Defining a genre is a difficult task for Clearview hailing from Riverside, CA. This chameleon band fits well at shows with a varied lineup such as So Cal Summer Noise held August 17 in Long Beach, CA. The self-described “alternative anthemic hard rock” outfit was a crowd pleaser with fans alternatively moshing and singing along. By the Barricade was on hand to talk with Clearview about their “view” of the music scene and what is coming up for the band. The full interview transcript follows.
Vincent Gray: Lead Vocals
Ryan Cohen: Guitar/vocals
Zach Boggio: Guitar/vocals
Chris Rushing: Bass/vocals
Aaron Wolgemuth: Drums/vocals
By the Barricade: What is the origin of your band name Clearview?
Aaron Wolgemuth: I came up with the name. We were listening to a Sick Puppies song.
Ryan Cohen: We were sitting in beanbag chairs naked eating Cheetos, hot Cheetos.
Aaron Wolgemuth: Yes, we were listening to Sick Puppies and a song called, “White Balloons” and at the end of the song he sings, “Even in clear view” and I was like, Clearview! I like that. But we went through three other band names before that. One was Event Horizon after a corny sci fi movie, we were Orangutan Tittie.
Ryan Cohen: We were M.O.B. for about three weeks until we learned that the acronym meant something else in gang culture.
Aaron Wolgemuth: It meant money over bitches.
Ryan Cohen: Once we learned that it meant Member of Bloods in gang culture, we thought, “No.”
By the Barricade: What is it that you have a clear view of?
Chris Rushing: That I constantly want to better myself, at work, my music, and my all around life.
Ryan Cohen: That is actually something that Vince and I talk a lot about in our songs. We are all pretty optimistic guys just to talk to us but a lot of our songs come from pretty dark places when we write.
Vincent Gray: It’s not a dark place to say we are all depressed so you should be depressed and wallow in your pain with us. It’s just showing you that we know what we are talking about and we are not lying to you because we have been through what you are going through at some point in time in our lives as well. We are trying to reflect on that you don’t have to hurt yourself or hurt others around you because someone else has been there you are not alone.
Ryan Cohen: The whole point is that we have these dark places but we have had bad experiences, but we are here, we are channeling it and making something positive and anyone can do that. It has to be relate-able.
Zach Boggio: I concur.
All: * Laugh
By the Barricade: What musician or bands do you look up to and why?
Vincent Gray: I was a huge Guns ‘N Roses fan before that, I used to listen to Crystal Gayle, Ricky Nelson and some really old classic stuff. I was singing Ricky Nelson songs for my choir concerts. Stuff like that was getting me into the showmanship.
Aaron Wolgemuth: I was a fan of German Polka Metal. That is what got me into doing what I do.
Zach Boggio: That wasn’t even until last year.
Ryan Cohen: It’s like playing Rammstein at double speed.
Zach Boggio: My influence was Avenged Sevenfold definitely, Synyster Gates. Also older guys like Mick Mars from Motley Crue, Jimmy Page and Led Zepplin, Beach Boys, Salsa, I love Salsa Music.
Aaron Wolgemuth: Stone Sour.
Ryan Cohen: For me it was Mark Tremonti. I don’t like to say Creed because some people say, “Oh, you’re one of those.” There is such a stigma on them.
Vincent Gray: You know Scott Stapp is sitting somewhere thinking, “Hey! Again?Again?”
Ryan Cohen: Mark Tremonti was the first guitarist I heard actually tell you something with his guitar. I grew up listening to AC/DC where the joke is that is the only three chords they know. I heard Mark Tremonti playing “One Last Breath” where he is actually just playing this composed song. Pretty fly for a white guy. He is the reason I got started in eighth grade playing really terrible tunes with my 7th grade friends.
Aaron Wolgemuth: I like Five Finger Death Punch, Korn, Avenged Sevenfold, Shinedown, Sick Puppies, oh man, I could name so many.
Ryan Cohen: Let me just bust out my iPod real quick and they would be on the playlist.
