Backstage News, Front Row Pics

Adelitas Way Is Getting Around



And the band is proving they don’t just deal with an insane schedule, they thrive on it!


By Madame Rockstress



AW I Get AroundAdelitas Way ~ Rick DeJesus, Tre Stafford, Robert Zakaryan, Andrew Cushing ~ recently wrapped up a run on a national tour, released a 5-track EP, has their single “I Get Around” currently impacting radio everywhere, are hitting the studio to record a full length album, and are preparing to hit the road again this summer on their first headlining tour. These guys don’t seem to believe in downtime (or things like eating, sleeping, etc.) … and although we don’t know how they keep their insane energy going, we sure appreciate the results of all their hard work.


I caught up with [singer and founding member] Rick DeJesus two days after their EP release show in Las Vegas and I was treated to an interviewer/music journalist’s dream, a majorly  interesting and in-depth conversation, not just fluff and the usual promotional, rehearsed responses. We delved into everything from the band’s music and Rick’s take on touring to the current state of the music industry and the whole “rock is dead” mindset that is so trendy right now.


The guys in Las Vegas in early 2015 with Korn, photo by Erik Kabik Photography Studio

The guys in Las Vegas in early 2015 with Korn, photo by Erik Kabik Photography Studio


FW:  You recently returned from the SNOCORE tour, which had a pretty strong lineup (Adelitas Way, Framing Hanley, Flyleaf and Fit For Rivals). What are your thoughts now that the tour is over?


On the SNOCORE Tour, photo by Beth Graham

On the SNOCORE Tour, photo by Beth Graham

Rick: I feel that SNOCORE gave us a lot of confidence. There are a lot of fans that a) love rock ‘n roll and (b) want to see Adelitas Way headline. I feel like SNOCORE did a lot of positive things. It helped us spread the word of rock ‘n roll with a great package. But also, we saw so many great Adelitas Way fans showing up every night. It gave us the confidence to do our own headlining run starting in June.


You certainly didn’t waste any time. You wrapped up a national tour and went right into an EP release show a couple days later [on St. Patrick’s Day in Las Vegas]. Was that a difficult/tiring/learning experience transition?


We’re specialists. We’re ready to play anytime, anyplace and anywhere. When we come home we all settle in, hang out with our families, and get right back to work. We’re going to be in the jam room next week to finish the writing on our new record. We love music and it’s a big part of our lives.


AW the EPYour current single “I Get Around” off your upcoming EP Deserve This has been impacting radio and winning over existing and new fans ~ What is the inspiration behind the single?


A really bad date I went on some years back where one of the first questions she asked me when we were sitting at dinner was, “How many people have you been with?” I was like, wow what a bold question. I totally lied about the answer. I think the safe number everyone goes with is three. After that date, I bumped into one of my buddies and he said, “I heard you went on a date with [that girl].” I said, “Yes.” He said, “She definitely gets around.” I’m like, really? She’s asking me about how many people I’ve been with and she’s a culprit too. It triggered something in my mind that made me think… maybe I have gotten around a little more than I would’ve liked to. Not only did she get around, but I got around. So it was the inspiration for the song.


The songs on the EP appear to have the common theme of some form of heartache or lack of commitment in a relationship. Did you choose that theme intentionally?


No. I always write about what I’m feeling like or whatever I’m inspired by. There are a lot of things that inspire me and sometimes everything isn’t about what people are hearing. “Filthy Heart” sounds like it’s about heartache, but on my end its about something else.  Something a little deeper than that. Some of the other songs, like “Harbor the Fugitive,” are all things that I have either seen happen to people close to me or I’ve been through myself.  My biggest muse my entire career has been my wife. I’ve been with her for 11 years. Some of the best songs I have ever written were inspired by the things we go through to stay a unit and stay together. I think you should write what comes to you. I always follow that rule. I don’t force anything. With this EP, that’s what was coming out of me at that time.


Adelitas Way is currently working on its 4th full length album through a crowdfunding effort.  Tell us more about what that process entails.


I think crowdfunding is the future because the music business is shrinking so much. Back in the day, it used to be worth it to have 15 guys in suits at record companies telling you what to do and how to make records. Nowadays with streaming and just the way business is, it’s not worth it to hand all your rights over to someone who doesn’t love the music the way you do. Especially for rock ‘n roll because rock ‘n roll is underground right now. You know, our last record didn’t belong on a major label. The whole time we were making that record, all we heard was “…rock is dead.”  You don’t want to hear that when you’re making an album.


A.W. in 2015, photo (cropped) by Scott Schmidt's Photography

A.W. in 2015, photo (cropped) by Scott Schmidt’s Photography


So crowdfunding helps us get out of those dinosaur ways. We don’t have to answer to 15 suits who always want to push our album back. We want to push it forward. We want to make the music that we love. I never had to have a 55 year old man in a suit tell me which songs that I’m writing are good and which aren’t. They can think they shaped every record we made, but I shaped every record we made. I wrote those songs. I knew what I wanted out of them. I knew exactly what we wanted to do with them.


At the end of the day, I feel like we’re just ahead of the curve.  The future is going to be bands doing things they want to do because we’re in the trenches, man. We see what works. We see our fans. We play every night. There’s no more magic button. You know, back in the 90s there was a magic button. If a record company wanted to break you, they could break you. Nowadays, it’s a grind all the way through. And if you’re going to grind anyway, you might as well do it on your own terms.


What are your thoughts about that whole “Rock is Dead” mentality that seems to be gathering steam by the day?



