Siblings Riker, Rydel, Rocky and Ross Lynch, along with their bestie Ratliff, are the five R’s of R5. However, there’s another “R” to ponder: “Ready.” Though young, these seasoned musicians have been playing for years, honing their artistry as songwriters and performers. Now, newly signed to Hollywood Records and with a 2012 spring tour underway, R5 is ready to shock the world with their unique take on power pop.
“We just want to go out there and give everybody the time of their lives,” says Riker, 20, the band’s bass player and elder statesman. “We have a party on stage.”
That party’s going wide, as R5 embarks on its first extensive West Coast tour. The band touches down in most major Western cities, from San Diego to Seattle, and is eager to meet new fans. “The more you play together, you get a lot tighter,” says Rocky, the band’s lead guitarist. “By the last show, we’re going to be sparkling.”
Some would say R5 is already sparkling brightly. For starters, Riker and Ross have blown up big on television, with Riker a frequent guest star on “Glee,” and Ross the star of the Disney Channel Original series, “Austin & Ally,” and the band’s lead vocalist.
Even before that, R5 had built a national following thanks to frequent live performances in Southern California, as well as an eye-catching website packed with music and original videos. Each member is a virtuoso instrumentalist, and all write music, especially Rocky and Riker, who serves as chief songwriters. “I always try to pull lyrically from something I’m feeling at the moment,” Riker says. “All the songs to some extent are about something I went through.”
The R5 story begins nearly 20 years ago in Littleton, Colo., the Denver suburb the Lynchs called their hometown. Riker got the ball rolling when he showed a knack for singing and performing early on. With the music of Elvis, the Beatles and the Rolling Stones serving as inspiration in the background, Riker and his siblings started taking music seriously.
“When we were really little, we’d do an air guitar show in the basement,” remembers Rocky. “We charged family members a dollar to watch us. Then Riker would teach us new songs, and we’d do them all around the house.”
Once the Lynch group set on a show business career, the family moved to Los Angeles in 2007 to make it happen. They found success quickly, breaking into high profile acting, dance and commercial opportunities.
Though the four eldest Lynch siblings had their musical act down, there was something missing: a drummer. That’s when they turned to their friend, Burbank native Ellington Ratliff, an experienced dancer, actor and, most importantly, musician. “Being an only child, the Lynchs are kind of my second family,” Ratliff says. “I get the best of both worlds: my own family and then this huge family.” (Shouts Ross from the other room: “We make him clean our house”).
One explanation for R5’s success is closeness among the group members. Each has a unique personality, musically and otherwise, yet they mesh well. “Rydel is the giggly innocent,” says Ross of his sister. “All the fans love her, and the girls look up at her so much. Yet she’s also one of the boys, always playing sports with us.” Says Rocky of Ross (who sings most R5 lead vocals), “He’s good at everything, and he knows it. He’s the most confident kid.”
All agree Riker is the “captain of the ship,” with Ratliff the funny one and Rocky the best composer of the group. As the only girl in the group. Rydel, who plays keyboards for R5, says she’s having the time of her life. “Ratliff and my brothers are the best,” she says, adding with a laugh, “but I usually get my way.”
In between tour dates, R5 is busy writing songs for their Hollywood Records debut album. Once that drops, and the band heads out for a national tour, there’s no stopping them. Says Riker, “We’re 100 percent open to any opportunity.”
It’s a good thing, too, because once music fans sample the endless summer that is R5, opportunity will come knocking.