If there’s anything the members of Shallow Side know well, it’s touring. The band embodies the term “road warriors” after spending the better part of the last decade on the road.
After a year-long shutdown due to the pandemic, Shallow Side are back doing what they do best, finding their way to the Rockstar Lounge for a show on Aug. 20.
Making a Living
Singer Eric Boatwright told Whatzup in an interview that he loved music while growing up in a small town in Alabama, but, back then, he had no idea that writing and playing songs could actually be a way to make a living.
“I was raised in a small school in a small town where, after high school, you went to college or you went to work,” Boatwright said. “The word ‘work’ meant you were clocking in at a physical building and carrying your lunch pail in with your hard hat.
“I wouldn’t have survived a college classroom, I’m very certain. I had no clue that music was an option for a career base or a financial avenue that could support yourself or a family. I didn’t know that was a possibility.”
Just as it is for just about every band on the road, touring is about making a living. But for Shallow Side, its more than that.
Of course, the band members pay their bills with some of the proceeds they make from performing.
But according to Boatright, playing live is also about creating a personal relationship with each audience member and paying those people back for traveling to a venue to see them.
“For me, ultimately, it’s about being on the stage and making that connection,” he said. “The person across the room who’s been working Monday through Friday, nine to five, busting ass and trying to get somewhere in order to release some pent-up tension, or to just be at a rock show amongst good people, that’s why we do it.
“You’re going to be around good people at our shows, good solid people,” he continued. “Knowing that really drives me to continue to perform. Creating a song and preforming it for the people, that’s a thrill. That’s the drug.”
Boatwright said the band averaged about two hundred shows a year prior to last, so being able to play live again feels like he has gotten his life back.
“It really feels like we can breathe again,” he said. “It feels like we’ve been a fish out of water. Our tank was basically the asphalt and we used that constantly for about eight years. This thing shut us down and made us go home. That was kind of a difficult time, but we made do.”
The members of Shallow Side, which also includes guitarist Seth Trimble, bassist Sam Bower, and drummer Heath Fields, found ways to occupy themselves during that time at home.
They wrote new music together, but the real thrill was finally getting to enjoy some of the things they have been missing over the years.
“Since we were able to be home for a little bit,” Boatwright said, “we actually got kind of comfortable. We all ended up stretching out and doing a lot of home stuff that we haven’t done in the past decade.
“There’s a yin and yang to it. It sucked that we had to stop touring, but being close to our family for an extended period of time was definitely a breath of fresh air.”
Loving the Work
Shallow Side have been to Fort Wayne a few times over the years and have good memories of how they have been received here, but, having grown up in the south, they aren’t keen on the winter weather.
“We enjoy Fort Wayne,” Boatwright said. “except when the snow comes in. We’re not big of a fans of the cold. You guys have a brisk wind that will straight split hairs inside your body. We’ve always had a good time there, though, and the people have always been super fun.”
Boatwright, very aware of the world and how quickly it can be taken from him, doesn’t take anything for granted. He realizes that he and the band have to work hard for continued success, but he also knows that he loves his “work” and is glad he can finally do it again.
“It’s an honor and a privilege to play rock n’ roll music,” he said. ”We enjoy the hell out of it. Music has been a passion of all of ours from a very early stage in life. Fast forward a bit and the hobby becomes career. That’s pretty awesome. That’s the dream.”