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A BIT OF TITILLATION:
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ALYSSA GRAHAM TALKS TO ROCKWIRED ABOUT HER LATEST CD 'ECHO'TAKING THE LISTENER ON A MUSICAL JOURNEY AND FILLING PEOPLE WITH A SENSE OF HOPE
|ROCKWIRED INTERVIEWS LUKAS ROSSI|
SUPER-OVA!Since the advent of reality television and the establishment of programs like AMERICAN IDOL, pop music is full of Cinderella stories. Lead singers are no longer auditioning for bands in a garage, but on a Hollywood soundstage. Such was the case for Canadian rocker LUKAS ROSSI, who was a contestant in the controversial ROCK STAR: SUPERNOVA, showing off his chops before a panel of his future bandmates: TOMMY LEE (MOTLEY CRUE), JASON NEWSTED (METALLICA), and GILBY CLARKE (GUN AND ROSES). "Being judged by them on the show was a little weird." confesses ROSSI. "I don't know how these people who aren't singers can judge singers, but they picked me to sing for the band and I was never really felt intimidated at all. Me and TOMMY always felt like brothers. It's kind of weird. Ever since I met the guy, he was like my big brother. These guys chose me because they knew I had what it took to be that front guy and the front guy is essentially the leader. I've learned a lot from them, but I'm sure they knew that I knew what I was doing beforehand."
EX-ROCK STAR SUPERNOVA FRONTMAN
LUKAS ROSSI TALKS TO ROCKWIRED
ABOUT HIS LATEST BAND STARS DOWN
THE ANTICIPATION FOR THE NEW CD
AND NOT DWELLING ON NEGATIVE SHIT
INTERVIEWED BY BRIAN LUSH
In the prior season of ROCK STAR, Aussie dance-rock stalwarts INXS walked away with a new lead singer without incident. ROCK STAR: SUPERNOVA had a few problems. A band named SUPERNOVA , out of San Diego, sued series creator MARK BURNETT and everyone else involved with the show over use of the name. Following ROSSI being offered the coveted spot of lead singer for the CBS-manufactured "super group", the band released their debut album. Despite reaching platinum status in Canada and achieving reasonable sales on i-TUNES, the effort was panned by critics. Rumors were spreading of each member dropping out of their commitment to the project, yet there was nothing official other than the fact that the band had been dropped from their label. The band's fate was a mystery to many, but following a recent gig at THE VIPER ROOM, LUKAS ROSSI made it perfectly clear: "SUPERNOVA IS SUPER OVA!"
ROSSI has moved on and formed a new band 'STARS DOWN' who are on the verge of releasing their debut CD 'MOOD SWINGS' this fall. "It's gonna be the first reveal of who I really am." says ROSSI "This going to be my first major album. Whether it be under a major label or put out independnetly doesn't really matter to me. I'm kind of paying my dues all over again, which I don't mind doing because some people play music their whole lives and never really achieve a certain success, but I don't care about that. It's more about the music."
ROCKWIRED spoke with LUKAS ROSSI over the phone. Here is how it went.
So no more SUPERNOVA?
No, I had to quit that. I had this dream of mine to do my own band STARS DOWN and I didn't want to do music for the money. I wanted to do music for the fans and for the release. I wanted the music to be a vessell for me to express myself and SUPERNOVA wasn't totally and completely me and that bothered me, but the experience was unbelievable and I had the opportunity of a lifetime to go around the world and tour with the guys. I learned a lot. It was great fun, it just wasn't what I wanted to do at the end of the day.
I didn't quite get the impression that SUPERNOVA toured a lot. I thought that there were problems with keeping everyone on the same page pretty much. Was that the case at all or am I wrong?
We went around to New Zealand and Australia and Canada. We did a fair bit of run but we didn't continue it. That's the thing.
Now you've got this new album 'MOOD SWINGS' coming out.
Yes, it will be coming out in the fall.
Well the fall is approaching fast. Whats all going through you're head now that your new album with STARS DOWN is about to come out?
