Since releasing its debut seven-inch in August 2012, the Blue Rider has not refined its sound so much as honed its edge a bit. A chaotic energy marked its earliest efforts; the band has since found a way to maintain that level of excitement while channeling its vigor more directly into its music. The live show is a cathartic affair that has its roots in garage rock — you can hear the soul and R&B that influenced these guys growing up in their songwriting and presentation — but the group isn't going for a stylized genre sound. We recently spoke with the four members about why rock and roll remains so vital.
Westword: Rock and roll has been through so many permutations that it's mining older territory yet again. Why do you want to make rock and roll at this time?
Rett Rogers: I just think we were all just going to shows as friends, and people were just standing around and not excitable. The first show we played, people were dancing and having fun. Scott and I grew up listening to punk rock, where the audience is moving around and excited about something.
Alex Eschen: It's much more gratifying as a musician to be playing for people that are into it, and you're getting a physical reaction out of it, other than maybe you blew somebody's mind, but they're actually looking at the floor.
Scott Beck: Rett and I were deejaying a soul night at Lost Lake for a little while, and there was a disconnect; people would come to that, and there was a lot of dancing, and then you'd go to what are supposed to be rock-and-roll shows, and no one's moving.
RR: I love shows where you sit and wig out, or trip out, or whatever you do, and enjoy the experience and just sit there, but it just seemed that people were doing that at shows where you could dance. I like seeing experimental music and all kinds of music where you sit there and you don't necessarily need to dance, but it seemed that that was happening at shows where there should have been dancing going on.
Mark Shusterman: Dance has been connected to music as far back as music has existed. Those two art forms are completely interconnected, so it's definitely been gratifying sharing that with the crowd.
RR: I love hardcore and stuff like that, but there's something to be said for rock and roll, at a certain point, getting soft. I'm into playing something that has a little bit of grit and dirtiness to it and has some edge and is sweaty — just what rock and roll is based in. The birth-of-rock-and-roll stuff — the '50s stuff, what that made people feel, a sense of rebelliousness — can still happen, even though it's a completely different thing at this point.