The frontman for Michigan’s Joe Hertler & The Rainbow Seekers boasts a fascinating set of musical influences and a surprising current favorite. Listen to the music at Local Spins.
EDITOR’S NOTE: All musicians can trace their inspiration to key recordings that influenced their careers. Writer Ross Boissoneau today showcases recordings that changed the world for Joe Hertler, frontman for the popular Michigan band, Joe Hertler & The Rainbow Seekers. Scroll down for a Spotify playlist of his picks, plus The Rainbow Seekers’ latest singles.
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Ask Joe Hertler how to define the music of his band the Rainbow Seekers – named for the 1978 solo album by Crusaders keyboardist Joe Sample – and he hesitates.
“We’re flamboyant live,” he finally says. Well, then maybe we can get a clue from his influences. “Dave Matthews, the Flaming Lips, Death Cab for Cutie. Then there’s a whole other funkier side, with Motown, R&B … we’re a weird cross-genre band,” he concludes.
Maybe take it straight from the band’s website: “A ride on the Rainbow will take you across the mountains of Motown, through the fjords of folk, over the archipelagos of Americana … into a funky firth.”
Glad we got that straight. At any rate, Hertler and his seven-piece outfit have been grooving since meeting as students at CMU and MSU. “We’ve been playing over a decade, half of it professionally,” says Hertler.
The band is crisscrossing the country on its current fall tour, with stops in Columbus, Ohio, Washington D.C., New Orleans, La., Austin, Texas, San Diego, Calif., and Seattle, Wash., among other places. The Rainbow Seekers return to Michigan in December, playing two straight nights to close out the year (Dec. 30 and Dec. 31) at The Pyramid Scheme in Grand Rapids. Get tickets here.
As befits someone who cites a rainbow of influences listed online, Hertler’s list of inspirational recordings covers a wide swath.
1. Dido, “White Flag” (2003), “Thank You” (2000) – I think (the band) reflects a lot of perfect 90s songs, like Macy Gray. Right now I’m on a huge Dido kick. Her two breakout records … are the style of production I grew up on. Her lyrics are total knockouts. I feel she has lyrics that are simple but perfect in every way. “I wanna thank you for giving me the best day of my life” – in the context that’s … profound.
Listen: “Thank You”
2. The Verve, “Bitter Sweet Symphony” (1997) – It’s an iconic song. The imagery is about the scale, how big they were and still are, especially in the UK. There’s a lot of repetition (in the song), but it’s not formulaic. It’s one of those songs that can always make me feel tingly. I can always go back to it. The drums are always slamming. It’s got a saturated sound, the hip-hop sound played by a real drummer with looping.
Listen: “Bitter Sweet Symphony”
3. Sheryl Crow, Any Songs Between 1993-96 – “If It Makes You Happy,” “All I Wanna Do,” “Soak Up The Sun” are just incredible. Her voice is so good. It’s so hard to sing her music, hard to cover her songs. There’s a grit to her voice that’s really hard to emulate. Singers have a power range, and her power range is so big, really wide. Her writing is also perfect, the example of perfect songcraft.
Listen: “All I Wanna Do”
Currently Loving: Slaughter to Prevail, “Kostolom” (2021) – I’ve been listening to a lot of deathcore. When Suicide Silence’s singer died (vocalist Mitch Lucker died of injuries in a motorcycle accident in 2012), the genre faded. Slaughter to Prevail is kind of a supergroup with (vocalist) Alex Terrible. He relocated from Russia. They released a couple singles, an EP that were really good. They released the new record last year.
MUSIC THAT CHANGED THE WORLD: Joe Hertler’s Playlist on Spotify
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