Robbers, Tornadoes, and Snores – Oh My! The Adventures of Reason Define’s Neon Summer
As music fans, I think we’ve all had those bands we’ve wanted to check out, but for some reason or another you seem to never get around to it. That’s how it was for me with Reason Define. That is, until Rock Fest in Cadott, WI this year. As luck would have it, Reason Define was scheduled to play right after one of the local bands I was there to photograph.
They did not disappoint! With a plethora of talent and energy, along with their bright hair colors, it was a live music photographer’s dream.
I was also lucky enough to lasso guitarist Shelby McVicker for an interview while they were traveling from Georgia to a couple shows in Texas.
Reason Define Is:
Paolina Massaro – Vocals
Caitlin Rutkowski – Bass/Back Up Vocals
Savannah Ruff – Guitar/Back Up Vocals
Shelby McVicker – Guitar
Sydney McVicker – Drums
RL: For those listeners who aren’t familiar with Reason Define…tell us a little bit.
SM: Well, we are a rock band from Charlotte, NC…who happens to be made up of all women, and tries to make music to help us cope with our lives and help other people.
RL: Reason Define has been together for quite a while, right?
SM: Yeah! It’s actually going to be 6 years, I think…today! It’s today!
RL: Wow, congratulations! Life can sometimes dictate lineup changes. Has there been any for Reason Define?
SM: No…no we’ve never had a lineup change. And if we did, we’d probably disband to be honest. We kinda all decided that it’s us, or nothing! But, we’ve also grown up in this band. When we started, Sydney was 12 years old. We continue to grow together, and I wouldn’t want to do it with anybody else.
RL: Reason Define just released a video for “Reaper.” How did you squeeze that in with the extensive Summer tour?
SM: There was a couple month turnaround time, but we actually recorded it back in March. There was a week where we didn’t have anything and it happened to to match up with Ross’s and Nick’s schedule, so we did it then.
RL: Did you spend the entire week working on it?
SM: No, we actually finished it in about 4 hours! We drove to Ohio, and when we walked in Ross & Nick had everything set up. They just told us where to set up our gear…and we just got right to it! It was probably the fastest video shoot we’ve ever done.
RL: Is there a particular song that you like to perform live more than others?
SM: Ooo, I love performing “Reaper” live. That’s the one I have the most ‘choreography’ for, so it’s definitely my favorite!
RL: Alright…let’s get into your mishaps, adventures in Chicago and at Rock Fest.
SM: What happened in Chicago was, we woke up that morning and our tour manager called Savannah and said “I need you to calmly walk to where we parked…um…because we have been robbed.” The rest of us were kinda waiting for the van to pull around. Savannah called me and said “The good news is that they only stole our pedal boards. The bad news is they basically destroyed our trailer.”
So, we had to go to a Uhaul place and rent a trailer. We brought it back to the hotel, transferred all of our gear from our trailer into the Uhaul. THEN we got on the road to our show in Green Bay that night. We did end up making it for our set, so we were pretty excited that we could still actually play that night!
It was about a 4 hour drive and we were supposed to load in at 6. We got there at 9, which was just in time for our set. We played one of our best shows that night, because we were able to take all of our emotional out on stage.
RL: Let’s talk about Rock Fest. Towards the end of your set in the middle of a song, I saw one the security people come up and give Paolina the “throat slash” signal. I thought they were telling you your time was up, but they were actually evacuating the festival.
SM: Yeah, they were evacuating! We also thought it was because we went over our time, but we timed that set out 3 different times. We did not go over! We are going to continue playing! We got the ok to finish the song, and didn’t find out we were being cut short because of the evacuation until after the song was done. When we found out it was because of the storm, and we had to get our gear off the stage and loaded up as quickly as possible. It was crazy!!
RL: Where did you end up during the storm? Did you just wait there in your van?
SM: We debated for a while whether we should wait it out there, or get on the road right away. The storm looked pretty bad, so we decided to get on the road because we had a show the next day in Iowa. We were hoping to avoid the storm, but we ended up pulling off at a gas station and waiting it out for about 30 minutes. That was our first experience with it tornado. It was insane! It got so black! We thought we were in the movie “Twister!”
RL: I have a couple quick, fun questions for you. Who’s the funniest person in the band?
SM: Oh god, Paolina! For sure!
RL: Who snores the loudest?
SM: (With no hesitation) Caitlin! Easy. She will suck in the walls she snores so hard!
RL: (Laughing) Good thing she’s sleeping and probably snoring right now, or else she’d be mad, huh?
SM: Oh, she totally is! (laughs)
RL: What was your favorite cartoon as a kid?
SM: Beauty and The Beast!
RL: (Showing my age) Was there a series, or do you mean the movie?
SM: The Disney movie. I’m a Disney kid, through and through.
RL: If you could resurrect one artist who has passed, and you could perform with them, who would it be?
SM: OH GOD! That is a really hard question! I’m gonna go with Freddie Mercury. I would LOVE to perform with him. It would be an absolute dream come true.
RL: So, which song would you choose?
SM: My favorite Queen song is “Don’t Stop Me Now”, so maybe that one. I feel like doing my favorite Queen song with Freddie Mercury would be just…crazy. I would also love to hear him sing Bohemian Rhapsody live, so I don’t know…maybe that one.
RL: Well, since we have these amazing powers to make it happen, we can let you do both.
SM: Ok cool! Let’s do both!
RL: Is there a current artist that you would like to play with?
SM: I would love to play with Nita Strauss! She’s the guitarist for Alice Cooper. I would love to just sit there and watch her play. She is so incredible.
RL: Reason Define released a new album “In Memory…” in March. How were fans’ reactions when it came out?
SM: The reactions we’ve gotten are just incredible. The first album “Far From Strangers”, it’s almost like we wrote it when we were kids. Now with the new album, it feels like we’ve grown up and matured. It’s about the 5 stages of grief. For the songs to resonate with fans is just amazing. We love when people share their stories with us, and how they connect to our music. The feeling is really indescribable.
RL: The final date on your road tour is 8/17 in Georgia, and then a couple home shows. There’s nothing scheduled after 8/31. What’s next for Reason Define?
SM: What’s next is that I have to graduate college! We’re kinda taking a bit of a break in the Fall, because I will be graduating in December. We’ve talked about starting to write the 3rd album, or writing something. We’re definitely going to be doing some hometown shows, and shows throughout the area. We’re going to continue to tour, and hit it pretty hard in 2020!