Raggy Monster Is Staying Together and Back with New Album

With the impending release of a new album and a successful Kickstarter created to fund it (which received well over its goal amount of $5K back in March), Palm Beach County band Raggy Monster has much to celebrate and is planning to so in style.

Just nine months ago, founding members -- and as of November, husband and wife -- Billy Schmidt and Rachel DuVall were unsure of the band's future. Guitarist Christian Morgan announced he was leaving the band to focus on his family.

"When we said this was our last album, it was mainly due to how many member changes we've gone through," Schmidt says, referring the whopping nine bandmates the group's swapped out in just three years.

With a new bassist and guitarist climbing aboard the Raggy train, however, Schmidt says he and DuVall are ready to fully commit themselves to playing and touring as a band.

The release party for its album with a lengthy title, As the Thorn Lures the Widow's Lip, it Seeks No Wisdom from the Wicker Flies, will be held at Respectable Street on December 20. Raggy Monster will play alongside West Palm Beach hard rockers Lavola and plan to showcase the two years spent working on this, its newest endeavor.

Originally, "As the Thorn Lures the Widow's Lip, it Seeks No Wisdom from the Wicker Flies was almost like a last-ditch effort to get all this music out there that we had written in a legitimate way," Schmidt says, "because it would just eat away at me forever if we hadn't put this together and if these songs had just been lost because we had so many member changes."

... Wicker Flies, due out December 16, will be the last album featuring Morgan, but the party will signify a new chapter in the Raggy Monster story. Replacing Morgan is Mike Guido of Delray Beach band the Flyers. Bassist Oren Gross has joined the group, as well.

"They were completely on board to go touring and play on a consistent basis," Schmidt says. In fact, they already have five new songs, which could be released on an EP sometime next year. Schmidt has been planning a Florida tour sometime in February 2015, hitting all the major cities, including Jacksonville, Miami, and Fort Lauderdale.

Each day leading up to the release, Raggy Monster has been posting a photo related to certain lyrics in its songs to get fans hyped for the new album.

DuVall wrote a majority of the lyrics, and Schmidt the music. "The first album was more of a compilation of music that Billy had written over time that we all learned and performed," DuVall says, "and then this time around, it was pretty much a creative project for all of us. We were able to write it together."

Most of the time Schmidt and DuVall stayed up until 6 a.m. writing songs, then DuVall would bring them to the rest of the group, asking for their input.

"It's been my way of getting out anger and love and sadness all together, just to wrap everything into one statement with each song, and each song has a different meaning," DuVall explains.

Her emotions shine through her powerful vocals, which are heavily showcased. Although not a concept album lyrically, ...Wicker Flies revolves around a theme of past relationships. It's divided into two acts, the first is lighthearted and upbeat and the second presents a darker mood. "Fool's Gold," the third song in "Act One" and the band's first single, is about washed-out rockers playing cover music in dive bars, still trying to achieve the dream of stardom.

DuVall hopes that doesn't happen to them.

"In the end, we do music for fun, and everyone should do it for the fun of it until it becomes something more," Schmidt says. Or, as "Fool's Gold" addresses, something less.

As the Thorn Lures the Widow's Lip, it Seeks No Wisdom from the Wicker Flies, will be released digitally on December 16 and can be purchased at raggymonster.com as well as on iTunes.

Raggy Monster album release show with Lavola, 9 p.m., on December 20, at Respectable Street Cafe, 516 Clematis St., West Palm Beach. Cover is $10 and includes a copy of the album with admission. Visit Facebook.

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