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Ruhl Of Thumb: An Exclusive Interview With Rick Ruhl Of EMN (EVERY MOTHER'S NIGHTMARE)

By Larry Petro, News Monkey
Saturday, August 10, 2013 @ 10:22 AM

"We haven't got many more rounds to go so I'm trying to make this one really count."

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Like many of the bands from the "hair band" era, EVERY MOTHER'S NIGHTMARE had the unfortunate distinction of coming in towards the end of the hair band heyday, not releasing their first, self-titled album until 1990. By the time their 2nd album, Wake Up Screaming was released in 1993, the decline of metal seemed to be fully underway, giving way o the Grunge era.

The band went on hiatus until 2000, when they released Smokin Delta Voodoo, a great album with a nice Southern hard rock vibe to it. The band played lots of live shows and released 3 more albums between 2000 and 2002 (Back Traxx, Deeper Shade Of Grey and Live Songs From Somewhere). Just when it seemed that the band was coming back in a big way they disappeared again, playing only spots shows over the past dozen or so years, such as Rocklahoma in 2008. In addition, a couple of band memebers left the fold to join other bands (Jim Phipps went to BUSH HAWG and Jeff Caughron went to rap country star Jesta James' band). Indeed, the last time I saw the band perform, I wondered to myself if that would be the last time I saw vocalist Rick Ruhl alive. He seemed to be on a downward spiral of self destruction, something I hated to see since I had become pretty good friends with the band over that short time period. Much to my surprise, recently their public relations guy, Matt "Twinkie" Downen, had sent a message to the KNAC.COM Facebook page to let us know that EMN, as they prefer to go by now, were about to record a new album and wanted to get it out in the press. Of course, I jumped at the chance to chat again with an old friend. Enjoy!

KNAC.COM: The last time we spoke, which was about 11 years ago, EMN had just finished releasing their 4th CD in about 2 years time. The band played in Houston numerous times over that period and then, poof, you guys disappeared again. So what have you been doing all this time?

RUHL: Actually, I took two years off and watched my kids grow up a little bit and kind of reformulated the band. We started the band over from the logo all the way up to everything. We got rid of everybody but Troy (Fleming) the bass player. I've just been writing songs and puting it back together.

KNAC.COM: Now, I was not aware that you had kids, so tell me about your kids for just a second.

RUHL: My little girl's 10, her name is Hailee, her nickname is "Rickle", she's just like me. I'm gonna get paid back or everything I've ever done. My little boy, Gabe, he's 4.

KNAC.COM: The word is that you guys are about to hit the studio again in August to record a new album.

RUHL: Yes sir! We were trying to get in the studio with Michael Wagner but our schedules clashed so we're going back to Southern Sound Studios with my buddy Danny Brown (who produced Smokin Delta Voodoo and Back Traxx) to produce it.

KNAC.COM: Have you been writing songs all this time?

RUHL: Yeah, I always write songs cuz if I don't I'll explode (laughs). I've been writing and we put the band back to a 4 piece to just see kinda where it was. Kind of a mix between me and BLACK SABBATH (laughs).

KNAC.COM: And that's what the fans can expect from the new music?

RUHL: You know, it's in the same progression we've been going, a little heavier, a little depressed you know, but just rock-n-roll.

KNAC.COM: Do you have a label lined up to release it yet?

RUHL: Man, I think I'm gonna do this one myself. With the internet and everything the way it's going I'm gonna try that first and see what happens. You know that new movie Man Of Steel, the bad guy in that movie, we gave him his first shot on his first video so he's been plugging us really great.

KNAC.COM: You mentioned a minute ago that you basically have redone the band from the ground up, other than Troy. So who's in the band now?

RUHL: On bass is Troy Fleming, a new drummer, a great drummer, a guy I've known around Memphis for years, his name is Lonnie Hammer. We've got one guitar player, Travis Butler, we just call him "Gunner". Travis Hall is still with us, he just took a little time off. His mom just passed away here not long ago so he's just taking a little leave of absence but he'll probably be back with us by the time the album's done.

KNAC.COM: He also crushed his hand in a work accident I understand.

RUHL: Oh yeah, he broke his uh, I don't know what you call it, his fingers that do all the magic on the neck (fret hand). He split one up the middle and supposedly it's one of the worst breaks you can get. Any of 'em hurt! (laughs).

KNAC.COM: By the way, Jeff (Caughron, former EMN guitarist) told me to tell you hi.

RUHL: Jeff who? Caughron? Oh yeah, he came and played with us on New Year's.

