Rocklahoma 2014: Ruff Justice
Here is another installment of Rocklahoma 2014 this one featuring Retrospect recording artists Ruff Justice.
So as we looked at the extended line-up for Rocklahoma 2014 Shelzy and I thought to ourselves where do we start? Not long after that very scary thought I got an e-mail from Ruff Justice founder and drummer Scott Baughn requesting an interview. I immediately did some research and discovered two things; I loved their sound and they were from Dallas, TX. I was fortunate enough to get an interview with these great guys (one that we almost missed because I swapped their set date and their interview date).What I learned might surprise you.
RJ was formed in 1992 and disbanded in 1996. During this time drummer Scott did stints as a drummer for country recording artists and rock acts alike. For him it is about the music. Luckily these jobs influenced his style to help produce the sound we hear today. In 2009 RJ reformed and signed with Retrospect records going through a multitude of band members searching for the right sound. Enter Rob Tate (2012), bassist extraordinaire. Two of the four current members were set. In 2012 Sterling Whitmill “Sammy B” joined the band. With a lot of tooth pulling Sammy convinced Scott that a four piece line up was the way to go. And then there were three. An interesting side note Scott and Sammy had known each other for nearly 2 decades but couldn’t ever link up due to other projects. Finally, about a month before Rocklahoma 2014 RJ found Heath Thomas on guitar to round out the line up and complete the sound that they had been searching for.
When Ruff Justice got on the Retrospect stage at Rocklahoma Sammy came out in his trademark red white and blue cowboy hat and decided it was time to wake up some of the fans that were recovering from the previous night. It would be an understatement to say that this quartet knocked the tent down. I think the members of Lacuna Coil might be angry with them since some of it landed on the Hard Rock stage nearly 400 yards away. During my post set interview, Sammy and Scott echoed each other’s sentiments “We have the sound we want, we have the missing cog.” Still recovering from Rocklahoma Shelzy and I drove to Deep Ellum, a virtual Mecca of hard rock, to watch Ruff Justice yet again. This time we were guests of the band and enjoyed a truly memorable performance. Rob Tate pounded out rhythm on the bass with a vengeance while Heath electrified the crowd with ear splitting guitar riffs. Although Scott is not a giant showman, sitting behind a 6 foot high wall of drums, he hits so hard you can feel his sticks on your brain every time he makes contact. Sammy’s vocals, influenced early on by the likes of Rob Halford and later by Phil Anselmo, have found their own groove and they make the audience beg for more.
Ruff Justice goes back into the studio in late August to record, what promises to be, their most solid undertaking yet. They are also rumored to be gracing both the Jager stage and the Retrospect stage at Rocklahoma 2015. If you haven’t heard them yet, do yourself a favor and listen to Adrenaline101radio.com or visit their Face Book page at Ruff Justice Official. Otherwise, drive your ass to Dallas. You will not regret it!
Jeremy “Jrock” Heuman