I feel the songs that are newer and not on the disc hold up to who were are as a band as well.

RNW: You pack a pretty mean punch with your vocals, the screams are insane but not overdone so they work great with the music.  I hear a lot of Chris Cornell.  Who are some of your biggest influences?

Roman: I’ve always thought that certain types of vocals should never be overdone. Just like a magician, if he pulled a rabbit out of his hat every 30 seconds it would get old. Vocalists should always stay surprising and tasteful. I have always liked the Beatles, Axl Rose, Freddie Mercury, Soundgarden, and Donnie Vie. 

(Roman just scored major brownie points by mentioning Donnie, my favorite rock vocalist! - keavin)

RNW: What do you think of the current state of hard rock? Any bands that do it for you?

Roman: I think its cool that you can be different and still succeed. You can see that progression. I’m into most of Mike Patton’s stuff, Chili Peppers, Eminem, Queens of the Stone Age.

Mike: Soil, Queens of the Stone Age, Clutch.

RNW: I loved that promo video you guys put up on your website. Where did that idea come from?

Roman: One of the bands that played that show with us came up with it. We thought it was cool so we had it placed on our site.

RNW: I noticed that unlike a lot of modern hard rockin bands, you guys don’t shy away from fully utilizing your lead guitarist. So I have to ask what is your songwriting process like? Do you work on the songs together or is there one of two main songwriters?

Roman: I think there’s a reason a lot of bands don’t utilize their guitarists. We just don’t over do it. Sometimes I’ll come in with melodies for the vocals and will show my ideas on guitar and then it goes from there. Other times Mike brings in guitar parts and we add to them.

Mike: Roman and I are the songwriters. We both listen to different artists but when it comes to writing we always end up with the same vision.

Roman: Curt is starting to add to the writing process. He has not been with us long but is adding so much to us and he writes with the same feel Mike and I do.

RNW: Reading your lyrics, they seem pretty angry and focused on someone being screwed over? Where they inspired by a true life incident or just general anger towards screwed up people in general?

Roman: Well, my childhood was not much of a fun or great experience, and writing has always been a great escape. Nowadays when I look around you can see we don’t live in Happyville. The lyrics in Goodbye Rain go “I think we can give enough to make a change”. But most won’t attempt to.

RNW: You guys are from Atlanta, first question, is it true that there is like a 4 women to each man ratio there?

Roman: Are we counting the transvestites?

RNW: What's the Atlanta music scene like?

Mike: The Scene is split between heavy aggressive and commercial “alternative”. We’ve noticed that people are looking for something new.

Roman: We thought that when we were going to start playing out people would not get us, but the crowds have been totally responsive and into us.

RNW: You guys released your debut CD “Buttonhook/ 101” independently, has there been any interest from bigger labels?

Mike: There’s interest and we are shopping.

RNW: If you land a major deal, would you just re-release your debut or take the best tracks and add some new ones?

Mike: We would take the best of 101 and add to it.

Roman: The newer stuff really crushes but stays melodic.

RNW: I was really impressed with the production of the CD. It's got a killer raw vibe but is actually really polished if you listen closely.  What was your recording process like? Did you record the tracks live and then do over dubs or did you track things individually?

Mike: We did it live, then did overdubs. We worked with Robin Christopher and he did a great job. He was into us and knew how to bring out what we wanted.

Roman: Robin was simply on the same page as us. And that made things so easy and productive.

RNW: What are your personal favorite tracks?

Roman: Me Space, Boar, Goodbye Rain. The hidden track is fun even though we don’t play it live much. It’s called No Ticket and is about wanting to ride a roller coaster just before you see it crash. A lot of times people ask if we are gonna play it live, but that song can really change the pace of the show.

Mike: Me space, Boar, Dunkin. I love the sound of Afraid on the CD.

RNW: do you have any plans to tour nationally behind the CD?

Mike: Oh yeah.

Roman: That’s one of the things we are currently working on.

RNW: What would be your dream tour, the band you would most like to go out on the road with?

Mike: Clutch or a Soundgarden Reunion.

Roman: Guns N’ Roses Reunion. s***, can you imagine how many people we would be in front of each show?

RNW: What do you think is the biggest obstacle for new bands there days to making it in this crazy business?

Mike: Getting your stuff in the right hands, to someone with the same vision.

RNW: You’ve been together a pretty short but so far what has been your proudest moment as a band?

Mike: Starting out and the response we’ve gotten.

Roman: Some of the opportunities we have gotten like having Jasmin St.Claire and the Blue Meanie offer to be on our CD cover. They are awesome and it was cool of them to believe in us and do that for us.  Also the reaction from all the people that hear us. The club owners’ response to us after they see us live. Seeing the fans sing along is always a proud moment.

RNW: On the other side of the coin, what has been worst experience?

Mike: Being shut down for saying ‘f***’.
(it’s times like this that email interviews show their limitations. Wish we could get the full story here. Sounds interesting – Keavin)

Roman: Worst experiences only help for good lyrics. So all experiences are good.

RNW:  Has the internet helped you reach new fans?  Do you think like some that the net will eventually open up the music business or will the major labels still dominate things?

Roman: Labels just have better angles and money. The Net can only help them and the bands reach the masses. Labels will always be important. As for us, we have reached people that we otherwise could not have gotten to so fast without the net.

RNW: What’s next for Buttonhook?

Mike: Touring, hitting the road.

Roman: Pounding the streets and signing a deal. Converting everyone to hookers and hookies (Buttonhook fans).

RNW: Where do you hope to be five years from now?

Roman: On the cover of the Rolling Stone for the 3rd time.

RNW: Finally, what do you want people to take away from your music?

Mike: Like everyone should feel after they go to a concert- energized and excited.

Roman: Wanting more. And on that note to get more visit http://www.buttonhook101.com

Ok now that you know a little about Buttonhook it is time to go to their website and learn more, listen to some of their songs, buy their CD, check for concert dates and just generally find out why they kick ass!
 
 

Know of a great unsigned artist or band? Let us know. 


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