Over the course of the last 50 years, pop history has shown us being in a band with a sibling or multiple siblings isn’t always something that tends to work out for the best. While many sibling-oriented groups have imploded in spectacular fashion, there are many that have flourished and experienced great success.
American pop band R5 is one of those groups.
The band is centred on four siblings: Vocalist-guitarist Ross Lynch, bassist Riker Lynch, lead guitarist Rocky Lynch and keyboardist Rydel Lynch. The foursome is joined on drums by their close friend Ellington Ratliff.
Asked how the Lynch siblings manage to separate the family dynamic from that of R5, bassist Riker Lynch says it has never been an issue for the pop group.
“We have always been very close,” he begins. “That was something instilled in us by our parents. I remember my parents bringing Rocky home from the hospital after his birth. They introduced me to him and distinctly told me ‘This is your new best friend!’
“Sibling harmony was engrained in our heads at an early age. We grew up doing everything together, so it was only natural that we would begin singing and performing together as we got older.”
Riker says that while it was common to hear the likes of INXS and Elvis Presley in the Lynch household as he and his siblings grew up, it was his brother Rocky that introduced him to Fall Out Boy, which helped Riker cement his career choice.
“Rocky was teaching himself to play guitar when our family moved to California. He showed me a Fall Out Boy video, which, at that point in my life, was the coolest thing ever. It was right then and there that I was determined to join a band.”
Riker’s wish came true shortly after: He received a bass guitar for his 17th birthday and hasn’t looked back.
While R5 have found success in the realm of pop music with a handful of releases that have endeared the group to legions of millions, they have had to juggle band responsibilities with those of some of them also being actors.
Riker’s brother Ross is arguably the best known actor of the family, having played the title role of Austin Moon on the hit Family Channel television show Austin & Ally. Of course, Riker is no slouch in the acting department either, with recurring appearances as Jeff from the group The Warblers on Fox’s hit television Glee under his belt.
When it comes to balancing the band with their acting careers, Riker says there has always been an understanding amongst band members that flexibility is key to keeping everyone happy.
“We began playing music in 2009, but as Austin & Ally got more popular and Ross got busier, we ended up realizing that we just needed to take things day by day and work around schedules so that everyone is happy. We are all just so thrilled to have found success in both the worlds of acting and music. The band will always come first though and feel as though our core fans who have been with us for the last five or six years also know the band comes first,” Riker says.
Riker acknowledges that keeping their fans happy is also a top priority for R5. The quintet is preparing for the worldwide release of their second full-length effort, Sometime Last Night, on July 10.
“With this new record, we took a step in a whole new direction, which included writing the bulk of the record ourselves, while Rocky also handled production work. We really dug down with these new songs, and felt as though we had learned a lot in the time since our previous full-length album.”
Riker says that the group’s increased confidence during the making of Sometime Last Night was a positive by-product of the extensive amount of live shows they performed in the time between releases.
“We have spent a lot of hours on stage, which I feel is reflected in these new songs. Playing live is one of the best things to experience, though. You don’t know how often we will be speaking with fans after the show that we hear the comment ‘You guys looked like you were having fun on stage,’ which ultimately helps those in attendance enjoy the show. It is a great compliment for us to receive.”
R5’s Canada Day performance at Moncton’s Casino New Brunswick is one of more than 60 shows the group will perform before the end of 2015. R5’s Sometime Last Night Tour will take them to all points of North America, in addition to a run of European shows in the autumn.
When: Wednesday July 1, 6:30 p.m.
Where: Casino New Brunswick, 21 Casino Dr., Moncton
Tickets start at $63.27, which includes all taxes and service charges. Advance tickets are available at the Casino Gift Shop, by phone at 1-866-943-8849 and online at casinonb.ca