The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus Takes Over Chicago, IL at Bottom Lounge; Exclusive Interview With TRJA Guitarist Josh Burke Before Set!
By: Anthony Cannella
The boys from Middleburg, Florida, The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus, took a stop in Chicago, Illinois at the Bottom Lounge on their nonstop 2019 touring schedule. Doing what they do best, they controlled the venue from start to finish giving the crowd all the hits from their successful music career as a band that started back in 2003! Their setlist leaves fans speechless as it ranges from their first booming album ‘Don't You Fake It’ (2006) to their most recent killer album ‘The Awakening’ (2018). Band members, Ronnie Winter (vocalist), Joey Westwood (bassist), Josh Burke (lead guitar), Randy Winter (rhythm guitar) and John Espy (drums) rock these songs to perfection no matter what and leaves the crowd with everything they could’ve asked for! Before they did this in Chicago though, we met with lead guitarist Josh Burke and caught up on all the Red Jumpsuit Apparatus news! Check out the interview below!
-HeadRush Tv: So you guys are a few shows deep into this Don’t Hide Your LIGHT Tour with Eyes Set To Kill and have been touring like crazy this year with about 70 shows recorded in 2019 including festivals, How have they been so far and how has 2019 been to you guys as a whole?
Josh Burke: 2019 has been really nice for us actually. The crowds have been pretty consistent and this new record we did has been going over pretty well. It’s not exactly the whole crowd singing it like ‘Face Down’, but we do see a majority of people starting to sing the new songs. So that’s always a really cool thing, especially for a band that has left such a huge legacy with the album ‘Don’t You Fake It’, know what I mean? I kind of speak as an outsider cause I wasn’t on that album, but I listened to it growing up! So that album left a huge footprint for the rest of the bands career. It’s really cool though how things are starting to traction back up though and things are really starting to improve, and we have noticed that in 2019. We are improving live a lot so that’s been a huge testament of what’s been going on cause our crowds are growing and definitely getting behind the band more. Our vocals have improved, and we have a badass drummer now so its just higher than ever right now.
HeadRush Tv: The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus has been putting out killer music since 2003 and you guys put out your new album “The Awakening” in 2018 which followed with a recent music video for the single ‘Shooting Star’. What were you guys trying to get across with this new music and video and what inspired you guys throughout this recent creative period?
Josh Burke: Our main lyricist and storyteller is Ronnie Winter, our singer of course. I believe “The Awakening” is for sure a concept album, but I believe it was more so about Ron reaching sobriety and past issues with alcohol as many of us have had. I think that the majority of the album is about that for sure and its an awakening to recovery. Like the single ‘Shooting Star’ it even has Angela’s name in it and that’s Ronnie’s girl and mother to his child. So, the album is a lot about that and inspired because of that and his come through.
-HeadRush Tv: As I said in the last question, you guys have been putting out hit after hit since 2003 and it truly shows as you guys have racked up 600 million streams on your songs and more than 200 million views on your videos on YouTube. Looking back on the start of your career as a musician and with The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus, How has the Rock Industry evolved over time and if any, how have you guys had to adjust to it?
Josh Burke: So, I am still kind of new cause I am only 8 years into touring, but I will say the live shows are such a big deal now because you make all your money off touring. Like with streams, the numbers don’t lie. The strangest thing is where you get a million streams usually add up to about 4-5 dollars, but that’s just how it is. But you could either complain about it or you could just deal with it and keep going. That’s kind of like what we are doing, we’re just going keep pushing. So, my answer is, yeah you aren’t going to make a ton of money off of record sales or streams, its just too hard cause there are so many bands out there. Plus, there are so many ways to hear music now and so many platforms. Also, social media is such a big deal now and really a personal thing for the band and band members for like show dates and news now. I think because of all of this though, the illusion people have of every band making millions of dollars is kind of gone. These people realize now that we are all just average people with kids at home. This touring and music though are such a grind, but when you are good at it and it’s what you been doing for a long time it becomes home.
-HeadRush Tv: As a band that has been successful and going on being together for about 16/17 years now, What are some of the biggest struggles that you have had to overcome as an artist and as a band as a whole? How have you and the band truly made things work so that this amazing music still gets produced and out to your wide fan base?
Josh Burke: Great question, and I can’t speak for everyone of course. But for me, its hard to keep a band alive and going as it is so that’s always a struggle for everyone. The next biggest thing has to be the personal life though. It’s really really hard to keep your personal life in check when you are gone sometimes for six months or longer. Like I have checked out for a half a year and you start to miss your girl and your dog and all of that, so it just gets so weird. Another is
overcoming your personal problems for the live shows, that is such a big deal. That’s probably one of the biggest obstacles, if you’re feeling like crap and having a bad day you still have to engage with people and be respectful. That’s a tough one, that’s definitely a tough hurdle. Any musician or band or deploying touring job of any kind can attest to that. When you’re home it is definitely hard to leave, it’s such a mixture of different things, but like I said before you get better at it. For some people tour is the number one thing they look forward to, so it could be completely opposite for someone else. For me it is kind of like both. When you’re home you want to go on tour and then when you tour for a while you want to go home, so its like a grass is greener type of situation. But anyways we definitely grind. Sometimes we have to get a crappy hotel, but its all about making it happen with our Sprinter on the road. To make this work and successful you just have to stay in your own lane and save money as a band so you can reinvest in the band. So put the ego aside, which is what we do and just make it happen no matter what.
-HeadRush Tv: Lastly, I would like to give you the complete platform here for your 1.8 million and growing fans and followers. After this tour what is in store for The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus and what are some things your fans can look forward to as the year goes on and even carrying into 2020?
Josh Burke: I don’t know if I can announce dates specifically, but November. South East. United States. And that’s all I am going to say! We do have a show coming up at Kraken Fest in Florida, but yeah that’s all I can necessarily say for specifics as far as touring. But we are recording new music and we are really taking our time with it, which has been kind of different. Like I said, things move slow, but also extremely fast at the same time. This time around we are letting things marinate and perfecting this new music, so we are really looking forward to everything and that’s all I am going to say. Our fans can definitely look forward to us keep going no matter what for as long as we can cause that’s what we all truly want.
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