Richard Turgeon – Rough Around The Edges (Q&A)

If you decide to listen to just one song today, let that be ‘I Never Loved You’, a mega hit where I’m hanging out.

Richard Turgeon has released one great record after another in recent years, and his new ep ‘Rough Around The Edges‘ is even better.

You release quite a lot of music, all of high quality. Companies have an entire Quality Control department for this. How do you do that?

I really appreciate that, thanks. I’ve been at this a long time, so I think a big part of it comes down to just putting in those 10,000 hours, and many more—especially these past 5–6 years or so. I’ve learned a lot over the years as a live performer and have been producing and mixing my own records since the late ‘90s. About six years ago, I just started recording pretty much all of the instruments myself* Dave Grohl-style to have the kind of efficiency and quality control I wanted, while keeping things affordable, too. 

I basically record live drums, vocals and some live guitars a few times a month, then mix and do some guitars at home throughout the week. That kind of repetition and consistency in focusing on writing and recording without the band politics has helped me make the kind of records I want to hear, and turn out the way I want them to. I wouldn’t recommend this approach for everyone, though, because it’s hard enough to get good at mixing, let alone playing guitar. There’s always someone out there better than me at specific things, so I just try to do me the best I can in various areas, from my drumming to how I master and even design my records.

*I would like to give a shout-out to a few of my collaborators, namely Ron Guensche, who plays a lot of bass on my material and provides invaluable feedback on mixes. I’ve also been working with a wonderful musician, Eric Salk, formerly of the Union Trade in San Francisco. Eric wrote two tracks I produced on RATE.

A sports hall filled to the brim where “I Never Loved You” is sung along by everyone; I can imagine that, can you?

Well thank you again. Yes, I can imagine that for sure haha. I write rock songs with hooks, for the most part. That’s what I like to listen to, that’s what I grew up on, that’s what I’m hooked on as a musician and as a listener. I like real drums, harmonies, and guitars, and a nice production polish on top of it all. I wish there was more music out there today that I liked in general. I make records that I’d like to hear, basically.

I’m too old to dream of playing stadiums at this point, but of course I always want more listeners in general. At the risk of sounding immodest, I’d like to be better known than I am for sure. I often get compared to acts who are way better known than I am, which is a compliment but also sometimes frustrating. I’m a songwriter and musician and I need to write and make music regardless of money and fame or any of that. Any self-respecting, ambitious artist wouldn’t shy away from either, but that’s not why I do what I do. I don’t really want to be running a band and touring at this stage of life, but I would love to get on a label with a big press machine and my songs in films and TV soundtracks for more exposure. Who wouldn’t?

At the end of the day, I love connecting with people who still love rock music. I think it’s important for people to keep in mind that I don’t have a marketing department—that’s on me. That’s why reviews, airplay and interviews with power pop press and DJs like you is still my single best way for new listeners to hear my music, and I appreciate the support I’ve gotten since putting out In Between the Spaces in 2017. The best thing people can do to help my music is to follow me on Bandcamp and join my email list. You can do all of that from my website at

How did Rough Around The Edges come about?

If you mean conceptually, I usually record a song or so a month, put them out as singles, then package them in the summer as a full EP or LP like this. I see each one of my records as time capsules of sorts. So they are very much artifacts or memories of my life. That’s what I love about recording a song a month or so, versus an entire batch of ten in a few weeks. They each reflect my attitude and sound at that time.

What I like about RATE is that I really wanted to make a record that felt more cohesive to me as a collection, and more representative of the sound I’ve been working toward for many years now. That’s why the LP is split into an EP of six tracks—the core songs—and four bonus tracks. I love the bonus tracks, too (they are not filler), but they’re also outliers of sorts. So they will appear on Bandcamp and the CD from Kool Kat Musik only (you can order both at my website, hint hint). The EP only will hit all the major streaming services like iTunes and Spotify soon. Again the best way to hear about this stuff when it happens is to join my email list and give a follow on Bandcamp.

You position yourself as ‘a suburban dad who writes, performs, and produces original rock songs’. I was curious why you do that; call yourself a suburban dad first and foremost?

It’s very coincidental that you ask me that. Just a few weeks ago, my good friend and fellow musician Pete asked me the same thing. We both work in advertising as our day jobs, so he wondered why I positioned myself that way. He basically said you might not want to do that—you’re a legit artist with a following and all that.

I started using that suburban dad thing as a kind of tongue and cheek kind of press angle, but I’m not going to do that anymore. I’m a rock musician first and foremost, living in California—which I love and directly influences my sound and music. Me being a suburban dad is a huge part of my life, and my wife and kids are my heart. My family experiences as a husband and parent absolutely influence my music, and where I’m at in life. But I’ve always been an artist and take my work and developing my craft very seriously. So moving forward when I talk about my music, that’s who I am first—a legit musician that makes rock records.

I can imagine it’s nice that Kool Kat takes care of the release?

Ray from Kool Kat reached out to me soon after I put out In Between the Spaces and basically said, hey let me put out your CDs, no strings attached. We’ve put out six records together since then, and I consider him a mentor and a friend. I actually love the fact that I get to put out a CD version of my records with Ray’s support each year, because I still believe there is something to having that physical artifact for sale. He’s got good taste, curates great records, and cares about his artists. I’m no big shot in the music business, but I do know it’s full of shady people, and Ray is the opposite. He’s one of the good guys.

I will add that I’m still a fan of CDs myself. I just like to pop it open, see the album art, and play an actual record when everything is digital and intangible these days.

Richard, thank you so much for the interview. We wish Rough Around the Edges huge success.

Thank you, Patrick, it’s been an honor and a pleasure.

Pick up Rich’s new record and see him live in San Francisco Friday, August 19. Details at his website.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s