New Jersey Stage
New Jersey Stage on social media

Did you know NJ Stage offers FREE Event Listings? Nearly 100,000 listings were viewed in January. Be sure to add your events to our calendar and get your shows noticed!

Interview With Scott Terry of RWB on Autobiographical Songwriting

By Gary Wien

The cover story of the August 2014 issue of New Jersey Stage magazine was on Red Wanting Blue, a band from Columbus, Ohio that's led by Scott Terry (who grew up in Moorestown, NJ). Here's a little extra from our interview with him that focused on his autobiographical songwriting style.

You've said that what you usually find is that the topics you don't really want to talk about are the topics that the audience wants to hear the most. As a songwriter, you've written some very personal songs over the course of your career, but is "Leaving New York" your most personal song ever?
It might be one of them. I love that song. It's got to be up there with songs like "The Band". I still think that is one of the most honest songs I've ever written.

Sometimes I think the most personal songs are the ones that relate the most to the mainstream.
Yeah, I would probably agree with that.

I love the ending of "Leaving New York" with you screaming out those words. It sounds like true pain and angst are just flowing out of you.
Thanks. When I write stuff I write most as a skeletal structure with lyrics and a melody, maybe some chords drawn out. Then the band all sits down and we put it together and create actual songs. Sometimes I envision them going a certain way — most of the time I'd say it never ends up exactly as you would expect it to, but sometimes you can get really close, which is always a really gratifying feeling because it means the message and the delivery and everything you've drawn out is so clear. "Leaving New York" is one of those songs. It worked out so well.

"Little America" is one that's simple that worked out real well. Other songs like "Hallelujah" which the record starts out with... for me, I loved the song. I love it and I stand behind it enough to start off the record, but it took a few turns. That's usually what happens and that's the beauty of writing as a collective. We're collaborating and we're hoping that all of the hands are going to make a better song.

There are some great lyrics on this album. Have you ever written a line that made you just stop and say, damn that's good?
Umm... yeah, but those are probably lines that nobody likes. I remember being really tickled about the fact that in the second verse of "Hallelujah" I say "we shut our eyes in the dark / feel the shape of our hearts / listening to Jeff Buckley croon / a Leonard Cohen tune / hallelujah"

I just remember loving how that word play worked out. The chorus of the song is simply "hallelujah" but making reference to a greater man's really great song and a great performer.

One of my favorites is a simple line in "Hotel Oblivion" where you compare a relationship to a constellation and say "we are worth so much more together than we are apart". I love the use of the constellations and the stars as a metaphor for relationships and the traveler's life on the road.
I remember writing the constellation lines, I was feeling very Jeff Healey Band then. When Jeff covered John Hiatt's "Angel Eyes" back in the eighties. That "tonight I lie with the stars above" line.

I liked the line in "Hotel Oblivion" - "holding down home sweet home" and then "we've got our differences". When I think about it, I think it's a much more mature record because some of the topics being talked about are the things that someone in a long-term relationship talks about with someone else.

There are songs on this record like "It's All Happening" which is kind of, in my own weird mind, almost a sequel to "Sea of Old Friends". And "Hallelujah" is like an optimistic sequel to "Hope On a Rope".

Do you ever look back and listen to your old songs? It's sort of like a photo album of your life.
Yeah, it definitely could feel that way.

Is there any part of your personal life that you'd say is off limits for a song?
Umm... I don't know. I mean, there's a general line, but I'm an emotional writer. That's the stuff I get excited about. I would say as a music lover, I definitely have heard artists go beyond what I think is appropriate for songwriting and that goes into the land of airing grievances in the form of a song.

I always feel when you're coming in from an angsty place that you have to be careful. Not to quote myself from the new record, but songs like "Rest of Our Lives" has people hearing stuff like "we can do anything", "we are young and free" and an angsty line like "Jesus make up your mind". Youthful kids can get behind that stuff, but if you're talking about how your alimony or child support is too much money... it's just too much information.

I wouldn't write a song about drug abuse right now in my life, but, then again, if I run into someone in my life who has a serious problem with drug abuse and my life is forced to have to deal with it, who knows? I might be prompted to write a song about this. Even if it's not for awareness, but just for the sake of airing my own personal demons with that topic of life and hoping that other people might appreciate that.

You can't always write about love and you can't always write about heartbreak, you've got to write about other things. And choosing topics to write about is not the easiest thing in the world, which is one of the reasons I like writing about traveling because it is one of the things that we do.

