After playing together fore more than 11 years, these boys from Possum Kingdom, South Carolina are taking their music across the country and playing sold out venues. With a name like NEEDTOBREATHE (trademarked in all caps) you are left with exactly that after attending one of their energetic shows or even just listening to the new album, “The Outsiders.” Bryson Leach got a chance to chat with guitarist Bo Rinehart in the middle of their very busy tour about life in the spotlight and ways they are making a difference in the lives of the others.

What has NEEDTOBREATHE been up to lately?

Right now we’ve been darting around the country. Pretty much the entire US. It’s been crazy and it’s been the most successful tour we’ve ever been a part of. We are seeing venues where the fans come out and the numbers are tripling and quadrupling in size with every show. Which is dramatically different from just six months previous. We’ve been doing this for almost 11 years now, and we’re just along for the ride with this. For instance, we played at Sloss Furnace in Birmingham, Ala. Last year to a show that filed up halfway, this year we sold it out.

You recently picked up 3 GMA Dove awards for Rock Album of the year, Group of the Year, and rock song of the year. How does it feel to be together for eleven years and get some recognition like this?

It’s crazy to be honest. We were pretty aloof about it. Someone tweeted about it that we won a Dove Award and we were like, “Is that tonight?” We didn’t even know it was actually going on. Then they tweeted that we won a second and a third one. We were very shocked. Anything you do to get recognized for your hard work and creativity is always rewarding.

Can you explain where you were going with the newest album “The Outsiders?” There seems to be a theme of being on the outside -struggling with being different and yet being happy about where you are and what you stand for.

We are the outsiders in the scenario. We grew up in a small town and because of that we didn’t have people to show us the right way play or write songs. There were not a lot of places/venues to play and musicians to help us out. So we did it our way. As a result we made a lot of mistakes but still, we just did things our way. There was not a lot of conformity. We just tried to do what we did and try to be ourselves. Along the road we embraced that more, early on we thought being outsiders was a bad thing. Especially when we’d go into offices like Atlantic Records and see all the posters of successful musicians and feeling like “country came to town” we kinda felt like we didn’t fit in. Despite that, we got on the road, we did our thing and people appreciated that. So that’s what it is, we are embracing being outsiders, wearing it on our sleeves and we’re proud of it. The cover is a horse, the original idea was like a scarlet letter but is now like war paint; it’s something to be proud of.

A few months back NEEDTOBREATHE was invited to play a show to help raise funds for Compassion International, a non-profit group out of Colorado Springs that works around the world helping kids escape poverty. The concert, in support for Haiti took place at the historic Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, Tenn.
How did it feel to be a part of that? To be in The Ryman?

It was amazing. The whole night was pretty surreal. We felt like the band that shouldn’t be there. With all these big names, we were stunned to be invited. None of us had ever been in the Ryman, it felt like holy ground, a lot of history there. For us it was a spine tingling moment for us to walk on stage. We were thrilled to be there and especially for the event. It’s something that helps you realize what you do is a lot bigger than you are. To be a part of that, with all these other bands, not making a dime but just getting on stage and doing something for others was amazing.

Are there other charities you support as a band?

Yea, we give a portion of our records proceeds to Project Rescue in Nepal. Basically they rescue children out of prostitution. The thing is there, it’s tricky, you can’t just rescue them, you cant just pull them out. It’s their life; it’s what they know. The hard thing is to find jobs for them and things to do once they pull them out. So Project Rescue does all of these things for them, they try to help them feel what real love is. I know there’s a ton of organizations doing great things but this is something that we are really moved with.

Also, We just moved to Charleston, South Carolina and there’s a thing called Palmetto Medical Initiative, they send doctors and nurses to Uganda to provide the care they desperately need there. They don’t go into the heart of troubled areas in Uganda, but rather the common areas that are really affecting the population. Helping treat malaria and simple things that require doctor’s care. We are editing a video for them right now that will boost awareness and support. They are fairly new, but it’s great because it is so close to home. We plan on making a trip out there sometime next year.

Palmetto Medical Initiative
Project Rescue
Compassion International

One Comment

  1. Flyg Från Bangkok Till Krabi:

    this is the fourth time i go through the blog, good article as always! regards.

    7:50 pm on April 19th, 2012

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