Swerve Magazine “Get’s Us”

Excerpt from Pennsylvania’s Swerve Magazine on Doug Ratner & The Watchmen, and “Lessons Well Learned”

The day rock and roll died, is hard to pinpoint. Some will say it is alive and kicking. Sadly those same people are planning now for their concert of the year: Nickelback.

Others, feel that it’s in its death-rattle phase. Again see Nickelback. And yet other see it has never really going anywhere but out of the mainstream and back into the garage bands.

Doug Ratner, along with his group The Watchmen, is sick of the current rockless music scape he sees before him.

“We are sick of where rock and roll is right now. I don’t want to say that it is non-existent, but when the last time you heard a band like Guns N’ Roses in the last five or 10 years?”

He brings up a valid point, in the mainstream rock arena, the music has become flaccid. And no matter how many little blue pills the likes of Chad Kroeger, Rob Thomas or Adam Levine pop, rock remains unable to rise to the occasion.

“Where is that band that can play their instruments really well and writes aggressive songs that make statements?”

Ratner sees that void missing and aims to take his band there to rescue the rock, harness its power and bring it back to the masses.

“It is not that we want to go out of our way to make music with statements. It is one thing to write songs about going to the club, having sex and spending the dollar bills that is fine. But the way you make fans and connect with them is to write songs that have a purpose.”

And that is what Ratner and crew are setting out to do. The band is local to the Springfield, Mass. area currently, but is planning a tour this summer of the Northeast.

“Realistically, it is a combination of things. It wasn’t that we were obsessed with “Tommy” and decided to make our EP, “Lessons Well Learned,” like it. The majority of the songs we were writing seemed to be inspired by things that were current in society.”

Topical and not afraid to go to dark places with the music, the group has crafted an EP with a central character that reflects on his lack of self-esteem and place in the world (“Ghost in the Mirror”) and then acts out on his unchecked emotions by one upping Pearl Jam’s “Jeremy,” by making a bomb with plans to make people go boom.

“(In the Backseat”) has two points. One is that this world has become so reliant on technology, in good and bad ways. As a result of having this vast amount of information at your fingertips anywhere you go, it can lead you to a bad place.

“The song tells the story of a young guy, who’s reclusive. He doesn’t have many friends and he feels that the world is against him. He has the world at his fingertips, so he learns how to build a bomb and wants to blow everyone up.”

Ratner answer the very question you, the reader, are probably thinking right now.

“You think it is pretty sick. Why would you want to write a song about something like this? That is rock and roll. Why did Pearl Jam write a song about a kid that walks into class and shoots himself? I think the responsibility of music is to state things that happen and put it out there where people can think about it.”

Pretty ballsy considering the state of rock today to want to make people think. It does harken back to the days when rock had its voice and it was clear.

And no, Ratner has no personal experiences that he drew upon in creating the demented character. He does, however know the healing power of music.

“People always ask what inspired the songs. ‘Were you like that?’ I wasn’t personally. But, I do know the power of depression and how it can weigh you down. If you don’t get the help you need, it can take you to a very dark place. But, music can bring you up. It absolutely has the power to bring you back up again.”

To hear more and see tour info, check out: www.dougratner.com

Find full article here, Swerve Magazine