I had an enjoyable experience interviewing Todd Poole who is the founding member and lead singer of Memphis, Tennessee rock band Roxy Blue who were signed to Geffen Records in the early ’90s.
The band originally featured vocalist Todd Poole, drummer Scott “Scotty T.” Tramwell, guitarist Sid Fletcher, and bassist Josh Weil.
Many other great bands had come from Memphis back in the late ’80s/early ’90s. Tora Tora and Every Mother’s Nightmare are two that come to mind.
Roxy Blue’s first record came out 27 years ago and it was called “Want Some?” Released in 1992, Want Some? was actually a very solid hard rock record. The record company brought in veteran producer Mike Clink, who produced some of the genres best albums such as Whitesnake, Triumph, Guns N’ Roses, Mötley Crüe, Megadeth, UFO, Jefferson Starship, The Babys and more. The album had good sound with plenty of catchy tunes and really great guitar work. The popularity of Grunge in the early 90’s with it’s heavy electric distorted guitars and moody dragging apathetic lyrics seemed to come up fast and when the album didn’t sell as well as the label had hoped the groups future appeared bleak. Roxy demobilized despite the fact they were in the midst of working on demos for their follow up record at the time.
After the breakup of Roxy Blue a call was received from Jani Lane who stated he was going solo and Todd should come to L.A. and sing with Warrant. A stay in L.A. jamming with those guys garnered some recorded songs. Although the experience was a good one, the sign of changing times throughout the music business along with some well heeded advice from other peers in the industry led to Todd returning back home to Tennessee. A chance to reinvent himself would bring on the creation of Saliva.
With Roxy Blue now disbanded, in 1996 Todd Poole became founding member of Saliva as the drummer in an early incarnation of the grammy nominated nu metal band featuring former members of local bands Roxy Blue, Blackbone and Gemini Clan in Bartlett, TN a suburb of Memphis. Saliva released their self-titled debut album in 1997, through Rockingchair Records, a label owned and operated by Mark Yoshida a musician, producer, engineer and all-around music industry businessman. Poole departed Saliva in late 1999.
Sometime around 2012 straight out of Memphis, TN was the powerful sound of 714. Todd Poole (vocals/guitar), Matt Dees (bass), Jimmy Fulp (drums), and Chris Turnbow (guitar) made up a quartet of pure energy. They debuted with their self-titled CD full of heavy tracks. Their second release was “American Tragic“ where the guys decided to record and produce the CD themselves.
Todd’s father-in-law was the late great Jimi Jamison frontman for the bands Target, Cobra and Survivor. Todd did play drums with him for awhile. Jimi died in 2014. Jimi’s daughter; as well as being Todd’s wife; Ami Jamison is also an entertainer, singer and songwriter in her own right.
Back in 2019 Roxy Blue re-entered the rock scene. The band had reformed with former Every Mother’s Nightmare guitarist Jeff Caughron and the current lineup consists of Todd Poole (vocals), Jimmy Fulp (drums), Josh Weil (bass), and Jeffrey Caughron (guitar). The guys in Roxy Blue are all doing good. Josh is a nurse. Scotty T plays with Nelson. Original guitarist Sid Fletcher is now a dentist.
Currently being managed by Brad Lee Entertainment’s BLE Artist Services the band was on schedule to perform a March 2020 show in Maryland at an event called Ballroom Blitz right about the time many parts of the country and world were beginning to enact pandemic restrictions related to the travel and tourism industry. A heavy hit was being felt throughout the entertainment business as a whole as well. Roxy Blue along with bands such as Last In Line, Beasto Blanco, Dirty Looks, Hurricane, Tokyo Motor Fist, Tora Tora, Spread Eagle, Kickin Valentina, Pretty Boy Floyd and many others received the news that the two day show would unfortunately be postponed due to Covid-19 restrictions.
Between Want Some? from 27 years ago up until their latest self-titled Roxy Blue album in 2019 with Frontier Records, the band only really did some demo stuff but no other albums were put out by the band. There was never a plan for Roxy Blue to get back together but Frontier Records really gave them a reason to do it. People had been pushing the band to reform but Todd had the band 714 going on and he didn’t feel like it was the right time to start the band back up. Frontier came along and said they wanted to sign the guys. They were getting ready to do a show with Brett Michael’s and they decided to go for it and put it all together.
They are trying to put out a new record right now but haven’t had a ton of time to really work on it though because they have been having gigs or something else seems to come up. Roxy Blue’s drummer Jimmy Fulp has a full blown studio Broken Snare Studios. They have 4 to 6 tracks down now and hopefully will have the finished product ready to release in 2022. Todd can’t say it’s going to be a really heavy album but it’s going to be a really good album with really good songs. That’s important to him. They love their old fans but really want to get new fans too.
The band members all live in the same town of Memphis except their guitarist Jeff who lives in Jackson, TN. Despite some artists finding it difficult to actually get together in person and accomplish making a record during the pandemic, Roxy Blue haven’t faced that issue.
Roxy Blue had a positive response from the last record. Todd just wants the songs to be really great on this new record coming out and he thinks it will live up to that. The new tracks will have a little more soul in it than the previous Roxy Blue self-titled album. It will be a song based record.
Todd likes to do most of his writing in his truck. ”As a writer today, when I write a song I write it from my heart and my feelings. If one person walks up and tells me that it has meaning to them or it changed their life it’s the greatest feeling in the world.” At the end of the day Todd just wants to look back and be proud of his record. He’s very appreciative of not only musicians but all those people out there raising the flag for rock n’ roll like journalists, or fans & friends sharing positive band stuff through social media, promotion and word of mouth.
