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Rose Hill Drive wants to turn the world on

Ben Quirk

“It’s kind of like a process. It’s like an intense emotion that I can’t express in words or eye contact or talking with a friend in a coffee shop or over the phone. You get these emotions that you can’t turn away from and you have to confront them. That’s when I can write,” said Jake Sproul, bassist, singer and songwriter for Rose Hill Drive, an exciting new band from Boulder with aspirations of taking on the world. Sproul is joined by his brother Daniel who plays lead guitar and Nate Barnes who completes the trio on drums. Rose Hill Drive (RHD) eschew some of the more recent developments in rock music and stick resolutely to their own brand of stripped down, almost old-school style rock. Sproul explains the decision was a very conscious one.”Not trying to be fashionable is pretty huge. That you can eliminate that from your life is important,” Sproul said. “It’s like if you can walk into a room and not worry about what you’re wearing and the same goes for the band. You don’t have to worry about what you’re playing and just enjoy yourself. It all fits together so everything works. It can be a pretentious thing if you think about it too much. It’s comforting to not be part of a rock scene.” RHD is being professionally represented by Madison House, an experienced booking agency that handles The String Cheese Incident and Michael Franti. The hook-up has already paid dividends, as tour dates opening for Van Halen and a slot on the high profile Vans Warped Tour followed. The tour slots were a mixed bag of emotions for Sproul, however.

“I thought the Warped Tour was really geared towards younger people, really geared towards materialism. There were a lot of unhappy people there; it’s not the liberating youthful experience that it’s made out to be. The corporate sponsorship and the way it’s geared towards buying music, and there’s all these ads for things to buy and merchants selling things for bigger corporations.”We’re more straight-ahead rock ‘n’ roll, more rootsy, and the other bands were trying to follow a trend and too many bands were thinking about how many kids were at their stage and buying their CDs. Of course other festivals are fuelled by the people, but it’s a lot more of a relaxed experience at them, and it’s a lot more about the music.”I had these ideas and preconceptions from reading Rolling Stone and watching MTV and thought it would be amazing. And then I got there and I was like, ‘ah, this is awful and these companies are exploiting the kids.’ It wasn’t about punk anymore. The common thing for me was seeing a kid sitting down, really worn out with a big bag of things not talking to each other and that’s not right.”Van Halen was great though, we’d be playing to filling-up stadiums of 12,000 people, and it would be nearly full by the time we got to our last songs. That was a good experience.” Sproul said.Becoming a famous rock band has never been a particularly easy goal to achieve and living and working with siblings can also be fraught with difficulties. Sproul’s belief runs deep that Rose Hill Drive can make the step up, and he’ll still be together with his brother.

“We all decided to take it as far as we can while maintaining our integrity. Artistic integrity and personal integrity. As far as it goes in terms of popularity, we’ll take it around the world. We have the emotional capacity to take it that far. The dream you have is to get the message to the people and if that has the opportunity to get huge, we’ll take it, but we won’t compromise ourselves to get there.”So far it’s been playing live and no recording of live shows or studio recording has been able to get that across to people, our live show is where we really get across to everyone.”With Daniel, he’s gone from brother to friend. It’s challenging to be so close, and it’s testing, but if you’re smart enough to communicate your feelings you find you can create reasonable distance when you need it. It can be a really good learning experience,” Sproul said.The Sproul Brothers, ages 22 and 20, and Barnes, 22, met while in Fairview High School in Boulder and have been playing as a band for three and half years. Their youth conceals a strong sense of responsibility to each other and their music. They recognize what trials might face them in a scene rife with narcotic experimentation, alcohol abuse and interesting sexual morals.



“Daniel and I are sober. I’m going to stay away from the drugs, because I experimented before and it affected the music in the early stages and I didn’t like that. What I envision is a safe place to go, with yourself as you are, to meet people without fear and live your life without fear. “Sex on the road can be a great thing if both you and your partner are relating to each other on a plane where love exists. Be it a one night stand or a long-term girlfriend. With regards to coke, it’s pointless. It just makes you want to take more. In life, you’re trying to get to a better place and it doesn’t take you there.”I’ve done enough acid to know it can get pretty spooky and sometimes you don’t know if you’re going to come back.”Creating music is the best if it makes you happy. It’s turning other people on with the music that’s important,” Sproul said.Rose Hill Drive opens for North Mississippi Allstars Thursday and Friday at 8150.Vail Colorado


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