Throw The Fight is a compelling band from Minneapolis who has been hitting the road and thrilling audiences since their inception back in 2003. The band recently unleashed What Doesn’t Kill Us on Bullet Tooth Records, an exciting collection of heartfelt rock and roll tunes that should finally be the breakthrough Throw The Fight has been striving for. Lead vocalist James Clark’s inspiring battle with, and victory over cancer is reflected on some of the songs, giving the entire album a powerful sense of urgency and timelessness. Here is an interview we conducted with guitarist Ryan Baustert to find out about an entity more than ready for the big leagues. Read on…
Introduce yourself, tell me what you do in Throw The Fight and how long the band has been together.
My name is Ryan Baustert and I’m one of the guitarists. We’ve been grinding since 2003.
Where is the band based out of and what is the local music scene like there? Are there any local bands you could recommend?
We’re based out of Minneapolis, MN. The scene here is great. There’s a ton of venues and bands. No matter the type of style of music you’re into, you can find a good number of bands out here doing it. New Medicine, Fades Away, & Summertime Dropouts are all great bands from this area that would be worth giving a listen to.
How did you wind up signing to Bullet Tooth Records?
It was probably a year and a half process. We’ve known the owner of the label, Josh Grabelle, since his days at Trustkill. When the time came to start demoing new tracks for the record, we sent him music and kept him in the loop. Once the album was done, he flew out to Minneapolis to meet with us and the rest is history.
Is there any story or concept behind the CD title What Doesn’t Kill Us?
The album title is a simple reminder to us that after all the bullshit we’ve been through, we’re still hanging in there and pushing forward. I feel like this album, specifically, was definitely a struggle to make happen from a financial and personal standpoint. We were dealing with lineup changes prior to heading to LA to record and other things. But looking back at it, it makes us appreciate it that much more. At the end of the day, we made it work and we’re really proud of this album. Wouldn’t change it for the world.
How much did being a cancer survivor influence James Clark’s lyrics on What Doesn’t Kill Us?
The subject matter is definitely there on some of the tracks. “When the World Stops Spinning” is about having cancer. The lyrics in the first verse, “stick your needles within / watch the chemicals spin,” are a chemotherapy reference.
Select two songs in particular from What Doesn’t Kill Us and what inspired the lyrics.
“Beautiful” is about lifting someone up when they are at their lowest point in life. It’s about understanding that there is always hope when you think you have had enough and want to give up. “Not So Hollywood” is simply about trying to stay true to yourself and not be something that you’re not.
Who produced What Doesn’t Kill Us and what was it like working with them?
The album was produced by John Feldmann. We’ve always been big fans of his records. Sonically, they all slam. So when we got the chance to work with him, we jumped at it. We went out to LA and tracked the album at his house. It was definitely cool to be able to leave home and not have anything to worry about except writing and recording music for a few weeks. We tracked for 12 to 15 hours every day and wrapped up the album in 3 weeks. It was intense.
Has Cutting Crew heard and commented on your cover of I Just Died In Your Arms and what made you decide to cover that song?
Not that we know of. We’ve been playing our version of that track live for years and it always seems to be a crowd favorite at shows. So we wanted to put it on the record. The song is timeless and as soon as the chorus comes in, it’s something that everyone knows. We had never come across any other artists that covered it in the past, so that was another reason that we chose that song. It’s so slow, though! So we had to speed it up a bit and throw some solos in it, naturally.
When you look back on Throw The Fight’s first album In Pursuit Of Tomorrow, what do you think of it now?
That album is definitely a bit more raw and more towards the metal side of the spectrum. Looking back at it, it was a reflection of where we were at at that point in our lives. I still like that record, but I think that “What Doesn’t Kill Us” is more well-rounded and has better songwriting.
What could one expect from a live Throw The Fight show?
Lots of energy and crowd participation! We like to have fun out there. That’s what it’s all about!
Has Throw The Fight played here in the Los Angeles/OC area or plan to in the near future?
Yes we have. We’re definitely hoping that we can make it back to the area soon. Tour dates are currently getting worked on.
Do you have any unusual or scary stories from the road or from a show that you could share?
I remember one time we were driving through Iowa and there was a massive tornado in the area. We had to pull underneath an overpass and wait out the storm for a bit. After we sat there for about 10 minutes we hear a knock on the van door. It was a 16 or 17 year old girl who was completely freaked out and panicked. She didn’t want to sit in her car by herself under this bridge. So we let her hang with us. As soon as she gets in, she looks around and says, “oh, I wasn’t expecting this. I thought you guys were going to be a family or something.” She looked pretty horrified for a bit. We’re nice guys, though. Haha!
What was the experience like playing Taste Of Chaos and did you meet any of the other bands on the show?
It was awesome! I remember the Avenged Sevenfold camp being really cool towards us.
What’s up next for Throw The Fight?
Our single, ‘Not So Hollywood’ goes out to radio on August 28th. So people can be on the lookout for that. We’re planning on touring a lot to support this record so we’ll be on the road very soon. Tours are currently getting worked on so everyone should keep it glued to throwthefight.com for show announcements.
Any final words of wisdom?
Yes! Go out there and pick up ‘What Doesn’t Kill Us!’ Also, don’t forget to brush and floss 😉
Thank you for taking the time to answer these questions!
No problem! Thanks for having me.
Throw The Fight is:
James Clark – Vocals
Ryan Baustert – Guitar
Jonathan Sutton – Guitar / vocals
Kyle Glidden – Bass / vocals
Jeff Baustert – Drums
(Interview by Kenneth Morton)
Throw The Fight on Facebook