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EXCLUSIVE COVER STORY: Sometime Last Night with R5


EXCLUSIVE COVER STORY: Sometime Last Night with R5

Ross, Rocky, Riker, Rydel & Ellington Tell All


Tomorrow night, R5 will take the stage at Espaco das Americas in Sao Paulo, Brazil, a theatre that holds 8,400 people. The venue is a little different from The Terrace Club, where the band had their first performance ever.  “It’s your classic first show story,” laughs Ellington. “It was a sushi bar by day and dance club at night. It was gritty, man! There were holes in the bathroom stalls. There were like five people in the audience. But it was exciting for us. We didn’t know any different because it was our first time really doing anything like that.”

And it certainly wouldn’t be their last. After that first show, Mark Lynch began booking shows all over California. “We played anywhere they would let us play,” says Rocky. While most of their industry peers were discovered on reality competition shows or after posting videos on social media, R5 took the old-school route, playing hundreds of concerts before landing their record deal. “We gigged a lot,” says Ellington. “There were times where you’d be like, are you kidding? We just played! Mark was really good at just constantly booking shows.”

And while the scale of R5’s concerts has changed dramatically over the years, the band members themselves have not. A typical night out with R5 doesn’t include bottle service at Hollywood hotspots or camera time with TMZ. “We honestly could care less about those kinds of atmospheres,” says Rocky. But what about their recent trip to Vegas, where they celebrated his 21st birthday? “That’s exactly what it was,” he laughs. “But that nightclub atmosphere doesn’t do it for us. We’re not really about that. We ended up just hanging out in our room most of the time – someone had an acoustic guitar and I played until the sun started rising.”

Ellington, Ross, Riker and Rydel all echo Rocky’s sentiments. When asked to describe one of his best nights ever, Ross’ response is not one you might expect from someone with multiple Teen Choice Awards. “Ratliff and I randomly walked into an oyster bar,” he says. “We met all sorts of friendly people and it was just an awesome environment. It was so unexpected.”

The band also enjoyed some unexpected nights while on tour in Europe. “We would just walk around and bolt into the first place we would see,” says Ross. “We stumbled upon some pretty interesting places!”

As for their final destination on a night out, “Late night food is awesome,” laughs Riker, who says the band’s go-to stop is In N Out. But if you’re lucky, you may just find yourself with a home-cooked meal from the band. “Sometimes we’ll get back to the house and cook the best quesadillas,” he adds. “We make a mixture of salsa and sour cream, and then you butter the tortillas before you fry them. Amazing.”

The fact that they lead relatively normal lives when they’re not onstage is what will continue to drive and inspire R5’s music. “There’s almost a disconnect between my real life and my rock star life in a way,” says Ross. “A lot of performers say how do I write a song that’s supposed to relate to people when no one relates to my life really? But I’m pretty good at just being human.” And the same can be said for the rest of the band. “It’s much more about the journey than the destination,” adds Riker. Whether they’re cooking quesadillas together, meeting the locals at a dive bar in Germany, or performing for 8,400 people in Brazil, Ross says that the band makes every night one to remember. “As long as all of us were there to laugh about it, and we were all there together, the experience was awesome, no matter where we were.” 


Photographer: Joe Magnani

Story by: Colleen Broomall

Hair: Matilde Campos

Styling: Robiat Balogun

Grooming: Joseph Adivari


Ross’ Cover Story

Rydel’s Cover Story

Riker’s Cover Story

Ellington’s Cover Story

Rocky’s Cover Story

Rydellington Cover Story

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