The true spirit of Rock n’ Roll is alive and well in independent artists who put faith and heart into their art, knowing that success will follow. No one better exemplifies this spirit than Cherry Suede.
Founding members Randy Scott (lead vocals/guitar) and Randy Young (lead guitar/vocals)—with a potent mix of passion, talent, and skill—have proved to the music industry, and more importantly to their fans, through tireless touring and successful recording that independent artists have a voice, a loud one.
But how has Cherry Suede gained this voice? Scott and Young, as musicians, understand that without the people there is no music, and that the connection between artists and audience is a two way street. But as music fans themselves, Scott and Young are cognizant of the fans’ need to connect on a more intimate level. Thus the Cherry Suede Brigade came to fruition, a vast musical community where fans can get a glimpse into the inner workings of the band, as well as forge relationships with other fans and receive a plethora of perks. Indie artists who genuinely connect with their fans are a rarity these days, but Cherry Suede wouldn’t have it any other way.
Cherry Suede has been able to foster a large and loyal fan base because they understand what today’s music fan wants: a sense of community. Every band has a Kickstarter these days, but Cherry Suede was on the forefront of crowd funding and offering unique experiences to fans. They were in a group of around 100 brands that were selected as Indiegogo partners and were one of the first bands handpicked by the online concert venue StageIt. The band experienced the love and power of their fan base when their first Indiegogo campaign was leaked and they had reached their goal before the campaign was even launched. Their next campaign hit close to 500% of its goal. After recording their self-titled debut album in 2006 (re-released as Long Live Rock in 2009 w/ bonus tracks) in the traditional way, these campaigns helped the band launch their first full band tour of the UK and record their follow up to Long Live Rock, Between Here and There (2013), as well as fund the band’s Up Close and Personal series with capital to spare for future projects.
Cherry Suede was also one of the first bands to do regular live streams, giving the live Cherry Suede experience to fans who couldn’t travel to shows. Of course, since the band would prefer fans to be able to attend shows in person, they have offered, through their various campaigns, once in a lifetime chances to check out performances in places like New York City, New Jersey, London UK, and even offered a 5 Star VIP trip to Kenya. These unique experiences transcend monetary values as they are times to kindle lasting relationships with people from all over the world through their shared interest in live music. And it is on a live stage where Cherry Suede shines.
Having played nearly 3000 gigs on three continents (North America, Europe, Africa) to sold out audiences and major festival crowds, and shared stages with acts like Rick Springfield, Cherry Suede has always made it a priority to reach as many people as possible. After their fortuitous meeting of the minds in 1999, Scott and Young recorded a five-song demo and struck out on the road for Los Angeles—in the same vein as their Canadian countryman Neil Young—where they immediately began wowing crowds and music industry people alike with their staggering knowledge of Rock n’ Roll and sheer musical prowess. They played the hallowed halls of The Whisky and The Mint to packed crowds who revelled in the band’s charismatic and energetic performances. Coupled with their profound connection to their fans and their deft musical skill, Cherry Suede turned heads in LA, and later, the world.
A large part of Cherry Suede’s success is due to the fact that they offer a musical honesty that is missing from many of today’s stages and radio stations. This honesty comes from a deep understanding of Rock n’ Roll history. In an age when an iPad is considered a musical instrument, there is a silent majority of music fans out there that still like their tunes to come from wood and steel. But what sets Cherry Suede apart from other bands is their ability to relate to their listeners. People listen to music in order to find common ground, to know that someone else out there is feeling the same way that they are. In songs like “Saturday Night” and “Little Things”, Cherry Suede has tapped into the collective consciousness of our culture in a way that people immediately relate to. With their covers and tributes to legends of rock, the band reconnects fans with music that holds deep meaning and value to them. These two aspects of Cherry Suede’s musical philosophy make them an unstoppable force.
Cherry Suede’s homage to Rock n’ Roll legends is a testament to the fact that they realize that they are standing on the shoulders of giants, with the hope that one day the rockers of the future will stand on theirs. While there are some obvious comparisons to Springsteen, Bon Jovi, and Bryan Adams, an unlikely but fitting comparison would be to Bob Dylan, in that Cherry Suede, like Dylan, has a message. That message is that music can inspire folks to become involved in the world around them and feel good while they’re doing it. Music spurs people to take action, to organize, and to come together for a greater cause. It is this message that Cherry Suede looks to impart on the world.
Armed with that message, Cherry Suede takes to the road as they have done year in year out, with their longtime rhythm section consisting of Dan Joseph (bass) and Andrew Lamarche (drums). So be on the lookout for Cherry Suede’s full band rock show, or Scott and Young’s acoustic Up Close and Personal series in a town near you as they ramp up for a massive North American tour in 2015. But with a slew of new material, the band has also made time in their busy schedule to get back into the studio. And as always, the Cherry Suede Brigade will be with them every step of the way through live streams, behind the scenes glimpses of the band on the road, and of course in person. When you go to a Cherry Suede show, you’ll know why their fans follow them around the world, and when you meet the guys you’ll realize that Cherry Suede is just like you.
by Nate Todd – Listen Up Denver!