Just before the holiday madness of last year I had a chance to talk with ROSES UNREAD guitarist John Purifoy. The band had just released self-titled album number three and it seems as though they just get better with each new one. He called me up while waiting for the rest of the band to get over to practice and we had a good little chat about all the different things that make up ROSES UNREAD’S sound, and what the future holds for them. Have a look:
Amps: I was just jamming to “Déjà Vu” when you called. There’s a very unique riff on that one that’s really cool. How’d you come up with that?
John: That’s one of my favorite songs. I like the real bouncy rhythm and the dynamic. I think that song is one of the ones that shows off what we can really do. It’s got some weird little licks in it, and I have a good time playing it. Deep down we’re all metalheads and I was watching video of a one-on-one interview with Misha (Mansoor) from PERIPHERY and he was talking about how he uses octaves a lot in his writing because you can go up an octave and play off of that and it makes it sound like you’re doing a whole lot more than you really are. The song he was talking about is “Buttersnips” and I was like, “Man I’ve never really used intervals and octaves like that before” so I was experimenting and I came up with the opening riff and verse riff, then everything else kind of fell into my lap and put itself together.
John: We all work day jobs, we practice a lot, and we play as much as we can when we’re not working. We’ve always wanted to be ready for the opportunity of someone believing in us enough to put enough money behind us so that we can all make a career out of it. We treat this band like a second job. We put 30-50 hours a week into the band on top of our 40-hour work week. If you like what you hear from us now, imagine if we were given the opportunity to put 70-80 hours a week into just the music, how much better the music could be.
Amps: With that said, having day jobs AND being in a pretty in-demand group. How do you balance that all out?
John: We work our 9 to 5’s from Monday to Friday and we practice a couple times during the week and we all manage to get together if there’s a big show going on. We just work it to everyone’s schedules. It’s a headache at times, but it has always worked out. Don’t ask me how, but it has. In the six years of doing this we’ve never had to cancel a show.
Amps: You’re on album number three. What would you say has changed about the band in terms of growth and/or writing?
John: Well, we’ve got a couple of newer guys in the band but everybody’s kind of on the same level now. Before there was always one person who treated it like a hobby while the rest of us wanted to do it full-time. At first we all had that passion for it, and over time our writing has gotten a lot better. The music’s a lot heavier and more technical now with more of an emphasis on each individual instrument. Everybody gets an equal opportunity to shine throughout the performances on the album.
Amps: What are the plans show-wise? Will you mount a tour or try to stay close to home?
John: We’re doing an end of the year show in Missouri with our good friends in PANIC ERA. They’re coming down to pay with us here in Tennessee first, then we’re going up with them to cap off the year. We make friends and we trade shows with other bands, you know? We just played with EYE EMPIRE who are one of my favorite bands in the world, just amazing guys! Then we’re booked from February to April of 2014 playing Tennessee, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Texas. So we’ll be comin’ to see you.
Amps: I look forward to that, John! Who else are you listening to these days besides EYE EMPIRE?
John: PERIPHERY, of course. We’re not as technical as those guys but I love to listen to them. I saw them when they were first starting out and they’ve grown so much, so I root for them, you know? They work so hard at it. SEVENDUST is another one of my all-time favorite bands (I shout YESSS!), and they’re Allison’s (Teague Purifoy, vocalist, and John’s wife) too. We’re all huge fans of them. That’s what I’ve been jamming lately, going between those three.
Amps: What’s your guitar of choice and what do you play through?
John: I use PRS guitars and Mesa Boogie Mark IV’s are my main amps that I stand by. I’ve used them on all three albums.
Amps: That’s something else I wanted to ask you about. Who produced the record? It’s crystal clear!
John: We went to the Noise Factory in Memphis and Dave Cowell there produced it.
Amps: Well he’s got a good ear, John.
John: Oh yeah, he’s amazing. And he really brought out some great musicianship in us, especially Allison and Caveman (drums). Jason Gillespie mixed it and Brad Blackwood mastered it. It was all done in Memphis, so you can definitely go there and get a top-quality recording and not spend $100,000 on it. We’re really happy with the way it turned out. The mix on the CD is a lot different than anything I’ve ever heard and Jason and Dave both told us that we have our own unique sound, so they had to approach it that way. They couldn’t mix it like they do a traditional rock band, which I thought was cool.
Amps: Say something to the ROSES UNREAD fans that you have amassed all over the world.
John: Thank you guys for supporting us as long as you have. Please continue to support us and support all great music that you enjoy. Don’t just listen online, buy the CDs, buy a t-shirt, and go to the shows that are within driving distance. Most importantly, tell your friends about your favorite bands. That’ll help them get bigger.
Amps: John I really appreciate you taking some time to call and chat with me. Now get to practice, and come see us in Dallas soon, ok?
ROSES UNREAD are a great, great band. John and Allison are great people, as are the rest of the band. And as I said in my review of the record late last year: “Someone REALLY needs to sign this little band out of Tennessee, pronto. Don’t take my word for it, get yourself a copy of ROSES UNREAD’S new one, posthaste. You’ll see what I’m talkin’ about.”