 Not DeadPeople need to stop saying it. Every time someone says rock is dead, it dies a little more, and I don’t have that mentality. I believe people always want to rebel at some point. What killed rock ‘n roll was lack of originality and everything started to sound the same on the radio. Well, now we’re there with alternative indie music…. everything sounds exactly the same. It’s only a matter of time before people are sick of finger synths, sick of banjos, sick of people clapping and stomping. What are they going to turn to? They’re going to turn to something that rebels… rock ‘n roll.


I also think it’s going to take a few dangerous bands. Say what you will about some bands like Buckcherry and some of those other bands that people now seem not to respect [the way] they once had. The thing about rock ‘n roll is… rock ‘n roll is supposed to be fun and dangerous and exciting and unpredictable. People want to go to a live show and have a good time. I feel like at the rock shows now, there’s too many rules ~ you’re not allowed to crowd surf, you’re not allowed to do this, not allowed to smoke pot, you’re drinking too much, don’t talk to those girls ~ and that’s not fun!


When rock ‘n roll isn’t dangerous anymore, isn’t rebellious, isn’t about a bunch of people letting loose… what’s the purpose? So for me, we’re trying to bring a little bit of that unpredictability and the excitement of who knows what is going to happen back to a rock show. The only rule we had when we played live shows was we wanted everyone to be safe and we wanted everyone to treat everyone with respect. The rock community has to come together. I also think that people gotta shut up and stop saying rock is dead. I’ll never say it one time in my life.  Do I think rock ‘n roll has become underground? Of course I do! It’s obvious that it’s become underground.


Will any of the songs from the Deserve This EP appear on the upcoming album?   


We’re thinking about putting a couple on. There’s still going to be some people that don’t know it was released. We didn’t make physical copies. When we release the full length, whether its 7 or 8 new songs, we’re going to give them enough new songs to entice them to buy the new record.  But, we’re also not going to hold off songs. If we feel like putting 12-13 new songs on a record, people are going to get a whole new album and then we’re probably going to include the EP too. So I think people are just going to get more music.


AW Machine ShopAm I reading you correctly when I get the impression that the band has experienced a difference with the songwriting and recording process as a result of leaving a major label and taking the independent route?  And that the difference is a welcome one?


Of course! It’s kind of weird because [for] the first two albums (Adelitas Way and Home School Valedictorian), the record company kind of left us alone. You can hear that in our work. On the third album (Stuck), it was the first album they were really pressuring us and were on top of us. They wanted Top 40 hits. They wanted pop songs. They were putting a really uncomfortable pressure on me and on the band, and the whole record felt kind of stressful. When I look back at Stuck, there’s a lot of things I love about it but there’s also a lot of things I hate about it.


When it comes to the songwriting (currently), I feel more at ease and less pressure. When I have those things, that’s when I write my best material. I feel really, really good about the direction we’re heading with the new music.


As co-founding members of A. W., I’m sure you and Trevor have seen your fill of obstacles. Were there any that were so discouraging or daunting that you thought, “This is never going to work?” 


Every day. You’ve got to remember, the music business is not respected these days. No one wants to pay for music. People are going out to fewer concerts. Everyone wants to enjoy your hard work but no one wants to reward you for it. It’s a struggle all around. The reason Trevor and I are the last founding members is because it’s tough to hold on to a group of 4-5 guys when the music business has very little rewards these days. You know, back in the day, bands had millions of dollars to distribute. Nowadays the pot is small. You’re out doing tours where people are making regular wages that people are making at regular jobs. If you don’t love the music, you’re not going to survive. There’s not a million dollars floating around. The game has changed dramatically.


@ the Double Barrel Roadhouse.

@ the Double Barrel Roadhouse.


Every day is an obstacle, especially with press. Not even the big rock bands in the world can get press. The media has pretty much blacklisted rock ‘n roll and I’m totally cool with that because I think rock ‘n roll is supposed to be underground and dangerous anyway. So if we’re going to be underground, we just have to fully commit to it. We can’t be trying to act like a band that is going on stage to try to appeal to 12 year old kids. We’re not corporate artists. We’re not on Nickelodeon. We’re not on TV. We’re not on anything. We have to embrace the outlaw mentality.


When you reflect back on the band’s beginnings, how does it make you feel to see how far you’ve come? What brings you the greatest sense of pride?  


Photo (edited) by MNR Images with  98KUPD Official

Photo (edited) by MNR Images with 98KUPD Official

When I look back at my career and what I’ve accomplished, it blows my mind. When I first started making music, and this is also why I am able to never get too discouraged, I never knew any of this existed, man. You know, I never knew there were tours. I never knew there was money to be made. I never knew there were fans. When I first started doing this, I started doing it because I loved to write songs, I loved to sing and I loved to play.


To see everything I’ve accomplished ~ I gotten to travel all over and see so many places ~ and to think about the lifestyle I’ve lived, it’s pretty unbelievable! I got to make records in Malibu, Nashville and Chicago. I got to tour with bands [whose records] I used to buy. I got Number 1 hits. I’ve been to Grammy parties. I’ve done all these things. When I look back at my life, I never knew writing about my life and my voice could make all those things happen.



Adelitas Way released Deserve This on March 17 and it is available on Amazon  and iTunes. They are in the studio working on their fourth full-length album and will set out on a headlining tour in June. Get a copy of the EP now, but make every effort to see the band live this summer, including at Rock Fest XV!


AW Rockfest