Blacklist Royals
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Blacklist Royals

Nashville, Tennessee, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2006 | MAJOR

Nashville, Tennessee, United States | MAJOR
Established on Jan, 2006
Band Rock Punk




"New Noise Magazine - Album Review"

"There is plenty of fast guitar and catchy drum beats on this album. While it is a bit of a stylistic shift from their debut, it is clearly a positive maturation. The songs fly by quickly, begging for repeated plays and hours spent singing along. Every once in a while a band will blow away expectations and rise above their own recorded history to create a necessary work of art. Through its simplicity and emotion, Die Young With Me showcases a Blacklist Royals very much alive..." - New Noise Magazine - New Noise Magazine

"Dying Scene - Album Review"

"“Righteous Child” sets the stage for what represents quantum leaps forward, both lyrically and stylistically, from Semper Liberi. When at their best, the brothers Rufus have a penchant for penning anthemic tracks that build like waves..." - Dying Scene - Dying Scene

"Punk News - Album Review"

"Die Young With Me feels like a cross-country album. One for road trips as you discuss things like life, love, religion and so on. It's got the inspirational and nostalgic musical themes to it from the '60s right up to the '90s and they balance out neatly. Everything's infused brilliantly and given their past trials and personal tribulations, it's a great sign to see this record pan out so smoothly. Solid musicianship and a wider lyrical dimension -- can't ask for much more. It boasts catchy choruses, singalong verses and nifty hooks at all angles so with that said, Blacklist Royals have finally found their musical blueprint here. It's a definitive sound that's ready to blossom and they'll surely have their critics pondering their next move. They really did sing about the impermanence of life, and it's never sounded as good..." - Punk News - Punk News

"AV Club - Album Stream & Review"

"The record is ragged, raw, and rocking..." - AV Club - AV Club

"Nylon Magazine - Video Premier & Review"

"Their new single “Righteous Child” has a tangible quality that you can’t help but relate to while offering an anthemic rock ‘n’ roll vibe that stirs up some young summer love nostalgia..." - Nylon Magazine - Nylon Magazine

"MTV Buzzworthy - Song Premier Review"

"The sonic equivalent to a leather jacket, fuck it attitude, and cigarette..." - MTV Buzzworthy - MTV Buzzworthy

"USA Today - Song Stream & Review"

"Sparse, stripped down, pre-punk / 60's rock 'n' roll" - USA Today - USA Today


Still working on that hot first release.



As Nat and Rob Rufus began separately penning songs for Blacklist Royals’ new album, Die Young With Me, it quickly became clear that the musicians shared a thematic mindset. The twin brothers, who have played together in bands since they were 13 years old, both found themselves circling around the same experience, compelled to finally excise their demons in song. 

The experience was this: When Rob was 17 he was diagnosed with a rare form a cancer. He spent nearly three years in the hospital, rotated in and out of surgeries and treatments. One of his lungs was removed and numerous side effects lingered. Once Rob was well, supported the whole time by Nat, the brothers moved from their hometown of Huntington, West Virginia to Nashville to begin Blacklist Royals. The group, bolstered by new members, released their debut album, Semper Liberi, in 2010 and toured for three years extensively, playing with bands like Less Than Jake and NOFX and performing at Warped Tour, The Fest and SXSW. As the musicians came off the road and began writing, they found themselves centered on the theme of childhood sickness. As the narrative themes shifted, so did the songs themselves, and the band took an evolutionary leap forward – one that simultaneously restructured its lineup. Blacklist Royals, again, became two brothers struggling to prevail through less-than-ideal circumstances. 

“When we got done touring for our first album and we started pooling our songs together they were all revolving around one topic, Rob having cancer and our lives at that point and everything surrounding that,” Nat says. “Instead of shying away from that subject, which is something we’ve done in the past, we decided to make the entire record themed around it. Everyone else was road-weary and wanted to bow out. It was really important for us to make the record regardless.”

The first song that emerged for the truly autobiographical album was the title track, “Die Young With Me,” a propulsive, garage-inspired rock song. The grit and candor of the brothers’ collective experience surges through the chorus, expressing the genuine emotion of what it means to be young and sick. “Once we had that one done it was the trigger for the rest of the songs,” Nat says. “We knew it was something unique and what we should be doing. Everything else just fell in line around that song.”

The duo wrote and demoed the album initially in 2012, at that point unclear whether it would actually see the light of day. They sometimes thought about ending the band and moving on, overcome by the roadblocks in their path. But hope prevailed, mostly because it felt important to see the album through. The musicians were compelled to share this music and refused to be haunted by the idea of “what if.” After several more tours throughout 2013, in North America  with River Boat Gamblers, Swingin’ Utters and Face To Face, Blacklist Royals found a new record label to call home. Rob and Nat flew to Los Angeles in early 2014 to finally record Die Young With Me with producer Ted Hutt (The Bouncing Souls, Gaslight Anthem, Lucero). 

The resulting 11-track album reflects that sense of honesty. Rob and Nat, who shared the responsibility of writing the lyrics, recount their experiences and those of the people around them, capturing the anxiety and tragedy and overwhelming hope involved with any life struggle. It’s about wanting to give up but refusing to ever quit in the face of an obstacle. The music itself is infused with a bluesy undertone, refracting the melancholy themes through musical highs and lows that defy genre categorization. All of the musicians’ inspirations converge in the songs: “Out In The Dark” has a surging Americana tone while the rollicking “Hearts On Fire” is a blood-pumping, dirt-rubbed rocker and “Missing Something” embraces an introspective folk sound. On the other end of the spectrum, “26 and Gone” draws back the instrumentation to sparse indie rock ambience, allowing the song’s mournful lyrics to stand out. Ultimately, the connection between Rob and Nat underscores the music itself. 

“The songs were written about a struggle I went through and it was a whole other struggle to even make the record happen,” Rob says. “We went through so much and went broke and it seemed bleak, but we kept pushing through. It was the two of us with these songs so once we finished it was a real relief. We felt like we had summed up a chapter in our lives and now we can move on to the next one.”

Band Members