art feature
 January 28, 2010

 

The Runaway Sons:
loud, aggressive, dedicated

by Melissa Cowen

For more than three years, Kansas City locals The Runaway Sons have been tearing up the Midwest rock ‘n roll scene — almost literally. Their debut EP, iSoy Espana! was released in 2009 and named one of the “Top 20 Kansas City/Lawrence releases of 2009,” and an “incredible debut,” said the Pitch.

Jimmy Wing (vocals), Nik Godbout (guitar), Jon Porter (guitar), Josh Porter (bass) and Angelo “Meatball” Farinella (drums) make up The Runaway Sons — in your face, aggressive, loud, party rock and roll madmen from Kansas City. They’ve been together for some three and a half years, but twin brothers Jon and Josh Porter are the only two original members of the band.

The day after a show at the Riot Room (which was also Wing’s 21st birthday), four of The Runaway Sons pulled themselves together to talk recording, touring and of their newest guitarist, Godbout, and how his looks help the band … or at least Wing.

the Runaway Sons playing live
The Runaway Sons (photo by Dalton Gomez)

Despite their “madmen” stage presence, sitting in Westport Coffee House, The Runaway Sons are fairly quiet, almost shy — or maybe they’re recovering from the night before.

On stage, Wing is quite the image of a rock and roll front man; it’s difficult to ignore his (often strange) antics such as screaming into a monitor, dancing and making some very Ian Anderson-like (of Jethro Tull) facial expressions and gestures.

No, they don’t actually sound like Jethro Tull. They describe their music as “passive-aggressive rock and roll,” a mix between The Bronx and The Hives, though their individual influences are all different. Wing finds inspiration from Queen; Josh likes the Clash while Jon is influenced by “everything.” Godbout idolizes guitarist Johnny Thunders from the New York Dolls.

“I love Johnny Thunders because he was a riff guy and that’s what I do,” said Godbout. “I try to emulate him … minus the whole drug thing.”

Godbout joined the band in April 2010.

Wing has his own reasons about wanting Godbout in the band. “It makes me feel like I’m better looking when I look at him,” said Wing.

In reality, one of their band members was leaving at the time. “He was just helping a dude out,” admitted Wing about Godbout.

Of which, Jon said, Godbout “adds pizzazz.”

“I got a call from them, just saying they needed a new guitar player, and I wasn’t doing anything musically,” Godbout explained. “I had listened to these guys for years and I’ve always liked them.”

Soon after Godbout joined, The Runaway Sons went on a 10-day tour of the Midwest.

“Touring was great,” Godbout said. “I knew the guys well enough to be stuck in a van with them for 12 days and not go insane. The guys had been so nice and welcoming since I joined the band that it felt like I'd been with them since the beginning.”

And ever since, The Runaway Sons have been writing, playing shows, (more) touring and recording a three-song EP to be released soon. They add that having Godbout in the band hasn’t really changed their sound.

“The first CD they recorded was really fast (paced),” Godbout said. “The newest one … it’s not chill…”

“It’s a little bit of this, a little bit of that,” Wing added.

The EP, which does not yet have a title, is “slowed down but dancey,” Godbout said.

“The thing is, they’ve been playing those songs for like three years,” he adds. “So I think (this EP) shows the progression of our songwriting … we don't like repeating the same things twice. Not only is it boring for people who hear our music but it’s also boring for us. Any good musician progresses in their song writing, and that's what we're doing.”

After they release their EP, they plan to promote it aggressively (naturally) to “anyone and everyone” as far as labels. But their immediate goal is just to keep touring and playing music.

It seems they’re on the right track for that; The Runaway Sons just finished another tour in January with Josephine Collective, also a Kansas City native.

“We want to be on the road more than we're at home,” Godbout said. “It's not about the money. We just want to play rock ‘n roll.”

Catch The Runaway Sons Saturday, Jan. 28, at The Union in Westport. (Admission is free; 21 and over.) Go to www.myspace.com/therunawaysons or www.facebook.com/pages/The-Runaway-Sons/126413665344 for more information.

Melissa Cowan can be contacted at mrcgfd@mail.umkc.edu.