A Bridge from Classic
to Alt Rock
"Our mission since we began was to take the wheel and steer it [rock music] back into a direction where everyone from all walks of life could enjoy a good rock show."
By: Kreig Marks, July, 2021
Shallow Side features Eric Boatright on vocals, Seth Trimble on guitar/keyboards, Sam Bower on bass, and Heath Fields on drums. The lead singer of the classic Rock band, Styxx, Tommy Shaw, was an immediate fan when he heard them do the song, "Renegade." They do have their own Alternative originals, and have gotten major fandome off of doing songs like Journey's "Separate Ways," or Foreigner's "Jukebox Hero," to name a few. Make no mistake, fans still want to hear the classics through the channels of the now, Modern rockers in Alt music.
KM: Hi Eric. Welcome to Tru Rock Revival Magazine. How are you doing? How are things in South Carolina?
EB: Hey Kreig. I'm doing well. Well, it's South Carolina. It's hot, it's humid, but, it's been nice being back home for a few days before we head back out to Newton, North Carolina, then Virginia Beach, Ohio and a few private acoustic shows we're doing next week.
KM: You have a new song out, well, a new song for you, “Separate Ways” by Journey. Let me tell you, that’s a tough song to pull off, anything by Journey and Steve Perry. Steve Perry’s vocals back in the day were unmatched. I think you did a pretty nice job with it. You also did a cover of “Renegade” by Styx. Who’s choice were these songs? Who’s the anthem band fan in the group?
EB: You know, during the pandemic, we were all just messing around with some things, but, always writing. During this particular phase, we decided to do some covers. We did "Jukebox Hero" too. We wanted to revisit the past, where we came from, and low and behold, "Separate Ways" by Journey came up. I really didn't discover Journey until I was about 18 or 19 years old. And when I did, it was like, "Wow!" Talk about a discovery zone, right there, it really opened up my world to what Rock n' Roll was at one point, and how classic and timeless those songs still are. That was our inspiration to record those songs.
KM: Journey and Foreigner songs are not easy to duplicate. You're talking about some incredible vocals by Steve Perry and Lou Gramm. In their prime, those two were at the top of their game and probably two of the best lead vocalists of our time, and to take on those songs, that takes balls.
EB: LOL. I was thinking the same thing in the studio, "Journey, Foreigner?" "How about some Johnny Cash, some vocals that are much easier to replicate." Ha.
KM: Well, you really pulled it off. Good job.
EB: Thanks. I really appreciate that.
KM: A lot of bands seem to be throwing some covers into the mix these days. I think it’s pretty cool, also a good way to attract some new fans who may be familiar with the songs you’re covering, but not so much Shallow Side. Was that your feeling going into the studio?
EB: It's good to feed the fan-base, give them what they want. Everybody now, these days, they all want content. But, it's cool to tip the hat to those guys who wrote those songs, those who helped record them, those who performed them, everyone who busted their ass to get those songs created. We still appreciate them.
KM: ‘Sound the Alarm, " "Rebel," and "Can You Hear Me’, 3 songs you guys wrote and recorded and you’ve got the videos on your website. How much fun was that to record those videos? You all look like you were having a blast.
EB: Oh yeah. We were having an incredible time. For 'Sound the Alarm' and 'Rebel', we worked with our friend Jim Foster from 13 Media up in Framingham, Massachusetts. Talk about an incredibly talented guy, he put this together so well. We did another video, 'Can You Hear Me' with Adam Shoemaker. He's so talented too and a lot of fun to work with. All those videos were a lot of fun to do, but a lot of hard work.
KM: Your songs, good stuff. Loud guitars, nothing really overproduced and, none of those group choruses that seem to be a bit too much these days.
EB: We try to stay true to what we've got. And, we've been blessed to have had some great people helping us in the studio.
KM: Who are some of your musical influences? I know you’re a big fan of Motown but I hear some Shinedown, some 3 Days Grace, some Fuel.
EB: Yes, I am a big fan of Motown. That's probably where it all started for me, from my dad and grandmother. Motown and 90's country. I loved that too, being from Alabama. However, anytime I heard the Blues on the radio I would lose it, the adrenaline would kick in. I loved it! I stuck with it for a long time and I gravitate toward that music all the time. And Shinedown, that was probably one of my first concerts I attended. Love Shinedown, and 3 Days Grace and yeah, Fuel too. All great bands. I also went to a lot of Church gatherings and there was always someone singing.
KM: When did you really get motivated to make music your life?
EB: I went to a concert in Chattanooga. It was supposed to be 3 bands, my first rock concert experience. The lights start to go down, the crowd goes nuts and out of nowhere, Lzzy Hale walks out and does this acapella version of "I'm in Love With Somebody" and I couldn't believe it! It was awesome! That was like a spiritual movement for me. I've been a huge fan of Halestorm since then. I took what was given to me that night in Rock n' Roll and put it on paper. On the drive home, I was just silent thinking "That's what I'm going to do." I wanted to know what it took to be able to do that, to put together a Rock band.
KM: Were you singing then?
EB: No, I wasn't. I grew up in Church where singing was always there. Musically, there was always someone around who could play piano or guitar, someone filling that position. Once I got out of high school, I was looking for someone who could play guitar, play the drums. It just so happens that a couple guys I grew up with, Heath and Seth, were 2 of the guys. We've been doing this together ever since.
KM: How was the first time you got on stage singing?
EB: Well, embarrassingly enough, we played all cover songs. About 18 songs we absolutely butchered that night. Not because we did a terrible job but because they were also terrible songs. We chose really terrible songs. LOL. We played for about 2 hours and didn't get paid. We didn't know we could get paid. We did it just to have fun. Eventually, we learned we could actually get paid to do this. LOL What's really cool is doing this with guys I've known since elementary school.
KM: The new album. I listened to all of the songs. It’s good stuff. Take me through the writing process. Is everyone involved?
EB: We're all involved. It's definitely a team effort with all of us. Sometimes it will start with a simple riff, sometimes just messing around in the studio or at home and you think, "Hey, that's pretty cool." But, we all work together.
KM: You have a daughter now.
EB: Yes, she's now 3 years old.
KM: What’s the most challenging thing for you about being a dad?
EB: Having self awareness, being able to mind your tone, realizing that the words that come out of your mouth are forever. It's a molding process. There are books on that stuff but nobody reads them. LOL It's not like just watering a plant. I went into fatherhood blind. One of my biggest challenges is to know how to humble myself, to understand that the person, the little human in front of you, will at some point in their life one day will be carrying that torch I'm carrying now. And, you better hope like hell that they're proud to carry it, or they'll drop it and forget about you forever. For me, that's terrifying.
KM: Raising kids will be the hardest thing you've ever done in your life. I've done it with 2 older kids and now, in my second marriage, my wife and I have 9 year old twins, a boy and girl. Let me tell you, it's even harder doing this the second time. Kids get sharper each day, maybe because of all the social media access. But, it's a daily challenge.
EB: Oh yeah. Kids are so smart now. Mine is 3 and 6 years from now, I can just imagine. I've gotta be on my game!
KM: You sure do. What gives you more of a rush, being on stage or being with your daughter?
EB: There's no way to compare them. I love hanging out with my fiance' and my daughter. There's no better feeling. I can see myself doing that forever and living the best life I could possibly live. But, on stage, there's definitely an ecstasy that comes with performing that you can only match it with drugs and I'm not one for drugs. So, I'll just stick with Rock n' Roll.
KM: When’s the wedding?
EB: We haven't released a date yet. My fiance' wants an all out wedding. I'll probably be drinking a full bottle of Jack Daniels that day, preparing for the collision course that day with her family, my family and my Rock n' Roll family all in the same room.LOL
KM: Ha, yeah, bring on the fam! 2021, the Pandemic seems to be mostly past us, hopefully. You’ve got a full schedule through July. What’s on the table for the rest of the year?
EB: We're doing a lot of writing right now. We just finished a show this past weekend with Puddle of Mudd. We'll be out with Buckcherry and Adelitas Way. We haven't laid down a full tour schedule just yet. We're kind of waiting and putting some more new music on the table.
KM: Anyone you’d like to thank or give a shout out to?
EB: A shout out to our home team, our family, our fan-base. Our management and label, Thermal Entertainment, Doug and Kyle, they both work so hard to make the world of Shallow Side run so well. My band-mates and thank you Kreig for this interview. This has been cool.
Kreig Marks, Founder/Publisher, TRR
Kreig Marks is the Founder/Publisher of Tru Rock Revival Magazine.
Rock music has always been his passion, and promoting musicians. In is spare time he is an internationally recognized neuro-fitness trainer/ kinesiologist.