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The Sky's The Limit: An Exclusive Interview With Logan Raskin Of THE RASKINS

By Larry Petro, News Monkey
Saturday, April 26, 2014 @ 2:49 PM


" I want people to know that every time they go to a RASKINS show they're gonna get 100% from us, you're never gonna get us tanking."

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Having been raised as the children of very successful parents in the music and theater arts, it wasn't hard to imagine that the twin brothers Raskin (Logan and Roger) would follow in their footsteps. From an early age on, the brothers decided to try their hand in the music industry. But they chose instead to shun the spotlight and focus their talents as gifted musicians and songwriters into a more subtle side of the industry, that of musical composition. Spending the better part of their lives happily content to simply compose music without any grand designs of being hugely successful, the inevitable could not be avoided forever. A couple of years ago, based on an ever growing fan base that had increasingly been clamoring for the brothers to release their compositions in some sort of physical form, their collective arms had been twisted to the breaking point and the next step could no longer be ignored. Now, armed with a debut album set to be released in just a few short weeks and a slew of upcoming tour dates supporting such artists as former STONE TEMPLE PILOTS frontman Scott Weiland and SAVING ABEL, the sky is now the limit for Logan and Roger and their band THE RASKINS. I had an opportunity a very short time ago to speak with vocalist Logan Raskin about the pair's upbringing, what took them so long to get to this point and what the future holds. Check it out!

KNAC.COM: I have to say, after having looked at your background bio, it's pretty extensive. Youíve been brought up around the stage, music and theater your whole life.

RASKIN: Born and raised with it, you know? My dad was in musical theater for many years, did all the Broadway shows, he was in the original cast of West Side Story opposite Rita Moreno, he was Tony. He did South Pacific, Annie Get Your Gun, Oklahoma, Guys And Dolls, he did all those shows on Broadway. My mom was a big jazz singer. The two of them actually met when my dad was doing a show in South Beach and so was my mom and they both met down there and actually got married onstage. I was going to see my dad perform at a very, very young age. He took me and my twin brother out on the road with him and we used to perform with his orchestra, it was pretty crazy. I was six years old out on the road with my dad and it was some experience, you know?

KNAC.COM: Is the musical aspect something that you decided for yourself or did your parents try to encourage you into a specific field?

RASKIN: Well, that's a really good question. Interesting enough, my parents taught us how to play a lot of instruments but I can honestly say they never really wanted us to be in the music industry. It sounds kinda strange because we were always around it but it wasn't, I wouldn't go as far as to say it was an easy life for them, it was a lot of travelling, a lot of time on the road and my mom, she was kinda against it and got us into other things since we were young, got us into athletics and stuff like that. We were musically inclined but she never pushed the industry on us. But, it's one of those things, how could it not find us at some point? Roger and I as we got a little bit older, growing up in the city and seeing all these bands going out every night and all these different bands playing in clubs, for us it was just a matter of time before we were gonna eventually do that. We really just started writing a lot of music and composing a lot of music. We weren't necessarily playing out all that much. It eventually turned into a live thing for us. To answer your question, it was one of those things where our parents really wanted us to experience other things and didn't want our lives to be solely about the entertainment business.

KNAC.COM: Now we have THE RASKINS, the band you formed with your brother. Of all the different genres you could have pursued, obviously being exposed to all the different types of music, what made you choose rock n roll?

RASKIN: Obviously, seeing my dad perform at such a young age was cool, but then I remember my parents took my twin brother and I, we have a brother who's a year older, Micah, who's actually our business manager now, they took the three of us to see my first concert, other than my dad, which was Ray Charles. it was like at an outdoor festival and I just remember seeing Ray Charles and thinking it was so cool, just kind of experiencing that and then when we were about 8 years old, they took us to our first KISS concert (laughs). I begged my parents, I had seen all the commercials on TV, I had the KISS posters on my wall and the first record I ever bought was KISS Alive. I begged my parents to take us and you know what, they did, they took the three of us. We saw KISS and JUDAS PRIEST opened up, the Dynasty tour, Nassau Coliseum, and we sat in the very, very last row at the top. That was it for me, man; I saw KISS live and I knew exactly what I wanted to do. That was life changing experience right there. That was the moment.

KNAC.COM: Without really giving away your age, you guys are just a bit younger than I am and you're just now about to release your debut album. So what took so long?

