Photo Credit - Susan La Torre
Logo Credit - Voodoo Logic
For today's Artist Spotlight, we had the opportunity to chat with Corpus Christi rock group Voodoo Logic. Voodoo Logic are Adam Stern (lead guitar), George Woods (rhythm guitar, vocals), Paul Harpel (bass guitar), Lori Ragsdale (vocals), Mingo Rojas (vocals), and James Gongora (drums). Voodoo Logic were recent participants in the OtraFest Battle of the Bands at the House of Rock in Corpus Christi and really know how to bring a bite with their sound. They have a nice mix of classic rock, jazz, and grunge influences that make for an eclectic sound that is all their own. In short, if you see this group in concert, they are gonna rock you. There are solos that come from everywhere, vocals that come from everyone and just a group of people that look like they're having the time of their lives playing live. Check out what they had to say about their music below!
How did you come to pursue music? And how long have you been at it?
Adam: Music finally really found me. I started off at an early age in middle school playing trumpet; I hated it. So, I picked up guitar and started playing guitar. Then, I played on and off my entire life.
When I got married, from the ages of about 19 to 21, I stopped playing and put it all away and raised a family. And after that, after everybody's out of the house, it was time to bring literally all the equipment that I had stored since way back out and jump back in with both feet.
Lori: I have a similar story. My parents are musicians. I took piano lessons when I was young; then, I took classical guitar lessons.
When I was in college, I played a few, little venues, just myself and my guitar, and a few times, I sang with a band.
I got married very young, started family, and kind of got away from it. And it wasn't until very recently, when Adam and I reconnected, that I got back into music. And I kind of started singing again. It’s good to be back.
George: I got into music when I heard my father play. When my father played, it was “Rocky Racoon” from the Beatles. And I went and told my dad, “That sounds really cool. And what is that?” And he said, “A guitar,” and gave it to me. And he showed me how to play it. And I started listening to all the records he had. So, Cream, Jimi Hendrix... and I was like, this is really cool stuff.
And then, I was going through a little bit of a dark time. My grandmother passed away, and I was introduced to Nirvana and I loved them. I was blown away by Nirvana as you very well know, and then, Soundgarden and The Cranberries, and then, just the whole alternative wave came, and I just have never put it down.
Paul: So I've been playing since high school, a good 20 years. High school for me was exactly where I got involved in music. And that's where I really started to grip how it affects people. And it’s just been something that ever since then, I just enjoy the way that our music affects our audience. And it's a passion.
James: I’ve actually be playing about four years. But same as everyone else with high school, you know, I got into music by playing in the band, and my music director, he put me on a trumpet because he didn’t want me playing the drums. So now, I’m playing the drums.
And actually, my aunts were music stars in the fifties and sixties, so that's where I think I got the music going, and stuff like that. I love it.
Mingo: I've been doing this since I was 12 years old. Started in church, probably like most singers. I was on the Christian music scene up until the age of 16.
When I was 21, I got back into Rock. I was always into Rock and Roll. But, I got back into live music. When I was 21, I moved to Dallas in ‘95 trying to do the whole big thing, you know, get signed. And I was used to be in a band called Guillotine Alley. We tried to hit the whole Grunge scene back in 95 and did that for five years in Dallas and came back to go back to school. And you know -- reality, life.
And, and just by accident, our drummer called me in one day and said, “Hey, you still jamming?” And I'm like, “Well, I got all my stuff at home. But, I'm just doing it with my kids now.” And so, here we are today. Just kind of slowly back.
How do y'all process writing music together as a group? And how do y'all approach writing music separately?
It is a complex answer. It's not really that simple. Because a couple of us primarily write the music. But ultimately, the music isn't done until we bring it out to everybody. And then at that point, it's like, we’re adding seasoning to it. Somebody will say, “That's really good. But, let's try this,” or “Why don't we do this?” And then, it's a combination. So, it's always a group effort. It's not a monarchy. We come out, composed and written out, and we bring it out, and everybody has the opportunity to make it our own. And it is our own by the time we get done with it. Everybody has a piece of it.
What artists have inspired you?
Adam: Well, I can tell you personally, I started off in a jazz-rock fusion. So, I came from a world that was not Rock and Roll. So, everything from Frank Zappa, Carlos Santana, and then slowly the transition Gary Moore and Jimi Hendrix.
Probably what you're going to hear a lot in the stuff that we do is a lot of influence that comes from the 70s and 80s because that stuff is so familiar to us.
Lori: Growing up as a teenager in the 70s, I'm very influenced by that music as well. Fleetwood Mac, Led Zeppelin, Santana -- so many of those artists really resonate with me.
And then later on into the 80s and being being a female singer. I really was into Bonnie Raitt, Linda Ronstadt.
