Some bands aspire to greatness; chasing big sounds and big ideas in an attempt to resonate. For others, it just happens. And so it is for Birmingham four piece Rogue States. The big ideas they wrestle with lyrically, like the widescreen, stadium guitars which back them, are there because the instant pop songs they set out to write got hijacked by questions and circumstance.
"The songs I relate to best aren't the ones that tell me how it is, but let me explore how it is," says singer Michael Clarke. "That's what we're doing, exploring."
Steve Clarke (bass) and Stuart Baxter-Wilkinson (drums) first paired-up with Steve's brother Michael following the demise of their successful punk-pop band Dum Dums. In 2003, going by the name Clarkesville, Michael released the critically acclaimed album The Half Chapter. They started writing together only to find themselves heading in a whole new musical direction. It would be another four years before that new direction properly morphed into Rogue States with the addition of guitarist David Wright. In the meantime, to pay the bills, Steve and Stuart earned a living the hard way, putting in two and a half years on the road teching for Razorlight.
Inevitably, years of near constant touring resulted in close friendships with Razorlight, particularly with then drummer Andy Burrows, who on nights off would come and see Rogue States play and in a bizarre role reversal, would help Stuart set-up his drums. In March 2009 the band supported Razorlight on their UK tour and then Andy literally put his money where his mouth is and paid for the recording of the band's debut EP.
A band shaped by experience, classic pop and restless minds, Rogue States arrive uniquely accomplished. Yet, Michael insists, they're still very much at the beginning. "We're just open to being adventurous. As long as we're writing great songs, that's all that matters."