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These Bulls Are Heading Straight Into Your iPods and a Town Near You: Nashville's Run With Bulls, Minus The BULLSH*T!!

Nashville, Tennessee is a town known for music but often a very specific type of music.  Think overly quaffed and bedazzled, Nudie-suited and booted, and don't even get me started about "New Country".  Well, I'm here to tell ya, there is a rich and vibrant underground in Music City that is every bit as rich and diverse as any other music capital in the country.  One shining example is Nashville's Run With Bulls.  This power trio comprised of Brad Sample (vocals/guitar), Chris James (bass), and Philip Turner (drums) make a very exciting and polished racket!  The band combines well-crafted songwriting with excellent musicianship to create a sound that is uniquely familiar.  Blurring the line of what Southern Rock, Country, Blues, and Pop can sound like when handled by hungry, talented, and honest musicians.  Below is my interview with RWB's Brad Sample.  I recently met the band at the Austin City Limits Festival, where their barn-burning mid-afternoon set compelled me to want to know more about these Southern gentlemen.  They couldn't have been nicer and I truly hope they make it to the West Coast soon! 

So give us bit of background on the band. How long have you all been together?
Other bands you were involved in, how you all met, etc.?

We have been playing together for about three years. Chris and I (our bass player) have been playing together for about four.  I was doing a solo thing at that time and needed a bass player for gigs that I had coming up in a few days.  A friend suggested Chris, I said no, he told him to come try out anyway. I was pretty pissed when he showed up at rehearsal because I was just planning on writing and getting some arrangements down with the drummer, but he sounded killer, knew the stuff, played the gigs the very next day, and we've been making music together ever since.  We found Philip a similar way.  We were hard up for a drummer, and I ended up running into him at a church.  I asked him who he liked, he said a few bands, I said "you're hired, can you practice tomorrow and play two gigs this weekend"  Ha!  He came to practice, and honestly Chris and I were planning on just using him for those two gigs and firing him, but he was SO good that we couldn't.  We really started digging the three piece thing and when we singed with our management company in '09' and we came up with the name.  I played in tons of other bands before this one, so did Chris and Philip.  We still do a good bit of gun slinging on our own when we have free time.

What were some early influences? Are there bands out there that you think, “That’s the kind of career I want.”

Early influences for me would have to be bands like The Black Crowes, Joe Cocker, Buddy Miller (who is my favorite artist and guitar player ever) Stevie Wonder, Steve Winwood, Nirvana, The Police, Oasis, Tom Waits, RadioHead.  Stuff like that.   As far as a career I would love to model?  I'd have to say somebody like Jackson Brown.  He got to write and play for EVERYBODY! He had a great career of his own, I mean, the guy was a superstar. And he still tours thirty five years later.  I think that would be pretty great and I think the boys would dig something like that as well.

Run With by Alyssa Dawson

How would you describe the band’s sound?

We like to call it Nashville Rock.  I think it falls in the new wave of southern rock pretty well with bands like The Kings of Leon, Parlor Mob, Jet, stuff like that.  There is a good bit of just throw down, good time jamming.  But I feel like we try and bring a bit of thought to it as well.  You know.  We try to not always just bang on stuff and yell really loud.  Ha! 

How are the songs written?  Is there one songwriter or is it more collaborative?

Lately we've been trying to write as much of the stuff together as we can.  Someone will have an idea for a groove, and we'll build on that.  Songs like "Shake This" and "Arrhythmia Shuffle" were written that way.  Now obviously songs like "Break My Heart" and "Follow the Light" are a little more of a story so it's hard to get a flow going with three mouths shooting out ideas.  So stuff like that is usually written by one just one member.

What are some of the things or themes that inspire a song?

I think most anything can inspire a song.  Girls and heartbreak usually seem to be good fodder for a tune!  But we also like to write about what we see around us.  I think something that hits us really hard lately is the numbness, mediocrity and complacency that seams to be choking our generation.  It's pretty loud to us so we write a lot about that.

I hear names like Jason and the Scorchers and Kings of Leon mentioned when describing you guys…. How do you feel about those comparisons?

I think we're all pretty flattered for the most part.  Jason and the Scorchers...Great band!  Kings of Leon...Great band!  Doesn't bother me in the least.  I will say though, that I think a lot of those comparisons come, first of all because we're from Nashville, and second because we have guitar solo's in our music.  Which really doesn't happen that often anymore.  I don't necessarily think that we "sound" a ton like those bands, but we sure don't mind being in their company.

What is the Nashville scene like for bands like Run With Bulls who seem to be operating outside of the “traditional Music City” machine?

