Hertler and crew hit the famed Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Colorado this week with fellow Michiganders Flint Eastwood and GRiZ, part of a hectic summer that includes Mo Pop and laying down new tracks.
Catching up with Joe Hertler the week before his Electric Forest appearance with Everyone Orchestra a couple weeks back, Hertler was simply excited to be home, playing video games.
After spending the first six months of 2018 on the road, he and his fellow Rainbow Seekers were able to finally catch their collective breath in the mitten for a couple weeks and reconnect with significant others, family and friends, before getting back after it.
They are now standing on the precipice of one of the funky and soulful pop/jam band’s most exciting moments in their seven-year history — opening for fellow Michigan acts Flint Eastwood and GRiZ this Friday night at Colorado’s famed Red Rocks Amphitheatre.
“I think one of the things I’m most excited about is just to get to share that Red Rocks experience with Jax (Anderson of Flint Eastwood) and Grant (Kwiecinski aka GRiZ),” Hertler said.
“We’ve all been friends for a long time and we’re all Michigan people and working real hard and doing the best we can. Being able to take that Michigan vibe to Red Rocks together in front of all those people is just super special. I wouldn’t want my first time to be with anyone else.”
Red Rocks isn’t the only big summer gig for the band. Add in a rainy, sunset set in late May at Illinois’ Summer Camp (yes, there was even a rainbow) and a forthcoming appearance at Detroit’s Mo Pop Festival, and that hard work Hertler speaks of is no doubt reaping dividends.
“The excitement level is very, very high within the band,” Hertler said. “Up until January, when we were finally able to take things full-time musically, we had always had to balance having the band and then going back to our regular jobs Monday-Friday. It was a real juggling act.
“This year’s just been awesome so far. We got to start it out by touring with Pigeons Playing Ping Pong and have also been fortunate to be able to do stretches with The Main Squeeze, Too Many Zoos and Here Come the Mummies.”
In total, the band has already logged more than 80 shows in 2018, and while they won’t be doing any full-fledged touring again until fall, they are spending much of their “downtime” right now laying down tracks for studio album No. 4 and plan to have it in tow with them when they start crisscrossing the country again in October.
NEW MATERIAL ON THE HORIZON
The Rainbow Seekers have already wrapped up one of four week-long recording sessions slated for this summer at Make Believe Studios in Omaha, Nebraska, and have been thoroughly enjoying recording for the first time outside the walls of their respective home studios in Grand Rapids, East Lansing, Ypsilanti and Kalamazoo.
And while the band may have left the state to record, don’t think for a second that Michigan vibe is going to be lost on the new album as the producer they are collaborating with is Clarkston native Rick Carson. The Grammy-nominated Carson also has studio space in Los Angeles, but the band made the collective call to work in Omaha to avoid the many distractions that L.A. brings.
“Omaha has been really nice,” Hertler said. “There’s a real vibrancy to the city, once you get down underneath a layer or two, there’s a lot of people very passionate about Omaha and a lot of people who care about the arts.”
As far as the new music goes, Hertler says it his favorite thing the band has done to date. And for those eager to hear what it sounds like? It’ll be a little more of the same, he says. And if you are familiar with the band’s work, you should know by now that more of the same means anything but the same.
“We get bored with doing the same thing twice,” Hertler said. “I feel like I write songs in this sort of genre rotation. I’ll write a funk song, and then go and do something folksier, and then do something rock n’ roll, and then hand them off to the band and let them take the wheel and the direction of where the song goes.
“When we did ‘Terra Incognita’ (in 2015), we had signed this record deal with Universal and they wanted us to pick a genre. I’ve just never felt like I have that kind of control over my songwriting. … And as we have grown as a band we’ve kind of got that affirmation that you can do what you want to do. You can be yourself and make the art that you want to make and just be true to yourself and make your art the best it can be.”
VIDEO: Joe Hertler & The Rainbow Seekers, Audiotree Live
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