Vincent Gray: It’s cool each one of our songs reflect the different takes. Aaron and Zach with their more metal background, Ryan has a classic 80’s rock feel when he writes anything on the guitar. I come from a very bluesy background so I keep it kind of soulful and bluesy with the vocals and it all kind of melts into something pretty awesome. We are enjoying it anyways and we haven’t heard too many bad things yet.
Chris Rushing: I use to look up to a few bands while I was younger, such as Nirvana. But for the past 5 or so years I have listened to less music and looked up to less bands because I want it to be my own story vs wanting it to be like someone else’s.
By the Barricade: What inspired you to be musicians and how did you start?
Ryan Cohen: Both of my parents are music teachers: cello, violin, bass all of the good instruments for a young child to be brought up on for a nice wholesome upbringing. I played violin for two years then I picked up a drum set in sixth grade and dropped it in seventh grade. I wasn’t much good. My entire family comes from a musical backgound, I was in musical theater and in choir and in band. Mr. Popular in high school let me tell you what! No one loves anything more than the band geek and choir. But hey, “I’m in Thoroughly Modern Millie so watch out!”
Aaron Wolgemuth: I actually met Zach and Ryan in musical theater. We all did musicals and stuff like that.
Ryan Cohen: The day Clearview started was the day Aaron picked up the drums.
Aaron Wolgemuth: I didn’t know how to play drums before.
Zach Boggio: He went out and bought a drum set and said, “I guess I’m a drummer.”
Aaron Wolgemuth: Almost four years ago.
Chris Rushing: My father mainly started my passion for music. He played guitar and bass. Throughout elementary school, art classes became my favorite and by 3rd-4th grade all I wanted was a guitar so my parents got me one for my birthday.
Zach Boggio: I started out in musical theater like Aaron said; I met him in fourth grade. Good old times, the play was Annie, I remember it. I started when I was seven with singing and dancing. In fourth grade I picked up the violin and sucked at it and then I played the saxophone and was a band geek. In high school I did chamber singers.
Aaron Wolgemuth: I was a child prodigy on piano for ten years. I was ok. I was labeled technically a prodigy but I didn’t practice enough. I picked up drums and broke my mom’s heart.
Ryan Cohen: That was guitar for me and guitar for Zach.
Vincent Gray: When I started off I didn’t even want to sing, I wanted to play guitar for a band. Slash was a big influence on what I wanted to do and how I wanted to play guitar. I did start off on piano to work my way up to it. My grandfather raised me so he wanted me to go that route, “Start off with the piano and if you do well there, we’ll get you a guitar.” I was cool with that for the longest time and then I saw my uncle sing for his band when I was like 13 and I said, “I can do that.” I got into choir when I was in high school and I made it into chamber singers as a sophomore. I thought that was really cool and it really helped with theory and everything else. It helped me to understand how to project some of that sound semi-decent. Chris and I were in the same church choir together.
Aaron Wolgemuth: I think we were all choir boys.
Ryan Cohen: So kids, stay with it or you will end up like us.
By the Barricade: How did you get together as a band?
Aaron Wolgemuth:: It started off with Ryan, Zach and myself in my garage just messing around and writing songs for like a year trying to figure things out. I had a buddy and he knew Vincent and Chris. We had gone through like four singers and another bass player that just didn’t work out.
Zach Boggio: We were actually trying to do another band.
Aaron Wolgemuth: we were trying to do a cover band when we met Vince and Chris but then decided to do Clearview.
Chris Rushing: I had a mutual friend between Zach and Aaron. We all meet up for tacos one night. It was the first time I had met them and we all hit it off. Later finding out they needed a bassist I asked, “What are you looking for in your bassist?” Aaron quickly replied, “Someone who can keep up.” I highly underestimated them at the time and said I’d come check them out. The first song they played blew my mind. They asked what I thought. I said it was great and I mentioned one part would sound awesome if tweaked slightly. After a long silent pause Ryan said, “That might actually work. Usually a new guy’s input gets him kicked out, but we should try it.” The rest is history.
