White Reaper Take Their Good Times Seriously on 'You Deserve Love'

Photo: Grace Lillash

BY Matt YuyitungPublished Oct 18, 2019

When asked where White Reaper are as a band in 2019, frontman Tony Esposito keeps it pretty literal. "We're all in the van together, on a highway in Pennsylvania. We're on our way to open up a show tonight for the Killers. I just feel that really gives you a great grasp of where we are as a band right now — spending a lot of time on tour in the van, playing crazy shows that we would have never in a million years dreamed we would have played."
This isn't the Louisville, KY rock band's first time playing with the Killers, but regardless, Esposito says he is "absolutely stoked" to see them play again. Judging from Esposito's demeanour, it's also a fairly safe bet that this excitement carries over to their new record, You Deserve Love.
You Deserve Love is a conservative title for a band whose previous efforts have been adorned with loftier monikers: White Reaper Does It Again and The World's Best American Band. "In the past, our record titles have been kind of like jokes, you know?" Esposito explains. "It's always the last thing we think about, we always just think about the songs. We never really put a whole lot of thought behind the album title."
The band chose the title as bassist Sam Wilkerson was reading out possible album names from a list on his phone, and the entire band stopped him at You Deserve Love. "I think it's cool, because it's true for everybody. I think it's what everybody needs to hear.
"When Sam first said You Deserve Love, it just felt cool to everyone else, because it wasn't some stupid joke people were going to bother us about for years to come."
Esposito admits that the band was "this close" to selecting another joke title; contenders included "Music for People Who Like Us." And that fun, lighthearted side is still very much front and centre for the band, and is something they consider very important.
"I hope that people can listen to our record and think about how much fun the music is, and they can ignore something that's bogging them down for 30 minutes," Esposito adds.
Serious or not, Esposito has a specific idea of what kind of songs he wants White Reaper to be making: a "gigantic sing-along chorus"; verses that are a "total earworm"; there should be a "crazy solo," along with a drum pattern that's "a little more groovy than White Reaper standards. I know this all seems very vague, but I can hear it in my head, and it sounds awesome," Esposito says.
Before those new tunes come to life, White Reaper have a tour to focus on. "This is what we've been waiting for all year."
White Reaper will be performing at the Horseshoe in Toronto on November 8. You Deserve Love is out now on Elektra Records.

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