Lots going on in the upcoming weeks.
Its been pretty cool to have the opportunity to be playing at the Alabama State Fair. Its coming up this week, Oct 1st at 2:00 pm at the Oak Mountain Fairgrounds. I received an invitation from Outlaw Nation who hosts these events across the country. Very exciting stuff.
You can check out the entire band as we have performed a little switcheroo on the instruments. Moving from the drums to vocals, percussion and guitar will be longtime friend and musician, Craig Pruett. And replacing him on the drums will be Kerry Mitchell from Tuscaloosa, AL. The change has added a new dimension to the band and you can sure tell the difference! We will be performing most of our original songs on Oct 1st. You will be sure to enjoy it.
Speaklng of Craig Pruett, I had a chance to catch up with him yesterday after rehearsal to get his thoughts on life, music and...the color yellow. See the full interview below.
When did you begin taking an interest into performing?
I really got an interest in performing while in high school. I took a choral class that Rick Weaver taught. Mr. Weaver was an old school blues musician and he was really cool. What I thought might be a boring choir type experience actually turned out to be Mr. Weaver teaching is how to actually sing well and correctly. We didn't sing old boring songs-we sang the good stuff! Old and new, but all of them were great songs.
Mr. Weaver could sing with this old school blues style voice that sounded very close to the great Michael McDonald. He inspired me. Eventually, we were allowed to try out for a solo on a new song. The song, I still remember to this day was Here's My Heart.
I tried out and won the solo lead. After singing to an audience and receiving honest compliments-I realized that I loved seeing people be moved by something that I could do. The powerful feelings I experienced when people responded to our music changed me forever. I've never stopped pursuing that response from people.
Most people are unaware that you were Mr. Boy Band Heartthrob back in the early 90s. Describe your days as a musician/entertainer with the Vocal Boyz in a hundred words or less.
I switched schools my senior year of high school and walked into the smokeneck world of Southside. Of course, to continue my path of music-I joined the coral class. I met a few guys that would eventually become my best friends and brothers. Sitting in a small classroom off of the main coral auditorium-Things came together musically and a group was born.
We grew as a group with new guys joining in and quickly evolved into a real life boy band.
All of us felt a calling to do contemporary Christian music and that is what our direction was. With Inspiration drawn from great vocal bands like Acapella, AVB and For Him-we became our own style of contemporary artists. It was the most amazing years of my life. I grew as a singer and performer. I traveled the world (in my eyes at the time) and met wonderful people. Learned the harsh realities of the music business and the abundant awards of touching people's lives. All along-building bonds with guys that will forever hold a place in my heart.
You are locked in a room for eternity, and given only an ipod with your musical influences. Who are they?
As a young boy, I was often impressed by the newest rock bands and I would often stand in my bedroom with a killer guitar that I had carved out of cardboard, which I spent an hour coloring and painting on to make it the most kick butt shredder ever made.
I would slap an eight track cassette of Foreigner in and blast music while dancing around playing my cardboard instrument and singing every word.
I grew up listening to greats like Journey, Motley Crue, Twisted Sister and the likes.
I always gravitated too the likes of Stevie Wonder and the Jackson Five (old albums that my parents had).
For me to list the major influences of music in my life would require a book. I was fortunate to be introduced to a wide variety of music styles and genres. ALL of them have influenced who I am today as a singer and musician.
When asked "what is your personal playlist like?" My response is always "kinda like a bipolar personality. Ya never know what will play next."
Get paid $100 and play with a band or $99.50 to play a Duo. Whats your choice?
The drive and power brought on by a full band is often the most exciting experience a musician singer can have. With all the elements coming together, it just seems to move me to another place.
I have to admit that I believe the duo set seems to be more of a personal, intimate setting that allows two musicians to work at a very raw, stripped down version of music. IMO this is needed to keep some of the wonderful purities of music thriving.
Lets say hell is full of only one style of music. Whats playing down there?
Prolly be Gangster Rap at this point in my life and there is only so much true blue grass I can take.
I met Robert in coral class my senior year of high school. He and some guys were playing some music and singing. I joined in and we've been friends since.
Whos got your back?
In music and life-my family have all supported me (my wife, children, parents, cousins). I have some really great friends that have always encouraged me and showed up at many shows over the years, as well.
