To mark the release of White Reaper’s Asking for a Ride, the Louisville act’s fourth full-length album, we had the band members compete in a game of Battle of the Bandmates.
Focusing on the raw energy of the band, Asking for a Ride follows 2019’s You Deserve Love. Between the two releases, major world events (which need not be recounted) forced White Reaper to adapt to new challenges. With members being split between two cities over lockdown (Los Angeles and their Kentucky hometown), coming together post-pandemic was almost like starting anew.
“It was challenging because after we saw each other for the first time since the pandemic had hit, it was hard to get any meaningful work done ‘cause we’re just a bunch of jokers,” vocalist Tony Esposito tells Consequence.
But between the shenanigans of five friends reuniting (four of whom have known each other since childhood), White Reaper managed to fit in proper work for what would become Asking for a Ride — though perhaps in a roundabout way. They met up in an Arkansas AirBnB made of recycled material known as the Earth Ship, and between goofing around and reconnecting, wrote over a dozen songs — though only a handful ended up on the LP.
When it came time to actually record, they went into the studio with a big-budget producer, though you won’t find that person’s name on the album credits. They ended up scrapping that version of the LP and essentially starting over. “We used some of the songs that we recorded the first time around,” says guitarist Hunter Thompson. “I think we wrote a lot of stuff remotely, and so we didn’t really know what it felt like to play it together. And then once we were playing it together, it didn’t really feel great. It didn’t feel exciting.”
“The real story is we spent a million dollars on the record and then we decided that was way too much money, so we decided to scrap the whole thing and do it again for much cheaper,” jokes keyboardist Ryan Hater. “But I don’t think we realized that they don’t get the money back if you do that… And the label was great about it; they couldn’t have been more helpful.”
So the gang went back to the studio, this time self-producing with just an engineer (Jeremy Ferguson) to help the process along. The result of these sessions crystalized into Asking for a Ride: 10 rock songs that span from metal-tinged aggression (“Asking for a Ride”) to loose fun (“Pages”).
With such a journey under their belts, you’d think the five members of White Reaper would know just about everything about each other. We wanted to put that to the test, so we challenged the gang to a round of Battle of the Bandmates, where they guessed each other’s opinions of their own catalog, performing live, and gas station snacks.
See how they fared in the video above. You can also stream Asking for a Ride below and pick up tickets to their upcoming tour here.
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