Reno Divorce's Brent Loveday bets on sobriety to win

Brent Loveday had a moment of clarity on the road. It came one night in Oklahoma City, while he and his band, Reno Divorce, were on tour, and it happened somewhere in the midst of kicking out the side window of their new tour van, then horsing around and hanging his head out of it and cutting himself on the shards of glass left behind as he was throwing up.

"I felt like shit," Loveday recalls. "I felt like a total joke. And I kind of said to myself, 'This is the farthest you're ever going to go if you continue down this road.'"

Loveday's mother had passed away three years earlier, and when that happened, he sort of went off the deep end. "I didn't want to deal with her death," he confesses. "I've lost both parents now. So I just turned to drugs pretty hard-core, and for the last three years, what's kept us afloat is the years that I was sober — that reputation that I'd built, and the songs that I wrote when I was sober.

Reno Divorce's Brent Loveday (second from left) is on the road to recovery.
Reno Divorce's Brent Loveday (second from left) is on the road to recovery.

Location Info

Map

Marquis Theater

2009 Larimer St.
Denver, CO 80205

Category: Music Venues

Region: Downtown Denver

Details

Reno Divorce, CD release, with Drag the River, Boldtype and DJ Kursed, 8 p.m. Monday, December 31, Marquis Theater, 2009 Larimer Street, $10-$12, 303-487-0111.

"I just kind of reached the point where I was squandering everything that I ever did," he goes on. "Sooner or later, people are just going to be tired of my antics or whatever. Being in this line of work, all you see are people getting wasted. And I envy people that can go and just have a drink that doesn't turn into a bender. I got to accept that about myself, that I'm just not wired that way."

So about a month and a half ago, Loveday started rehab, and he says he's still getting his wings. But considering that he got sober once before and stayed that way for eight years, he knows what he's facing. "I just made a decision," he says. "I owe it to myself and friends and family, and I owe it to the fans I've made over the years to tackle that problem. So, I mean, it feels great. It's a really positive thing for me and my family, and, of course, everyone around me is pretty stoked on it."

The irony of pursuing sobriety for Loveday is that he now feels the substance and gravity of what he's written. Now that he's in rehab, for instance, songs like "Rep to Protect," the fiery opening cut of Reno Divorce's new album, Lover's Leap, take on a whole new meaning. "I got kind of a reputation as a party dude and not having my shit together," he notes. "So when I'd kind of act like a fuckup, I would jokingly say, 'I got a rep to protect.' Like this is my reputation. But ironically enough, I'm in rehab now. When I sing it now, it's got a different connotation to it. It was kind of a joke that spun out of control."

What's not a joke is Lover's Leap, issued on the Raleigh, North Carolina-based Rusty Knuckles imprint; the band will celebrate its release on New Year's Eve at the Marquis Theater. It's a thoroughly solid effort inspired by Orange County punk and country, and it's fueled by a band that now includes guitarist/vocalist Tye Battistella, bassist Nick Golding and drummer Ruben Patino, the strongest lineup in Reno's sixteen-year history.

Loveday admits that he went into making the record with low expectations, thinking it wouldn't be the band's best effort. He didn't feel prepared for it, and some of the songs weren't up to snuff, in his opinion. In fact, he didn't have a lot of lyrics written for it. But about halfway in, he realized that Lover's Leap, the followup to 2009's Tears Before Breakfast, might be the quintessential Reno Divorce album.

He credits a lot of its success to being able to record a lot of tracks either in his basement or at Patino's Green Door Recordings studio. There was more creative freedom that came with not having to look at the clock and think about the hours of recording time adding up. "You can kind of take your time, to an extent," Loveday points out. "Just some cool stuff unravels that way, when you're not under that financial pressure."

You can hear the results on tracks like "Always Be Your Slave," a song that Loveday says he wrote from the perspective of being in someone else's shoes and thinking how he would react to having to deal with himself. "It was like I was in this bad relationship where I was a total dick and selfish," he reveals. "The girl was like, 'I do everything for you. I never question your whereabouts, and all you do is just walk all over me.' It's about at the end of that relationship, where it just feels real hopeless. I kind of just reversed the roles and took a walk in her shoes, and that's what I came up with."

On a happier note, "GED Sweetheart" is Loveday's song to his wife, whom he's been married to for twenty years. While some people marry their high-school sweethearts, he married his GED sweetheart. (They got their GEDs within a week of one another, "and of course," says Loveday, "she scored better than me.")

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2 comments
jennikoa
jennikoa

Congrats to Brent!

I've been a Reno Divorce fan for years. Each album is better than the last, so I know they can only continue upwards from here. Looking forward to seeing them at the NYE show :)

vegasbubba07
vegasbubba07

Great article,I just saw them and I've been sober 14 months,even though I was the only sober one there..haha.. great show,does he go to meetings though? ?

 
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