Interview: Red Sky Mary

Red Sky Mary at Tupelo Music Hall on 9/17/17

With seven years, three full-length albums, and an EP behind them, New England rockers Red Sky Mary have got plenty of material under their belt to pack an opening slot to the brim. The New Hampshirites regularly tour the Northeast, and recently played at the Tupelo Music Hall in Derry, New Hampshire, opening for Warrant. I caught lead singer Sam Vlasich and guitarist Tom Boisse at the show, who demonstrated some great time-management skills as they shifted between running their merch table and doing an interview with me. I took their populous local fanbase into consideration and tried not to keep them for too long, but they’re a fun pair and had plenty of great things to say. Check out the interview below, where we discussed the New Hampshire Seacoast, classic eighties Hard Rock, “The Walking Dead”, Australia, and more.

You guys are based out of Portsmouth and just visiting here, I’ve found that it’s such a cool place – walking around on the streets, I’ve seen people playing violin, guitar…did that sort of musical atmosphere influence the formation of Red Sky Mary?

Sam: Oh, totally. You know, there’s a lot of really talented, cool people there that just dig it and dig what they’re doing. They’re great, they love it there, and definitely an influence early on.

You’re opening for Warrant tonight, you opened for L.A. Guns not too long ago, and I’ve heard you had a slot with Queensryche as well – I’m noticing a pattern here of a classic hard rock theme that you seem to fit in with. I’m wondering if you see yourselves as a modern twist to that scene?

Tom: Yeah, we think so. The thing is, I was just talking about this with someone, we never really had a choice, you know what I mean? It wasn’t like, “Oh, we’re going to do this”, we just could kind of only do this. Like, we just started trying to write songs at 17, and this is just what came out. Obviously, it’s evolved since then. But we’re lucky to find ourselves in the position we’re in and having the opportunity to open for bands like L.A. Guns and Warrant, and all these bands. So it’s great! Been great for us.

Red Sky Mary has been around for quite a while now, and you’ve had singles, EPs, full-lengths – I wanted to ask what led up to you guys getting to the recent full-length?

Tom: We have three full-lengths and an EP, and we’ve just been doing it since we’re 17, so it’s been nonstop writing and recording music. The last one, River Child, that we did has been the biggest album for us and the first one that was on Carved Records, first one released on a label that we were able to tour in support of, et cetera. It’s been great, it’s been a lot of work, but we’ve had a good time.

Sam: Got to go to Chicago and do it with Johnny K, too, so that was great.

And speaking of being on the road, I saw you guys did a European tour earlier this year…

Sam: Yes, we did!!

So talk to me about that, that must have been fun.

Sam: It was wild, it was wild.

Tom: Yeah.

Sam: And I’ll tell you, Spain, man, I can’t wait to get back to Spain. They love their rock and roll there, they were super receptive, it was awesome.

Tom: Yeah, it was awesome, the whole thing was great, the audiences were really receptive to it, like Sam just said. We felt right at home, they made us feel at home.

That’s awesome. Now, talk to me real quick about The Rocking Dead.

Sam: (laughs)

Tom: Ah, Sam can take this one!

Sam: Well, it was a silly little concept because I love “The Walking Dead”, always have. Negan’s my boy. I actually just got a replica of Lucille, like a legit one made of wood, signed by Jeffrey Dean Morgan, so I’m pretty stoked about that. But yeah, it was just — we do a lot of cover songs, and we play all the time, so we kind of came to the concept, “What if we change some words around on songs people all know”, to make little ditties to recap what happened on “The Walking Dead”, and people seem to really dig it. There was actually one person in Spain who was like, “Oh my God, I came here to see you specifically because I saw The Rocking Dead, I love it, I watch it every week”.

Tom: Yeah, (laughs) discovered it.

Sam: I was like, “How the hell did you see that?”

Tom: We’re like, recording these things hungover going, “Oh, did we do it yet?”

Sam: I know, just standing there, “Okay, recap right now”, blah blah. (laughs)

Tom: But it was worth it!

Sam: Yes, it was! People see it and really dig it, and we’ll see what happens here coming in the future.

That’s great, up your fanbase with people just randomly discovering these videos.

Sam: I guess so. I guess that’s the processes, and we’re doing something right.

There you go, that’s right. And as long as we’re on the topic of video, just want to talk to you about your music videos, you’ve got quite a few, so what goes into a shoot for you?

Sam: Well, the last one we did, we had a little more fun with equipment, a little more pro stuff, at a really cool location, the ***, so that was really quite a blast to film. Everybody that helped was killer. But the older stuff was kind of just us gathering a crew of people together, paying them with drinks and sandwiches, and try to get a couple pretty girls in there if we can…that’s really how it all came together, we always made it work.

Very rock and roll. You’ve got plenty of shows coming up from the Seacoast to Merrimack, up to Maine, it seems like you cover a lot of ground while still remaining close to home. 

Tom: Yeah. It’s great, we do probably over a hundred dates a year when we do tours and stuff like that, so you know, we try to stay busy and we really have tried to achieve maybe a little bit of a grassroots movement as far as the New Hampshire/Maine, New England stuff. We have a lot of people that follow the band every weekend, to every opening gig that we do, whether it’s Casino Ballroom, or the Tupelo Music Hall, or Whisky Barrel, all that. There’s always a lot of people with Red Sky Mary shirts, and I think it’s because we play all the time and we’re a very accessible local band.

So if you could play anyplace in the world at all, where would it be?

Tom: I want to go to Australia.

Sam: Yeah…yeah! That’s —

Tom: Australia’s where we want to go, yeah, AC/DC —

Sam: Can’t top that!

Tom: Sam and I have a large and undying love for AC/DC, and we really feel that country gets the kind of music we like to make.

Sam: Do you know the band Airbourne?

Yes! Airbourne’s awesome.

Sam: We want to go on the road with them.

Tom: Yeah, we want to go on the road with Airbourne.

Sam: Joel, take us on the road!

Tom: Big time.

Spread the word – get them out there!

Sam: (laughs) So yeah, Australia.

Good choice. This has been great talking with you guys, can I just get a closing thought on tonight’s show?

Tom: We’re looking forward to it, Warrant sounded great at soundcheck, and the Tupelo Music Hall’s always great to us and it’s a great room – Scott really knows what he’s doing here.

Sam: We’re all going to get drinkin’, we’re going to get sweatin’, and we’re gonna milk the fuck out of this night.

All right! Thanks so much for the interview.

Keep up with Red Sky Mary via their Official Website and Facebook Page. Click here for the concert review.

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