Rick Denzien knows what it is like to take the wrong and right exit - he
is ramping up with a new CD release Exit 21.
The thought for the Exit 21
CD came while driving the German Autobahn.
"We were on our way to Switzerland - had no
idea where we were going but we saw a sign for a little town called Ausfahrt. So I'm the
navigator and looking for this little town on a German map - I can't find it.... We are
flying like 160 miles per hour and here comes another sign for Ausfahrt. So I figure this
is a good sized town, and study the map some more. But then after a few kilometers,
another sign, then another, and another all pointing to Ausfahrt. Must be some huge
city. I'm thinking this place must be the size of New York with all these exit
They never did find the Ausfahrt city limits because Ausfahrt means exit
"Dah... I felt pretty stupid when they told me
that, but it was pretty funny."
Exit 21 is
that place on the fringe where the age of innocence meets the age of accountability and
where opposing truths collide - smashing old realities and creating new ones.
"The truth on the road is, you never know
what's around the next bend."
He knows. Travels have taken him through the Netherlands, Germany and far
away as India & Australia... most recently to Colombia, South America.
"One morning - 8:00 AM - just before we were
going to Europe our new drummer was driving to rehearsal. A car crossed over the
line and hit him head on, he was killed instantly. Turned out it was a drunk driver
just coming home from an all nighter - that really makes you insanely mad."
"Exit-21 is a spiritual quest to me, the road
less traveled, 'Life is a Highway' theme is definitely there, but that is only one
thread on the CD
Songs on the Exit 21
CD sum up Denzien's overriding philosophy in axioms that relate deep emotions &
experiences - expressed as music and words.
So Clear lyrics "the path to the sky was empty
& Mary was smoking down the hall" evoke a controversial
image of the blessed virgin smoking a cigarette outside a parochial classroom on a
stairwell to nowhere. Denzien gives listeners a glimpse into supernatural / metaphysical
realms while remaining completely skeptical.
"I was tortured for my music in grade school.
My first music teacher poked my nose with a ball point pen every time I made a mistake
until it was black & bloody, it didn't take them long to beat the music out of
Denzien was 16 before he picked up music again. One night he walked into a
wall of fog in his backyard and emerged with a new desire to play music.
"I don't understand what happened in there, but
there was a transformation, I started to write songs, and I've been at it ever since. Some
ancient traditions indicate that fog is considered a threshold to another level or
dimension, it was pretty exciting."
The music of Exit 21
is as eclectic as it is focused and if Denzien's singer / songwriter lyrics stir up
more thought-provoking questions, than answers, it is no wonder. He majored in
Philosophy & Psychology. His sometimes agitated sometimes mellow brand of cross
over rock has the same appeal as Dave Matthews Band - Toad the Wet Sprocket. Sort of a
Matchbox Twenty meets James Taylor or even Hootie.
Drummer Ronnie Crawford - Lisa
Loeb Fame - Geffen Records - and Bassist Mike Gregos - A Room With a View - Broadway Records - joined Denzien to form the
core band on Exit 21.
"In the studio the songs just seemed to click.
Ronnie, Mike and I would run the song a few times to get the right feel and we would cut
Drummer - J.J. Zeller (Rival Sons - November Records) Bassist Phil
Smithburg joined in on the recording of Grind.
"I love to work with these guys it is always a
complete blast when ever we are together".