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  • Runnin' with the Devil: A Backstage Pass to the Wild Times, Loud Rock, and the Down and Dirty Truth Behind the Making of Van Halen
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Thursday
Jul032014

The Raskins - Logan Raskin

Interview by Thomas S. Orwat Jr.

If you plan on going to see the Motley Crue/Alice Cooper show this summer, you will want to get to your seats early. The Raskins, a new and exciting band formed by the songwriting team of twin brothers, Logan and Roger Raskin will be opening the entire tour. This is a true rock n' roll band in every sense of the definition. Their debut video for the single, "We Had It All" is already at well over 1 million views. The Raskins are on the verge of making a major impact  in rock music and infecting the masses with their unique brand of hard rockin' catchy songs.

What follows is an exclusive interview with Logan Raskins. We will be keeping in touch with the band all summer long with updates and contests. So stay tuned and check back often.

Rock Music Star: Logan, these are some pretty exciting times for you, right?

Logan Raskin: Yeah, man. Everybody’s excited - me, and my brother, and the whole band, and the crew we have out. It’s just going to be a pretty insane summer, you know?

RMS: Absolutely. The Raskins will be opening for one of the biggest tours of the summer, Mötley Crüe and Alice Cooper. That's extremely impressive for a new band.  How did you make that happen?

LR: I still don’t know (laughs). I mean, originally, we were actually in the middle of the Scott Weiland tour, and I was still excited just to get that tour, and that came up last minute. And, in the middle - we were like five shows into that tour - and I got an email from our management team. Basically, before we went out on tour with Scott Weiland, we were tossing around ideas of tours that were going out for the summer. And me, being the optimist that I am, I was basically giving them the biggest names. I was like, “Well, how about Mötley Crüe and Alice Cooper? Or KISS and Def Leppard? Or Aerosmith and Slash?” You know, knowing that there was no way. But, I figured, why not shoot big, right? And then I get an email back from them saying, “How serious were you about Mötley Crüe/Alice Cooper? I was like, “What?!” I almost had a heart attack. They said, “Ok, well, they’re gonna email us all the dates, and they want you to pick dates and we can land you guys these dates.”  I was like, “Man, that’s incredible.” So, they sent us all the shows, and we submitted for 17 shows. I basically picked the 17 shows, like the East coast shows, because my brother and I are from New York City. So, obviously, Madison Square Garden - that’s a fricken’ dream, man. So, I picked Madison Square Garden, Jones Beach, PNC Bank Arts Center in Jersey, like all the East coast stuff. And then, seeing that we’ve done so much work in Los Angeles and Hollywood, we picked the Hollywood Bowl and Irvine. So basically, we picked 17 shows, gave it to them, they submitted it, and we didn’t hear from them for a while. I was like, “Ah, man, I’m so bummed.” I called our agent and I was just like, “Do you think, if we submit for the whole thing, that that would help?” He said, “You wanna know something? That would.” He said, “Basically, their sponsors are telling them they want one opening act the whole tour.” So I said, “Well then, submit for the whole thing! See what happens!” Sure enough, they did. They sent us a contract for 66 shows. I couldn’t believe it, man. They also had originally included Canada, and I was like, “Well, is there any way we can get off of Canada?” Because it’s just a lot of shows, you know. Our band will usually go and do a tour for like, 12-15 shows, and then come home. This whole tour is over 70+ shows, which is a lot. So I said, “Maybe we can get off of Canada.” And they said that was cool, so… 66 shows. They sent the contract over, we signed it, and that was it. Here we go! (Laughs) Originally we had a whole tour booked with Saving Abel, which, we’re on that tour right now. But, that opportunity came in, so we decided to do a handful of Saving Abel shows, and just kind of get the band tight playing some of the new songs off of the album. We just played our last show with Saving Abel tonight, which went amazing. We have the next two nights off to kind of rest. I get to rest my pipes up, and get ready for the Mötley Crüe show, which starts in Michigan. We’re pretty stoked, man. Grand Rapids, Michigan is the first one.

