The Color Morale: Be The Change
The Color Morale vocalist, self-appointed merch dude and general beacon of positivity Garrett Rapp explains what it means to lead by example.
Having caught Garrett Rapp on his first day off after an exhausting support jaunt on We Came As Romans’ Tracing Back Roots Tour, we couldn’t resist the opportunity for a cheesy segue into talking about the band’s own ‘roots’.
“We had had bands before, but when we started The Color Morale we re-evaluated what we wanted to accomplish as a band and what we wanted the message to be,” explains Rapp. “The Color Morale kind of became a mission statement – adding colour to your everyday morals. But we only kind of found our own sound that we were comfortable with while doing our third record, Know Hope.”
Most obvious in this newfound sound is the evolution in Rapp’s own vocals, which took a veritable quantum leap between 2011’s My Devil In Your Eyes and the definitive Know Hope, released earlier this year. You’d be forgiven for thinking you were hearing a different man entirely – and it’s no accident.
“It was something I decided after listening to the first two records for a long enough time to process them personally. I didn’t believe what I was saying,” recalls the self-critical Rapp. “The words were there but I didn’t like the vocal delivery, it didn’t come across as honest to me and I didn’t feel anything.”
Rapp speaks with the kind of uncontrived sincerity that is both engaging and refreshing to hear. Tired of the gimmicks and entitled egos, he asks not what his fans can do for him, but what he can do for his fans. From tweeting photos of free tickets hidden near their venues for fans to find, to performing intimate acoustic sets for those stoic enough to wait by their tour van, The Color Morale have been finding ways to give, and give again, to those that they feel need it most.
“I think our music caters to a very young and detrimental generation that needs some positive reinforcement. That’s what I needed when I was that age, but I didn’t have anything giving it to me. But now I’ve found this platform through the band to influence some things and inspire some things.”
This ‘platform’ he speaks of isn’t just a literal concert stage – on recent tours, Rapp has taken on the role of The Color Morale’s merch guy. It’s this, he says, that gives him the same hope he aims to instill in the band’s fans, while making himself as “obtainable” as possible.
“Just being behind that table and seeing kids who say that our music or my lyrics saved their life gives me a reason do something that excludes myself. I want to be the band that changes things this year. I’ve given my entire life to making this band grow and taking every one of those kids along the way. I want to show that I give a fuck in the no-fucks-given generation.”
A quick browse through the band’s Facebook photos shows that they’ve been getting what they’ve given. Hundreds upon hundreds of TCM tattoos have been submitted by what may be one of the fastest-growing and most dedicated fanbases in their scene – including many originating from our own shores, where the band will be making their first appearance early next year.
“I don’t think a day goes by that I don’t get tweeted by people asking me to write ‘Know Hope’ in my handwriting for a tattoo. It’s very rewarding knowing we’re reaching so many kids, and not in a gimmick fashion, but in a really authentic, fucking awesome fashion! I’m so excited to come to Australia because for years now there have been kids in Australia getting our words on their skin, and they’ve never even seen our band play!”