A rock band founded in Cleveland will perform on the “Late Show with David Letterman” Thursday night on CBS.
J. Roddy Walston and the Business, one of the most cutting-edge rock bands in music today, will be taped in front of Letterman’s live studio audience Thursday and aired later that night.
Walston’s parents, Ken and Sheila Walston, who still live in Cleveland, said they are excited about their son’s success and his upcoming performance on Letterman.
In a telephone interview, Walston said, “We’re very excited! It’s going to be a pretty awesome moment for us. It’s a big deal! If it’s not the biggest in our career I don’t know what is! Cleveland is a pretty small town to have gotten to the place where we’re on David Letterman. We hope people get to watch us! There’s plenty of people in Cleveland who’ve been helpful to my career in helping me figure out what I’m doing, music-wise. We hope they watch.”
According to Walston, sources at the “Late Show” are fans of the band and brought their name up to get them to sing their latest hit, “Heavy Bells,” on the show. The song is in the top 20 on alternative radio, and rising. Their Letterman performance falls serendipitously during a week of “television firsts” for the band that seems to be in demand.
“We’ve been going out for so long that it feels kind of crazy to be taking this leap forward,” Walston said. “This weekend we’re going to be doing the early morning show on VH1 (“Big Morning Buzz Live With Carrie Keagan”) — on Friday morning. Then on the series finale of HBO’s “Eastbound and Down,” they’re using one of my songs. So it’s a lot of TV stuff happening with us this weekend!”
One of their songs, “Hard Times,” was featured in a recent episode of “The Vampire Diaries.” The groups newly released album, “Essential Tremors” on ATO Records is getting rave reviews.
Jon Blistein with “Rolling Stone” described their latest album as “packed with the band’s trademark riotous, ragged rock, always accented by Walston’s thundering piano and striking vocals: ‘Marigold’ is a gritty, twisted boogie about a trust-fund kid with a drug problem and a few uncertainties about his gender orientation, while ‘Sweat Shock’ is a relentless, pulsating rocker sure to inspire bouts of sanctified spazzing. The band shows off their more poignant side on the gorgeous ‘Boys Can Never Tell,’ laced with pining steel guitar. A few cuts later, they pair that same vulnerability with a rousing rock & roll groove on ‘Tear Jerk.’ The LP closes with the bounding ‘Midnight Cry,’ which builds to a boisterous conclusion before tapering off into sweet, shimmering ‘ahhs.’”
In an earlier interview with the Banner, Walston said his band gets comparisons “to James Brown meets the Replacements, with some Led Zeppelin in the mix. We’re definitely a rock band but we were influenced by a lot of older gospel and country music bands. We’re doing something new with soul, the blues and gospel music,” he said.
Walston, handling lead vocals as well as playing guitar and piano, has been able to introduce a fierce brand of rock ’n’ roll so musically hysterical at times that it defies explanation. The 1999 Bradley Central High School graduate said he writes his own songs on the piano instead of using his guitar, as many rockers do.
The rock quartet travels between Richmond, Va., where Walston and his wife now live, and Baltimore, where the rest of the band lives. The group is made up of singer J. Roddy Walston, Billy C. Gordon, who also sings and plays the guitar, Logan Davis, on bass with vocals, and Steve Colmus on the drums.
Walston made national news in 2010, when he and his band went on a 12-hour music marathon playing pianos at 27 locations throughout Manhattan. To sample the band’s music, visit jroddywalstonandthebusiness.com.