RASKIN: Well, you know, Roger and I, we're sociable guys but we're kinda introverted, we don't really like to put ourselves out there too much, and it's probably why we got so much into composing music for awhile. we were writing a lot of music for TV and film and we composed quite a bit of music for different films and over the years we were just getting tons of emails from fans, really not only in the United States but all over the world, asking 'where can we buy the music, do you guys ever play out?' We played out a little bit with other musicians and done some small projects and stuff like that but never really tried to push for it on a major scale. It just came down to a matter of time with the overabundance of emails we were getting from fans all over the world; the writing was pretty much on the wall for us. The timing was right and we both decided, it's time we go out there and start playing live and put a band together. We both felt as though if we're gonna do that then let's put together a record, put together an album. That was an interesting process all in itself, but we decided to put together the project. We called it THE RASKINS because pretty much all the music supervisors, they called us the Raskins. They couldn't tell the two of us apart, you know, who was Logan, who was Roger, so instead of trying to figure that out, they just said 'oh, let's get in touch with the Raskins' or 'are the Raskins coming in today' or 'let's set up a meeting with the Raskins'. Thatís how we decided to name the project THE RASKINS, because that's what they all called us. It kinda named itself, and that's pretty much how it started. Weíre almost 2 years into this now, into THE RASKINS project. And we're excited about it, we've got our record, our debut record coming out May 13th, the single is out right now, the single "We Had It All". Itís actually doing surprisingly pretty well. We have almost 150 different radio stations across the country that have picked it up and it's getting some good airplay, getting some positive feedback. You never know until you put it out there in the universe how people are gonna perceive it, and it's been really positive and we're really excited about it.

KNAC.COM: Since you brought it up, Iíve checked out the videos that you have out there on YouTube and nearly every one of them has well over a million hits and the one for "We Had It All" has almost 1.7 million hits! Thatís pretty impressive to say the least. How do you account for that?

RASKIN: Like I said, my brother and I, especially in the day and age that we're in with the internet and the way YouTube is, and Facebook and Twitter, Roger and I really wanted to kind of put the music out there in the universe. We hadn't played a show yet and we just wanted to see if people were gonna take to it. We communicated with all our fans, we put up the Facebook page, put up the Twitter page, we shot a couple of videos, we recorded a few songs and kinda put it out there as testers and people have really taken to it. We were just workin the fan base, working it online, keeping in touch with our fans and growing our fan base online. Thatís when we were really convinced that we might have a shot to do something with this. I know both of us felt like we're not the kind of guys that are gonna do something just to do it. We wanted to try and pursue things and have some form of success with it. We really promoted our online market and worked it, and worked our fans and things took off online for us. Our fan base really picked up and grew and it was a snowball effect. With the first few videos, people really dug it. It really kickstarted things off for us. Then we decided this is it, let's put the band together and get this record out there. So Roger and I went out and got 3 of the best musicians we could find. We were in California recording and so all the musicians we got were from California, even though we spend most of our time in New York City. We brought on one of my favorite drummers, Troy Patrick Farrell, we got the bass player from a band called CHELSEA SMILES and he also played with the BULLETBOYS, a guy called John Martin. I said to Roger 'man, if there's anyone on the planet I would like to have play bass with me, it's Johnny Martin. We reached out to Johnny and he was very familiar with us and our music and he got on board. We also hired this guitarist Jet Lopez, who was a local guitar player but I had seen him play a lot in the local scene and he was just a phenom on guitar. And there ya go, there's the lineup of THE RASKINS, along with my brother and I.

KNAC.COM: And that's going to be the lineup you take out on the road with you, right?

RASKIN: Exactly, that's the exact lineup. The band is tight and kicking ass and Iím very, very excited about the shows coming up with these guys.

KNAC.COM: The normal order of progression for most bands is to release an album, do a video or videos and then go out on tour. As we've already mentioned, the album isn't even out yet but you've already been doing some shows and you've got several videos under your belt so you guys have kinda done things backwards.

RASKIN: You know, I just felt like it didn't make sense to put an album out just to put an album out. I really wanted to try to develop our local following, which we did, and that was work and took time. I mean, we pounded the pavement. We did that in New York and we did that in Hollywood. We really worked our fan bases, we worked our friends, worked the ground, you know, handing out flyers, promoting the shows. We developed those fan bases locally and then we also started pushing online, really trying to get our fan base going online, putting a song or two out there on our website, we shot all the videos on our own. The videos really took off and you know we really didn't want to just dive into it wholeheartedly; we just wanted to keep putting little things out there and really grow this thing grass roots. In my mind it was the only way to do it. To me, if you can't develop a local following, how do you expect to go about developing a national following? It didn't make sense to me and we really didn't have help, we did it all ourselves and the guys in the band. A lot of blood, sweat and tears went into it. As things have come along here it's become easier and easier and the fan base is growing and word of mouth has picked up and you know, here we are. We have an album about ready to come out and we're about ready to go out on tour with Scott Weiland and the shows are getting bigger, the tours are getting bigger and it's just kind of growing and I just want to keep it going and see where it goes. The sky's the limit, right?