RMS: The thing I find unique about your band is, you can fit on pretty much any bill that has a rock band. I mean, Mötley Crüe and Alice Cooper kind of cater to the older crowd - which is a combination of both a 70's & 80's crowd,  Scott Weiland - a 90's crowd, Saving Abel - 2000. You guys fit in perfectly with anyone. You’re just old-fashioned rock ‘n’ roll.

LR: You know, my brother and I, first of all, are fans of so many different bands. Our influences are on such a wide scale there. There’s so many bands that I would love to go out with. I mean, we’re fans of Saving Abel, the guys are super cool, man. Being out with those guys, it just couldn’t get any better. Having the opportunity to go out with Scott Weiland is amazing. He’s a huge influence for us. And, of course, this coming up with Mötley Crüe and Alice Cooper, it’s insane, you know. For my brother and I to have the opportunity to play Madison Square Garden. I mean, growing up in New York City, and I finally get to play Madison Square Garden. It’s sick. The first album we ever bought was ‘KISS Alive.’ As a young kid, all I would do is stare at the front of the album, which is incredible. The back of the album is the lights on at Madison Square Garden looking at that crowd. And I was like, “Maybe one day, we’ll get to play there.” And now, it’s going to happen for real. It’s unbelievable.

RMS: Yeah, it may be difficult for you to top this, unless you’re headlining there, yourself.

LR: Yeah, exactly.

RMS: You're first major label release was in May, right?  Because I remember hearing a single from the band I few months before.

LR: Yes, May 13th, the album came out. We actually released our single February 18th, it was “We Had It All.” We released the single, released the video. The video is just totally kicking ass on YouTube. We’re almost at 1.5 million views on it, so the kids seem to be really digging it. And the single is getting some really good traction on the radio, which we’re excited about. And then, yeah, the album came out May 13th, and it’s always a nervous time, when you release new music out to your fans and the public. You don’t know how it’s going to be received, and I can’t tell you how hot the response has been, and the reviews that we’re getting. It’s incredible, man. I didn’t really expect that. I mean, I’m really happy with the record, and so is my brother, but it’s not for us to judge. Putting it out there, and basically just letting people judge it for themselves. And so far, it’s been all positive and the reviews have been great. I’ve been posting the reviews on Facebook. Everybody’s like, “Wow, man.” It’s unbelievable. So, yeah, I’m excited about how everyone’s digging the album, and I’m definitely looking forward to getting our next single out there, and hopefully, we’ll just keep rolling along with the success, so far.

RMS: Do you have any plans on a next single, or are you still waiting to make that decision?

LR: I think there’s a song on the record that we wrote about the first time we actually heard our music on the radio, which I think for every artist, growing up, that’s the first thing you think about. You always say to yourself, “One day, I’m going to get my song on the radio,” and then you hear that. And, for us, I think I can speak for every musician, you always remember that first time you hear your song on the radio. And for us, I remember exactly where we were, when we were, the radio station, and it was a very powerful moment for us, and it’s one that I’ll never forget. We wrote a song about it called, “On The Radio,” and I think that’s going to be the next single we’re gonna release. It’s a feel-good summer song. I think all the kids are gonna really dig it, and I’m excited about getting it out there.

RMS: One of the things I have to give you credit with is, before you released the album, you guys were pretty high-profile already. I remember you guys did a tour in, I think it was late winter, you played at a place called “The Forvm,” in Buffalo, NY.  So, I started doing some research on you guys, because I had never heard of you guys before, and I was really impressed with the fans’ reaction on Facebook to the band. I was impressed with the quality of your website, it’s a top-notch website. You guys went about launching your band in a real smart and professional manner.


LR: I appreciate that, man. It’s something that my brother and I take pride in, and we really built this whole thing up in a grassroots way. We did everything ourselves, from recording the album, to shooting the videos, to really developing our fan-base online. It was something that took time, but we really worked at it. We built up our local market- we focused on New York and Los Angeles and built up our following there. All our fans that write us on Facebook, we write them all back. Twitter, same thing. If they email us, we write them back. My brother and I try to make ourselves incredibly accessible to the public and to our fans, and I think it really shows in the numbers that have grown just from a half a year ago. It’s insane, man. But, it’s been all positive, and the fans seem to be really appreciating what we’re doing and the product that we’re putting out there. So, I hope that we can just keep growing it from here. I’m excited to see where we can take things in the upcoming couple of months.