Red Wanting Blue's latest release, "Little America", came out on July 1. For more information on the band visit

For more by this author, click here

Light of Day's Main Event To Be Broadcast Live at McLoone's Supper Club
(ASBURY PARK, NJ) -- If you couldn't get tickets for the fabled "main event" of the 2019 Light of Day Winterfest, you have another chance see the show.  For the first time in the 19-year history of the festival, the "main event", the star-studded “Bob’s Birthday Bash” on January 19th (a show that has long sold out), will be broadcast live via fiber optic cable at McLoone's Supper Club in Asbury Park.
Wharton Institute for the Performing Arts To Hold Winter Open House On January 27
(BERKELEY HEIGHTS) -- Wharton Institute for the Performing Arts (WIPA) will host a Winter Open House on Sunday, January 27 from 1:00pm to 4:00pm. The free event is open to the public and will be held at the Performing Arts School (PAS) located at 60 Locust Avenue in Berkeley Heights.
Billy Idol and Steve Stevens To Perform At Count Basie Center For The Arts
(RED BANK, NJ) -- Billy Idol and Steve Stevens, one of rock’s most iconic and enduring duos, will hit the road this March for their first ever tour performing as a duo: Turned On, Tuned In and Unplugged. The Billy Idol/Steve Stevens tour comes to The Count Basie Center for the Arts on Thursday, April 4th.
McDonald's Gospelfest To Celebrate The Life of Aretha Franklin With Return to Prudential Center
(NEWARK, NJ) -- The 37th Annual McDonald’s Gospelfest returns to the Prudential Center on Saturday, May 11 for the gospel event of the year. This year's event will honor and celebrate the life and legacy of the “Queen of Soul” Aretha Franklin with an All-Star cast. The 5:00pm to 7:00pm portion of the evening will feature a rising stars competition for all ages and cultures in categories including Soloists, Choirs, Praise Dancers, Singing Groups, Gospel Comedians, Gospel Poets and Gospel Rappers. The gospel concert, beginning at 7:00pm, will feature some of the most renowned gospel artists in music history with the goal of spreading love, peace and joy to all races, nationalities and beliefs.
Bickford Theatre Presents Herb Gardner's Groundhog Jam
(MORRISTOWN, NJ) -- The great Groundhog Jam has a long history of prying jazz fans out of their warm burrows and into the chill of February weather in order to welcome the advent of spring.  The Bickford Theatre at the Morris Museum continues a tradition of hosting this event on Monday, February 4 at 7:30pm. Herb Gardner, who plays both trombone and piano, is assembling a stellar group of musicians from the New York, New Jersey, and New England areas including: Fred Vigorito on cornet, Joe Licari on clarinet, James Chirilloon guitar, Mike Weatherly on bass and Robbie Scott on drums.  Daughters Abbie and Sarah Gardner will be handling the vocals and guitar.

Scott Wolfson and Other Heroes At Riverside Rhythm & Rhyme
This coming Sunday, January 20, Scott Wolfson and his band will be serving up their unique blend of Americana at the Riverside Rhythm & Rhyme series at Investors Bank Theater in Succasunna, New Jersey. The band – Scott Wolfson and Other Heroes – formed in Jersey City in 2011, and, even though the members have migrated in various directions since then, they still consider themselves to be a Jersey City band.
"He Totally Wowed Us!" John Oates LIVE! at SOPAC
It’s brisk for an evening walk on South Orange Ave. in South Orange, NJ, this Friday, Jan. 4, 2019 evening, but it’s a good road to follow as it leads us directly to the South Orange Performing Arts Center (SOPAC) for a special performance by singer, songwriter, and guitarist John Oates and his backup group, The Good Road Band.
“Tons of Fun!” The Glenn Miller Orchestra LIVE! at the Grunin Center
Although Friday, December 21, 2018 is the shortest day of the year, the audience of big band music lovers here at Toms River, NJ’s Grunin Center for the Arts is hoping for a long evening of classic swing and holiday tunes performed by the incomparable Glenn Miller Orchestra!
Mike Davis and The New Wonders
Mike Davis traces his love for the trumpet back to a Disney movie. He grew up in a musical family, with both his parents playing strings in the Seattle Symphony. But Davis wanted an instrument of his own. Then, at age 9, he saw “The Aristocats,” the animated film about a bunch of French felines — including a group of jazz-playing alley cats.
Ana Gasteyer's "Holiday Tipple" LIVE! at the Grunin Center
The Grunin Center stage in Toms River, NJ is set this Saturday, December 15, 2018 with drums, a grand piano, a guitar, an acoustic bass, and various microphones for vocals. A stool and several microphone stands are bedazzled with colorful garlands of shiny red, gold, and green, and wrapped gifts are strewn on stage among the instruments. Projected white snowflakes adorn the walls, and Christmas music plays as patrons enter the theater to put everyone in the mood for tonight’s holiday show — Ana Gastayer’s Holiday Tipple!

Event calendar
Thursday, Jan 17, 2019


Open Mic Night! @ Black Box PAC, Teaneck - 7:30pm


"Apple Season" by E.M. Lewis @ New Jersey Repertory Company, Long Branch - 8:00pm


AMERICAN GIRL LIVE @ Bergen Performing Arts Center (bergenPAC), Englewood - 7:00pm

View all events

New Jersey Stage © 2019 by Wine Time Media, LLC | PO Box 140, Spring Lake, NJ 07762 (732) 280-7625 |

Images used on this site have been sent to us from publicists, artists, and PR firms.
If there is a problem with the rights to any image, please contact us and we will look into the matter.