Adelitas Way are a band that not many in the UK are that familiar with. This hasn’t been helped by the fact that in their ten-plus year history that they have never actually played any UK shows. A band that was introduced to me by a former girlfriend, they are huge in both the US and the rest of the world as a whole. I never actually thought that I would have the opportunity to see them play live…until 2019. Being added to a three-band bill with Hoobastank and Buckcherry allowed me to finally tick that off. Arriving in Manchester for their first ever UK show, I was very fortunate to be afforded the opportunity to be allowed the chance to do one of the band’s first face-to-face interviews on UK soil.
ANTIHERO: It’s the first night in the UK and on your very first tour over on these shores.
Rick DeJesus: Yeah, well I think … I wouldn’t even say so long. I think bands are coming over here faster than ever and some might not be ready for the moment. I think what this does … I know we’re going to put on electric performances. I know people are going to leave talking about the show.
ANTIHERO: You have a huge fan base in the UK. That’s why I’m saying it seems, in my opinion, that it’s taken quite a while for you to get over to the UK.
Rick DeJesus: Well this, to us, is just a small catalyst coming back and headlining. The main goal for us is to come over here, make some noise, put on a great quick show, and then come back and play our real full set, you know? We’re used to playing an hour every night, at least. And to come and play a 30-minute set, it feels like A, a really easy day at work. And B, it feels like … I don’t want to use the word day off. It doesn’t feel like a day off, because I’m excited to play. But to play 30 minutes feels like our sound check.
ANTIHERO: It’s a bit of a mixed package as well, musically. I don’t think any of the bands sound similar.
Rick DeJesus: No, I don’t think so either.
ANTIHERO: You’re going to get a wide mix of people coming in. One band, maybe they want to see two bands. And as first on, they are maybe not too aware of who Adelitas Way are.
Rick DeJesus: We’re just looking to blow away anybody that doesn’t know who we are. We want to put on a great performance for our fans who have been waiting for so long for us to come over here, so they can feel the energy we put on. We love what we do. We’ve been going for 10 years and I still love it, probably love it more than I ever have. So, I think fans are going to get to see a special version of Adelitas Way, and that’s great. Also, too, for people coming in the room and they don’t know what they’re about to get into. I want them to leave blown the fuck away.
ANTIHERO: So, it’s going to be essentially a greatest hits package that you guys are doing, or is it going to feature your most recent album? What’s difficult is it’s your first time in the UK. What sort of setlist will you be playing?
Rick DeJesus: Yeah, we’re on early and have a short set so I think some of our die-hard fans are gonna leave fairly disappointed because they’re going to want to hear songs that there’s just not time to play But if you think, we’ve got five albums and I’ve posted up, “Hey, we’re excited to come.” And everyone has a different favorite song. And I think that’s great for us. It’s great for us to over five albums make so many songs that people fall in love with. That when you come and play a 30-minute set everyone leaves wanting five more songs they didn’t hear. Or there are seven songs they didn’t even play that they wanted to hear. I think that’s the kind of band we are. I don’t think we’re a band where people stand there and wait for one song. Oh, we’re just going to wait for that one last song they’re going to play that was a hit. We don’t have that song. We don’t have just one hit song.
ANTIHERO: There are a lot of great songs.
Rick DeJesus: Yeah, we have a collection of songs that people like… love, you know?
ANTIHERO: You’ve been around. The music business has changed dramatically. Are you still able to do this full-time as musicians? I know a lot of bands I’ve interviewed when they’re off the road they have to take on other jobs just to provide an income.
Rick DeJesus: Yeah, I think you do extra things whenever you can. For us, we’ve been mainly focused on making records and touring for years now. But I think, just in life, everyone wants to save and prepare themselves, so if an opportunity comes to make more income, you take it. For me, I like to dabble into lots of things. Real estate. I look at a lot of houses. I like to buy and sell things. Trevor will do drum lessons, Sal’s doing guitar lessons. You do whatever you can because life is life. But at the end of the day, we’re Adelitas Way. That’s what we do. That’s our job, you know? We focus on … We’re on tour so much it’s impossible to have a second gig. We’re not going and working at the post office when we’re done here.
ANTIHERO: A lot of bands have to do things like that though.
Rick DeJesus: We’re blessed. We’re heading towards, I think, really eliminating the thought of that.