RMS: Especially getting that exposure to all of those fans that you’re going to be seeing. Do you plan on doing any meet and greets at those Mötley Crüe/Alice Cooper shows? You know, where fans can meet you after the set?

LR: Well, yeah. That’s a good question. What we’ve done to this point is we sell merch at every show, and after we play at every show, Roger and I go straight to the merch booth. This way, we can talk to all of the fans, and everyone that wants to meet us is welcome to meet us, they can take photos with us, we sign autographs. It’s very important to us to be accessible to our fans, and we want them to know that. I’ve never done an arena tour before, so I can’t honestly say how that’s going to all unfold (on the Motley Crue tour). But I will most certainly, and I can say for my brother, as well, that we’re gonna go over to the merch booth, we’re gonna hang out; we’re gonna be hangin’ out outside talking to people, and hopefully meeting as many people as possible. We tell everybody, “Look, after the show, come over to the merch booth and hang out with us. If you want to take pictures or whatever, or get an autograph, feel free to come by.” So, we really try to make that effort, and it’s important to us. We love people, we love our fans, and we appreciate them coming out.

RMS: How did you go about picking the other two members of your band? You have Troy Patrick Farrell on drums… how did you go about picking your band members?


LR: Obviously Roger and I needed to put together… What we wanted was the best band around. Originally, this project started as a writing project. Roger and I were writing a lot of music for TV and film at the time; this was a couple of years ago. Basically, from all the work that we placed, being in different movies and TV, we were getting a ton of emails. And it was really just a matter of time before we decided to put the band together. We decided to do it; we both agreed, “Look, if we’re going to do this, we gotta make sure we play with the best musicians around.” At the time, we were out in California, and we have a recording studio out there. Basically, out of the names that kept coming up - Troy Patrick Farrell was one of them (on drums). This guy’s name just kept coming up and up and up. Roger and I were familiar with him and his work, and we reached out to him. He was actually on tour at the time - I think playing Monsters of Rock, or whatever. We reached out to him, and he got back to us; I think he was over in Europe at the time. We asked him if he’d be interested and he said, “Absolutely!” He was familiar with the work that we had done, and we got Troy on board. And then, the bass player is a guy by the name of Johnny Martin. Johnny played in a couple of bands that my brother and I were pretty big fans of. So, I was very familiar with who Johnny Martin was, and we both knew that if we ever had an opportunity to play with a bass player, he would definitely be one of them. Troy was the one that actually met Johnny at a party, and he said to us, “I know you guys are looking for a bass player. Do you want me to ask Johnny Martin if he’s available?” I said, “Absolutely! Yeah, we’re very familiar with Johnny Martin.” He asked Johnny; he gave him our number. Johnny reached out to us and we hooked it up. Johnny came over and we hung out all day just to listen to records and play music, and we really clicked. So, we got Johnny and Troy on board. And then, there was a guitarist that was playing around town constantly; hopping around, doing different bands and different gigs that we always saw giging out, this kid by the name of Jason Lopez; he goes by the name of “Jet.” So, he was just another musician that, his name just kept coming up and, finally, Roger and I actually ran into him in a restaurant; we saw him, he was there eating by himself. Roger went up to him and said, “Hey, Jet, man, would you be interested in playing some rock ‘n’ roll music with us? Are you looking for a gig?” And he said, “Hell yeah! I would love to!” He gave us a CD with some of his music, we exchanged numbers, and we just bonded right away. The three of us got into a studio. That first rehearsal that all five of us were together- I’ll never forget it. Immediately, the chemistry was magic. Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn’t. Right from the very first song, Roger and I just couldn’t believe how, sonically, how great it sounded, and how we just put together the exact band that we wanted. So yeah, we’ve been playing with these guys for a good amount of time. Now we’re out here touring; Saving Abel is like, our fourth tour that we’ve done, and now we’re just getting ready to do the biggest tour of probably all of our lives. I can’t wait.