Ryan Cohen: By the time we brought in Chris and Vince, because we had gone through a couple bassists and singers, we had this entire arsenal of songs pretty much ready to go musically. We still do two of them, “Poison Heart” and “OHD.” Vince got to walk into a giant pool of untapped material and said, “Hey that’s good, let’s make it great now.
Vincent Gray: I just threw a little spice on top of what they already had. These guys had some cool stuff going on already they are phenomenal musicians who if I’m having a bad day, they know how to pick it up.
By the Barricade: How would you describe your sound in five words or less?
Vincent Gray: We were told we are not allowed to have a genre.
Chris Rushing: Carefree.
Aaron Wolgemuth: Sex.
Vincent Gray: Like a mixture between Shinedown and Korn.
Aaron Wolgemuth: Let’s come up with five words, Sex.
Zach Boggio: Grunge.
Aaron Wolgemuth: Lipstick.
Zach Boggio: Nharwal.
Ryan Cohen: Purple
Zach Boggio: Yes
Aaron Wolgemuth: Sex, lipstick, purple, nharwal, and yes.
Ryan Cohen: I’m glad we are taking that question seriously.
Vincent Gray: You can call it alternative anthemic hard rock.
Ryan Cohen: That’s what we have been going with. We say metal and it sounds wrong, we say rock…
Vincent Gray: But we can play in a metal scene and we can play at a rock festival too. We can play at a jazz festival if we wanted to.
Ryan Cohen: We played with punk bands and blended into the environment.
Aaron Wolgemuth: We played a hip hop show one time.
Zach Boggio: That was a good time.
Vincent Gray: We are the chameleon band.
Ryan Cohen: We-are-the-chameleon-band! That’s it.
By the Barricade: Any updates on new music from Clearview?
Chris Rushing: Clearview probably has more songs written then the songs that we actually play… however we have tried our best to stick with the songs we have for a little while because any time we jam, stuff like Juliet happens where we write a song in 5 minutes and then forget about other songs. The guys are very creative and it’s difficult for us to keep from being eager to write new stuff.
Aaron Wolgemuth: we have an EP that we are getting ready to release we are getting the album art ready and stuff like that. We are planning on releasing it before the end of the year. It will be self-titled Clearview. It’s a five song EP with tracks: “OHD,” “Gone,” “Juliet,” “Broken” and “To and From” on it. We think it will really kick some butt. We got it quality recorded through Sirian Productions in Riverside. It sounds radio ready, it is so good.
Ryan Cohen: Timmy Hern and Gage Renn. I recommend them to any musicians out there trying to record.
Aaron Wolgemuth: Tell them Clearview sent you!
By the Barricade: In the Inland Empire there seems to be camaraderie among the local bands. Is that true and what do you do to network with other bands?
Aaron Wolgemuth: We are actually teaming up with two bands right now that are actually playing this show tonight. Firing All Cylinders and The Sex Tape Scandal.
Chris Rushing: I’m not sure if all local bands do but it I always wanted to have a group of other bands that we book shows with and pull awesome crowds together. I feel we are on our way with our tour with Firing all Cylinders and the Sex Tape Scandal.
Aaron Wolgemuth: we are working on getting a tour together with them next year, probably summer time. The biggest thing we are working on is funding.
Vincent Gray: We are going to go to New Mexico and back for the first run. Funding is always a problem. We did a house party with those guys to begin to raise money. We didn’t raise too much money, but we did gain some new fans and people who know what we are trying to do. That will help push us and go forward. Word of mouth goes a long way.
Ryan Cohen: I want to give a shout out real quick to a band in Riverside, Assuming We Survive. A lot of people have heard about them. Adrian Estrella, the lead singer has been doing this phenomenal job. He is the one if we are talking about uniting and camaraderie, he is the fore master of getting bands together. He has been backing us for almost a year now by getting us into shows everywhere. I have seen some bands on the list that wouldn’t have come together without him.
