Justin Wells – Solo Album – PledgeMusic Campaign

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Around these parts Justin Wells is a name that’s well respected. Since the demise of Fifth on the Floor he’s decided to put out a solo album. There’s a lot of crowdfunding options out there and Justin has decided to go with PledgeMusic and you ought to just go ahead and pop over to his campaign and pre-order something, you’re welcome to pre-order the solo house show for me if you just can’t decide on any other level of support.

MICHELLE EVANS INTERVIEWS JUSTIN WELLS OF FIFTH ON THE FLOOR

The first time I met Justin Wells, I wasn’t quite sure how to take him. He’s well over 6 feet tall with a booming voice, a self-described “full o’ shit” jokester mentality, and a rather intimidating albeit charismatic stage presence. Since then, I’ve had the opportunity to dine with him, see some more Fifth on the Floor shows, as well as talk with him, and ssshhhh, you guys, he’s kind of really awesome – about as awesome as his music, I’d say.

Here’s one of those conversations.

So, you’re quite the sarcastic one. It took me a few times before I figured you out. [laughs]

[laughs] People ask me all the time, “When are you serious?” and the thing is, I’m not. Ever. Maybe when I’m on stage, but even then, not even half the time.

You’re very serious-looking on stage, though. Very serious.

I am. I am! I think that part of my personality has evolved, because I’m a big dude, and people are instantly fucking defensive when they meet me.

Sure. I can see that.

Yeah, see, and it’s like, man, there will be no ass-kickings. I just wanna talk. I have to clown around, you know, to make people feel comfortable, and I do. I try to. I smile a lot, and I clown around a lot.

I see big dudes, and I think, “Ooo! Fluffy teddy bear! Cuddly!”

[laughs] I’m more along those lines, to be honest. [laughs]

Well, now that we’ve got that cleared up [laughs]… I wanted to ask about your voice.

Shoot.

Yeah, I noticed there are certain songs y’all don’t do anymore or don’t do as often, and since I’m big on voices, I’ve noticed the way you use yours has changed – or is that all in my head?

Well, I don’t know if there’s Fifth on the Floor stuff I can’t do anymore, but our song “The Fall,” off our second record… I don’t know if I can’t, because I haven’t tried in about a year, but I’ve actually learned how to sing over, you know, 10 years of fucking doing this, and I’ve learned it’s not worth hitting one or two notes at the expense of the whole rest of the night and the whole rest of the tour. Voices aren’t like guitars, where you just find the note. We’re given a range, and you can find a few more in either direction, but it’s gonna hurt ya. I try to play to my strengths when I sing.

Makes sense.

Yeah. And Parsons sings in the band too, and he’s just a fucking incredible vocal talent, and, you know, should, by all means, be heading up his own band, and, you know, I don’t have to hit those notes anymore. If we need someone else to hit them, then someone else will.

You’re coming off a solo tour with Unknown Hinson, though, right? How’s that been?

It has been awesome. Unknown and the guys have been very kind to me. They’ve been great, but what’s been even better, is their fans. Their fans have been really kind to me. It was hard to know going in, how people were going to react, and everyone’s been really kind. We’ve had a lot of fun, had a lot of un-recallable nights [laughs], a lot of good rooms.

What’s your solo stuff like?

[laughs] It’s a lot more talking. [laughs] It’s a lot more talking than Fifth of the Floor shows [laughs] But it is! I want people to have a good time, so I talk a lot, trying to get the stage warm, and I’ve just been trying to make sure people have a good time. There are a lot of Fifth on the Floor songs, of course, but I change them so they work for me solo.

So Fifth on the Floor has had many incarnations, as fas as band members go. How many of you are original?