RMS: The progression of your band is definitely incredible. It takes a lot of bands many years to get to this point, but, I guess, because you guys paid your dues, obviously, you’re seasoned song writers, so you’re very fortunate, but you’ve also put in the work, as well.

LR: Yeah, it’s definitely something that didn’t come overnight. We definitely work hard on it, we’re passionate about it, and maybe it’s just our time, I don’t know. But, the stars seem to be in align, and I’m just taking it day by day, and so are the other guys, and we’re just knocking out good shows. I just finished playing about an hour ago, tonight. We did our last show with Saving Abel, and the guys just killed it tonight, so I’m just really, really excited about how things are going. The chemistry is great, the vibe couldn’t be any better, and I’m just having the time of my life. This is what we’ve worked so hard for, and I feel like, finally, we can just- we’ve worked hard to get to this point. We’re like a fine-oiled machine right now. The band is sounding great, and playing great. I’m just taking it one step at a time and enjoying every step of the way. I’m enjoying the process as we go. Overall, I’m just really excited about everything.

RMS: How long is your set going to be during the Mötley/Alice tour?

LR: They’re giving us 30 minutes. So, I actually think that we’re going to be- we were told that we might be doing a dress rehearsal on July 1st. I was like, “Oh, I’ve never done a dress rehearsal for a tour before.” But, then I heard what Mötley Crüe is going to be doing- what Tommy Lee has planned. They told us what Alice Cooper has planned. I was like, “Ahh, now I see why they need a dress rehearsal!” because they really plan on putting on a spectacular show. They want to make sure it goes off without a hitch. So, yeah, it’s going to be interesting to see how it all unfolds. We get 30 minutes, so we’ll play the songs that we think are the stand-out songs on the album. And, hopefully, the fans will really dig what we have to give, you know?

RMS: Yeah, absolutely. Another benefit of this is, you get to see Mötley Crüe and Alice Cooper 66 times.

LR: (Laughs) I know, man. How cool is that? And, what’s even cooler is, we get to hang out with them. So, you know, just the whole experience- I’m just really going to take it in and enjoy it, and just take each show as it comes. It’s like, every venue that’s on that tour, I’ve only been to as a fan. I’ve gone to those venues to see my favorite bands play, and now, I get the opportunity to play all of these massive arenas, man. It’s a little overwhelming, but I know we are definitely ready for it, and I know we’ve worked hard to get to this point. So, I’m just going to enjoy every ounce of it. I just can’t wait to play- I haven’t played any of these places before. Never. I’ve been to them to see bands play, you know, all of my favorite bands, but I’ve never played them before. So, it’s going to be pretty incredible, man. I’m just really looking forward to it.

RMS: Both of your parents were both heavily involved in music. What do they think of your band?

LR: Well, like you said, both of my parents were both heavily involved in music. My dad was a big Broadway star; he played the role in all the big Broadway shows- “Oklahoma!” “South Pacific,” “Annie Get Your Gun,” “Guys & Dolls,” “West Side Story;” he played Tony in “West Side Story” on Broadway. And, my mom was a big jazz singer around the city, and she had two albums out. So, obviously, they’re incredibly proud of us. They’ve always been very supportive of our musical career. And you know, funny enough, as big and successful as they were in the music industry, it really wasn’t their first choice for us. They knew it was going to be a tough life for us and a tough journey, because basically, the music that they were doing- it was from a different time and a different era. I would go to them and say, “It’s so tough. Can you help us out?” There really wasn’t much they could do as far as the industry side, because they’re from a different time and a different era. The music industry has changed so much. But basically, what they did was give us their love and support. They’ve supported us through the whole process, and slowly things are starting to work out for us. I can’t wait to see the look on their faces when… we just did this winter tour- we did the “Raskins Winter Rock Tour,” and we played a club in New York City- the Bowery Electric. It’s a small, very, very, very hip club in Lower-East Side Manhattan. My parents came down to see us play, which was amazing. They haven’t seen us play in a long time. So, to see the look on their face there, seeing us play in front of 400 people and whatnot; I can’t imagine what it’s going to be like when they come to Madison Square Garden to see us play. It’s a pretty crazy thought. But, these are moments that you dream about, and it looks like that dream is on its way to becoming a reality for us.

