Strong Like Bull Talk Discovering Rock Music in Exclusive Interview
Kansas based rock band Strong Like Bull is gaining traction with their latest singles “Live While You Can” and “Good Times.” The band delivers high energy rock n’ roll reminiscent of classic rock bands from the 70s and 80s. We wanted the pick the band’s brain about their influences and how they discovered rock music.
DFTR: Listening to the new single "Live While You Can," AC/DC and Motley Crüe influences can be heard. How do you incorporate your influences while also creating your own original sound?
DAVE: That’s a tough one to answer. I usually start writing a song with a melody. From there, I develop a basic chord pattern or outline. I might cut a simple demo to share with the guys. After that, everyone in the band adds their tweaks and creativity. On “Live While You Can,” many have said that I sound like Bon Scott, but it’s just my voice and what comes out. The backing music has a more modern sound to me with half-time sections and double-kick in the outro. Long story short, it’s just whatever comes out during the writing process.
JAKE: I personally wasn’t much of an AC/DC fan early on. I’d say for me it was more Metallica that came as my main influence for much of my life and for this song in particular. When Dave came up with the original idea for the song and it’s progression, I was immediately thinking “One” by Metallica. Many songs have that kinda formula with the intense ending but what differed with “Live While You Can” is the heavy beginning right off the bat then take ya down, and end big, fast, and loud.
SHAWN:For me I try to flow with the drums. When Jake adds a fill in a particular part of a song, I’ll try to add to his fills.
NEVIN: Okay, for instance, with solos, fills, riffs, harmonies, etc., whatever I add and write I want it to compliment the song, nothing should sound like It’s being forced in there. My influences pop up as little coincidences most of the time, like hey that part sounds a lot like “so and so.” With “Live While You can” I just knew I wanted the solo to be big and powerful, like “Free Bird” or “Home Sweet Home.”
DFTR: Can you tell us how the new single was developed? Where did the inspiration come from?
DAVE: It started with what is now the intro in my head as a melody. I knocked it out on acoustic guitar after that. The words came quickly. It has two levels. A casual listen hears the chorus and understands it is a high energy party song. However, someone who really listens to the lyrics will find the deeper meaning. Time is wasting. Don’t put off til tomorrow what you want to do today. And we’re all usually guilty of being the ones who hold ourselves back from it. “We get one time around, you’ve got to understand… you build your own prison. Gotta live while you can.”
DFTR: What is one classic rock song that you could listen to on repeat without getting sick of it?
JAKE: There’s tons because I do this a lot but going with the first one I think of would be “Old Man” Neil Young.
DAVE: “Ten Years Gone” by Led Zeppelin from the Physical Graffiti album. Jake nailed it, too. I listen to Neil Young all the time.
SHAWN: This was the first thing that came to mind. “Wind of Change” by Scorpions from the Crazy World album.
NEVIN: Definitely “Us and Them” by Pink Floyd. I’ve loved that song and listened to it consistently longer than any other one I can think of over the years going back before I was a teen.
DFTR: How did you find rock music and how did it grab your attention?
JAKE: I remember staying at my grandparents house some weekends and they had cable, we had three channels at home, and MTV was Music Television! I was around 13 years old and I saw a Metallica video. I think that was the first time music captured my attention at the same time got my adrenaline pumping. Been chasing that ever since.
DAVE: Kiss Alive II and Gene Simmons voice. I later picked up a guitar because of hearing Led Zep with Jimmy Page.
SHAWN: I have two older brothers that listen to bands like Gun N Roses, Motley Crüe, Aerosmith. I just gravitated to the energy and sound.
NEVIN: Yep, that’d be my folks. Hell, I was jammin’ out to songs like “Get A Haircut” by George Thorogood when I was still in diapers and could hardly walk. I grew up hearing bands like Pink Floyd, The Beatles, David Bowie, etc. Really though, rock has always been my favorite because it’s so versatile, expressive, and it goes against the grain. Rock doesn’t care what everyone else thinks. It’s there to fuckin’ rock.
DFTR: Any plans to come out to the East Coast?
JAKE: Just waiting on the opportunity!
DAVE: What Jake said!
SHAWN: Well said Dave!
NEVIN: Hopefully in the near future! I’ve got friends I need to see out there! Plus fresh seafood.