Just me. We started out as a 6-piece. We’ve had a shit-ton of change-overs, and, you know, we never wanted to be “that band,” but that’s just what happened. Parsons has been with us going on three years, and, you know, Aaron quit earlier in the year. The road just wasn’t working for him anymore, and we obviously wish him all the best. He had some things going on at home. Kevin Hogle replaced him and just came on board a few months ago. He’s in a band called 500 Miles to Memphis, who are friends of ours out of Cincinnati. We’ve toured with those guys and played with those guys quite a bit, and Kevin was definitely on my short list. He’s toured the world in various bands and, when he was in college, doing marching band shit. I didn’t know how much time he’d have available, but he definitely made the time available to play with Fifth on the Floor, so it worked out. Both on stage and off, he’s a fantastic member, a fantastic drummer, and one of the most positive people I’ve ever met, and he’s bald [laughs] The rest of us have the hair thing pretty well covered, so we needed the bald guy. And he has, like, sparse, chiseled facial hair that he manages, somehow, to change every night, like a video game avatar [laughs].

OH. Sexy. [laughs] Seriously, though, from what I’ve seen so far, Kevin does seem like a good fit.

Yeah, man. It’s fun. It’s really fun. It’s like we’re starting over. It’s fucking energetic.

We parted ways with Matt too. We played with Matt for seven years, and Matt’s a brother. He was one of the original Fifth on the Floor members. Matt and I started the band back in ’06, and our lives, on a personal level, just went different ways. Things just weren’t in sync as much as they used to be, so we got this fellow named Ryan Clackner out of Tennessee, who played with Bob Wayne for years. He’s a fantastic talent, and he’s the other side of facial hair [laughs]. We have to pay him, and then we have to pay his beard, and it has to have its own seat belt [laughs]. No, Ryan’s a bad-ass. It should be fun.

I would think when you bring in new people, you get new energy and new ideas. Is there any particular reason why y’all go through so many members? Is it the heavy touring schedule?

Yeah, man, everybody fucking ever has been in Fifth on the Floor [laughs] But to answer your question, I don’t know. You know, I don’t know. I’ve always loved bands that did that, and we actually had someone else who was the lead singer, who sang more songs than I did, and, really, we should’ve just changed the fucking band name. We aren’t the same band, and you can hear hints of that on the first record. You can hear where we’re at now and how that’s different from then. We wanted to be a rock and roll band, and now that’s what we are. Our goals changed, we’ve gotten a little older, and we take this a lot more seriously and really try to focus on Fifth on the Floor as a career, and not just something that allows us to drink for free in different cities [laughs]. Bands change, like any relationship, and I don’t think anything ill is meant on either side.

And, you know, we do tour heavily, and it takes a special breed of fucking people to be able to do that. I’m not speaking of us in a good way [laughs], because, you know, we’re drunken messes [laughs], and it’s just not for everyone.

Shit, dude, if I could sing or play an instrument even remotely well – I can’t do either – I would totally be one of those people. But I can’t, so I write about it and travel to shows and look into ways I can work with the musicians I love, maybe touring with them, or whatever.

You sound like me. It used to drive me out of my mind to be home.

Yes! But you have a wife and two twin daughters now. How has that changed things?


It’s great having someone at home. It really is. It makes me wanna be home, but when I was just by myself, I could just fucking tour 365, I wouldn’t care. Now, there’s this huge part of my life I leave behind when I go, but I love both, and to give either one up would, you know, create a void. We found our rhythm. My wife’s very supportive. I mean, it’s not easy, but I don’t worry about it. She’s a fucking bad-ass. I’m always happy. I just get restless. I don’t like being in the same city very long, and touring allows me to keep moving.

I just really feel like I got it made, man.

Fifth on the Floor plays tomorrow, Saturday, December 14th at Buster’s Billiard’s and Backroom in their hometown of Lexington, KY. They are touring through January and also start touring with George Thorogood and The Destroyers on March 10th at the Tennessee Theater in Knoxville, TN.

PLAYLIST: NINEBULLETS RADIO 04.19.2012

Man. The first show after a marathon show is always so nice and relaxed. I played a lot of brand new music in between all the chatter, whining and begging that makes up a marathon show and I was afraid a lot of people may have missed it so I tried to get a lot of it back into last night’s show. Speaking of marathon, I would like to say that by Friday afternoon last week the show had met (and exceeded) it’s goal. So, props to all of y’all for that.

