Natalya gets pumped for the Bash with American Bang
In the latest Superstar to Superstar, SmackDown Diva Natalya talks to Jaren Johnston, lead vocalist and guitarist of American Bang. The Nashville, Tenn., band's single, "Move to the Music," is the official theme song of The Great American Bash. This Sunday at the Bash, Natalya will take on Michelle McCool in the first-ever Divas Championship match, live and only on pay-per-view.
Natalya: Hi Jaren, this is Natalya.
Jaren: How are you?
Natalya: I'm great. I'm so excited to be doing this!
Jaren: I saw you on TV the other day. I think you kicked the crap out of the other Diva.
Natalya: (laughs) That's usually what I do best. It's good too see that you're watching SmackDown and watching the Divas in action.
Jaren: I had to get caught up when they told us we were doing The Great American Bash theme song. We all grew up with WWE.
Natalya: Do you remember the Hart Foundation?
Jaren: Yeah, yeah.
Natalya: My dad is Jim Neidhart. My uncle is Bret Hart.
Jaren: Oh, really? That's cool. I probably still have their action figures.
Natalya: That's awesome. I was reading up on you guys, and you sound like a band that would be playing at a wrestling show. You guys totally embody what WWE represents.
Jaren: Our whole thing is just rock ‘n' roll.
Natalya: I love that. Absolutely. It's kind of edgy and I like how you guys kind of wear your heart on your sleeve. You're open and honest about your feelings and what draws inspiration for you guys. And your song "Move to the Music" is the official theme song for WWE's Great American Bash. Tell me a little bit about the song.
Jaren: The song is actually really old. We all grew up together and I started writing different sounding stuff that was kind of like old T-Rex meets Sex Pistols rock ‘n' roll. That was one of the first ones I wrote and all the guys liked it. That's actually how we got signed to a record deal -- we played that song at a showcase and they signed us that day. I wanted to write an old, boogie-woogie type, fast rock ‘n' roll song.
Natalya: That's cool. I like the fact that you said you grew up together. A lot of times, the best work we do -- whether it's music or what we do in the ring as Divas or Superstars -- a lot of it's drawn from relationships and bonds, that trust you have with people. The fact that you have that rapport with your bandmates, growing up with them, it probably brings out the best in your music and makes the song more authentic.
Jaren: Oh yeah, it's about as real as it gets with us. You have four guys on the road together constantly. We know our weaknesses, we know our strengths and we know when to leave each other alone, most importantly. I can always tell when Kelby, our bass player, is hungry because he's mad! (laughs)
Natalya: Exactly. When we Divas are hungry, trust me, we get pretty edgy. (laughs) It's funny because some of my oldest, trademark moves are my best. I'll have done them like five years ago and I'll say, you know what, I'll try that one again and it'll just click.
Jaren: You've got to pull it back into the routine, man.
Natalya: So why is "Move to the Music" a good fit for WWE and The Great American Bash?
Jaren: I actually asked that, as well, when they were talking about what song they were going to use. I think it's just that high-energy thing. It's got that skip-hop beat and it gets people pumped up. The chorus is, "If you want to bump it, bump it loud." It's basically just about joining the crowd and having a good time.
Natalya: Music is inspiring. Music makes you move. Music gets you in the zone. When I walk out on that ramp on SmackDown, I have to be in the zone, and music moves me. It will be my first singles match on a pay-per-view at The Great American Bash, and it will be for the Divas Championship. I'm excited to have your music -- "Move to the Music" -- inspire me for the pay-per-view.
What does your partnership with WWE mean to the band?
Jaren: We're so stoked about it because we all grew up watching it. I was born in 1980, and Hulk Hogan was every kid's idol when they were my age. I grew up such a huge fan. Getting to have a partnership with a company you grew up with -- it's a pretty big deal for us.
Natalya: I think it's such a huge opportunity for your band, American Bang, to touch people on such a worldwide level because WWE touches more than 130 countries. We've gone global. We've taken over the world.