I don't think anyone has ever spoken a negative word about my love and desire to sing and perform. They have all accepted what I do for a career and have always been there for me, even at my worst.
What would be the title of your Autobiography?
Title would be "Literally Analytical"
Who do you compare the Robert Abernathy Band to?
Really hard to label. I see all of the various influences of music in each band members lives. It's like a mix of Southern Rock, Country, R&B, Blues, Jazz, Pop and Rock. Blended together for a pretty unique musical experience. RAB has a little something for everyone. People have at least one or two songs in a set that they really love, even if they don't like the others lol.
You are on a long drive along to...somewhere. Radios broken. No cell service. What are you thinking about?
Well, it's kind of what my autobiography would be titled. I am very analytical, therefore I spend alone time pondering on deep thoughts. I can travel through deep meaningful thoughts only to arrive at thoughts of completely random and probably useless information.
I try to think about things in a positive position and work threw my feelings about life.
Favorite 80s Jam
The 80's were a great time. Though, some of the most awkward times as far as music goes lol. There were some great pop songs and great rock songs. Some were terrible as well. I was in to the hair band rock as well as the pop scene. Anything from Michael Jackson or New Edition is great to me. I get a rush from all the rock power ballads as well. Hard to pick a favorite!
Favorite 90s Jam
Wow! The good ol'days of the 90's. This was a time of great music and a transition out of the 80's. Rap took on a new image and became rather popular. Rock became darker and heavier-and it was good! Country music developed a new sound and people like Garth Brooks took over the world. So much great music was produced in the 90's and all of it will forever be an influence to me. Absolutely no way to pick a favorite.
You are now President. How do you plan on fixing us all?
1st-Education. I would make education changes. The first elementary years would remain the same. Kids learn basics. Later in middle school-a child would be given the opportunity to study a specific career field while still learning basics. High school would be more of a career prep type education where the student would spend time learning skills and trades to better equip them for an actual job or a specific job of their choosing. The biggest change would be a continued education. If a student graduates high school and desires more education, training or skill development-then we would develop a new and different level of education. No, not a college or university. A funded education school that allows for anyone to attend to learn more. One even adults could return to for betterment in a career set. Call it post college or next phase education. A level of education that is a lower level than a college or university, but carries accredited assistance for those that choose to better themselves yet can't obtain a college level education.
2nd-Employment. Employment with better pay for those willing to work is key to moving people out of poverty. Poverty is the root of many of America's issues.
3rd-Government handouts has to end. It is not the governments responsibility to feed and support a family. It is the governments responsibility to protect Americans safety.
This goes deeper, but it would take a book to write. Don't take it at face value, because there are a lot of things to address in this area. A people can't become dependent on the government to feed them. This falls back to employment and poverty.
4th- Democrats, Republicans, etc. should all go away. I would push for a unified system of Americans where the people are choosing who they want as leaders. Where the people vote and control more than we have today. Making it about the people and not a party.
There are some many areas to discuss when dealing with how our country is run. We all have opinions, but in the long run-I want to see America be the greatest of all nations with a unified people in all facets of life. All together, living life and being great together.
What's your biggest accomplishment?
Being a father! There is nothing that requires more integrity, commitment and dedication. It is the most honorable thing I have been given the opportunity to do. There isn't much that even comes close.
Lastly, being a songwriter and getting your message across can sometimes be difficult. Describe the color yellow to somebody who is blind.
It's like stepping through an opening from a cooled room and you feel the warm sun kiss your forehead. That tingly sensation that you feel on your skin. It's the scent of a woman who brushes behind you, close enough for the spring wind to gently move her hair, picking up the smell of beauty and it reaches out, grabbing your senses. The scent almost becomes a physical vapor that lures you to turn, entranced at the moment and controlled by your senses. It's the soft sound of birds chirping in the morning. It's the laughter of a child who found humor in his father tossing him high into the air on a beautiful day. Though the child fears the toss, he knows that the landing is safe.
It is the unique feeling when you run your fingers across the ground to find a stem and you follow that stem upwards finding the masterfully shaped, intricate design of beautiful flowers petals. You lean in and inhale. That is yellow, my friend.
Deep stuff, Mr. Pruett. Well Said.