Royal Bliss. Neal has also had to over come some huge events in his life. In 2004, he was seriously injured in a near fatal accident that left him paralyzed in a wheel chair. After months of rehabilitation, Middleton miraculously got back on his feet and was able to walk again. (Neal still has only partial feeling in his right leg, but when you see him on stage, you‘d never know.)
I met Neal back in 2008 after one of the bands high powered concerts. No over exaggeration, this band really gets the crowd on its feet and pumped. I bought an album and couldn't stop listening to it. One night a particular song sparked an idea. The idea grew into my novel. All from one line in a song. (Hear the song here)
Some people have to have food to write. Me, I have to have music. This is why I asked Neal to join us today. He writes a lot of the band's music and lyrics.
Pots ‘n Pens: When writing, what is or has been a major influence?
Neal Middleton: Life, people in it and the experiences I have had. When I write lyrics they just kind of come out. I don't write them until the studio for the most part, it's just what is on my mind at that time. The songs on the new album are reflections of everything that we’ve been through over the past couple of years. I wrote the song “Crazy” about my son. He’s three years old and it’s really hard for him to understand why I’m not home. I explain to him that Daddy’s job is to travel. But it’s really tough to be away from family. 'Singing for Our Lives' is a song we wrote with Monty Powell (Keith Urban, Lady Antebellum) about the last 13 years of our lives. I sing for my life every day to provide for my family and put food on the table.
PnP: You mentioned before that when you guys (the band) started writing your last record, Waiting Out The Storm, you originally had written about 100 songs that over a 3 year process widdled down to the 16 to 18 songs recorded. I know with me I end up cutting and changing a lot of scenes as I go through edits as well. How does your writing lyrics and music change from start to finish?
NM: It's very similar to a movie or a book. You have your rough draft, then you take out the things you don't need and add ones you do. My lyrics are usually pretty rough in the start and then I fine tune them to drive it home a bit more.
PnP: When you toured with other bands such as Hinder, Puddle Of Mud, Buckcherry, Candlebox, and Papa Roach and appeared on the television show THE VOICE last year, did anything help influence the way you now write or perform?
NM: Not really. I think all of those experiences really taught me to be myself, be proud of who I am and my story. The Voice was strange and I am glad I made it our alive.
PnP: Is there a certain type of food or snack that is a must while writing or producing your music?
NM: Late night Mexican food, Cheez Its, beef jerky, and whiskey.
PnP: I wondered if you would bring that up since two songs "I Was Drunk" and "Whiskey", both great by the way, sound like they were inspired by this style of beverage. If you were marooned on an island with only your guitar, one other musician and only one type of food, who and what would you pick?
NM: Wow.... Uh , hmmm marooned huh... How long? My wife will kill me but since its hypothetical situation I would say Gwen Stafani and Mexican food . That sounds like a good combo.
PnP: Indeed it does. Well, I bumped into Gwen a few months ago. Next time I’ll pass on the word. Only joking. Plus, the Gwen I saw wouldn’t make it very long on that island since she was made of wax.
Thank you, Neal, for chatting with us. It has been great getting to know this side of you. Be sure to check out Royal Bliss and their latest video "Crazy" by clicking here.