Words: Matt Innes
Brisbane rock band Roadhouse are keeping their eyes on the road and hands up on the wheel as they barrel full-throttle down the highway to rock and roll glory.
There’s no stopping this supercharged bandwagon, made up of four local lads who take a classic pub rock mentality to being in a band.
“We’re four best mates, kind of reminiscent of old classic Australian pub rock,” frontman and vocalist Chris Byrne says.
“Think back in the ‘80s, seeing those original rock and roll bands coming up through the pubs, just touring around playing gigs. That’s where we’ve started, grassroots, playing gigs and writing songs.”
Roadhouse came together through the union of two duos of friends: Chris and bassist Dan Nembach met in school, while guitarist Doug Eustace and drummer Anthony ‘Ant’ Trudgett are friends from childhood. Chris says the sturdy bond of mateship that tether he and his bandmates is the driving engine of Roadhouse.
“What we have going for us really well is that we’re four best mates and we just click. Really companionship is a huge influence in our lyrics, in our stage presence and in our lives,” he says.
“We don’t just play rock and roll together, we hang out together as friends constantly and are really there for each other through the ups and the downs, and I think that comes through in the live music and in our art.
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“We’re trying to make the music we want to hear and I think it’s easily the favourite thing in my life. We’ve got a set of goals that we’re all on the same page about, trying to move forward and play good rock and roll.”
After developing a distinct catalogue of original material and honing their performance dynamics with consistent live touring, Roadhouse released their debut EP ‘Walking Tall’ in November of last year.
Chris says the record has so far proven to be a productive step forward for the ambitious quartet.
“’Walking Tall’ was really well-received not only among the current fans we had, but we gained a lot of fans through releasing that EP,” he says.
“We’ve been gigging for a long time getting the songs tight and gelling as a band. We had nice photos, we had a good stage presence we had good energy – but it’s only the people in the crowd who are seeing that. So when we brought out ‘Walking Tall’ I felt much more that we had a product to launch and it worked for us.
“We get a lot of love from lovers of classic rock and Australian rock and roll, and we’ve gained a lot of fans who aren’t even standard rock fans; I think that’s something about our particular fan group – it’s made up of a lot of different people.”
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There’s no pomp-and-circumstance when it comes to Roadhouse; their goal is set and their vision clear: they want to be big and they’re willing to put in the hard yards to get there. Roadhouse may have a long drive ahead of them, with many unexpected twists and turns in the trail to encounter, but Chris says it’s the life they happily chose.
“It’s what we bloody live for,” he laughs. “We’re not trying to be the next anything; we’re just trying to be the first Roadhouse.”
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