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Final Gravity

Riddlin' Kids Riddlin' Kids
'Still Just Kiddin' Around'

The Austin-based Riddlin' Kids put a Lone Star twist on pop-driven punk on their 2002 debut LP, Hurry Up and Wait (Aware/Columbia Records), having prefaced it with the five-song EP, 'Any Day Now!'.

But now, deep into the bowels of 2004 comes the Riddlin' Kids' - Clint Baker, vocals/guitar; Dustin Stroud, lefty guitar/vocals; Mark Johnson, bass; and Dave Keel, drums - sophomore release, Stop The World.

Founding members Baker and Stroud – who had met and become friends while working at the same job – quit their respective prior bands the same week and launched a fledgling group they first dubbed Igmo (derived from “Ignorant Motherf***er”). Inspired by their own hyped-up stage antics, they decided to re-christen the group with a name lifted from a drug used to treat hyperactive children – later deciding to modify the name to Riddlin' Kids.

Following the name change, the band released their 500-copy limited-edition debut EP, 'What Does It Matter', on KYQ Records. In the wake of the EP's release, they solidified their line-up by pulling seasoned rock drummer Dave Keel from his food service job and bassist Mark Johnson from his gig as a YMCA youth counselor!

Having already snagged a 'Best Alt Rock/Punk Band' trophy at the 2001 Austin Music Awards, the boys from Austin are ready to blow your minds once again with their hugely-awaited sophomore release, Stop The World. Chatting recently one-on-one with vocalist Clint Baker we discussed many Riddlin' Kids topics, but started it all off with a more poignant one:

In an era where 9-11 still haunts us, why choose the war artwork for your new CD (and poster art) that you did? "WE DIDN'T CONCIOUSLY CHOOSE THE COVER AND POSTER ART TO COINCIDE WITH OUR TURBULENT TIMES. IT WAS A COLLABORATION BETWEEN THE BAND AND OUR ART DIRECTOR DON MANDELL (LOST PROPHETS, GOOD CHARLOTTE) TO FIND AND CREATE A DRAMATIC IMAGE THAT EMBODIES THE EMOTION AND CAPTURES THE VIBE OF OUR LEAD SINGLE 'STOP THE WORLD' - ALSO THE ALBUM TITLE. WE FEEL THAT THE IMAGE IS POIGNANT AND TIMELESS, A DELICATE BALANCE OF FRAGILITY (THE LITTLE GIRL DANCING) AND ROARING CHAOS (THE PLANES AND BOMBED OUT STREET) AND HOW THEY INTEREACT IN OUR EVERYDAY WORLD. THE IMAGE LENDS ITSELF TO ANY KIND OF STRIFE, EMOTIONAL, DOMESTIC OR SOCIETAL."

With a two year gap between this and the last CD, what elements have worked in your favor ... and which didn't?! "IT GAVE US PLENTY OF TIME TO TOUR, CREATE A FAN BASE AND LEARN THE RYTHM OF THE BUSINESS. IT SEASONED US TOURING AND RECORDING ARTISTS. THE DRAW BACK IS IT'S HARD TO BE GONE, (WE WORKED ON THE RECORD FOR ALMOST A YEAR) THAT LONG, YOU FEEL ALMOST LIKE YOU HAVE FALLEN OUT OF THE LOOP. IT WILL BE AWESOME TO GET THE RECORD OUT AND GET BACK OUT ON THE ROAD WITH ALL OUR FRIENDS."

Where does the CD title originate and what else could this album easily have been called? "THE CD TITLE COMES FROM THE TITLE TRACK 'STOP THE WORLD.' WE ACTUALLY DON'T THINK THERE COULD BE ANY OTHER NAME FOR THE RECORD. WE WERE GOING TO GO WITH A SELF-TITLED RIDDLIN' KIDS, THEN WE DECIDED ON STOP THE WORLD, AND IT STUCK. IT EMBODIES THE VIBE, FEELING, EMOTION, ETC. CAPTURED ON THE REST OF THE ALBUM."

