The Rich Hands practice in bass player Matt Gonzalez' bedroom, with vinyl albums and posters of bands and Lindsay Lohan lining the walls and looking down on each session. A sticker on the record player on the far side of the room tells you all you need to know about the trio: "It’s only Rock & Roll."
The band starts by polishing a newer song as they prepare for their upcoming national tour and the straightforward blues-based rock comes pouring out like vintage Rolling Stones. No frills, no layered guitars or complex mazes of effects pedals, just rock 'n' roll.
The story of the group, and the direction of the new tour and record “Dreamers,” which came out on May 21 on iTunes and is also available in hardcopy through Fountain Records, reads like a step-by-step manual on how to start and grow a band.
Step 1: Get the band together.
Cody Mauser, who sings and plays guitar, started the group as an outlet to jam on original material, with the first show about four months later in June 2011.
While many new groups start by covering other songs as a first step in building cohesion, The Rich Hands came around to playing them as a fun treat to pull out on tour. The Rolling Stones’ “Jumping Jack Flash” is the latest cover the group has in their back pocket for the new tour.
Step 2: Get a label.
Four months after their first show, drummer Nick Ivarra, who also handles all booking and other communication, noticed that Fountain Records, a vinyl-happy Detroit label founded by Michael Monte, was following the band on Twitter.
Nick jokingly mentioned in a tweet that it would be cool if the band could send them a demo and to his surprise the label took them up on the offer.
So the group sent a demo along, and POOF! Fountain Records agreed to put out a single on 7” vinyl. “Heartbreaker” came out in March of 2012 and has since sold out.
“Literally the power of social networking at its finest,” said Mauser, seemingly still carrying a bit of disbelief at their incredible fortune.
Step 3: Tour, tour, tour.
The Rich Hands kick off a nationwide tour on Friday night at The Ten Eleven for a show that doubles as a record release. This will be the group’s fourth national tour in their breakneck two-year history.
“It’s always the small towns that really surprise you,” explained Mauser, as he, Nick and Matt proceeded to name off a few of their favorites like Spokane, Washington, Boise, Idaho, and Fayetteville, Arkansas, along with big cities that have treated them well like Milwaukee and Atlanta.
On their last tour, they came back with $300 at the end of the trek.
“We didn’t have to pay out of our own pockets for food or gas," said Mauser.
The Next Step
The group says that they are close to getting a booking agent, which should open up more time for them to focus on creating a new record, and will likely get them new shows in new places.
The next step for the band seems to be to just keep playing shows and working on new music — and keep letting the process work for them.
“There’s been times on each tour where we’ve been down about shows and stuff, but I think they’ve gotten better, they’ve progressed,” said Mauser. “Every tour we’ve either sold more or had more people come out [than the last].”
Be sure to catch them at The Ten Eleven on Friday, June 14 for their all ages record release show and national tour kickoff. Cover is $5 at the door, or pay $8 and get the album “Dreamers” along with your entry.