KNAC.COM: He and I are friends on Facebook and we keep in contact, so when I mentioned to him that I was interviewing you, he told me to tell you hi.

RUHL: Yeah, he came down around the time we had the first 10 songs written, I've got a studio down here that we use just for rehearsing and recording everything and he came down and laid down some guitar tracks, some Jeff stuff, and it's pretty cool.

KNAC.COM: So he's got some contributions on the new album then.

RUHL: Oh yeah. He'll always, I mean, we all, me, him and Travis, we've been writing together so long it's pretty natural.

KNAC.COM: Over the past 11 or 12 years or so since the last time I saw you guys perform, the band has really only performed a few one-off shows, but I hear that's about to change...

RUHL: Man, I just got a big ol' string of dates the other day. That's what I'm trying to work out. I'm supposed to be in the studio on the 7th (of August) and the tour's supposed to start like the week after that so I'm trying to finaggle (laughs).

KNAC.COM: I noticed that you guys have a show booked in Maryland in September I believe with STEELHEART. Is that part of something bigger or is that just another one-off gig?

RUHL: IT's just another one off. Man, we've been, we've done some shows with WHITESNAKE and POISON and just different things and if it's close and worth doing, we'll go do it.

KNAC.COM: These dates that you're looking to go out on, is it just you guys or do you have somebody else going out with you?

RUHL: From what I've heard it's everybody from us to SURVIVOR to LOVERBOY to everybody you've ever heard of pretty much, it's just a bunch of little festivals and things like that.

KNAC.COM: Not like a package tour or anything like that?

RUHL: No, but it might turn into it (laughs), and that'd be alright. It's kinda neat, like we're starting all over, it's kinda cool.

KNAC.COM: The band has gotten into the 21st century now. You have a Facebook page and a Twitter account and....

RUHL: Oh man, we're doing it! We're cityfied! (laughs)

KNAC.COM: Even your regular website has been updated recently.

RUHL: Yeah, like I said, we took everything from, you know, we dropped the EVERY MOTHER'S NIGHTMARE and we're just using the EMN cuz everywhere we go that's what everyone calls us. We've redone the logo, songs, band members, everything and just started out fresh.

KNAC.COM: Now the album you're about to record, do you have a title for it yet?

RUHL: We've got a working title that we're about 90% sure we're going with, it's called Grind, cuz it's been a grind! (laughs)

KNAC.COM: You had related to me in some of our past conversations that you've had somewhat of a troubled life, for lack of a better term. So how are things for you now?

RUHL: Man, well I'll just put it out there, I'm clean, sober and ready to roll. I quit drinking, "playing" and everything. I'm older now so I can't do that shit. We haven't got many more rounds to go so I'm trying to make this one really count. We spent a long time writing and a lot of time on the phone, so it'll be a definite step up from Delta Voodoo.

KNAC.COM: A lot of the other bands from that era are still going strong, releasing new music and there seems to be a bit of a resurgence in that kind of music.

RUHL: That's what's cool about the internet though, you know, cuz it's more about songs and not what you look like or what you do, it's about what kind of material you've got, so I think that's cool.

KNAC.COM: Definitely, and you guys can reach out to more fans with the Facebook and the Twitter and the YouTubes and stuff like that then you ever could before.

RUHL: Oh yeah, not hanging flyers up no more (laughs)

KNAC.COM: I also saw that it looks like you had remastered the Smokin Delta Voodoo album and got it out there on iTunes.

RUHL: We're gonna re-release everything. After we put this one out I think we're gonna do Back Traxx and then after the new album's out we'll probably release the rest of them.

KNAC.COM: What about the first couple of albums?

RUHL: That right there I don't know yet. I'm going through the licensing right now on it so, because I've still got a thing with Arista on those albums. I'm sure if I paid (laughs), I could get so many copies or whatever. It'll probably end up that way. If not, I've tried to put most of the songs from the first two records on the live record (Live Songs From Somewhere), so we're kinda workin 'em in that way.

KNAC.COM: Sounds like the future's looking pretty bright for you guys.

RUHL: It's looking good man, everyone's got their head on and we're just gonna do it.

KNAC.COM: Anything else you'd like to add?

RUHL: Come and see the live show. It's different, a lot more intense than it used to be.

KNAC.COM: And I gotta say you sound great. You sound good, you sound happy.

RUHL: Yeah, I finally found a peaceful spot. I fought it for years but I finally found a good spot where I'm at.

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