It good and bad.  It's good because when you have people that hear you and then find out you are a band from Nashville they go "MAN!  I can't believe that you all sound like that!  I thought only country came out of Nashville."  It's also good because their are SO many amazing players in this town, you have to get your chops up quick to stay alive.  It's bad sometimes because the business side of the city, very often, has no idea what to do with you.  At almost every gig in Nashville we hear from some executive "HOLY CRAP!!!  That's the best thing I've ever heard!"  And to that we say "Great, what do you think you can do with it?" and they respond "Ooooo... Well I'll have to check with our marketing team and see if they think they'll have time to mess with a rock act right now...You know we just signed another big boobed blond chick who can't sing worth a shit, but is hot as hell and people don't seem to mind that when she opens her mouth it sounds like cows incubating and giving birth to an alien race that is going to take over the world...Ya so she's taking up a lot of our resources...But! We'll be sure to keep you on our radar and give you a call in a couple weeks."  It's been a couple of weeks for a long time for us...Ha!  But we're making headway and I know we're all glad for, and proud to be from Nashville Tennessee. 

Tell me a bit about your recorded work? What label, who produced it, was there a sound in mind or record that guided the recording process?

The record we have out now is our first project.  We did it with the faithful and amazing backing of our management company R&D Management.  They really gave us all the freedom we could have ever asked for.  We got a travel studio rig, found a couple spaces around town we, first of all, could get into and use, and second, really liked the sound of.  Most of the songs we're cut in our friend Jay Woodard's barn.  We fondly call it "Woodard's Woodshed Studios".  A good few we also cut in our friend Katy Branson's house in East Nashville.  We call it the "Branson Mansion".  The record was self produced, and as far as sounds or a sonic footprint goes, we really wanted it to feel like a good Run With Bulls show.  We wanted it to be full of energy and grit, but also knew we could not put out some crap live recordings and call it good.  I wanted it to feel like you were standing in our rehearsal space feeling the sweat come flying off foreheads, seeing the blood on the guitar strings, feeling the sweetness of the brokenhearted, and wanting to call every one of your friends and say "GET THE HELL OVER HERE RIGHT NOW!!!"  So we set out to track as much of it live as we could while still getting really great sounds.  The records I was constantly referring my ears to were Nevermind by Nirvana, Ghost in the Machine by the Police, Pablo Honey, by RadioHead, and Californication by The Red Hot Chili Peppers.  I wanted to make sure we were filling it out with just the three instruments, and I really think we got there.  The record is trashy, but smooth, aggressive, but really sweet in some places, and I think all around pleasing to the ear.

Live you guys really put on a fiery show, how has the road and touring affected the bands sound?

Fiery Indeed...
Ha!  Thanks first of all.  Live is where we live.  We love playing.  We play as much as we can... We play early shows, we play late shows, we play three shows a night, we play covers that we have to make up the words to because drunk people will not stop yelling them out.  We just really love to play.  That said I think the sound has kind of developed itself because live is our priority.  We try and make sure that anything you would ever hear on a RWB recording would be warmly and accurately represented at a live show.

Any plans on touring the West Coast?
We'd love to and there is always a "plan" but funding and promo has to fall into play.  I think we're going to hit a few spots on the West Coast next year.

Where would you like to see Run With Bulls be in the next couple of years?

Ruling the world.

Who is a typical Run With Bulls fan?

I think the typical RWB fan is someone that really loves music.  I know that sounds silly but that's the only consistency I can come up with.  We played a gig this weekend a a kid who was wearing a Nirvana shirt and looked like he was thirteen came up to us and said "Man!  I love you guys.  I heard you on the radio five months ago and have been waiting and waiting for you all to play a show that I could get into around here!"  At that very same show we had a guy who had to have been sixty come up and said "Thank you all so much for playing Rock and Roll!  I really miss hearing that stuff" Haha!  It was great. 

If you guys could work with anyone who would they, he or she be?

I'd love to work with Ethan Johns. I'm a huge fan.  Actually heard some of his first works in Tumbling Ground a little record by a guy named Kevin Prosch recorded in the early nineties. But I really love what he does with rooms and instruments.  Love that first Kings Of Leon record he did and the early Ryan Adams stuff is killer too.  Obviously it would be really neat to work with somebody like Rick Ruben or something just because he's so hugely talented and awesome. 

Who is singing harmony on the song “Follow the Light”?

That would be the beautiful and talented Miss Natalie Prass.  Everyone really should check her stuff out.  It will blow your mind.  She's a good friend and one of our favorite artist around town.

Anything you want our readers to know about Run With Bulls they may not know?

Ya, look out!

Duvet puts Brad Sample through "The Wringer" for these Ridiculous but Necessary Questions”

What is your favorite cheese?  Irish salted monk cheddar 

REO Speedwagon or Journey?  Oh geese...Journey...Duh! 

Beverley Hills 90210 or Gossip Girl?  Hmmm?  I'm going to have to go with Gossip Girls...That blond chick...Woa...

Taylor Swift or Miranda Lambert?  Ooooo, that's tough...I'm going to have to say....Taylor... because she's the reason for the tear drops on my guitar.

A month in the van with anyone (your pick)?  C.S. Lewis I think....Or Jimi Hendrix!  Damn I can't pick.

Run With Bulls EP Brand New Tongue Available on

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