ANTIHERO: Fans are always demanding, and they want new music. The last album came out a couple of years ago. Just wondered … Obviously, you guys have been on the road. Have you had any chance to write new material? Do you write on the road?
Rick DeJesus: Yeah, we’re dropping a new single in March. Got a new single in March. Very excited about it. I don’t want to do the standard over-excitement. I think I’m just going to wait until it comes out and let it speak for itself. When people hear it, they’re going to realize we’re coming for a sport in rock and in the history of rock. I think when people look back at this era of music when you talk about bands like Hailstorm, you talk about bands that are doing it right now, our name’s definitely going to be mentioned among the best. And we’re trying to put music out that puts the stamp on that.
ANTIHERO: Do you have any hobbies or interests outside music, or is music primarily your life focus? Any sports? What do you guys like to do?
Rick DeJesus: I do yoga. I’m a yogi at this point. I do yoga three or four times a week. Sports, definitely. I’m probably too obsessed with sports.
ANTIHERO: You need something outside of music to step away from.
Rick DeJesus: I have kids too, so I spend a lot of attention on my kids. I give them a lot of love. And I make sure that I really focus on them and I pay attention on them and my family.
ANTIHERO: That can’t be easy when you’re away so much.
Rick DeJesus: It is. It’s easy. I think everyone has their own perspective on what it’s like to leave their kids at home, but I think my kids dream bigger than ever because of what I do and what I’ve been capable of. My daughter thinks that there are no endless possibilities in the world. She proudly tells everyone, “My dad tours the world. He tours all over the country. He plays music.” She’s very proud of me. So, I don’t look at what we do as a negative. It’s definitely 100% positive.
ANTIHERO: Of course, you’ve got another music project, Sun Never Sets, with some of the band. Any other musical things going on, or are they just focused on Adelitas Way?
Rick DeJesus: Sun Never Sets, for me, feels like … My friend’s a producer and every now and then he’ll say, “You want to get in the studio? You want to make music?” And that’s what I do. Man, I love music. I love writing songs. Another one of my obsessions is to sit there and process songs, or if a lyric comes to me, I obsess over it and work on it, work on it. And sometimes my friend will send me a whole bed of music that’s already completely done, and I’ll say, “Let me throw some melodies over this.” I love being in the studio. It’s fun for me.
ANTIHERO: How do you view the band’s back catalog? I think the most recent release is just been a natural progression from what’s come before. Or are there any early albums that you look back on and go, “What were we doing there? We should have done something different.”
Rick DeJesus: You can always do that. You can always look back on your previous works and think, “I could have done this better. I could have recorded this better. I could have mixed this better.” But I guess you can’t live in the past, too. And I also think that who I am now isn’t who I was then. And I think it shows growth. If you’re pissed off when you’re 23 and you had this rebellious attitude, which is still inside of me a little bit. And then you fast forward to 35 and we’re writing, I think, definitely more inspirational songs, more uplifting music. I think it’s a great progression to show people the growth of a person too. You can’t spend your whole life pissed off. You can’t spend your whole life feeling a certain way. You’ve got to be able to grow. And I think we’ve grown … As far as our message to people, our message to fans. And every now and then I think people will get a kick out of going back and listening to “pissed off” us. Or “punk rock” us. Or “in love” us. Or whatever it is. I think it’s a musical timeline.
ANTIHERO: When you came to put together the set list for this tour, did you have to go back and revisit those albums? Are those songs still fresh to you?
Rick DeJesus: It was hard to do that. We tried to use data. We tried to go and look at Spotify and Apple Music and YouTube and all the data that the world has given us. There are songs like “Last Stand”. “Last Stand” is the second most streamed song that we have in the UK on our whole catalog. We were going to leave that out of the set. But I look and there’s … Triple the number of listens on that song than any other song on our catalog. So, I’m like, “We have to play this song.” So, I think having the data helps. I think social media interaction with your fans helps. You get to post and ask them, and we really review that stuff. We have a relationship with our fans. Sometimes we get bummed because I’ll say, “What songs do you want to hear?” And the list of songs is 30 songs. And I’m like, “There’s no way they’re all going to be happy, because … ” Maybe next time when we come back, we can do more. But it also shows us that we can come back. We have one goal here. I don’t care what the weather’s like. I don’t care how much sight-seeing I do. I don’t care how long the flight is. I don’t give a fuck about anything except coming, putting on a show, that people leave going away hoping we’ll come back and do it again.
