I recently made a trip down to Gas Lamp (1501 Grand Avenue, Des Moines) for a show by the Quad Cities blues/soul/funk band The Candymakers. The band was travelling with Rude Punch, a reggae band that also hailed from the Quad Cities. The bands were like one big family, interchangeable on stage, and both bands brought sounds that were a breath of fresh air to the Iowa music scene. I had a chance to talk to Brady Jager, Rude Punch's lead vocalist and guitar player after the show, and he was kind enough to set aside some time to talk about the two bands' relationship, Rude Punch's formation, and their future.
Examiner: Tell my readers how Rude Punch was formed and how you came up with the name.
Jager: Rude Punch was formed around 2007. Adam Tucker, Robb Laake, and I had been in a reggae/acoustic rock band called Seed. Due to some issues among some of the members we decided to form our own band, allowing us the freedom to focus on more of a reggae/rock hybrid sound that we all loved. We wrote a dozen songs and recorded our debut album in February 2008. We toured extensively in the Midwest and did a couple mini tours down south. In 2010, we parted ways with our bassist Robb and hooked up with Alan Sweet. Alan worked out great because he could provide additional vocals, adding harmonies and his own flair to the group.
The name "Rude Punch" was derived from a drink that Adam had found on a vacation trip to Jamaica called "Rum Punch". We thought it sounded cool, so we combined that with the rebel feel of "Rude Boy", a term used in Jamaica for "Bad Boys", and came up with Rude Punch. We felt the name embodied our spirit as a group—kind of rebellious and anti-authority, and a mix of several different genres, like a punch drink is a "mix" of flavors. So, we thought Rude Punch was the perfect fit for our band.
Examiner: There aren’t a lot of bands making new reggae music these days, especially in the Midwest. Does that make it easier or harder to market the band?
Jager: I think it makes it easier for us. We've never been looked at as being a copy or part of any certain movement. We've always been looked at for what who we are and what we do, and not defined or pigeon-holed by any particular genre.
Examiner: Who are some of your favorite bands to listen to right now?
Jager: Right now I'm into Iration, Zapp and Roger, Little Anthony and the Imperials, Men at Work, 311(always), and Motown (always). Pretty crazy set list, right?
Examiner: Rude Punch and The Candymakers seemed like one big happy family when you played the Gas Lamp recently. With Alan in both bands, are there a lot of problems with scheduling?
Jager: The members of both bands have known each other for years and have played together, either as Rude Punch, The Candymakers, or just a jam band, it seems like, forever. The line is very blurry between the two bands, and it works out great. Sure there are scheduling conflicts, but we always figure out a way to work through them.
Examiner: What is Brady Jager’s New Year’s resolution?
Jager: Nothing specific. I just want to make sure that I do something every day to advance the band and make sure my creativity is pushed to the max, creating music that is really special.
Examiner: Besides playing shows, Rude Punch is also getting ready to do some recording. When can fans expect to see the fruits of those labors?
Jager: I have been writing constantly since the last album, and we are very close to getting into the studio and laying down tracks. I'm totally excited about the songs we are gonna lay down and can't wait to get them to our fans. I'm hoping by summer that we'll have the record ready for release.
Examiner: Where can fans follow the band?
Jager: We have our own website, www.rudepunch.com, but beyond that, we are active in all the social networks (except Twitter—I hate Twitter): Facebook, MySpace, ReverbNation, SonicBids, YouTube, etc. My best advice is just to Google Rude Punch and click a link.
Examiner: What is next for Rude Punch?
Jager: I don't think bands really ever know what's next, ha, ha. –The album, of course, and a tour of some sort to support it. Big picture, we need to really do a better job of promoting the Rude Punch, somehow getting our music out to the masses, and I mean everybody! Find a way to knock down the back door of this industry and surprise the hell out everyone. You know, catch the industry off guard, asleep at the wheel, and just blow everybody away. That's what Rude Punch is up to next.
Note: For those of you that missed Rude Punch and The Candymakers performances at Gas Lamp on January 7, both bands will return to the Gas Lamp on May 4, and again on June 8 and 9. Check out photos of Rude Punch on stage at the Gas Lamp near the top of this article on the left-hand side, as well as some of Rude Punch's music in the video box just below the photos.