Red Reign's SamMY Lee
By Jay Oakley
Go ahead Sam, talk a bit about the band and what you do.
I am the drummer / businessman of the band, obviously until we find somebody else. We were a three-piece band. We have "Bubba" McMichael who is the singer and lead guitar player, we have Larry Moore who is the bass player and does some backup vocals and we just added a new guitar and backup vocalist, a gentleman named Stevie Shred and we're just kicking on all cylinders.
Talk about your formation.
So, Bubba and I were in a band a few years ago called Seth and in our region we had some pretty good success and we opened up for a supported some pretty nice acts. We supported Quiet Riot, we supported Cheap Trick, we supported a King's X show so we had a little bit of success here in Richmond, Virginia. We kind of broke up and went our own ways. We were a 99.9% all-original band, we don't really play a lot of covers and we'd written some songs that were just unfinished. So Bubba and I talked regularly and a few years later we talked about these songs we had that were unfinished and I think they're hits. So, we got back together and we got in his basement just himself and myself and we went over some songs and at that time Bubba had seen an add online for a bass player who wanted to play in a band that wasn't playing in clubs every week and that wasn't going to be us. It was Larry, and the 3 of us just jelled and once and once we got Larry in the room and kind of got comfortable, we wrote the CD Chasing Shadows.
Is that the only album you have out right now?
That is the only CD we have out right now. We've played a couple of shows but in Richmond it's very hard to be in an all-original band, here. So, we're not a big selling act and we're not a bar band. We don't claim to be a bar band because we don't play covers.
So, when it came to bringing in Stevie, who did you find out about him?
Stevie was in a band called Rosie Soul and the Rock & Roll Cowboys who is on, as of now, a permanent hiatus. I don't know the story there but I knew they weren't playing so we got in touch with Stevie and so, at the moment, he's in our band. The band are good people, good musicians, good band and very well known in our region. I think Rosie had gotten sick, so they took a hiatus and I knew somebody who knew Stevie and we were looking for another guitar player/singer. We just brought him on 2 weeks ago and we're playing a show this Saturday and it'll be his debut. It's a Toys For Tots benefit, we did it last year and they asked us to do it again.
What's your take on traveling? Playing to different crowds and venues and things like that. Do you like to get out or do you prefer to say somewhat local?
Our goal was to get the music out and get as many people interested as we could. We'd like to have interviews, we would like to have radio interviews and sort of get known that way. We would love to play shows, that's not even questionable. What I don't think we want to do is go on a major tour. We would. I'm not saying we wouldn't but unfortunately we're all family men. I believe out of the band I have the youngest child. I have a 6 year old daughter and I'm not sure I want to go on the road for 6 months to 8 months because I don't think I can support my family to do that. But, if somebody offered us enough money to take care of our families and lives then, yeah, we'd go on tour. I've never been concerned about the money. I'm not in this for the money but, unfortunately, when somebody asked you to leave 6 months away from your home then money becomes a factor.
For people who want to hear your music and get to know you, how many songs are on your CD? Is it like an EP or is it a full-length?
So, we have a full-length CD out. We put the CD out a little over a year ago, probably about a year and a half. We were just trying to find people to book us and do some shows and we were running out of luck and we actually practice right next to Lamb Of God in this building we're in and there's a couple other bands who are signed to smaller labels and one of the guys who kind of manages said that what we really need was a PR (Public Relations) guy. In all the years that I've been playing in bands it's always been, "You can't do your own talking for you." because no one will take you seriously. Somebody who's in the business has to do the talking for you.
So, I got one the computer one night and started looking up publicists and luckily I came across Chip's (Ruggieri, www.chipsterpr.com) website and sent him information about 3 or 4 weeks later and after a mutual friend (Neeley from The Classic Metal Show) helped us get in with Chip and from that point of Chip's helped us. So, he's worked with us but also told us that he was getting a little push-back so he fixed us up with David Ivory who's a Grammy-nominated producer and was very instrumental with Halestorm. So, we got on a phone conversation with Chip and David and David said we have good songs but they're not complete. He invited us up to his studio and we talked and what we're in the process now is we're taking 4 songs off the original CD and we're going to re-release an EP with the new versions of the songs. It's night and day, it really is so we're excited about that. David's amazing to work with, no ego what's so ever and he's so established and has such credentials that he could easily say, "If you're going to work with me, this is how we're doing it!" and it's not like that at all, nothing like that. He has his ideas and I mean 99.999% of those ideas were spot on and dead on. Super nice guy, easy to work with but he's serious though. He rides you a little bit and he's not afraid to tell you how he feels and if we stopped right here today and we didn't do anywhere else and we didn't make anything, that experience alone is worth it.
Sam, this has been so fun and I hope you have enjoyed you're interview.
I sure have. It's been a pleasure and thank you so much for taking the time to talk about us.