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Articles Home » Interviews » Rock, Rob - 2001 The Rage Of Creation Interview
 
Rock, Rob - 2001 The Rage Of Creation Interview
INTERVIEW: Rock, Rob (Jun 2001)
Sharing some of his creative rage is Florida resident Rob Rock.

This is the 'In The Spotlight' page. This time we feature the hard rockin' vocalist Rob Rock, riding on the back of his successful debut solo album 'Rage Of Creation'. Rob has featured with many bands in the past, as well as a lengthy stay with guitar virtuoso Chris Impelliteri. GLORY-DAZE's Lugi Cisaria invites Rob over for a brief catch up on events since the release of the album, and other past histories. (June 2001)

Hi Rob, it is a real privilege to welcome you to Heart Of The Rock. Thanks for giving us your time. The response to 'Rage of Creation' has been extremely positive so far. Have you had any feedback as to how it's been received out there in the wider media?
Yes, It's been absolutely great! Europe has embraced the album with open arms giving it top ratings and several 'album of the month' spotlights and even centerfold spreads. I'm very happy with the response worldwide and couldn't have asked for better press reaction. Asia and Brazil have supported it very well and you know the US press has been pretty good too, especially on the internet.

To kick things off, you started out as a drummer. How did the transition to lead vocalist take place?
Well, I was singing all of the backing harmonies and some of the lead vocals as a drummer. The band I was in, Tangram, was a very vocal orientated band. We played all the popular rock music covers as well as originals and always used 3 part harmonies. We were playing over 300 shows a year then and I really grew as a singer and drummer. We did covers like Styx, Kansas, Boston, Foreigner and Asia, as well as AC/DC, and Van Halen. At one point the band decided I would be great out front and asked me to be the lead vocalist, so we got a new drummer and I started a new career as a singer. I had the support of the band, had shows already booked, and a built in audience, so I was very lucky and developed quickly. Shortly after I was comfortable up front, we started playing Dio, Ozzy, and more metal songs. I was a lead singer for 3 years when I left to do the M.A.R.S. Project Driver album.

Musically, who did you find inspiring when you were young?
When I was a teenager I was inspired vocally by Lou Gramm of Foreigner, Ronnie James Dio, and Robert Plant.

Lets go back a bit, perhaps the M.A.R.S Project Driver from 1986 for starters. A very daunting lineup of talented musicians on that one, MacAlpine, Aldridge, Sarzo plus yourself. Was this ever going to be a serious band thing, or more of a project as the album name suggests?
It was originally intended to be a serious band. Once we finished the album we started searching for a booking agent to find us a tour. During this process David Coverdale made Rudy and Tommy an offer they couldn't refuse and so they left the band for the Whitesnake 87 videos and tour and the rest is history.


MARS - Project Driver


In 1988 you got involved with Joshua Perahia. How did that come about? He's worked with some big name vocalists including the awesomely talented Jeff Fenholt.
I was bummed about the break up of MARS and was living in L.A. trying to decide what to do. During this time I helped my friend from back east, Chris Impellitteri write and record his demo as a guitar hero. I wanted a signed band situation so I was looking around and saw an ad for 'RCA recording artist Joshua'. I just sent him a cassette studio tape of MARS and my number on a piece of paper and he called me up.

What do you recall the most from those 'Intense Defence' sessions? (a great album by the way!)
I recall six months of hard labor!!! hahaha! It was a trying time for all of us. We ended up recording the album twice, first with Eddy Kramer (Zeppelin, Hendrix, etc), then with Frank Mono producing. I was really disappointed that Dieter Dierks did not produce it like he promised. We waited two whole years for him and his schedule never opened up. There was a lot of broken promises with that situation, including the promise to me of a major USA release on RCA.


Joshua - Intense Defense


Of course most of your time you've worked with Chris Impellitteri, and appeared on a number of albums. Has that involvement had any effect on your singing style at all?
I was the co-writer with Chris so I had a big stake in all of our albums together. We wrote the songs together, Chris assumed the producer roll and I did all the lead and backing vocals on nearly every album. I think there was a point where we were trying to make perfect records. We came the close with Screaming Symphony. I guess the effect was collaborating with Chris for so long. He is a perfectionist and I was right there with him. He would write the music and I would write the vocal melodies and lyrics. We'd always try to get it 'technically perfect' and not use fly-ins or cut and paste technology, we'd play or sing every single note on the record until we thought it was perfect. Now, my top priority is to get a great performance and vibe. That's the stuff I shoot for. All the rest just falls into place now and I don't worry about anything but a good song.






