Shaking off the Rust: An interview with J.D. Eubanks
An interview by Kris Kielich
When you’re a world class chef and a hard rock vocalist, it’s no wonder that life can get overwhelming. But for J.D. EUBANKS, former vocalist of Failure Anthem and current vocalist/songwriter for the brand new hard rock project RUST, both cooking and music are a way to overcome the stresses of life. And with a brand new single, “Fever,” that speaks of overcoming depression and anxiety, he’s poised to raise his voice to make an impact once again.
Eubanks, a former executive chef of the National WWII Museum in his home of New Orleans, Louisiana, has cooked for some of the top politicians in the country, but when it comes to his music, he knows the importance of raising the spirits and using rock and roll to give some light to the ordinary listeners and fans on the other end. I spoke with Eubanks about his new project and how he navigated two careers to start his musical journey again.
Q: After leaving Failure Anthem, you took a journey of your own to find your way back to music. Was that something that was always in the back of your mind, or did the desire come rushing back all at once? Did it take a lot to work your way back?
Eubanks: I’ve always done music since I was very young. My father was a drummer in a blues band and was always passionate about old blues and rock and roll records. I’ve been around music most my life. The whole chef thing, I’ve been doing since I was in high school and it was always a trade of mine. After I had my son I knew I could fall back on it. I had always missed music when I left Failure Anthem, but a year afterwards I was thinking about doing another band. I had some people hit me up from bigger groups. I held off, and I wanted to wait on the right thing. I got a call from a friend of mine who did some recording and that’s how I started to write again.
Q: Did you bring lessons you learned from Failure Anthem, or did you come in with a totally new ethos?
A: It was a totally new mindset, but I was inspired by what I did in Failure Anthem. This has a bit more crunch, and I wanted to show my metal roots in Rust, on top of the hard rock stuff I’ve done. (Co-founder) Chad Moseby and I met up and the first song we did was “Fever,” and we decided to co-write with Joshua Landry. We all had common interactions with people we already knew. Chad and I both have families and he’s a great writer. Through the next month we’ll have twelve songs done.
Q: New Orleans has such a rich history with your two passions: food and music, especially in Hard Rock and Metal. Do you find the city naturally has a creative influence in driving you to create the music you make, and how so?
A: I definitely do. One of the reasons I’m so excited to be working with the people we are, is that Joshua Landry is from New Orleans. There’s an eeriness and the interesting magical vibe of New Orleans. There’s a lot of songs you hear in the future that have that vibe. A lot of these songs were inspired by our surroundings. You can walk down the street and hear jazz or see someone reading tarot. There’s so much to be inspired by.
Q: I’ve brought this up with other hard rock musicians but I can remember the late 2010’s was the end of an era when it comes to hard rock being played on the radio. Growing through different bands all the way to now, what is the process like now in starting a solid, true to form hard rock band in 2019? What’s changed for you and how do you adapt?
A: To me, the music industry in the general has moved into this DIY mindset, and there’s still some great labels and management. I think you really have to think about the social media aspect and your digital presence. It’s almost more important than the band members. If you don’t pay attention to that, you won’t grasp the full effect. You have to push your music across those waves. Having the right members and the core of the band is still important, and we just wanted to release some memorable music. It’s all about the songwriting. If you don’t have solid songs, you won’t even get noticed. You can go to guitar center and get a decent recording rig, and everybody’s writing music these days. In the 90’s and early 2000’s it wasn’t as accessible, so you have that to keep in mind.
Q: The new single “Fever” feels like a return to form to that era, but it’s got some cool industrial edges and it’s even heavier than some of your past work. Can you talk about the story behind the song and the ideas you had while making it?
A: The song is about your inner demons, and how when you have something you love so much right in front of you, sometimes those things get smothered by anxiety, stress and depression. You kind of have that moment to figure it out and push through it. It’s a song that pushes the limits of the imagination. In this day in age, you work hard like always, but it’s a harder grind to keep your head above water. I think it can resonate with a lot of people. There’s so much going on in the world and in ourselves, and music is that voice that we can use to speak. “Fever” is a great introduction to what we’re doing as a band.
Q: With future releases, can you give any details on where you guys want to go on a record or any word on themes or sounds you’re going to bring to the table?
A: We’ve recorded a song called “Devil’s Paradise” and we’ll release that next. We have several other songs, one of which is called “Ritual” and it’s a deep, heartfelt song. Our lyrics touch the darker side but there’s inspiration to be found in the darkness. It’s important to remind yourself about that light that can be found and give that light to others. We do that by talking about the things no one wants to talk about.
I am very proud to host this interview with J.D. EUBANKS by our Senior Editor and music journalist Kris Kielich. To find out more about Kris, sneak peek into his music background and bio at:
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