By Rick Florino

As far as modern rock ‘n’ roll goes, there’s one band that has everybody talking. That’s Middle Class Rut. Not only have they become critical darlings, but they’ve become a favorite amongst their peers. Ivan Moody of Five Finger Death Punch has cited them as “one of my favorite bands right now.” When they play a festival, the side of the stage always resembles a hard rock “who’s who.” Why is that you may ask? It’s because they kick some serious ass with a sound that’s as fiery as it is fresh. It’s down and dirty, but there’s no lack of melody. Every song packs a real punch.

Middle Class Rut just unleashed their latest salvo Pick Up Your Head, and they’ll be touring on the Rockstar Energy UPROAR Festival all summer. UPROAR’s Rick Florino chatted with singer and guitarist Zack Lopez in this exclusive interview about the fest and so much more…

What attracted you to the Rockstar Energy UPROAR Festival?
It was more or less the bill. We like doing festivals because it’s so fucking consistent. If you lock into a crowd that’s really into your style of music, it’s a good place for any kind of band, especially on the cusp of releasing a record. When the idea was first brought to us, I was like, “Fuck no, that’s not really our style.” However, the bill is drastically different than it has been in the past few years. It seemed to make way more sense. There’s [original] alternative like Alice In Chains and Jane’s Addiction. Then, there’s also newer and more progressive alternative like Coheed and Cambria and Circa Survive. I feel like everybody has their own little niche in the bill. I feel like it’s one of the few festivals where people to like to go and hear really heavy rock music—but not metal. It feels like heavy rock is getting shoved out in the mainstream. We’re hoping the crowd is into what we’re doing.

Who are you most excited to see?
We’ve pretty much toured and played with all of those bands before. It’s more or less the fact that it’s familiar that makes exciting.

How do you pick what you’re going to play?
We start out doing whatever the fuck we want. Then, we go, “Shit, in this part this didn’t work” or “In this part, that did work.” When you’re playing for a super heavy crowd, that’s almost easy. We’re so used to doing that. You can just bash away. Even with a 30-minute set, it’s a small taste. It allows you to do whatever you want. Obviously, we’ll always play one or two songs that will make people who have no idea who we are perk up. They’ll hear “New Low” and go, “Oh, that’s you guys?”

What song sets the crowd off?
“Busy Bein’ Born” always does. That one has been around forever, but it feels exciting to play every night because people get excited to hear it. “New Low” is more midtempo. I think “Busy Bein’ Born” is more the style of this band.

What have you been listening to?
We listen to music on tour here and there. The last new thing that caught my ear was when I started hearing Alt-J a few months ago. That tripped me out. I didn’t know what the fuck I was listening to. That’s the latest band I’ve been diving into. I’m a terrible music listener other than that. I’ll stare out the window for six hours with nothing on. I don’t have an iPod, an iPad, or anything. I’m really bad at it. The only time I really listen to music is when I’m at home and I can hang out in my garage. It’s the same CDs I’ve been pulling from for the past 15 years.

What’s next for you?
We’re just finishing up this headline tour. We go home for three weeks, and then we start UPROAR. We’re looking forward to it.