When the opportunity came to record 'Rage of Creation' you were still with Impellitteri. Apparently Chris didn't react too positively at first. What's the situation now?
Now everything is cool. We got past it. I've known Chris since my 1985 club days and we will always be friends. We're just two guys from the East Coast trying to make it to the top. Whether we do it together or not, we'll always be friends and always have a great history together professionally and personally.

With 'Rage Of Creation' being your first solo album, were there any apprehensions, perhaps more so than being involved with a band project?
There was at first. When you are putting your own name on the album and not a band name, the pressure has a tendency to grow. You are responsible for everything and there's not a group of guys there to be a part of and receive support from. I really trust my good friend Roy Z and working with him gave me the confidence I needed to make a great record.



Your work with Roy Z dates back to the Driver days. Were any of the tracks on 'Rage Of Creation' from that period?
Well, there was a lot of songs we wrote together back in the Driver days, so I went through them and picked a couple of the song ideas that I think stand the test of time. We had to re-work and re-write them and sometimes just used a chorus or riff that we had. I wanted great songs on the album so we picked the best songs we had from all of the brand new songs we wrote from scratch, and all the ones we reworked. 'Forever', 'One Way Out' and 'Never Too Late' come to mind as the ones we reworked.

Massacre Records seem to be promoting the album well. They've got some great artists on their roster so it must be reassuring to have them behind you.
They've been a blessing because they really put a priority on my release like they promised. I've done over 80 interviews for Europe alone and they came through with the tour as well. It's really nice to finally have the proper support from a record label outside of Japan.

Apart from yourself, Roy Z and Jake E Lee, the rest of the guys that played on the album are not that well known. Can you give us a little info on Reynold, Gregory and Ray.
Reynold was in the 89 version of Driver I had put together in L.A. with Roy Z. He was also with Joey Tafolla and Jag Panzer for a while. Gregory is the singer for Roy's band, 'Tribe of Gypsies' and Ray was in an L.A. band called 'Life After Death' and he's a good friend of Roy's and Joe Floyd who engineered the album.

You did a tour with your pal Axel Rudi Pell earlier this year. How did that go?
The tour was great!!! The bands and crew were fabulous and the audience was so responsive to me I was deeply touched. It was like returning home, although I never toured there before. Axel was great and it was nice to renew our friendship hanging out on the road together.

Did you get a chance to perform any Nasty Reputation tunes?
I wish! That would have been so cool! But, Axel and his band had rehearsal constrictions so it never came about.

You have also been involved with Tobias Sammat's 'Avantasia - Metal Opera'. Where do you know Tobias from?
I know him from his band Edguy. I actually did some backing vocals with him for his new upcoming Edguy album while I was on tour in Germany. Originally though, I didn't know him personally. He had sent me an email, asking me to participate on his solo album. He sent me some recordings and Edguy albums. I loved them and knew Avantasia would be a great album so I agreed to help him out. I guess he knew me by reputation and I think some of the other players on the album knew of me as well and suggested me.

I understand that you did your vocals for Avantasia separately in Florida. What was the process involved? Was it difficult?
Actually it was so easy it was scary. All I did was sing the parts on an ADAT direct to tape with a SM58 microphone! I sent him the master and it got lost in the mail! Fortunately, I made a back up on a dat tape and I ended up sending that. They flew in the vocal, mixed it and that was that. Great job you guys!!! I was kind of worried because there would be other great singers on this album, singing in a proper studio with great vocal mics and here I was singing on a basic cheap mic with out a real studio. But I trusted them and they came through in the end. I think it's a great album and they did a great job mixing the vocal tracks.

There are a number of other great vocalists on that album. Were you familiar with any of them before your involvement?
No, not on a personal level. I've heard of a few but never met them.

Will you be part of 'Metal Opera Part II'?
Yes, I recorded parts to four songs and only two appeared on part one.

Since you are on the frontline, how do you see the Metal scene as it is now?
I see a lot of interest in metal. Europe is great, Asia is too and the US is growing, although I'd say it's still 'underground' at this point. We see a lot of fans who love it and I think the internet has actually helped peak interest in a lot of music fans who are sick of the current popular scene.