Jaren: What you guys do and what we do is very similar. You tour the world and try to reach out and touch as many fans as you can. Your fans are what make it work for both of us. Without the fans, it doesn't work at all. It's kind of neat to be able to be involved with a company and a group of people who travel and do the same things we do, and have the same kinds of goals.
Natalya: Absolutely. As far as American Bang, what's next for you guys? Do you have an upcoming fall tour?
Jaren: Yeah. We were all born and raised in Nashville, Tenn. We are finishing the record here right now and we leave Aug. 5. We'll be out most of the fall. It's a big radio tour we're doing with 3 Doors Down.
Natayla: Now, as far as a full-length album, what can we expect?
Jaren: It's going to be our first major release. It's our first record with Warner Bros. It's something we've been working on for the last 3Ã‚Â½ years. The writing's changed a little bit -- it goes in different directions because I get influenced by other things. We're trying to take it back to that garage rock era -- early Aerosmith and stuff like that -- when rock ‘n' roll was real sounding. We're trying to bring that old rock ‘n' roll back to radio.
Natalya: Having an authentic and original vibe or feel, I don't want to say it's missing now in rock ‘n' roll. But I think it's good to bring it back. What's old is new.
Jaren: Bring it around full circle.
Natalya: Absolutely. So if you were to have one message for WWE fans who heard "Move to the Music," what would it be?
Jaren: If you're going to go, go big. Go hard and go loud, and do it as hard as you can until you drop. That's the main thing. If you're going to do something, do it as hard as you can and do it as best as you can. And get crazy with it!
Natalya: I was reading about one of your songs -- "Good as Gold." I think that should be my theme song because naturally, being a third-generation Diva, I do look best in gold.
Jaren: You've got to hear it. It's a hip little song.
Natalya: Maybe I'll embrace that song as my theme song before my Divas Championship match.
Jaren: Nice! Don't hurt her too bad.
Natayla: Naturally, being third-generation, I'm going to do what's best for me and that's going to be winning. One last question -- which Superstar or Diva in WWE really embodies the messages behind your music.
Jaren: I really like CM Punk. But can we go past and present? We were always such fans of the Road Warriors. They were my favorite because they came out in those big, spiked shoulder pads and every kid in the audience was scared!
Natalya: Both Punk and the Road Warriors are similar to American Bang because they're authentic, they're original and they march to the beat of their own drum. If you like them, if you hate them, they are just themselves. People ultimately embrace them because they're unique.
Jaren: The Road Warriors -- it was like don't mess with these guys. I bet those guys walked around like that in the street!
Natalya: Absolutely. My dad was very good friends with Road Warrior Hawk. He could probably go toe-to-toe with my dad for being wild and crazy. There's no other way -- it's your way or the highway.
Jaren: That's the message we try to keep, too. With the music business getting crazy like it is, you've got to do your own thing, otherwise you'll get lost in the mix of people telling you what to do. We try to do our own thing.
Natalya: I totally agree. I wrestle with a bunch of skinny-minny, Barbie doll-type Divas. Obviously, I have a different physique than them. I'm built very much like an athlete. For a long time, I used to get the feeling in my head that maybe I'm not skinny enough, or maybe I'm not pretty enough. But now, I embrace my inner Diva and I can go out there and kick butt and take names. If people don't like that, it's too bad.
Jaren: I think you're in the right sport to kick butt and take names -- I don't think you have to worry about that!
Natalya: Absolutely. Well, Jaren, it was so nice talking to you. I really hope I get a chance to meet you soon.
Jaren: Yeah, I'm sure we will. We're going to be around. I appreciate you taking time out of your day to talk to me.
Natalya: Thank you so much, Jaren. I'm going to make sure I get "Good as Gold" into my iPod and rock to that on the treadmill.
Jaren: Right on. Good luck at The Great American Bash!
Natalya: Thank you so much!