If a musician wants to make it in this wild and wooly business, singer-songwriter seems to be a pretty good way to go. Brian Raleigh, frontman for Television City, wouldn’t disagree, but he’s taking a different tact with his band, which releases its debut album on Friday.
“I like a lot of the acoustic singer-songwriter stuff that’s out there right now, but I’m not very good at it,” he laughs. “The stuff that I like…I’m old. (Laughs) I’m well into my 40s and I like guitars. I like The Replacements, I like Tom Petty, and you don’t hear a heck of a lot of that stuff coming out anymore. It’s kind of what makes this record a little bit unique, but it’s also the only kind of record I’ve been making my whole life.”
Raleigh is a music lifer, and when you consider that the first two albums he bought as a kid were The Clash’s Combat Rock and AC/DC’s Back in Black, the classic guitar/bass/drums attack is in his blood and will always be there. That’s evident from one spin of Television City’s self-titled album, a big, steaming plate of comfort food for a rock and roller’s soul, even if it isn’t the flavor of the week on top 40 radio.
“When something has been important to you for so long and you start to see it disappear within the landscape, you say, ‘I can do that. I still got a little bit of that in me.’ I think rock and roll is important, the idea of rock and roll is important, and people shouldn’t forget that.”
Detroit’s Raleigh hasn’t forgotten, and whether it was bands like Fidrych and Porchsleeper or other projects, he’s always been fighting the good fight, and with Television City, he may have found the one that will take him beyond the local scene. And he knew it as soon as the band (Garret Bielniec, Kristin VonBernthal, Jim Faulkner, Dave Feeny) got together and played his songs.
“I made this record because I had some songs and this is what I do,” he said. “It’s almost habitual. I’ve got these songs, I’m gonna go make a record, and with this one, I think the songs were better and we took our time a little bit with it more than the records I’ve done in the past. And about halfway through it, I went, well, this is pretty good; I’d hate for these records to just rot in my basement for a while. I’d like other people to hear it as well. At that point, I was like, ‘Okay, I guess this is gonna be the Hail Mary.’ We’ll do this, put it out there, see if anybody likes it and if they do, maybe we’ll do another one. That’s where we’re at right now.”
Hail Mary? That’s kind of extreme, but Raleigh does feel that when it comes to making a run at making his band a nation and international act, this is the fourth quarter, he’s down by a touchdown and he’s got one play left.
“It’s at least one more shot in terms of me trying to do a big record,” Raleigh said. “I don’t think I’ll ever stop doing this; on a local level, I’d probably do it. But it does feel like, let’s give it one more shot and see what happens. We’ll throw the Hail Mary and if somebody comes down in the end zone with it, cool. Maybe we’ll go into overtime. If not, hey, we played a good game and I’m proud of the team.”
Luckily, as the proverbial teams line up, Raleigh and Television City have six wide receivers in that end zone and only one defensive back with them. In other words, these Motown mavericks have a damn good shot of making it.
For more information on Television City, click here