RMS: Yeah. I’m sure you’re excited about Madison Square Garden but I’m sure you’re not going to be too excited about the number of guest requests you get for passes for that.

LR: (Laughs) Already! I never knew I had so many friends. But, nah, it’s totally cool, man. I appreciate how excited everyone is around us, and I think it’s awesome. You can feel the excitement, you can feel the energy with everybody, and it is well-received by us. I appreciate it. I love it. I love everyone’s enthusiasm about it, and everyone is wishing us well. It’s a pretty awesome experience, so far, and we haven’t even played a single show yet (laughs). It’ll be cool, man.

RMS: And, in addition to that, I’m sure you’re going to be getting a lot of songwriting ideas from this tour, as well. So, there’s going to be a lot of new experiences.


LR: Yeah, you’re absolutely right. You know, all of our experiences make for good song writing. And that’s really what Roger and I do; we write about our experiences in our lives- our relationships, our touring, our musical career, everything. There’s no question about it. There’s tons of content to write about, which brings me to the point of our second record; I can’t wait. We have so much material already. But, we’re going to tour the heck out of this record for the next year and a half, at least. I’m just looking forward to getting in to some of these incredible venues and reaching as many people as we possibly can before we even start to get in to the second record.  

RMS: My last question I have for you is: In the past, there’s been a lot of bands that have brothers, and the brothers end up hating each other as time goes on. How would you describe your relationship with your brother?

LR: That’s a great question. It’s funny; when you mention that, there’s two bands that immediately come to my mind. One’s the Black Crowes, and the other is Oasis.  

RMS: Exactly.

LR: They’re two bands that I love. But, it’s so funny; seeing the relationships with those guys, you know what I mean? But, my brother and I- we’re identical twins. We live together, we work together, we’re inseparable. And, I gotta tell you, the music industry is a very difficult industry, and it has not been an easy road for us. But, having my brother there along the way has made it tolerable, and has made it all that much easier. There’s someone there that I can always rely on; someone there that I can always throw my ideas at. There’s someone there that I can complain to about things going on. It’s something that I really do appreciate, and I love my brother very much. I’m so happy that the both of us have had the opportunity to do this together. I know it’s a dream of mine, and a dream of his, and to have the opportunity to do this together- it’s just crazy. We wrote the whole record together, and that process, in itself, was a very cool one for both of us. It’s just been like an open diary for us. We’ve both been able to express our feelings and talk about things in our past and things coming up in the future. Like I said, growing up in a musical family- it’s something that I know both of us wanted to do, and really strived to have success in for quite some time. To have the opportunity to do that, and getting to do it together, is very special. We both feel extremely fortunate. I’m not just saying that; I really do feel fortunate to be involved with him. Aside from him being my brother, he’s my best friend. So, it’s awesome, and even tonight, looking over across the stage and seeing him play; every time we look at each other, we laugh. We’re like, “I can’t believe it!” So, it’s a great feeling, man. We’re just taking it all in, and we’re just going to enjoy the ride together with this awesome band that we put together, and the crew here. Yeah, let’s see what the future holds for us. I can’t wait to see what happens.  

RMS: I just want to say best of luck to you, and hopefully, I’ll catch up with you guys when you play at Darien Lake in August.

LR: Man, thank you so much. Yeah, definitely hit us up, man. I hope you can get out for a couple of these shows. If you do come, come knocking on the tour bus. We’ll hang out for a bit.

RMS: Alright, that sounds great! I’ll take you up on that. I appreciate it, Logan. Thank you.  

LR: Definitely do. My pleasure, man. I really appreciate you taking your time, tonight.

RMS: No problem. You take it easy. Stay safe!


LR: Alright. Take care, my friend. We’ll talk soon.

For more on the The Raskins, please visit www.theraskins.com

Special thanks to Chip Ruggieri and Dana Kaiser.