Rose Hill Drive by Lisa Siciliano
What do you tell a kid who says, "I was pretty heavy into drugs a couple years ago" and "I'd say, in the most humble way I can, that I've definitely experienced a lot of life for being twenty."? Generally at this point I would smile and probably make some kind of snide remark along the lines of, "Son, you ain't even old enough to be in the bars you are playing. You can't be done with the partying." But when he's an axe-wielding guitar prodigy by the name of Daniel Sproul who's already toured with and been tutored by Eddie Van Halen, Otis Taylor, Warren Haynes, and The Black Crowes, not to mention being on his way to Bonnaroo, well, then you don't say anything. You just listen.

Even more than what the Sproul brothers say (Daniel - the 20 year old guitarist and Jacob - the 22 year old bassist/vocalist), it's what they play on stage as Rose Hill Drive that makes you realize they are far older than years can indicate. I recall the first day of April 2004 with great fondness. I showed up to watch Rose Hill Drive open for some band at a small club in San Francisco [read the review here]. The hour-long set they laid down melted faces to the wall and blew brains out the back of skulls. I stood mouth open trying to fathom how this three-piece, with childhood buddy Nate Barnes on drums, could be so damn good and so damn young. It didn't seem possible. I knew that night I was lucky enough to be watching the birth of a truly great rock band.

There are lots of bands who play rock music in this here "jam" scene, but there are few Rock bands. Rock comes from a dirty dark place. It's loud and loose, gritty, sexual, full of angst and pain. You can't really play rock music until you've experienced pain and are able to channel all of life's frustrations into your music. As many a writer has made note of in one way or another, all great art starts from pain. And nowhere is that more true than in rock and roll. Just where Rose Hill Drive find their inspiration is unknown, even to them, but when Jake's tattooed knuckles thump the bass as he screams (literally) over the top of Daniel's fifteen-minute classic rock bravado and balls out note-bending guitar solos, you know it's real. And did I mention they are just now hitting their 20's?

Rose Hill Drive :: 04.08.05 :: Fox, CO by Tobin Voggesser
Somehow these hungry, mature young men have found their way out of the home in which they grew up, on Rose Hill Drive in the very hippie, granola-eating Boulder scene and formed a fiercely carnivorous rock band. In their short time since graduating from Boulder High in 2001, RHD have caught the attention of industry folks across the land. Showcasing for major labels, opening for some of the biggest names in the game, all the while keeping their heads on straight and eyes on the prize, Rose Hill Drive is poised for BIG things. As the songwriting matures (lyrically and musically) and they continue to develop their stage presence, there should be nothing that stands in their way.

I was fortunate enough to catch up with Jake and Daniel back home in Boulder a few days before they set off to kick some more ass and make some new fans. This run of shows again finds them supporting The Black Crowes before a string of headlining gigs that will bring them to Wakarusa and the incredibly high-profile Bonnaroo Music Festival where more than one band has found their big break. It's only a matter of time before Rose Hill Drive is a household name. Don't say you weren't warned.


Jake Sproul by Michael Goldman
Jake: Well, the first instrument I started playing was my mom's baby grand piano.

Kayceman: So was there a lot of music in your household growing up?

Jake: Yeah. My parents weren't musicians, but my dad had a huge record collection. We mostly listened to like the old Stevie Ray Vaughn records like Texas Flood, and Abby Road [The Beatles], and Eat A Peach [Allman Brothers].

Kayceman: Is there a concert that sticks out in your mind as being particularly impressive?

Jake: Yeah, when I was getting out of high school we saw The Black Crowes. It was awesome, it was unbelievable.

Kayceman: So it must have been something else to have grown up listening to a band like The Black Crowes and then to get out on the road with them. How was that for you guys?

Jake: It was cool, and it was pretty crazy. It was weird because regardless of who you are on tour with, you are still playing your music, so it's weird because you idolize a band and you're like, 'Oh man, that's what I wanna do.' And then you see what they do and you see how they do it, and you just get a different feel for what it is and what it's all about. And it's not necessarily about what you thought it was about. So for me I just really internalized everything and made the most of it with my experience. It's like you can just idolize a band and like, 'Wow, what are these guys gonna be like?' And then you meet them, and they are just people and it's back to square one again.

Daniel Sproul by Michael Goldman
Daniel: Well, the first instrument I started playing was my mom's baby grand piano. I got my first guitar when I was six.

And how old would you say you were when you realized you had a special relationship with the guitar?

Daniel: I don't know man.

Did it come very easily to you?

Daniel: Oh yeah. I'd say it was just an instant bond.

And in growing up, did you use the instrument as a means to sort of, like some people are into sports, some people are into music. Was music always what you were into?

Daniel: Yeah for sure, most definitely.

And what kind of music was big for you growing up? I mean, I know you were into Stevie Ray Vaughn and stuff like that. Was it basically classic rock or was there anything sort of in there that I wouldn't guess.

Daniel: Well, my dad introduced us to music through Stevie Ray Vaughn, The Eagles, and Jackson Browne. I don't know, it was so long ago it's kind of hard to remember.

You know I remember reading something about how Otis Taylor used to come over and help you out. Is that right?

Daniel Sproul by Lisa Siciliano
Daniel: Yeah, yeah.

So how did you meet him? I really dig his music as well, so I'm interested in how y'all met?

Daniel: He lives just a few houses up from us.

Oh, cool. Is there anything that you can sort of put your finger on that you really learned from him, or took from your experience from him?

Daniel: Most definitely. It was not only to really put emotion into playing, as far as making every note count, but he also taught us as a band what "The Pocket" is and how to ride it: either stay on top of it or lay it back.

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