Aaron Wolgemuth: David Christopher too. He puts together a few shows.
Vincent Gray: It is cool. The rock scene is coming back in a big way in the inland Empire. And without everyone cutting each other’s throats and trying to stab each other in the back; they are helping each other out. Everyone is rising all together. We have a similar vision. Music is a universal language. Everyone has been cool since we have been taking this more seriously than we have for the past 3 ½ years.
Aaron Wolgemuth: We are also teaming up with Inertia, Ill Calm, Spider Island, No One’s Mercy and Mildura. We’ve all been doing shows together.
Ryan Cohen: They always say that when the economy takes a dive it is the arts that go first. And for those who haven’t tuned into the country in the past eight or so years, we are in a bit of a dip. So the arts are going down. My parents are music teachers and it is hard to get kids to sign up. It’s cool that in our own way, since we were all choir kids, we are products of that time. Even in the ‘seedy’ rock n roll underground, we are fighting back in our own little way. We are saying music is still around, do it!
Zach Boggio: Make some noise.
Ryan Cohen: That is what the camaraderie is about. It’s not just us, music is still here and it still means something.
By the barricade: Do you think Rock The Arts and Get Busy Living Fest are helping that?
Aaron Wolgemuth: Yes, those were two amazing festivals to play too. We had such a good time with those.
Zach Boggio: The people were really cool. We actually had way more people show up than we thought.
By the Barricade: On your band business card you have the quote, “Be the change you wish to see” which is a quote often attributed to Ghandi. What change do you want to see?
Vincent Gray: I’d like to see a little more empathy in the world. People are people and I’d like to see more people helping out where they know they can instead of passing somebody up. Letting people know that they are going to be alright or I’ve been through this. You can talk to me. Is what we gear toward when we write. When I say to be the change you wish to see in the world, it is through whatever they are listening to, whatever they believe in.
Aaron Wolgemuth: That question has a different answer for every person. Clearview writes a lot about relationship problems. We are trying to say to people that we have all gone through that we want people to know that no matter what happens you always have a person to talk to.
Ryan Cohen: Broken is a song that Vince and I wrote together and it has undergone a few changes. I wrote it about my estranged relationship with my birth father. Vince was writing it from his struggles growing up.
Vincent Gray: It was a heroin problem that I had in high school
Ryan Cohen: The lyrics lend themselves to both cases.
Vincent Gray: When we actually came together with what we wrote, it had a deeper meaning on a larger scale so whatever people are broken about, that is what it is.
Ryan Cohen: That is part of the change.
Zach Boggio: You guys said it all. I concur. The world lacks passion and what I would like to see in the world is connecting music. Strangers come into a show and into the night we become family because of music.
Chris Rushing: This quote to me is more towards our fans. I feel one of our “messages” is life sometimes sucks, sometimes you’re not given a good hand of cards in life, but change what you can in life for the better.
By the Barricade: Is there anything else you would like to say the readers of By the Barricade?
Vincent Gray: listen and share. When you know we have something for sale that is going to help us out, be that person that buys it. Share it like it and be honest.
Ryan Cohen: though this may seem a little cliché coming from the music teaching family, but my big thing is music. If something has to be taken away from a culture to survive and flourish, it can’t be music. Music is universal to all cultures and it is there for a reason. It brings us together, music has to stay and everyone can do something to help.
Zach Boggio: Go to local shows and support local bands.
Chris Rushing: I appreciate everyone that comes out to our shows and supports all the bands and everyone who has been supporting us over the years. If it wasn’t for people coming out there would be no point in playing. Thank you for all the great times and the many great times to follow
Aaron Wolgemuth: I like fast and loose women.
By the Barricade: Awesome closing! Thank you guys!
Find Clearview on iTunes and keep it on Bythebarricade.com for more rock, metal and punk interviews, reviews, articles, and photos! Also, “Like” By the Barricade on Facebook to never miss a post. If you liked this article check out: