All In Music Review had a chance to talk with lead singer Colten Bell of the Charlotte, NC- based party rock band TESTAROSSA where we discussed the band, their latest video for “Mother Lover”, their upcoming debut album titled Late to The Party, what’s in the hopper for Testarossa and of course music. Testarossa is Colten Bell, guitarist Jordan West, drummer Buddy Radford, and bassist Blake Webb.
All In: Colten, thank you for taking the time from your busy day to talk with us today.
Colten: Yes sir, looking forward to the interview.
All In: It’s great to catch new music and I’m thankful for the opportunity to talk and learn a little about you and Testarossa, your video for “Mother Love” and what’s in the pipeline.
In researching about the band, I understand you formed a few years ago, you had some member changes effectively recrafting the band into Testarossa. Can you tell me a little about the group and what you are trying to accomplish?
Colten: Yes sir. We all have been playing music from a very young age. I’ve been in bands since I was 12 years old and I always wanted to get a band together that was on the same page, motivated to really accomplish something. We had all been playing in bands, but we could never get it all together. I met Jordan (Jordan West -Lead Guitar/Cat Noises) through a Craig’s List ad and we have been together (made it sound like we are dating)… we have been playing together probably 4-5 years now.
Then, I met Buddy (Buddy Radford -Drums/Pots/Pans/Clap). I was playing bass in a band with Buddy, I actually met them through an ad on Craig’s list. Both the bands, Jordan’s band and the one I was playing in with Buddy kinda dissolved and all of the serious members who were left and wanted to play music (Me, Buddy and Jordan) got together and formed Testarossa. Finally, we had a band where everyone was on the same page. We wanted to play music and didn’t have time for all of this nonsense, to act like high school kids. We are trying to do this professionally.
We went through a couple of bass players and we had some friends filling in for us for a while and finally, a friend of ours, Jeremy Gilley, introduced us to bassist Blake Webb who we first met over the internet and so far everything is working out really good! We have the same vision, we are all very dead set on what we want to do, and this is the first band I can truly say that everybody is on the same page and that’s half the battle right there.
All In: I was surfing around your socials and the videos you have posted. It sure seems like you are having a good time. Play good, clean rock and roll, pour out energy and just have fun.
Colten: That’s what it’s all about, man. We all have to go to our other jobs, you know, we are not making enough money playing right now to sustain our lifestyle so …… We have some serious songs that deal with serious issues and whatnot but for the most part, it’s all good fun, lighthearted. You know humor has been so underutilized, especially in today’s music. We are a serious, original rock band and we want to have a good time, you know, because we have the rest of the week to be miserable at our day jobs, you know doing stuff you don’t want to do, so why would we bring that into our music.
I feel like a lot of modern music is so downtrodden and heavy it’s just like …people get enough of that during the week. There hasn’t been a true party rock band in a long time and I feel like that’s a void that we are filling pretty well.
All In: So, the first song from the album and video is “Mother Lover”, correct?
Colten: Yes sir, it is the only thing we have released from the album. As for the song, Jordan lived with me for a while and we would write music constantly. Between us, we probably have 40-50 songs that we have written and will probably never see the light of day, but we have them. With Mother Lover, we were fooling around with the guitar riff one night, drinking some beers and playing that song and … I’ll give you a little story before that…..
Jordan was working at a restaurant and he started dating his boss who was older than him, it was funny to us because it was like the perfect song, you know, and right as we were about to go to bed the line “I won’t tell your husband so don’t tell my mom” came to me – we were poking fun at Jordan’s age. We just thought that was the funniest line ever, surely no one has ever used that in a song so that became the first line of the song then after that it pretty much wrote itself.
Its meant to be humorous, light-hearted and a fun song, we played a few times in our previous band and people were like, ‘That song, I have it stuck in my head’ so that’s one of the few songs that we brought with us to Testarossa.
We went and recorded three songs that were going to be an EP and that was the standout track, the one we were going to push and then some things happened and we ended up getting in contact with Danny Worsnop of Asking Alexandria… It was a lot of God given luck is all I have to say about it. We never thought in a million years that that would happen. So we sent the song over to him and when we got it back we were like gosh, it’s absolutely killer. So we asked him if there was any way we could get you in the music video and he agreed as long as we could work out schedule.
Asking Alexandria was on tour at the time, so we went down to Atlanta, GA and we filmed the video at a venue that Asking Alexandria was playing at that night. He came in, played the part, knocked it right outta the park and couldn’t ask for more. He’s a really good dude, he has a really good sense of humor and it just all came together, unbelievably so.
All In: It looks like the song and video is like a magical piece that all came together in a great way. It feels like you drew some good energy from all of that and it all just kept rolling.
Colten: That’s how this whole Testarossa thing has been.
I mean ever since we started the band we are not trying to chase trends, we are not going to be anything, we are going to write songs that make us feel good. We want to project a good time and if you don’t get that when listening to us then we are not hitting our target. That whole attitude, the energy, and the positive vibes – I really think it’s paying off because everything we have done has just been snowballing, getting bigger and bigger. It’s like things are finally breaking our way. You know, we have all been trying to do it for years and it took just the right group of guys getting together for things to start breaking our way. I believe a lot of that is attributed to the positive, good time vibe.
All In: The music for “Mother Lover” just hits the spot. The riff and the hook are just fantastic.
Colten: And that’s why this was the song we needed to push. Like I said, we played the song live before and people kept saying that it’s stuck in my head since I saw Y’all play last weekend.
All In: That’s what every band is looking for right? The song that people can’t seem to forget.
Colten: You know, I feel like modern music, it’s kind of gotten away from… Everyone is trying to be so unique and trys so hard to do something different and it all comes out lackluster. There’s not much identifiable stuff going on. In my opinion, I feel like people have kinda gotten away from the hook. The hook is the most important part of the song and that’s what makes people want to sing.
All In: People want two things in songs, they want lyrics that they know and are familiar with and they can sing along with and they want music that they can draw energy from.
Colten: You know that’s exactly right, and I have that in mind when I’m writing the lyrics. You know when we are writing songs we want to write something that’s catchy but not something that’s stereotypical. When I’m writing lyrics, however, I’ll usually re-write a song multiple times until I feel like it’s right. You know in the first versions of the song the chorus might be too long or too wordy or too hard to understand or too complex. I try to get to the point with the choruses because that’s what people want to sing along with. That’s the thing with Late to the Party, which is our debut album which we are not dropping just yet. We are going to do some singles first. Late to the Party, pretty much all the choruses were written with a sing-along factor in mind. We want people to hear it the first time and sing it the second time.
All In: Tell me a little more about the Late to The Party album. Do you have it all done or is there more recording to do with it?
Colten: The album itself is done, it’s 10 songs and we will release probably 3 singles off of it, maybe 4. We are kinda holding on to the album in our back pocket a little bit. We don’t want to release it all in one shot and then have people forget about it. We want to so some singles first. I can honestly say that this is the first album I’ve been involved with where I can listen to it all the way through and be like, wow, there is no filler here. It’s my proudest musical moment and I think the rest of the guys would agree. The album is rock solid and I’m really looking forward to having people listen to it.
We have actually been struggling with what single will be the follow-up single to Mother Lover. It’s not because Mother Lover is the best track on the album, it’s because there are so many other songs. Out of the 10 songs, I would say that 6-7 could easily be singles so we are going back and forth on what should be the next single.
There is a lot of great rock music out there that is not getting played on the radio. It’s the music that is on the radio is what the big labels and big money is pushing. The independent music scene and the independent way of doing things, it’s coming to a point where that’s the way to go. Nobody is selling a million records anymore, it’s just not gonna happen and the whole grassroots, independent was is looking better and better every day. I’m grateful for that because thanks to the Internet we are getting tons of legitimate traction and coverage and we are 100% independent.
We have a good friend, his name is Joe Potts who records us. He has a record label and he helps us out and we treat him like a 5th member but other than that we are independent. It’s very stressful and very frustrating but at the end of the day nobody can tell me what to do – We have true freedom.
All In: As we turn into 2019 what is on the agenda for Testarossa in 2019?
Colten: We are going to play a few local shows in the Charlotte area, a few warm-up shows so to speak. It’s not 100% set in stone but it’s pretty sure that we will be playing some dates with Buckcherry coming up soon.
All In: For the people who are following Testarossa on social media, FaceBook and the like as well as people who might read this and fans new or current, is there anything you want to leave for them?
Colten: I appreciate you your taking time outta your day to talk to me. It’s important for people to understand what Testarossa is about, which is about having a good time. Our songs are catchy because we want you to sing along with us. We are bringing back the guitar solo, which seems to be a dead art. Unfortunately, people don’t take the time to actually think about throwing a really good guitar solo into a song and fortunately we have a solo in every song because guitar solos are cool. Let’s have a good time, kick back and relax with us.
There have been so many opportunities for everything that we have going on to completely fall apart and this is really blowing my mind because literally every step of the way we have had somebody or something trying to shut down what we are doing. Every step of the way something is trying to put a halt to it, but it keeps rolling – It’s on a collision course with destiny! We are either going to do something or we are going to go down in flames and I can’t wait to see what happens.