The first time Spinefarm Records reps went to a Royal Thunder gig, their guitarist Josh Weaver bolted from the stage mid-song and— before making it to the bathroom—unleashed a torrent of diarrhea and vomit that brought the hard-rock band’s set to a halt.
Fortunately for Royal Thunder, Spinefarm was already so sold on the Atlanta quartet that the label signed them anyway. The band’s 2015 album, Crooked Doors, appeared on a slew of album-of-the-year lists, thanks to its groovy update on Southern classic rock and metal. And shortly after its release, Royal Thunder were released from their previous contract with Relapse Records.
Royal Thunder formed in 2007, and self-recorded and released an EP a couple of years later, getting some good exposure on a variety of heavy-rock fronts.
The band signed to Relapse in 2010 and drew comparisons to Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath and Heart with their CVI debut in 2012.
“The idea of selling out an arena sounds terrifying.”
Royal Thunder toured heavily in support of that release, entrenching themselves nationally. Between that time and the April 2015 release of Crooked Doors, Spinefarm started keeping tabs on the band and were at the ready when the Relapse contract ended. “Not even a week later, Spinefarm said, ‘Come with us,’” bassist Mlny Parsonz recalls.
The label flew the indie band to New York for meals and meetings, but insisted to the band that there was no pressure to sign right away. “They didn’t arm-wrestle us, but we knew when we left New York that we were on the same page,” Parsonz attests. “We waited close to a month to make sure it was what everyone wanted.”
In January, Royal Thunder inked the new deal and started recording demos for their third album with longtime producer Joey Jones. The singer says that, while Spinefarm has a larger staff than Relapse, Royal Thunder aren’t looking to grow exponentially anytime in the near future. “We don’t want this big huge thing, we just want to keep doing what we’re doing,” according to Parsonz. “The idea of selling out an arena sounds terrifying. We’re not ready for that. We want slow and steady growth.”
Royal Thunder are enjoying more stability now than ever before, as the band has had the same booking agent and manager for about three or four years. “It feels like now is the time where we’ve had the best team we’ve had behind us,” Parsonz says, “and that’s crucial to keeping our boat floating.”
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