KNAC.COM: Of course you guys have the luxury that a lot of bands say 20, 30 years ago with the technology and social media the way that it is, that you can actually go out and build your fan base before you have ever released anything.

RASKIN: Iím telling you, it's incredible how the music industry has changed. Itís a 360 degree flip how it's changed, and we're only going back maybe 5 years, 5, 6, 7 years. Nowadays, you don't even have to leave your home and you can record the record, you can push it and market in online, you can do it all yourself. Itís a beautiful thing that these artists today, if they're smart, they can have 100% control and power of their own career. Itís an awesome thing. Back in the day the labels had all the control. Friends of mine used to get so excited, you know, 'we got a record deal', 'we got signed to a major label' and Iím like 'yeah, how much money are you guys gonna make?' or 'how much are they taking?'. They would take such advantage of the artists. What I did, what we did, we put together our own label. I put together my own record label. Me, my twin brother Roger and my brother Micah, and we called it Miral Records, 'Mi' for Micah, 'r'oger 'a'nd 'l'ogan. We recorded all the music ourselves, we shot all the videos ourselves, we built the fan base all ourselves. Then my business manager Micah says 'ok, what do you guys want to do with it? Letís try to go get distribution, where do you want to go?' I said Micah, thereís only one place to go, go right into Sony. He took it right into Sony, sat down with them and in twenty minutes they signed it. So basically, I have 100% control of this whole project, on my own label. All we're doing is they have the distribution and it's on our label. You know how awesome that is? We can make all the decisions, all the creative decisions, it's an amazing feeling. A lot of work went into it before we got to that point but it was all worth it. We weren't lazy, we didn't cut corners and thereís no reason why every artist out there can't do that. They just have to take advantage of what's at their fingertips. The music industry is set up now, with the online market, Facebook and Twitter and YouTube, you can do it all yourself, and the way the music is now with Pro Tools you can record these records in your home. Thatís what we did and I couldn't be happier.

KNAC.COM: Since you and Roger are twins I have to ask this: When creating music do you two ever finish each other's ideas or do you each have a totally different perspective?

RASKIN: Taking both of those things, what you said, we do both! We both have completely different perspectives but in that we both complete each other's music compositions, probably 90% of the time. Even though we're identical we're very different. We think differently, our mentalities are different so our writing styles are different but it's amazing having that person to bounce ideas off of and to have a person like that because you know when writing you can get stuck in a box with your writing and it's amazing to have that second bit of input. Weíve been able to do that with each other and it's really created our sound. I do lot of the lyrics and Roger does most of the music but we work together, we work separately and then we work together. We both have studios set up in our bedrooms so we can work on our stuff, we work on our demos separately and then we have a main recording studio in the house as well. We take our separate demos and go into the main studio and put it all into Pro Tools and see where we're at. Itís an exciting process.

KNAC.COM: Do you guys ever fight like normal siblings when it comes to your music?

RASKIN: (laughs) Iíd love to tell you that we don't but of course we do, we're brothers, of course we're gonna fight! He's my best friend in the world and we get along but of course we fight. But that's part of the process. Sometimes you gotta lock yourselves in the studio and you gotta bash out these songs and sometimes some of our best material comes easily and sometimes it doesn't come that easy. It's those moments where you're in the studio those long hours and you're really trying to put complete songs together and put out a really good product and you go through those ups and downs. We come out on the other side with a positive vibe and a really awesome product.

KNAC.COM: Other than KISS, who are some of your other musical influences?

RASKIN: We do have a quite a bit of influence but probably the bulk of our influence comes from a lot of musicians based out of New York City. Obviously KISS, those guys being from New York, then you go as far as to say THE RAMONES, big influences of ours, BLONDIE, THE TALKING HEADS, IGGY POP, NEW YORK DOLLS, SIMON AND GARFUNKEL, BILLY JOEL, JOAN JETT, EDDIE MONEY, RICHIE HAVENS and STEELY DAN. These are all artists that came from New York, you know, THE VELVET UNDERGROUND, a huge influence, THE STRAY CATS. A band that was probably one of my favorites back then was a band called LIVING COLOUR.