Have you done any singing or musical work outside of the Metal genre, possibly with other Christian artists?
No. But eventually I will. I have songs and ideas, I just need to find the right time and situation to put it together. I plan on doing it someday. There is another side of my voice to explore. You can hear it in the ballads like the 'Rage of Creation', the Japan Bonus track 'Beautiful Lady' and Impellitteri's 'Paradise' and 'Cross to Bear' songs.

Your website, www.robrock.com, is excellent. How important is the internet for you as a musician?
Right now it's very important. I spend a lot of time talking with fans and keeping in touch with a lot of people in the business. I've sold a ton of CD's on the internet too. It's a place where the fans can get one step closer and I think it's great. My website serves as an information center for my music career. My wife is a website designer so I'm very lucky to have her doing my webpage.

What would you regard as being the most satisfying moments of your career so far?
I think that would be the great and positive response I've received from the fans, the press and the industry concerning my first solo album Rage of Creation. I couldn't have asked for better press in Europe and I was thrilled to finally have the chance to go there and tour and present myself to the fans in concert.

You've been belting out metal anthems for years now. How do you keep your voice in top shape?
I give credit to God. The voice is really a unique instrument and a gift. I'm glad it keeps getting stronger as time goes on. I take care of myself physically and I keep aware of my voice and treat it right. I try to avoid anything that may harm it and I don't take it for granted.

Just a bit of a trivia question - are you any relation to Bobby Rock (drummer for Nelson, Vinnie Vincent)?
NO. But I did meet him once and asked him why he was borrowing my name! Never met Bob Rock the producer yet. Wouldn't that be a trip? Bob Rock producing Rob Rock on vocals and Bobby Rock on drums for the same album?

A slightly loaded question coming up - you have worked with many talented guitarists over the years. Who would you rate as being a) your favourite; b) the most technically gifted.
Let's see.. I'd say it's a very loaded question! Every guitarist I know has been great in his own right. It's hard for me to 'rate' them because I know these guys personally and I also write songs with them so I'm sure I see them differently then the average listener. Let me just comment on my top three. Roy Z is my favourite because he is the most versatile. He plays with a lot of soul, shoots from the hip and has the ability to write songs around a vocal lyric and melody line better than anyone else I know. He is really a great song-man and for a vocalist, it is the best collaboration situation. Tony MacAlpine is the most schooled technically and is a virtuoso on both the guitar and the piano. And I'd say that Chris Impellitteri is the most focused at the speed/shredder genre as he does one thing and does it extremely well. They are all great people and world class musicians and I'm proud to have been able to work with all of these guys and record albums with them.

A couple of nights ago you had a gig with the brilliant Kamelot. What a great lineup. Can you give us a rundown on the evening?
It was a great line-up! The sound and lights were really good and I think all the bands were happy with their performances. The club was set up in such a way that there was a lot of great seating with a good view. The stage was a good size and high off the ground so it added to the concert atmosphere. 'Sector 9' opened the show and did a killer 30 minute set. Wade Black was screaming away with the Crimson Glory songs and the band were good and tight. When 'Rob Rock' hit the stage, it was like we were back in Europe because the crowd was very responsive and we had a great night. 55 minutes didn't seem long enough but it definitely left them begging for more. When Kamelot came on, it was very cool with the intro samples and the stage props of fire blazing in the dark. The band's sound was very smooth and polished and they sounded great. All in all it was a great time and we had fun meeting the bands and all the metal heads in Tampa. Tampa Rocks! We were signing CD's and autographs all night and I received a lot of email the next day from new fans that heard us that night for the first time and from some die-hards who flew in from Texas, Michigan and Atlanta to finally see Rob Rock 'live'. I look forward to playing in Tampa again soon.

I'm sure everyone will want to know when can we expect the next Rob Rock album?
Well, I'm starting to write some new songs now and I am preparing to go into the studio sometime this summer. Depending on everyone's schedules, I guess that the new album will be out around the end of the year or early 2001.

Thank you to Rob for sharing some his time, thoughts and words. May he enjoy continued success.

Check out Rob Rocks' website over at: www.robrock.com

Related Articles:

Rock, Rob - 2000 Rage Of Creation


Rock, Rob - The Rage Of Creation Interview (June 2001)


Rob Rock - 2003 Eyes Of Eternity


Rock, Rob - 2005 Holy Hell


Rock, Rob - 2007 Garden Of Chaos


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