Mingo: It's a huge paintbrush of different artists. I listen to, you know, as much as people want to associate themselves with all the classics, I never totally was into that. I listened to Pink Floyd, Elvis Costello, and a lot of jazz.
The 90s. I think that's what really drew me and is my biggest influence as far as writing in thinking about writing this stuff that I do. Soundgarden is my go to love of all bands, Chris Cornell, which is my idol, and I was heartbroken when he when I was passed away.
George: My influences are more from the 90s, and honestly, that's where I drew my emotion. That's when I started really learning how to play guitar. So, Nirvana, Foo Fighters, Alice in Chains, Soundgarden. My gosh, it was amazing. Then, I went into Audioslave. I liked Linkin Park when they started coming around and everything.
But then, I went kind of backwards, and I really started getting into Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix, and Cream. It's like, “Oh my God. This is great music too.”
Paul: I don't know if I could say I have an influence because the guys that I admire...my hands do not move the way that they can play. So, the bass players that I admire are Geddy Lee and Les Claypool. Yeah, my favorites of all time. They're incredible.
James: For me, Jimi Hendrix or The Yardbirds. Growing up and then moving onto Van Halen. You know, just like that. All the influences.
Do y'all have any favorite gear? And if you do, do you have a story behind it?
Adam: Okay. So, this is actually really cool story. So, I was in search, like we all are, for the perfect amp, and I was going from amp to amp. I finally ended up buying a Line Six because everybody said it does everything. It's so versatile. And I finally came to the conclusion that it could do 1,000 sounds but not one sounded good.
So, I brought all my crap into Guitar Center. I said, I'm leaving it here. I want to find an amplifier. And they said, “Fine, play it.” So, they just let me play every one.
They said, “So? What do you think?”
I said, “I think I guess I'm gonna go home. There's nothing here. You know, you have an old Mesa Boogie sitting in the corner there. I love to play that.”
“Why don't you,” they said.
I said, “It’s broken.”
They said, “It’s not broken.” So they just messed around withit. They plugged it in, and it was a nomad, and I'll tell you what, the classic sound...that I think is a sound that we're after and what we do. We set your vintage sound into analog sound. It's tube sound, whether it's Marshall or Mesa.
Mingo: I don't have any really go to gear other than I do love Fender.
And and you know, again, I don't get to meticulous as far as how it's coming out as long as it's coming out well and put together.
George: It's been a process for me. Tone for me is everything.
I started on Gibson. My dad introduced me to Gibson; he played on the Gibson 1956 acoustic. That was amazing. That sound is ingrained in my head.
So amp wise, I went and got a Jubilee because I read up on Marshall’s and the Jubilee padding had a phenomenal sound. That's what I play on now. I love this. The single channel thing frustrates me. Yeah, so I'm in the process of looking for something that has two or three channels. But, I love the Jubilee sound. Cabinet wise? I love vintage 30 celestion speakers. So, that's the reason why I have that cabinet. I love it. I'll never go with anything else right now. I'll wait until something comes out and tricks my ear then I'll change.
Paul: So as a bass player, Fender is always been my favorite. There's nothing like the feel of an American-made Fender Bass. They just weigh a ton, and there's nothing that compares to it
as far as amps. I'm surprised that George and Adam didn't mention this, but we have almost absolutely required that you have a class A and of course the tube preamp on on your Guitar Rig. It's essential for the warmth.
James: I really don't have no preference. I mean, Ludwig's what I play, and there are some drums that give a deeper sound, but I don’t have a preference as long as it sounds good.
How do y'all describe the vibe of your live shows? What do you most enjoy about the venue?
Yeah, I enjoy us. I'm glad that we go have fun. People love us and having a fun time reminiscing on covers and all that kind of stuff. Honestly, when I'm playing, I'm turning to see Adam’s just there, Mingo doing his thing, and Lori. Yeah, we're having fun. If we're not having fun, why are we even here?
What's one thing you want the public to know about your music?
Well, you know, one of the greatest things I think about the music is that we all come together. The music’s not just like fast food that you eat because you're hungry. It's something that we make a feast to go out of there saying it's lingering, and I want more of it. That feeling for every song we can play. And people say, I really liked that song.
Do you have any upcoming projects or shows that you want us to know about?
We've just been asked to play Indie Fest, and we're also playing at Dia De Los Muertos. So, those are two really big music venues, ideas, absolutely enormous. If you've ever attended, it keeps getting bigger and bigger every year. The best of Corpus Christi comes out.
We’re hitting the studio actually this month recording, so our recorded originals are gonna start hitting our Spotify profile. We're just we're gonna push it out. We want our music to make you feel happy and fun and catching right. And if you pay attention our lyrics can get kind of deep.