Roxy Blue is also doing a Def Leppard Tribute Record. At the time I spoke with Todd they had not actually recorded it yet but the track will be “Let It Go” off Leppard’s 1981 album High ‘N’ Dry.
Todd and the guys just had an August gig with Cheap Trick in Memphis, TN that was massive. The crowds really showed up for this one! However, four or five Roxy Blue shows have been postponed until 2022 due to Covid. Todd explained “We had a gig scheduled with Dokken in Nashville that was canceled and a gig with Tom Keiffer has been re-scheduled until 2022 in Nashville.”
Roxy Blue was one of the guests at this years ROCKNPOD Expo in Nashville, TN. ROCKNPOD is the place to be for Rock Fans, Podcasters, Musicians, Entertainers and Vendors. Raising brand awareness and providing a platform to announce new projects and to have their message carried across multiple platforms. Todd attended this past August and had a blast. A highlight for Todd was that he was able to meet Billy Sheehan of The Winery Dogs, David Lee Roth and Sons Of Apollo. Roxy Blue played an acoustic performance at the actual ROCKNPOD event and Todd played a gig at Mercy Lounge during the preparty concert. Todd tries to be a part of the festivities every year.
Just recently in October following the official St. Ann’s Fall Fest at Hadley’s in Memphis, TN with Starship featuring Mickey Thomas, Roxy Blue were joined by a couple of their friends and Starship members John Roth and Jeff Adams who performed some songs at an “After Party” concert. Mickey Thomas joined Jefferson Starship in 1979 recording their first hit, “Jane”, almost immediately after getting together as well as releasing the 1985 album Knee Deep in the Hoopla featuring two #1 hits – “We Built this City” and “Sara” then followed-up their initial success with another #1 single, “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now.”
Roxy Blue was really pumped to do the re-vamped Ballroom Blitz now called Masquerade scheduled for the end of October 2021 in the cool seaside village of Havre de Grace, MD. Unfortunately that show has once again been postponed due to Covid related problems with some bands currently having to halt their bookings and also some logistic issues involving the venue and government protocols. This will be the third time the BLE event has had to issue an announcement of a delay but It’s looking like another attempt will be made to re-schedule all the bands originally set to perform at Masquerade. Lot’s of people are more than ready to finally be able to complete this rock n’ roll union in the spring of 2022. Roxy Blue is still in the line up as well as bands such as Last In Line, George Lynch, Jack Russell’s Great White, Hurricane, Rough Cutt, Little Caesar and many more.
Todd Poole is featured on the new Brothers In Arms record “Sunset and Clark” the brainchild of guitarist/composer Jack Frost. Todd was originally asked to write a song and then even got asked to do a second one. The full record was released September 24, 2021. Todd was presented with the tracks and he put the melody and the lyrics to “Feel The Love” which has a Paul Rodgers kind of feel as well as “Wasting Light” which Todd wrote in just two days because Jack needed it fast. Brothers In Arms have made it their mission to prove rock music will never die. The band features Jack Frost (Savatage, Lizzy Borden, Seven Witches, Bronx Casket Company, Aldo Nova), Keith St. John (Kingdom Come, Montrose, Burning Rain), Andrew Freeman (Last in Line, Lynch Mob, Hurricane), Paul Shortino (Rough Cutt, Quiet Riot, King Kobra), Karl Wilcox (Diamond Head), and Alex Jansen (session bass for Hardline, Scorpions). Special Guests: Dave Amato (REO Speedwagon, Ted Nugent), Mick Mahan (Pat Benatar), and more.
Hopefully also look for Todd to appear in a future video of one of the songs he did on the album.
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Roxy Blue to this day have never played on any of the rock n’ roll cruises such as the popular Hard Rock/Heavy Metal Monsters Of Rock Cruise (MORC) but would love to be included as a performing act. Perhaps that could become a reality for them in the future as I’m sure their fans would enjoy being able to see them live out that dream.
Todd states “Rock n’ roll is alive and well. The best you can do is be happy playing music. You can’t go in the door with one foot in and one foot out. You’re either all in or all out because it’s too hard. If you want it you have to be strong enough to take criticism. If someone says you suck, instead of getting mad, you have to go and make yourself better. It’s a brutal business what’s left of it. If you’re going to survive in the music business you have to be happy and stay strong and true to yourself.”
I asked Todd what advice does he have for musicians just starting out and he expressed as if he would be talking to his 20 year old self. “I applaud the young people who are out there playing music and keeping the rock going. If you can just stay true to yourself, stay true to your music and don’t just try to follow what’s out there just because you think that’s what you need to do. You know, play from your heart and don’t try to follow the leader. Love what you do because once you quit loving playing music and you’re just doing it to please others then you’re done. You gotta have fun and you gotta love what you do. If you love what you do you’ll play music the rest of your life. That’s why I still play music because it’s about the love for music itself. That’s all it’s about and I’m in love with rock & roll.”
Roxy Blue is just gearing up and getting ready. New music and playing a bunch of shows for 2022. Todd’s just trying to be a good dad, making awesome music and living out his life the best he can.
In Todd’s words, “Crank up some good music and just close your eyes and get away and you’ll feel good.”
BAND MEMBERS –
Todd Poole – Lead vocals (1990-1993, 2017–present)
Josh Weil – Bass (1990-1993, 2017–present)
Jimmy Fulp – Drums 2020-present)
Jeff Wade Caughron- Guitar (2017–present)
Sid ‘Boogie’ Fletcher – Guitar (1990-1993)
Scott ‘Scotty T.’ Tramwell – Drums (1990-2020)
Want Some? (1992)
Roxy Blue (2019)
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