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Josh Weaver of ROYAL THUNDER Discusses Meeting Prince At An IHOP, The Next Album and More

Mlny Parsonz, Evan Diprima, and Josh Weaver make up the Atlanta based doom rock outfit Royal Thunder. While on their rather strangly billed tour with The Dillinger Escape Plan, and The Faceless, I was able to have a chat with Josh before their Sacramento gig at The Ace of Spades on May 18th. Josh talked about the progress with the band's new album, trimming down to a three-piece and that time the band ran into Prince at an IHOP.

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How was your South By Southwest experience this year?
It was awesome man. Met a lot of great people had a lot of great reception. It was awesome man.

I read Mlny is a Prince fan, have you guys ever considered covering Prince? I feel like there’s potential for an interesting cover there. Or are you a band that just doesn’t do covers?
We don’t normally do covers, but we actually met Prince, which is pretty awesome.

Josh Weaver Royal ThunderHow was that? Were you able to look him in the eye? I’ve heard that’s a no-no.
Oh yeah. It was the same night he played South By Southwest.

Oh, That’s right he played that Saturday.
We were crashed out. We were sleeping in the IHOP parking lot and I guess around 4:30 or 5, when it was kind of dead he actually walked into IHOP with two women. He walked in there, sat down. Mel walked up to him, shook his hand and for a while people were like, “Is that really him? Is that really him?” because what would he be doing out in public like this? I actually looked up a picture of a recent performance, and the performance he did that night, and it was totally him. So, I went up to him and shook his hand, and like five minutes later, he was just gone. He knew he couldn’t just hang out because everybody started coming up to him, but it was cool.

The number 106, I’ve read comes up a lot with your band (the band’s album is called CVI, the Roman numeral for 106) and your lives in general. Has it come up recently?
It always does man. I’ll look at my phone and it’ll be 1:06, or I’ll look at while I’m driving or riding in the van and see mile marker 106. It’s always there for sure.

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Do you think it’s like the movie The Number 23?
I’ve heard about that, but I’ve never actually seen the movie. People ask me, “Are you into numerology?” No, I don’t really know or not.

royalthundercvicoverI haven’t either, I just know of it. For me, it’s always been the number 9.
I think everybody has a number like that that they see. Who knows what it means, but it definitely keeps things interesting.

Lately, there’re been a handful of acoustic versions of your songs going up, whether it be Pitchfork or the upcoming Decibel flexi disc. Do you guys see yourself putting out an EP, or any sort of collection of expanded acoustic versions?
It was really awesome to do that, and I want to do something like that in the future, so it’s definitely possible. I think the next thing we’ll be working on is the new album. Doing those three tracks pushed us as musicians, and we’ll really be ready to go in the studio with more ideas than we would have had if we had not done the acoustic tracks. But we’ll be playing two new songs tonight that we’re going to be recording.

Did you play any of that in Austin?
We might have played one of those.

Awesome! Not that any of your other stuff wouldn’t be cool to see, it’s just something new is always exciting.
We figured we’ve done a lot of traveling lately so a lot of people have come out to see us in a lot of the same cities. Let them hear something new, you know?

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How much of the new album is compiled or written?
We have a pretty good bit. We have about three songs that are pretty strong and ready to go, and a lot that are in the works. We’re well over the halfway mark, if not more than that. We just have to sit down and actually work on them.

I saw you guys roll up in a van, so I imagine you don’t have the whole tour bus lifestyle. What do you do on the road?
A lot of peeing in bottles.

Pinecone finding?
Pinecone finding! We’re traveling as a three-piece, so two of us can sleep in the back while one of us is driving. Just listening to tunes, and trying to take out time getting to the next club.

royalthunderchristyparry620A few years ago, there was a fourth member (rhythm guitarist Josh Coleman), but there were some health issues and I wasn’t able to find any follow-up to what happened with him.
He actually just had a kid and that’s what he’s going to be doing. He’s going to be a dad and it’s awesome. He’s really stoked. We’re really happy for him.

So, no beef?
No, we love him to death. He’s an awesome dude. It was awesome playing with him.

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I’m looking forward to tonight’s set. Thank you so much.
Thank you man!

Royal Thunder will be on the road through May with The Dillinger Escape Plan and The Faceless before hitting the road with Baroness this August.

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