“British rock invasion meets modern rock” is how the Research Turtles were described to me. “That sounds interesting enough,” I thought, “but do these guys really have the goods, or something unique in their sound, that will catch my ear and the ears of rock music fans worldwide?” I wasn’t sure, but I headed over to their MySpace page anyways to listen to some sound clips and to begin to form an opinion on these guys. Well, after listening to just a few clips I had heard enough—“I’ll write about them!” I excitedly told my editor.
The Research Turtles were then kind enough to send me their album to listen to prior to interviewing lead singer, and founder, Jud Norman. One listen through the CD, at a loud volume, and I was completely hooked! I had catchy song melodies and crunching guitars going through my head all day! The CD has been played in my car almost daily since I got it.
It is with great excitement that I share with you some of the highlights of my conversation with Jud.
RRR: First of all, I just want to let you guys know how much I love your sound! It is very catchy music with a great blend of melodies, harmonies, and crunching guitars…
JN: Thanks man! We really appreciate that, and appreciate your interest in our music!
RRR: One of the first questions I have to ask you is where and how did you come up with “The Research Turtles”?
JN: Well, it took a lot of time and we had a lot of fights over it! [laughs] But we actually took the name from a line in a Wes Anderson movie, “The Life Aquatic”. His movies have had a huge influence on all of us, especially musically. He’s turned us on to a lot of great artists like David Bowie, The Kinks, and The Stooges.
RRR: So who are some of your other influences on your musical ideas and sound?
JN: The Beatles are definitely number one. Other bands from the early British Invasion like The Kinks, The Stones, The Zombies. And then there’s a lot of 90s alternative like Nirvana and The Pixies- bands that mastered the soft/loud dynamic we try to incorporate in some of our songs.
JN: My brother and I were huge Weezer fans, until they put out the “Green Album”. But their first two albums are two of the best I have ever heard. I actually made a notebook, when I was in high school, with the lyrics to the “Blue Album” and “Pinkerton,” where I dissected all of their songs individually—the rhyming patterns, song structures, beats per measure and dynamics. But they’ve also put out some pretty terrible stuff…
RRR: Tell us some more about the new full-length album…
JN: Well, we recorded it at the legendary Dockside Studio in Maurice, L.A. where a lot of big time blues artists like BB King and Gatemouth Brown have recorded. We did all of the basic tracking in about four days and mixed for another two. Everything was recorded live, with very few overdubs or recording tricks, because we wanted the songs to sound the same way you’d hear us play them live- raw and just straight rock. And we’re very pleased with how the album turned out.
RRR: Have you guys been touring much?
JN: We’re trying to establish a solid regional following right now so as far as touring goes, we’re only playing cities that are within three or four hours away from Lake Charles, L.A. Places like Houston, Baton Rouge and New Orleans. A lot of Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. Plus, we have a few guys in the band finishing up college. Instead of just booking as many shows as we can, like a lot of other DIY bands, we’re focusing more on self-promotion through the internet. We’ve found this to be a much more practical approach versus driving six hours somewhere to get on a bill with ten other bands, only to play for the flippin’ sound guy and the bartender! We’re getting a lot more positive feedback through MySpace, Facebook and great online music websites like RRR!
RRR: What kind of response have you been getting from radio?
JN: We’re only aiming at college radio right now, but we’ve been getting really good feedback. We’ve made friends with a bunch of DJs at colleges around L.A and Texas that are putting us on regular rotation! And a bunch of our friends, who go to colleges out of town, have been calling us out of the blue to say that they heard Research Turtles on their campus radio station!
To download a FREE copy of the band’s entire self-titled debut, “Research Turtles,” head over to www.researchturtles.com