A funny story with LIVING COLOUR, I actually had written a bunch of songs and was gonna decide to play out some of these songs, maybe about 10-12 years ago, and I had a show booked at The Bitter End in New York City and my guitarist at the time got really, really sick with mononucleosis or something like that. I was down a guitar player and had seen this video on Vernon Reid one time and I had never met the guy but it was one of my favorite bands. The video was shot when they were out on the road with the ROLLING STONES and the interview with Vernon Reid was on and he talked about how he used to help a lot of his friends out if they ever needed help playing in their band or whatever. He was one of those guys who was always open to helping out other musicians and stuff like that if they were short a guitar player. It was kinda cool to see that because a lot of musicians are very much into what they're doing in their band and they never really go outside of that. So I always had that in the back of my head, what a really cool guy. I saw him down in The Village about 5 days before my show. I was hanging out in Chinatown I believe, and I saw him. He was walking into a convenience store and I was with my brother Micah at the time. I was like 'Micah, there's Vernon Reid'. And Micah said, well, why don't you ask him to play guitar in your band, I know you're looking for a guitarist. I said Micah, no way; I can't go up to him and ask him. So Micah says, Iím gonna go up to him and ask him. So he goes up and says 'hi Vernon, Micah Raskin here, my brother Loganís got this band playing at The Bitter End next week and he needs a guitarist, are you available?' He asked what kind of music we played and said 'I tell you what, hereís my number, why don't you give me your number as well and Iím gonna check my schedule and see what we can do.' I didn't think anything of it, I thought no way he's gonna call, he was just blowing us off. Later that night my phone rings about 9 o'clock and my brother Roger picked up the phone and who was it? It was Vernon Reid calling my house. And he was really cool, he said 'you know, Iíd love to do it, but we're actually getting ready to leave in three days heading over to Europe, but I would love to do it though. I tell you what, I have a very good friend, he's an amazing guitar player, I already called him and he'd be more than happy to fill in and do the show for you.' I actually hooked up with that guy, he learned my set and we did the show at The Bitter End, it was an amazing show. It was really cool that he hooked me up with a guitarist for that night. So yeah, LIVING COLOUR was a big influence for me.

KNAC.COM: You're pretty much a jack of all trades. In addition to being a musician, you guys are actors, you're semi-professional tennis players, you have a music production and placement business AND you're even a professional poker player! Did I miss anything?

RASKIN: That's about it. Well, you know, the truth of the matter is my brother Micah is a professional poker player and he handles all our business as well. Actually, Micah was probably one of the top high stakes poker players on the planet and last year he was ranked inside the top 10 in the world. He travels all over the world playing poker and stuff, but for me, I do it more to take my mind off of things. It's a great way, I go and enter some smaller poker tournaments and it just takes my mind off the music industry. My brother Micah is the big time poker player and he's very successful. As far as tennis, what's interesting, actually getting back to your question about my parents wanting us to get into the music industry, that was one of the things that they got us into at a young age was tennis. My mom played a lot of tennis in the city parks in New York City and she got my brother and I, actually all three of us, into tennis at a young age because she didn't want us hanging out in streets, she kinda wanted us, aside from music, to have something else that would keep us out of trouble. We were basically these musicians who were very athletic and it was one of those things that we were always doing, playing tennis and doing music.

KNAC.COM: So, which one of those is your primary source of income then?

RASKIN: (laughs) Well, I mean we never really, playing competitive tennis we never really made a whole lot of money at that. We would travel around playing tournaments and we were getting our asses handed to us, I mean we're playing the best players in the world and it was very, very difficult. We were actually touring, Roger and I, we were over in Europe playing some tennis over there, we were in Brazil playing down there and I actually came back to New York and decided that I was going to take time away from tennis. Roger continued to play a little bit. I said to myself, Iím gonna get away from the tennis and just kinda lock myself in my bedroom and start writing music. It was just something that I really wanted to do. So I took about a year and locked myself in my bedroom in New York City and wrote probably about 20 different songs. They were more like pop, punk style songs, very NEW YORK DOLL-esque, kinda KISS like songs and put a band together in the city and started playing out a little bit in the city. Funny enough, I actually got hooked up with a guy by the name of Kenny Laguna who was the manager of Joan Jett at the time or still does and he owns Blackheart Records. He got a hold of one of my demo tapes at the time and really loved what I was doing and asked me to come out on the road and open for Joan Jett. That was my first project that I was doing, we didn't have an album out but we got to do about a half a dozen shows with Joan Jett, who was a big influence of mine. I never went back to tennis. When Roger had gotten involved with me basically it was just a matter of time, I was doing some shows and I had a guitarist that I was playing with at the time leave the band and Roger was familiar with all the music I was playing, he was always listening to my demo tapes and would learn them and I actually had a show or two that was coming up and I asked him, you know, would you wanna hop on and do some shows with me and he said he would. The shows were pretty big at the time, we were out doing some shows with NICKELBACK. There was a festival called The Bazooka Festival, a local festival and Roger dropped his tennis racket and he took a couple of days and prepped himself on the music, flew out to Fort Wayne, Indiana and came onstage with me. Roger and I have really been playing together ever since and he never really went back to tennis after that. Once he got the experience of being onstage and playing in front of those people it's a drug, I mean it really is. When I first did those shows with Joan Jett I didn't sleep for two days, I was in seventh heaven. It's like an addiction, a drug and I don't know what else to compare it to. We're athletes so we don't drink, we don't smoke, we have that athletic mentality. We're not health freaks but we are health conscious. There's that energy and excitement that you get from playing live and playing in a band that you really can't get from anything else.