Choose one of the songs on the CD that is the most personal to you ... and tell us why? "'SHIP JUMPER' - IT'S A PEEK INTO AN ACTUAL TIME IN OUR LIVES WHEN OUR CAREER, FRIENDSHIPS AND BAND WAS TURNED ON IT'S HEAD AND SHAKEN TO THE CORE. THOSE WHO WERE THERE WILL KNOW WHAT THE SONG IS ABOUT, AND THOSE WHO WEREN'T WILL JUST HAVE TO ENJOY A GOOD ROCK SONG."

You wrote @ 18 songs for this album in Memphis, but then had to narrow them down ... will the others ever see the light of day and could there have ever been a 2-disc CD released this time around instead? "WE PROBABLY WON'T RELEASE A SECOND DISC, BUT WE HOPE SOME OF THE SONGS END UP ON JAPANESE OR UK IMPORTS AS B-SIDES."

If I had a pristine copy of your 'What Does It Matter' EP that was signed by all of you what do you think it would fetch on Ebay?! "I DON'T KNOW, BUT IF YOU HAVE AN AUTGRAPHED COPY OF SINEAD O'CONNORS I DON'T WANT WHAT I HAVEN'T GOT, I'LL TRADE YOU AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF' HAT DOES IT MATTER'!"

At what point did Igmo become Riddlin' Kids ... and why?! "IGMO BECAME RIDDLIN' KIDS, WHEN CLINT'S BROTHER MIKEY (A FOUNDING MEMBER) LEFT THE BAND. WE CHANGED THE NAME OUT OF RESPECT. IT WAS MIKEY'S IDEA TO NAME THE BAND IGMO."

There seems to be more than just your simple three-chord punk music going on here, but how would you describe it? "FIRST OF ALL ... THANKS FOR NOTICING! WE WORKED LONG AND HARD ON THIS RECORD TO MAKE IT CATCHY, YET MORE MUSICALLY PROGRESSIVE THAN THE FIRST. WE WROTE MOST OF THE RECORD IN THE STUDIO. SO, IT WAS DEFINATE DEPARTURE FROM OUR FIRST THAT WAS (MOSTLY) WRITTEN A YEAR BEFORE WE GOT SIGNED TO COLUMBIA. I WOULD DESCRIBE THE MUSIC PERSONALLY AS MORE STRAIGHT FORWARD ROCKING WITH A LITTLE MORE BRAINS IN THE GUITAR PLAYING."

If we stripped away all the stage theatrics and punk rock persona's of the band, what would we be left with? "NOTHING, WE WOULD BE THE EMPTY SHELLS OF THE BLOATED ROCK GOD WE ONCE WERE ... JUST KIDDING! WE ARE EXTREMELY DOWN TO EARTH DUDES, WHO ARE EXACTLY THE SAME ON STAGE AS OFF STAGE. THIS IS THE REASON WE'VE BEEN ABLE TO TOUR AS LONG AS WE HAVE ON OUR OWN. THE KIDS ARE ALWAYS RIGHT ... IF THEY THINK YOU'RE REAL, YOU ARE. IT'S IMPORTANT TO BE WHO YOU ARE NO MATTER WHAT AND NOT SOME STAGE PERSONALITY."

Finally, come on, be honest ... were any one of you guys ever on Ritalin as children?! "YES, MARK TOOK RITALIN AS A CHILD .... WHAT WAS THE QUESTION AGAIN?!

Interviewed by Russell A. Trunk

www.riddlinkids.net

If you would like to win a SIGNED copy of their new CD, just answer this easy question: What job did both founding members Clint Baker and Dennis Stroud do where they met for the first time?!

Send me your answers and if you're correct you'll be in the running to win one of these wonderful new SIGNED CDs. Just send us an e:mail here with your answer and the subject title 'KIDS' to:

exclusivemagazine@flash.net

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