Review Fix chats with Television City’s singer/songwriter and guitarist Brian Raleigh who discuss their debut album, detailing its creation process, the band’s origin and goals and what makes them special.
Review Fix: How did the band get together?
Brian Raleigh: After my last band broke up, I recorded a Christmas single called “The Night Johnny Thunders Saved Christmas” with Garret, Kristin and Dave and I called it, for whatever reason, Television City. Probably because I used to live down the block from the television studio in LA. Anyway, it turned out pretty good and always thought that if I ever got the foolish idea to put another band together, that they would be the first folks I would call. A few years later I got a foolish idea to put another band together, I called them and they said “sure”.
Review Fix: What’s your creative process like?
Raleigh: It’s funny, I know a lot of songwriters that are very disciplined and write like four hours a day, or something. I’ve never been like that. Sometimes I wish I were, I’d probably have ten more albums out, but I’m not. I just try to be open to inspiration when it comes and take advantage of it. It’s kind of like fishing for me. I always try to have a line in the water and when I feel a nibble, I try to reel it in. Sometimes it gets away, sometimes I throw it back, and sometimes I actually catch something and bring it home.
Review Fix: What inspires you guys?
Raleigh: I think we are just inspired by great rock ’n roll. We are all music nerds. I still listen to music all day long. I’m always obsessed with some era of Springsteen. But I also make a concerted effort to seek out new stuff. Lilly Hiatt put out a record last year that really inspired me to be as open and as vulnerable as I could with this record. The new Low Cut Connie record is fantastic and so is that Jeff Rosenstock album
Review Fix: What makes the album special?
Raleigh: Ha, that’s a good question. Well, for one, I think it’s almost risky to put out a rock ’n roll album in 2018 because who needs another one of those, right? If you’re gonna do it, it better be a really good one. I think we made a really good one. At the same time, maybe because it’s risky, or just plain stupid, not a lot of folks are putting out really good rock ’n roll records anymore. I feel like this record is maybe making the statement that rock ’n roll is still important to some people and if that kind of thing is important to you, then this maybe this is a record that could be special to you.
Review Fix: How would you describe your sound to someone who has never heard you?
Raleigh: We are a band in the tradition of Crazy Horse, The Heartbreakers and The E Street Band. We write (hopefully) smart, catchy songs and we have a good time playing them. We wear our hearts on our sleeves and our guitars below our belts.
Review Fix: What’s the standout track on the new album? How was it written?
Raleigh: I don’t know if it’s the standout track, but if there was a thesis statement of the record it’s “Mudface Down.” That song essentially asks the question: “is rock ’n roll even relevant anymore?” Or is playing in a rock band the cultural equivalent of a Civil War reenactment? Are we just playing dress up and firing up our amplifiers in a futile, defiant fit of nostalgia? Hopefully, that question answers itself with the rest of the record, but it is something I think about a lot.
Review Fix: How are your live shows different from your studio work?
Raleigh: Well, if we did our job right, hopefully the album isn’t too different from our live show. We might play a little longer, maybe a little faster, but our live shows are, ideally, more of a communal event where we can get in a room with a bunch of our friends, have a few brews and celebrate the power of rock ’n roll music together at least one more time.
Review Fix: What are your goals for 2018?
Raleigh: My biggest goal for 2018 is to sell all the records I have in my basement right now. Beyond that, we just can’t wait to get out and take it to the people, play some rock shows and make a bunch of new friends!
Review Fix: What’s next?
Raleigh: Who knows? This record is basically my Hail Mary. I’m throwing the ball up into the end zone with this one and if we come up with a touchdown, great! We will go into the playoffs and maybe make another record. If we don’t, well, we had a helluva season and I’m proud of the team. Hopefully we make it into the postseason with this one!
Review Fix: Anything else you’d like to add?
Raleigh: Thanks to everyone for all the interest in the record so far! The reception to it early on has been really encouraging and inspiring. We can’t wait for everyone to hear it and share a beer with you in a dive bar in your town soon.