KNAC.COM: You just finished up a string of winter dates and now you're about to go on the road for a short run supporting Scott Weiland. I noticed that jaunt ends just days before the CD hits the street. Do you have any plans for a CD release party or show?

RASKIN: Yeah, we're actually gonna be doing something in Hollywood, California at the Viper Room. We're doing a CD release party there. It should be an exciting night, we'll do some giveaways, stuff like that. That's probably going to be the main CD release party. We might do like an in-store acoustic record release party in New York City as well, and they're actually working that out for us right now. That's probably going to be on the board for us as well. Once we get back from the Weiland tour we pretty much have about a week, if that, to kinda rest and then get ready for the next tour, which basically is gonna take us to the end of the summer, but with the shows that are coming in, it's probably gonna take us to the end of the year.

KNAC.COM: I just got the press release from Chip (Chipster PR) about an hour ago with the extended list of dates on it and I thought 'wow, these guys have a bunch of dates lined up'.

RASKIN: And honestly, that list is probably going to double. Our concept and our mentality is the record's done, the videos are done, basically for this year and all of next year all we wanna do is tour. We want to be one of those bands that really, really puts it out there to our fan base. We wanna make sure everyone has an opportunity to see us play and we're gonna give them that opportunity. There's a lot of things that are coming across our desk right now, there's some talk about us doing some Ted Nugent shows, possibly doing some stuff with Courtney Love. But the Weiland stuff came in and Iím a huge Scott Weiland fan so when that possibility came in for us to do some shows with him I was all over it. Our musical style is so similar to his. We actually got offered another string of 12 shows with him as well at the end of May so we might be flip-flopping around some shows but we'll see how this string of shows goes with him. We're also going out with the band SAVING ABEL, who are known for their touring prowess around the United States, you know, they like to stay out on the road and do a lot of shows and Iím really influenced by those guys and how they put it out there as well. It's going to be exciting being out on the road with those guys, too.

KNAC.COM: Do you have any material in the can for the next album or are you gonna just ride this one out for a while before getting back into recording mode?

RASKIN: We're gonna ride this one out for a while, no question about it, but we actually have our second record in the can. That might change a little bit. I mean going into the writing of this record we finished over 50 songs. You also have to understand Larry, what we did before this was just compose music, so our body of work is quite huge. We are really, really prepared to put out a lot of product to the public, if we feel as though it's warranted. If we feel that the fans want more, then we're gonna give them more. But I really want to see how this album does and hopefully we'll have some form of success with it and we'll definitely get some more product out there to the public as soon as our touring is finished up. Like I said, we had over 50 songs so choosing the songs for this album wasn't an easy process but we got there and I feel like we have a good balance of songs on there. We won't be short of material needless to say.

KNAC.COM: What would you say to those who have never heard of THE RASKINS?

RASKIN: Iíd say look, you're gonna get two guys who are as real as it comes, we basically are very down to earth, we're brothers that are very close from New York City, we come from a solid family foundation and our musical base, based on our influences, you kind of have a taste of what you're gonna get musically from us. I think that would really appeal to a lot of people and fans out there. I want people to know that every time they go to a RASKINS show they're gonna get 100% from us, you're never gonna get us tanking. Itís a big mantra for us that we give 100% every night, every day of the week that we play, we give our best. Whether it comes in a radio interview, when it comes to communicating with our fans or whether it comes down to putting on a live show, we want everyone to know that you're always going to get a 100% best effort and attitude out of THE RASKINS. If Iím not ready to give that then I won't go. We might have 100 shows booked this year but if I feel that there's a show coming up where I can't give my 100% best, Iíll say, you know what, let's take a couple of days because I want to make sure these people are getting their money's worth, and that's really our mentality.

You can preorder a copy of The Raskins in the KNAC.COM More Store right HERE and check out all the current RASKINS tour dates right HERE.


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