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Rocking with R5

Kidsday reporters (l) Morgan Dempsy, Julianna Nolan, Kate

Kidsday reporters (l) Morgan Dempsy, Julianna Nolan, Kate Aristizabal and Shaelyn Zumpol; all from Canaan Elementary School in Patchogue. They are with the group R5 (l) Riker, Rydel, Ratliff, Ross and Rocky at Planet Hollywood in Manhattan. (Sept. 2, 2013) Credit: Newsday / Pat Mullooly

We met Rydel Lynch, her brothers Ross, Rocky and Riker and their friend Ellington Ratliff -- the five members of R5, one of our favorite music groups, at the Buca di Beppo restaurant in Manhattan recently. Ross also appears in the Disney show "Austin & Ally." R5 just released its latest album, "Louder."

Do you always get along as band?

Rydel: As best friends and family, yes.

Ross: We always got along, but we have different taste in music . . . We have different ideas. Sometimes, you just have to roll it down and majority vote to decide like what we want to do with the music.

Riker: The short answer to your question is we genuinely just love being around each other, and we have a great time together. We hang out and do everything together, and we just have hardly any arguments.


How often do you guys practice like a band?

Rydel: Every day usually, except for weekends.

Rocky: As much as possible. A lot of times, Ross would be off acting, and we'd kind of like be rehearsing, and then he'll come after he's filming and then run through the set a couple of times.


What has been the hardest part of your career so far?

Riker: Waking up this morning! [We had an early morning interview with the band.]

Rydel: Actually, it wasn't so bad. I was kind of anxious.

Rocky: It's so hard for me to wake up in the morning for some reason; I can't do it.

Ross: The hardest part of our career is probably time management. Because it's just we're always like on red-eye flights, no sleep, just like all the time.

Riker: But we love it.

Ross: Yes, that's the best part of the gig.

Ratliff: I wouldn't want to do anything else.


Will R5 ever do a guest appearance on "Austin & Ally"?

Riker: Maybe in another situation like maybe in a movie or something like that. It's tough because they already established Austin's family on the show.

Ross: I think it would be cool, but it probably wouldn't be very good for the band's sake -- like if they made us mean, like Austin's rivals. It would be fun if I got to play Ross and Austin.

Rydel: We could like be competing against Austin.


How did you decide to start the band?

Riker: We were performing at a really young age in our basement, with just like family and friends. I would watch like Michael Jackson or Elvis, or even like 'N Sync. I'd learn all the dances moves and get these guys to learn it with me, and I would teach them. And then eventually that just kind of evolved into like us wanting to just to perform more. We started out like dancing, taking singing lessons and being like in school plays. And then we moved out to California, and Rocky decided to teach himself to play guitar. We would just air guitar in the basement in Colorado, but then when we moved, he was like, "I'm going to actually try this." And so he showed Ross the basics.

Ross: He showed us like the G chord and D chord.

Rocky: I taught them how to play guitar. Especially Ross.

Riker: And Ratliff played drums.

Ratliff: And then we jammed, and now we're a band five years later.


What is the hardest part about being on tour for each of you?

Riker: The hardest part for me is, I have a very, very comfy bed in my house, and so the bunk on tour, like on the tour bus, my bunk is pretty nice, but I miss my bed sometimes. My bed is really comfortable. And we don't get to shower too much. It weirds me out if I don't shower before bed.

Ratliff: Especially after a show, because you're kind of sweaty.

Ross: I think the hardest thing for me is like conserving my vocal cords. Because after so many shows, your voice just gets tired. It's like a muscle. It can get like worn out. A lot of times, people catch me not talking and they go, "What's wrong with Ross?" I'm just resting. But over like all these tours, I can tell that there's a noticeable difference in the strength of my vocal cords. It gets stronger and stronger.


Do your songs relate to your personal life?

Riker: A little bit, yeah. Definitely -- especially when you're trying to write an emotional song. You always kind of have to pull from something that has happened to you or something you can imagine what it would feel like. Like a song that's out there called "Always" is very personal to me when we wrote it . . . Each song is like a little piece of one of us.

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