Now, about this week’s show. Late yesterday afternoon I saw that Levon had passed so I decided to bookend the show with him as a form of tribute. In between we got brand new songs from Will Quinlan & The Diviners, Joe Pug, Alone At 3AM, Tim Barr, The Only Sons and plenty more as well as an all requests segment of the show. All in all, I think the show turned out pretty strong and I would highly suggest you spend an hour of your day checking out the archived stream of it.

Below is the playlist for April 19, 2012

01. Todd Farrell – Ninebullets Radio Intro
02. Levon Helm – Wide River To Cross
03. Joe Pug – Neither Do I Need A Witness
04. Will Quinlan & the Diviners – Cuyahoga River Blues
05. Fifth On The Floor – Distant Memory Lane
06. Alone At 3AM – Wolf In The Woods
07. Lee Bains III & The Glory Fires – The Red, Red Dirt Of Home
08. Don Auber – Smoke & Steam
09. Larry & His Flask – Beggars Will Ride
10. Dinero – Some People Push Back
11. The Only Sons – The Natural
12. Middle Brother – Million Dollar Bill
13. Lauderdale – Drink To Sleep
14. Tim Barry – Fine Foods Market
15. The Band – The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down

Bold = Request

Ninebullets Radio on Facebook
You can stream Ninebullets Radio here
You can download Ninebullets Radio here
If you like Ninebullets Radio please drop a 5 spot in the Tip Jar.

P.S.: If you like this show, do me a favor and post about it on your Facebook/Twitter/Blog. It’ll do a lot to help these bands reach new ears…and in the end, that’s what this is all about. It’ll also help bring the existence of the radio show to more people’s attention & the more people there are listening/paying attention to the show the more likely it is to stay on the air.

Episode 68: aired 04.19.2012

PLAYLIST: NINEBULLETS RADIO 02.16.12

Ninebullets Radio is a radio extension of the blog ninebullets.net that airs every Thursday night in Tampa, Florida on WMNF 88.5 FM at 10pm Eastern. The show is archived for one week after it’s original air date and is available for streaming here. Also, don’t forget to head over to Facebook and like the Ninebullets Radio page.

Below is the playlist for February 16, 2012

01. Todd Farrell – Ninebullets Radio Intro
02. Blue Mountain – Midnight in Mississippi
03. The Whipsaws – Jessie Jane
04. The Takers w/Austin Lucas – Mama Tried
05. Matt Woods – Port St. Lucie
06. Damion Suomi – Ghost
07. Slim Cessna’s Auto Club – This Is How We Do ThingsIn The Country
08. Shooter Jennings – Daddy’s Hands
09. Fifth On The Floor – Distant Memory Lane
10. Lee Bains III & The Glory Fires – Righteous, Ragged Songs
11. The Gaslight Anthem – Even Cowgirls Get The Blues
12. McDougall – When God Dips His Love In My Heart
13. Charlie Parr – Gospel Plow
14. The Coloradas – Red Dress
15. The Devil Makes Three – Old No. 7
16. Scott H. Biram – Sinkin’ Down

Bold = Request

You can download Ninebullets Radio here

P.S.: If you like this show, do me a favor and post about it on your Facebook/Twitter/Blog. It’ll do a lot to help these bands reach new ears…and in the end, that’s what this is all about. It’ll also help bring the existence of the radio show to more people’s attention & the more people there are listening/paying attention to the show the more likely it is to stay on the air.

Episode 59: aired 02.16.2012

FREE MUSIC ALERT: FIFTH ON THE FLOOR – DARK AND BLOODY GROUND

Back in May we reviewed Fifth On The Floor’s album, Dark and Bloody Ground, labeling it as Essential Listening. Well, now, you can hear for your self as they’re giving the whole damned thing away for free. So Merry Early Xmas and get your ass over to Give Me My XXX for your free download.

