RTZ, deemed "Cheap Trick's secret weapon" (Rolling Stone) in his early 20s, unveils dreamy indie debut

Article Contributed by Shore Fire Media | Published on Sunday, February 19, 2023

RTZ has announced ‘The Distance’ today (out April 21), a debut album from the jack-of-all-trades musician who’s perhaps best-known for joining Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees Cheap Trick as a touring member while still just in his early 20s. Even more remarkable is that RTZ plays every instrument in the band, rotating effortlessly between Cheap Trick’s lead guitar, bass and drum duties as needed. On ‘The Distance,’ RTZ shows his songwriting and production chops are just as masterful as his playing - sharing a collection of eleven songs that serve as the culmination of his musical life to date. He’s still in his 20s, but most of these songs are nearly a decade in the making - evolving and growing right beside him from one stage of life to the next. Already included on lists of the “Most Anticipated Albums of 2023” by Stereogum and Ultimate Classic Rock, ‘The Distance’ finds RTZ once again playing each of the core instruments while teaming with mentor and legendary producer Jack Douglas - whose credits include John Lennon, Aerosmith, The New York Dolls and Patti Smith - for the first-ever release on Douglas’ newly-formed Confidential Records.

Listen to lead single “High N Low” here, and watch an accompanying performance video of RTZ backed by his five-piece band here: https://youtu.be/99TPGUGQcHo

Pre-order The Distance here: https://linktr.ee/rtzmusic

“The original date that I wrote this was January 2015, but it had never been released,” explains RTZ. “The production is entirely inspired by the music of The Beach Boys, The Beatles and the Bee Gees, it's a tip of the hat to them. Their vocals and harmonies are why I sing and write music. It's a little pop, a little British, a little Beatlesesque. We worked hard on the overdubs, singing the same line four times to make one big sound. It's about people passing from unfortunate events that could have been avoided. How we deal with death and how it depends on the person. Some drink to ease the hurt, some turn to another for a distraction. It's a reassuring song. 'It's not going to be like this forever.' It's something I think about a lot when something tough is happening.”

Recorded in Catskill, New York by co-producer Kenny Siegal (Neko Case, Langhorne Slim), ‘The Distance’ features contributions from many members of the Woodstock music community nearby - including new wave legend Wreckless Eric, harpist Mikaela Davis (who also provides backing vocals) and a horn section led by Jay Collins of Levon Helm’s Midnight Ramble Band, alongside the region’s next generation of players. The album draws from his love of vintage and contemporary music alike - artists like T. Rex and Harry Nilsson, alongside Cate Le Bon and Melody’s Echo Chamber - but is defined by RTZ cementing his own sound within those vast inspirations. Alongside his live shows with Cheap Trick, RTZ will tour with his own band across the United States this spring - a full list of dates will come soon.

RTZ - The Distance

What Am I To Do

The Distance


All Our Troubles

High N Low

Down and Out

Ize On The Prize

Time In Need

In Front Of Me

Golden Rule

Seize The Day