Turn It Down: Loud dispatches from Lansing’s music scene

Lansing alt-rocker outfit returns to stage and studio

Q&A: Rodeo Boys’ Tiffany Hannay talks grungy new single, ’90s

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Since its first release, back in the summer of 2019, the Rodeo Boys have kept as busy as possible, given the pandemic started soon after. While the band stopped playing shows, like every band, the group hit the studio for some stop-gap releases, including its 2020 “Dog Leg” single and a cover of “I Try to Think About Elvis,” a country cover of the 1994 Patty Loveless hit — a standout track on “This Must Be The Place: Quality Hits From Lansing,” a local compilation issued back in March.

Now, the band not only has a new bass player (Taylor Doty from Foxgrave), but also another single on the books. As for the band’s sound, their Facebook bio says it all: “Just a queer as hell four piece rippin' grunge tunes from Lansing, MI.” 

City Pulse caught up with guitarist/vocalist Tiffany Hannay to find out what Rodeo Boys have beyond the new track, which is streaming now on Spotify and Bandcamp.

What’s the story behind “Feel the Same”? 

Tiffany Hannay: We recorded this single over the summer in my 103-degree attic. Our guitar player Cody Lee did all of the tracking and Nate from Smog Moon did all of the mixing and mastering. Both of those guys are wizards. Beyond the production, “Feel the Same” is probably the most abstract track on the album. It’s difficult for me to keep a theme going for a whole song, and some of the lyrics just sounded cool to me, but the general theme is about nostalgia and experiencing moments throughout your life and feeling the same. I don’t know about you, but nostalgic smells can take me on an actual journey for a split second. I think it comes from our generation’s obsession with being present but our inability to let go of our memories and the thought of simpler times.

Going back, what first inspired you to start playing and writing songs?

 I’m a very emotional person, I realized in one of my younger relationships that it was much easier for me to explain how I felt to someone by writing lyrics about it. They were all terrible songs but very vulnerable. I recorded a singer songwriter EP when I was 17.

Looking ahead, are there any upcoming projects? 

We’ve got a busy next few months planned. We did a music video, featuring horses, for this song that’s coming out in October. We are also still tracking some things for our sophomore album, but are hoping to release it by the end of the year. And we are currently touring again. Not being able to perform (in 2020) was bizarre. We totally took it for granted because it was just so normal. You show up to the venue, load in, sound check, grab a beer or two, rip your set and watch the other bands and chat. We played our first show back last night at Small’s in Hamtramck and it felt so foreign. It felt like I was in high school about to play the talent show

That Rodeo Boys’ Patty Loveless cover is amazing. Are you into that era of country? 

Oh, man! I love that song. That ’90s-era country is in my top-three big influences in this band. Dixie Chicks, Shania, Brooks & Dunn — you name it! It’s all good. 

What other bands have you been listening to these days? Any recommendation?

I love this question! I’m always listening to Pixies and Nirvana. Those are my constants. The Frank Black solo album may be my favorite album of all time. I’ve recently gotten into Phoebe Bridgers, who is a modern-day Elliot Smith. But I really love everything, man. I switch between classic rock, country, ’90s alternative and pop music. I absolutely love Chicha Libre. There is so much good music, and I’m not shut off to any particular genre. 

Keep up with Rodeo Boys at facebook.com/rodeoboysband.

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