Shockwave Magazine sat down with Ron “Thunderwood” Underwood of 9Electric to discuss the Not So Silent Night Tour.
Shockwave Magazine: First thing I have to tell you is the vest is awesome!
Ron Underwood: Oh yeah! Brent Ashley has made me my last two vests and it finally caught up to us on tour. He was trying to ship it out one day and it didn’t work out.
So, is it here?
It’s here. I’ll be rocking it tonight. He did awesome on it.
How’s the tour been going?
The tour’s been awesome. Actually, me and our bass player, Casey, we met a long time ago in our former band. We were touring with Drowning Pool and so this has been like a cool reunion for all of us. Drowning Pool puts on a cool show. It’s so engaging and over-the-top every night. It’s just been that party vibe.
I have seen clips of you and I’m tired watching. I love the column climb in Connecticut. We don’t have columns, so what do you have planned?
Oh yeah. I’ll figure something out. I’ll work it out. I like these hardcore kids, scaling buildings and stuff.
Everybody I know was saying, “Oh you gotta go see this band!” You guys never come down South and show us the love.
Yeah, I think we’ve only played Raleigh one time. I’m bummed about it. We’ll make it more often.
I was listening to you on YouTube and “Goodbye” is awesome. There’s something twisted about it and the video adds to that. I can’t figure out if they are lovers killing each other or are they two serial killers that meet?
We kind of wanted to leave that open-ended a little bit when I was coming together with the story. It seems like they have met their match in each other so there’s still that romance. It was meant to be that they are serial killers, but in a way they only find solace in each other. You know what I mean?
Every clip you bring the energy. In one of your videos you are live and the energy is awesome.
That’s for “New God.”
You said you like the energy level from Drowning Pool.
Yeah, the way they include everybody, it’s a really rare thing to see at that high a level. It’s a cool thing to see night after night. I take inspiration from them. You know what I mean? It definitely fuels my fire.
Do you have any festivals coming up?
I haven’t heard yet.
Are you touring any time soon?
We’ll be doing a bunch of touring in 2017, but no definite cities announced or that stuff. It should be all over.
When are you going to hit the studio again?
It’s probably going to be awhile before we plan an official new release. This one is just getting off the ground. Best case scenario, is it’s going to be a long time. You know what I mean? That’s if it is doing well. It’s picking up a lot of traction. Radio has really taken a liking to us, being that we are a brand new artist as far as they’re concerned.
How was the Revolver Music Awards?
That was awesome. That was the first one that I went to. It’s cool to catch up with all the people that you know from the industry, all in one place. It’s strange, also. We’re use to seeing all those people in L.A. and to see them so far from home. You start feeling like they are land marks of L.A. It’s like, “Awe shit, you made it out of there. How’d you do that?” It was a really cool reunion for us.
What are your plans for the holidays?
I’ll go back home and visit my family back in Arizona. Maybe challenge my brother to a cactus fight. I don’t know.
What is a cactus fight?
Use your imagination. There’s these Acacia trees. I don’t know if you know what those are, but they have spiny sticks that are 10-12 feet high and when they die they are like brittle fossils. We snap an arm off of those. They are completely light weight. They could blow away in the wind, but they are solid as shit. So, we sword fight with the branches.
Your mom spent a lot of time in the emergency room, didn’t she?
Yeah, they knew my brother by his first name, “Oh what did Kevin do this time?”
How did you get started? Did you have somebody behind you?
There was nobody in my family or my neighborhood that was playing music until I picked up a guitar. I just had to teach myself and play by ear. Since guitar was my weapon of choice, I got into all the guitar bands from the 70’s to the 2000’s. That was my first music experience. I had a four-track recorder, and since I didn’t have anyone to jam to, I would play bass, and then guitar over that, and have a drum machine going along. Just made do with what you had. That was how it started out.
What’s your guilty pleasure?
My guilty pleasure? I like a lot of nu-wave of the 80’s. I like the synthesizers and the tones.
You can hear that.
It definitely comes out.
You have a very electric sound.
Yeah, even though we’re regarded as a hard rock or metal band because of the big guitars or the approach of the rhythm, there’s definitely some of that 80’s Goth, nu-wave synthetic stuff. It kind of melds all together.
Your name goes along with that sound. How did you guys come up with that?
The name was chosen before I joined. But Mikey and Micah, our guitarist and drummer, wanted something electronic or at least a little bit of that edge in there. I think the number nine was Mikey’s favorite number. When you put the two together it resonates like 911, so there’s a subliminal urgency to 9Electric. It has that same flow. I think all those things coming together seem to work really well.
Any “what happens on the tour stays on the tour” moments?
[laughter] There’s always crazy things that happen. You go to one town and have the craziest night in that town, and you get to leave it all behind, and move to the next. Here’s when you realize you get away with a lot more if you just live with that mentality.
I was in Nashville, TN, after this big show and I was partying with the locals. They were taking me bar hopping. I was, “Wait guys. I gotta pee.” I went over by the dumpster. I was just peeing like on the side of the road. Don’t do this at home kids, do this in Nashville [laughter]. All of a sudden, this cop car pulls up. I was like, “There’s no way I’m going to wrap this up in time. So, you know what, I guess I’m busted.” They flashed their lights. Woo Woo— made the siren. They had the spotlight on me, and I hear in the speaker, “Hey!” I’m like, “Awe man, I’m still peeing. There’s no way I’m stopping this thing. Too much momentum.” “Did you play tonight?” “Umm…yeah.” “Awesome set.” Then they just rolled on. I was just like, “Oh wow.” I guess it’s who you know. I thought for sure I was going to spend the night in jail. I guess there’s that pirate mentality, where you can just pillage and move on. Not a whole lot of it follows you unless you get back to that town too soon. By the time you come back they’ve forgotten and you can start from fresh.
Are you gonna have copies of the CD at the merch booth?
We’ve got the new one and our earlier LPs that you can buy along with it. All sorts of goodies. I am so happy with how it turned out. I had a blast recording it. We recorded a lot of it in our rehearsal studio and we also did some of it on tour, in hotels, or on our RV. Then, when we were done capturing all the tracks on it, it was time to mix, and get organized, and go through it. We teamed up with Kane Churko, who has done In This Moment, Five Finger Death Punch, Ozzy Osbourne, all this really cool stuff; a really current sounding producer. A real wiz. He kinda helped us bring the best out of what we already had. Sometimes it was just a simple twist, like what if we repeat this section or cut this section out. He had these great ideas. He could employ them on the fly. He mixed the album. He made it sound so current and slamming. I’m so happy we got to work with the guy that took us to that next level. I learned a lot.
Thank you for taking the time. I know you guys are busy getting everything ready for the show.
Thanks for having me.