Here is an excerpt from our May review:

Fifth On The Floor is Aaron Graham, Jason Parsons, Matty Rodgers and Justin Wells out of Lexington, Kentucky. They hail from the Bluegrass state and these boys are bringing nothing but Southern rock and roll to the table. If I were gonna compare them to a band, I’d say these kids are the rock and roll cousin of Whitey Morgan and the 78’s. The album’s standout track is the polished and restrained ballad of despair “Distant Memory Lane” but it’s all the tattered, ragged and raw rock and roll songs about sour mash and breakups that make the album Essential Listening.

Fifth On The Floor – Distant Memory Lane
Fifth On The Floor – Another Day
Fifth On The Floor – Missin’ The Mornin’

Fifth On The Floor’s Official Site, Fifth On The Floor on Facebook

UP, DOWN AND ALL AROUND: INTERWEBS EDITION:

That there interweb is big and vast and sometimes it’s easy to miss some of the awesome that happens on it. So here is an attempt to link to some of the other awesome that’s happening out there:

  • R.E.M. called it quits this week and there has already been no shortage of homages to the band and their discography. Personally, I was never a huge R.E.M. fan but I did find these two articles interesting. They were the first two articles ever written about the band and that kind of history is fascinating to me. I also find the news a tad convenient as the band has “their first career-spanning retrospectivecoming out in November. Now, I’m not saying this is all a stunt to boost sales…I’m just saying I wouldn’t be exceedingly surprised to see a reunion tour in a couple of years.

And that’s it folks. Have a fun, safe weekend and try not to get hit by any falling satellites.

PLAYLIST: NINEBULLETS RADIO 07.07.11

Ninebullets Radio is a radio extension of the blog ninebullets.net that airs every Thursday night in Tampa, Florida on WMNF 88.5 FM at 10pm Eastern. The show is archived for one week after it’s original air date and is available for streaming here. Also, don’t forget to head over to Facebook and like the Ninebullets Radio page.

Below is the playlist for July 07, 2011.

01. The Weary Boys – Cruel Corrina
02. American Aquarium – Nothing to Lose
03. Doop & The Inside Outlaws – Blood River
04. Red Clay River – Rattlesnake Mountain
05. Greenland Is Melting – Blood OnThe Banjo
06. Have Gun Will Travel – Kerosene and Candlelight
07. Shane Sweeny – When I Am Empty
08. Shane Sweeny – Some Hope, Somewhere
09. Robert Earl Reed – Road To Hattisberg
10. Fifth On The Floor – The Fall
11. Hellbound Glory – Rusted Up Old Pickup Trucks
12. Drive-By Trucker’s – Outfit
13. Grayson Capps – John The Dagger
14. Glossary – Gasoline Soaked Heart

Bold = Request

P.S.: If you like this show, do me a favor and post about it on your Facebook/Twitter/Blog. It’ll do a lot to help these bands reach new ears…and in the end, that’s what this is all about. It’ll also help bring the existence of the radio show to more people’s attention & the more people there are listening/paying attention to the show the more likely it is to stay on the air.

FIFTH ON THE FLOOR – DARK AND BLOODY GROUND

Man, I feel like I’ve been in a fog for a few weeks. Stress at work has had me all aflutter, but I think I’ve started to find my new normal. With that said, I can’t think of a better album to blow out the dust here on ninebullets than the Southern rock blast that is Dark And Bloody Ground from Fifth On The Floor. If you listen to ninebullets radio or the ninebullets podcast then you’re already a little familiar with these guys.

Fifth On The Floor is Aaron Graham, Jason Parsons, Matty Rodgers and Justin Wells out of Lexington, Kentucky. They hail from the Bluegrass state and these boys are bringing nothing but Southern rock and roll to the table. If I were gonna compare them to a band, I’d say these kids are the rock and roll cousin of Whitey Morgan and the 78’s. The album’s standout track is the polished and restrained ballad of despair “Distant Memory Lane” but it’s all the tattered, ragged and raw rock and roll songs about sour mash and breakups that make the album Essential Listening.

Fifth On The Floor – Distant Memory Lane
Fifth On The Floor – Another Day
Fifth On The Floor – Missin’ The Mornin’

Fifth On The Floor’s Official Site, Fifth On The Floor on Facebook, Buy Dark And Bloody Ground