ANTIHERO: Just a final one for you all, who would you like to interview?
Rick DeJesus: Who would I like to interview?
ANTIHERO: Doesn’t even have to be a musician. Maybe someone who’s inspired you in your life.
Rick DeJesus: Good question. That is a great question. When I think of someone I’d like to interview … Man, this is difficult. This is super difficult. You almost want to just name girls so you can be like, “After the interview, want to get a drink?”, “Great interview. Want to go and grab some dinner?” I don’t know man. That’s a really good question. I guess there are a lot of people who have great stories. I guess at this point I wouldn’t hate sitting down with Tom Brady and interviewing him because he has a great story of being stepped on. People stepped on him his whole life. We relate to that very much. It’s been a dog fight for us to get some of the respect we deserve in this game. And Tom Brady picked with the 200 … You know. Six round of the draft, no one really thought he was going to amount to what he became. Now he’s the greatest of all time. So, I guess there’s the story of nothing to something. And I feel we’re in the midst of that story right now. We’re a bunch of punk kids, I guess, or whatever you could say, that’s really shown a lot of growth. Shown what’s possible in this world. Where I come from, I don’t know anybody that’s made it. I don’t know anyone that’s accomplished their dreams. And sometimes when I talk to my friends and we’re reflecting, it blows them away everything that music’s provided for me.
ANTIHERO: Do you still have ambitions? Goals? Dreams?
Rick DeJesus: Of course. I still think we could be one of the biggest artists in the world. It’s not even about being the biggest artist in the world. I want to be recognized for what we’ve talked about. The songs, the performance. The energy we put on on the stage. The material. Our catalog. When it’s done, I want people to realize we were one of the best … For my personal goals, I want to be known as one of the best songwriters of this generation as far as rock, and if not, the whole genre. So, I’m still on a mission for that. I’m still trying to find my best melodies. I’m still trying to find lyrics that touch people. I’m still trying to change … Anything I can do to change how someone feels. And I think I’ve done that a little bit with songs like Somebody Wishes They Were You, and Brother, and songs that help people get through hard times. That’s still the goal. You do it for the fans. You still want to touch the fans.
ANTIHERO: It must be nice when you meet fans and they talk about specific songs and how it got them through.
Rick DeJesus: It makes you realize that it’s not all for you. This isn’t all for me. And that’s why when we were going through hard times and we thought about taking a break, which would have been very minimal. I’ve only thought about taking a break very few amount of times. I don’t even think about that shit anymore. There’s a bigger picture out there. We were blessed with … I was blessed with this gift, we were blessed with this ambition and this gift for a bigger purpose. And I think that’s to connect to people and to help them through things and also to help ourselves through those times in our minds. Everyone deals with certain issues. Everyone deals with certain mental illnesses. Everyone deals with ups and downs. And I think when we’re out on the road and we’re playing music in front of people, I notice the downs don’t really exist.
I focus on… I don’t want to dive too much into this. I have kids. I raised them … When I present Jesus to them, I just always refer to what Jesus stood for was love. Jesus spread love. But my main focus is for my kids to be one with God. At the end of the day, we’re very blessed to have every day on this earth, and I want my daughters to know that whatever gave us the opportunity to have this, I want them to be appreciative of. I don’t focus so much on Jesus that it becomes an obsession or a cult-like thing. When I bring Jesus up, I always say to her love.
To my kids. Jesus represented love. You want to love others, you want to love yourself. You want to love life. I don’t want them to fall into a dark hole and find everything wrong with the world and everything wrong with life. I want them to enjoy the ride.
ANTIHERO: That must have been difficult as well going into your business, with all these temptations and stuff along the way.
Rick DeJesus: We are who we are. I don’t think … I think if someone has the expectations for me to show up and be the same as someone who has a nine to five job is very unrealistic. We are who we are. We live a bit of a dangerous life. I’ve been that since I was a child. You get what you get. With all of us. I’ve been around these guys. I know who they are. You get a bit of danger when you’re involved with us. You get a little bit of rebelliousness. I think at this point, my wife’s been with me for so long that she knows she’s married a rebellious fellow. Or someone who does … I do whatever the fuck I want. That’s how I live my life. With respect to others. I do respect people. But as far as my own goals, my ambitions, when I wake up. I like to be free.
ANTIHERO: Yeah, that’s great. Many thanks for chatting. Good luck with your debut UK show.