Once upon a time (way back in 2016) in Huntsville, Alabama, I met a band….in bar…like you’re suppose to. I was hooked before they even finished soundcheck. That’s how I first met Small Town Titans‘ drummer, Jonny Ross and his glorious hair fan.
Brutal Planet Magazine: 2020 has been an interesting year to say the least, but, we can’t deny the creative spark that has spawned out of necessity and/or boredom. What activities/hobbies have kept you guys going? Has anyone dug into a new skill?
Jonny Ross: Lots and lots of video games for me haha. We’re a unique band at the moment I’d say, seeing as we’ve built our business model around being more than a touring band. For us, we simply focused on growing other aspects of our business this year, like our online store. I joke that this year we became a t-shirt company that happens to play music haha! With that being said though, we can’t thank our fans enough for their support with things like the store. It’s like they know. They are very aware that they are helping us out right now by buying our merch, and we can’t thank them enough.
It wasn’t too long ago when your unique cover of “You’re a Mean One Mr. Grinch” went viral, and it’s still gaining traction this holiday season. How has the attention affected the band?
Exposure. It got our foot in the door. It got the industry’s attention, and it’s gotten a lot of people to check out the band in general. And we’re very happy to say many, many, new fans have stuck around and become great fans.
Your latest album, The Ride, was released just this past November; what can Small Town Titan fans (The Titan Army) expect in the coming year?
Shows. We’re intching. Haha, isn’t every band? We have some good ones lined up already for 2021, and other than that, we’ll just always have content locked and loaded in the chamber. Songs, videos, whatever. We always will. I think our only rule at this point is to always have content ready to go at any moment. We’ll write when we write, and just continue to do what we do.
First the flu, then covid-19, the band and crew have been hit hard these last couple months and you’ve had to postpone your live stream event, twice. Does it make you yearn for the old, typical tour problems (broke down vehicle/broken equipment etc.)?
Haha! They both have their pros and cons like anything else I guess. At least with, let’s call them, 2020 problems, you’re most likely at home and comfortable with your loved ones. But I will say, there is a comradery that is built with a band when things go wrong on the road. You have to overcome those obstacles together, and it makes you very close. At least, that’s how it is for us.
What were a few sources of inspiration for the new album?
Musically, our influences haven’t change much. We like no nonsense rock ‘n roll bands you know? The kind of music that doesn’t sound like it has an expiration date on it. We also grew up with and respect the attitude of grunge music a lot. That sound has definitely inspired ours. We always just push ourselves as songwriters until the goosebumps are happening. We find it to be a good strategy haha.
Now, lyrically and otherwise, this time around there just wasn’t really any sadness going on. We wanted to write about hope. We were headed in that direction with these songs before covid-19 hit, and once the virus did arrive, it felt natural, I’d say, to just keep writing about that. We even used hope as a concept with the album art. We wanted it to be white this time rather than black. I think we’re all hoping for a lot right now.
One question I always try to ask is this; what was your first memory tied to music?
I’m going to date myself a little here haha. When I was little, I use to collect cassettes of singles. My mom would take me to the record store, or some equivalent of that once a week, and I would be allowed to buy one single. I carried them around in a nylon case. Looking back, I think that was so great, because I was picking songs based on nothing by pure instinct. Did I like the song title? Album art? Did I recognize a song from the radio? I don’t really know. I would just pick one. And the first one I recall hearing was Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” and the rest is history.
Ok, so first off…I wish my mom was that cool. Second, I would have loved to have seen your collection. And lastly, I’ve asked that question a lot, and Jonny’s might be my favorite answer.
Got any great life advice for your fans?
Being in this band, we’ve accomplished a lot already, and I think we are truly just getting started. If I look at it as a whole, it’s tough. We’ll be doing this for 10 years now come May 2021. But, I know that we’re there because we’re tenacious. We just work on getting better at everything we do, every single day, and we’ve gotten good at adapting, especially this year. And that’s the secret. My advice to any of our fans trying to do anything in life, is to be consistent, and patient. And one day, you’ll wake up, and you’ll just realize you’re further along, you’ll just feel it…and then, you’d better keep working at it!
If Small Town Titans are ever playing within a 100 mile radius of you, get there. If you gotta walk, start walking, promise. Honored and humbled as always, thank you Jonny for taking the time to let your fans get a glimpse behind the curtain.