July , 2016
By Vinny Cecolini
The Raskins: An Interview With Vocalist Logan Raskin
When Logan Raskin answers his cell phone, there is indeterminate noise in the background.
"We're on the way to sound check at the Coach House in Orange County," he explains. There is a mumble in the background. It's his identical twin Roger, who comprises the other half of The Raskins, the dynamic rock duo who have garnered attention as the opening act for Motley Crue, Alice Cooper, Scott Weiland and the Wildabouts, and, currently, Ted Nugent.
For Logan and Roger Raskin, a career as performing musicians was preordained. The identical twin sons of Broadway performer Tommy and jazz recording artist Judith began writing their own music at the ripe old age of seven. Soon thereafter, they began attending shows around the New York City music scene (this was back when there was a NYC music scene!) and got to meet The Ramones, Blondie Joan Jett and Talking Heads, all of whom had a profound influence on the duo.
Surprisingly, The Raskins didn't originally intend to become recording and touring artists. They first made their mark in Hollywood as actors and composers for film and television shows (including 2005's Slingshot and 2010's Mini's First Time). Increased demands to know "who was the artist behind the music" prompted the duo to change careers and pursue the rock and roll dream.
Since then, things have happened quickly. Within two months of releasing their 2014 self-titled debut (Miral Records), they were invited to open shows on Motley Crue's farewell tour. After completing a tour with the late Scott Weiland, the duo paused to take a short breather and then headed to Henson Recording studio with Nicholas Essig (Katy Perry, Mariah Carey and D'Angelo). The soon-to-be-released Never Too Late is an aggressive rock and roll album filled with nods to their many musical heroes.
JAM: How have you enjoyed opening for Ted Nugent so far?
Things have been going great. Right now, we're heading to our fourth show [on The Sonic Baptizim tour]. We started out in Phoenix, Arizona, headed to Beverly Hills and just performed at the Rose in Pasadena. [We keep asking ourselves:] "How cool is it to be on a Ted Nugent tour?"
JAM: How have the Motor City Madman's audiences reacted to The Raskins?
The fans have been really receptive to us. We put on a high energy rock show and they really appreciate it. [Ted Nugent draws] a mature audience and they seem to appreciate how hard we're trying.
JAM: Had you been a fan of Ted Nugent's music?
Ted Nugent opened up at a lot of the shows I went to when I was young. Whether it was Kiss, David Lee Roth or Van Halen, Ted Nugent always seemed to be on the bill. So I've been familiar with his music for a long time. When we were offered the opportunity to do this [tour], we jumped all over it.
JAM: Going to concerts at such a young age, you and your brother had the opportunity to experience the New York City music scene before it died.
My brother and I were certainly fortunate to grow up in New York City when the scene was really happening. Having the chance to hang out with so many artists had a profound effect on us. The Ramones, Richie Havens, Blondie, Joan Jett and The Talking Heads were just some of the artists we experienced.
It's sad to see what has happened to the scene, but at least I was fortunate to grow up in it. That scene has been a big influence. You can hear it in our music.
JAM: You've captured the scene's spirit.
I love the Ramones and the New York Dolls, but I also love Simon and Garfunkel. We try to incorporate all of that into our music. We definitely accomplished that on our first record. Our second album is actually more aggressive than we had originally intended it to be.
JAM: How much do you attribute this aggression to working with producer Nicholas Essig?
The aggression came out during the songwriting process. The producers we've worked with, including Nicholas, were able to give us a more polished, professional sound. My brother and I have great chemistry with Nicholas and it really came through in the music.
JAM: Was Never Too Late recorded at the same Henson Recording Studios where many of The Muppets Shows were created?
It's the same studio where Quincy Jones recorded "We are the World."
JAM: During the recording process, The Raskins were certainly surrounded by ghosts.
It's an unbelievable studio with an unbelievable vide and I feel fortunate to have been able to record there.
JAM: You were also fortunate to have toured with your parents at an early age. You were able to get your feet wet for what you are doing now.
At the time, my dad was heavily into acting on Broadway. He was a part of a number of musicals, including Oklahoma, Annie Get Your Gun, South Pacific, and Guys & Dolls. My mom was a big jazz singer, who released a few albums. Growing up in that environment was incredible. My dad used to take us on the road with him all of the time. He used to travel with an orchestra. Watching my dad perform certainly shaped us.
JAM: It also prepared your for life living out of suitcases.
I haven't unpacked my suitcase in nearly 12 years.
JAM: Is the new album ready to be released?
We still have a bit of work to do before on it before it's finished, but when the opportunity to open up for Ted Nugent came about, we could not pass on it.
JAM: The Kinks, Oasis, and The Black Crowes: they are all bands featuring siblings who are notorious for getting into knockdown, drag out fights. Should we expect the same from The Raskins?
We are identical twins and we're very close. We share a special bond and we get along well. But we do fight. And when we fight, the people around us, whether it's the band or management, know to stay out of it. They let the two of us work things out first.
JAM: Are the Raskins and duo or a band?
The Raskins are me and my brother: Logan and Roger Raskin. When we tour we hire musicians to fill out the band, though we do like working with the same people. When we're not touring, those musicians go off and do other things; work with other artists; do what they do. When it comes time for us to tour again, we reach out to them and, hopefully, they're available.
JAM: These days, the music industry is a double-edged sword. Although record companies are a shell of their former selves, the Internet - which, arguably, drove the final stake through its heart - has enabled artists to maintain a close relationship with their fans.
It used to be tough for artists to keep in touch with fans in their own "markets." Now, thanks to Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram, we can reach fans not only nationally, but globally.
JAM: Theraskins.com is one of the best artist Web sites I've visited.
My brother and I put it together. Knowing how important social media is to what we're doing, my brother and I learned about creating Web sites and put it together. We hope our fans like visiting it and visit often.