Well, basically it's gonna be the first reveal of who I really am. This going to be my first major album. Whether it be under a major label or put out independently doesn't really matter to me. It's more of what people think of it. It's me. After the SUPERNOVA tour I went out on tour by myself with an acoustic guitar and a piano player and I thnk that it was the real thing and not some T.V. star. I'm kind of paying my dues all over again, which I don't mind doing because some people play music their whole lives and never really achieve a certain success, but I don't care about that. It's more about the music.
And you ppaid your dues somewhat in a very public forum. If I remember correctly, you had to write a song in the course of that whole ROCKSTAR challenge. What was that like?
It was awesome man! The song I wrote on that show actually ended up on our album. That's pretty cool you know? A lot of people thought that the SUPERNOVA record was done before I even won, but that's not really the case. I sat in my hotel room singing into my laptop. I wrote half of the record in a short period of time because we had go and tour but it was defintely a stressfull situation.
What was your life like before that whole experience?
I was sleeping in my jam room in the middle of winter in Montreal with no blanket. I was basically living in the streets but I did it all for the music. I knew someday that something was going to have to break and here I am now, living in L.A.. I got married and now I'm putting out my own record and it's good! I'm definitely blessed because of the fans that have believed in me all this time.
Tell me more about this new album that's on the way. Who all are you working with?
My drummer and myself have produced the record. It was recorded in a basement. We have pro-tools down there and a rum kit and sound proofed rooms. It was pretty cost effective. We recorded the album pretty quickly which is pretty amazing. I'm actually just finishing recording the last song on the record so it should be out in the fall.
Are there any tracks off of this CD that you're eager to talk about?
There is a song called 'TAKE A CHANCE ON ME' and it's pretty important to me. It's about my experience with SUPERNOVA and the whole thing of how we got dropped from our record label before we went out on tour. It was as if you were given something and then it was taken away, which for anyone would be discouraging and frustrating, but to me, it was more like another challenge so the song 'TAKE A CHANCE ON ME' for me is about going on when somethng has been taken away from you. Alot of people work very hard only to have something that they've earned taken away from them and that's just one of the bumps that we all have to overcome. Hopefully, the song can be motivational to people.
Explain, if it's explainable, the whole creative process. How do you go about writing a song?
Ussually, songs will start with a lyric idea and I jam on an acoustic guitar. From there, words just come out and ussually, they all tend to make sense. I find it amazing how your subconcious really speaks out and says something when you really don't know how to say it. It's pretty incredible.
What drew you to music specifically, in the beginning?
I had a very rough upbringing, much like half of the world. Music was my friend. Music never let me down. It's my life long friend and we're still buddies. It's my way to escape. It's just like how a writer might escape by reading books.
Growing up, was there any sort of artist that spoke to you in particular?
QUEEN was a big band for me. I always thought they were a superhuman band. FREDDIE MERCURY was just one of the most talented guys ever in music and the band was great!. JEFF BUCKLEY was a huge influence on me too. I listen to artists where there can only be one. There are a lot of bands that sound like each other and they get away with it. To me, that's not genuine and I always pride myself on trying to be an original and not a follower.
You had this huge build up through ROCK STAR:SUPERNOVA and once you had won, it seemed as if the fame that the show promised didn't really happen.
When you're on television, in front of the whole planet, you're ego gets the best of you. The fans are all screaming and you're famous all around the world. For anyone else, that is a hard feeling to grasp. When I started touring, I made a lot of mistakes. I had this voice and the opportunity for people to look up to and listen to me but I wasn't saying much then, and I'm making up for it now. If people are going to hang on to every word I say then, I have make sure that I'm saying something that means something that will change one person's life. With the SUPERNOVA experience, I was a little disappointed in myself. It could be very destructive to someone's life to go through what I went through. Even though it can be a very positive thing, I've definitely had my share of ups and downs, but you figure that you have to hold on to the good things and that's what I'm trying to do. I'm trying to stay positive and keep the music flowing and not dwelling on negative shit.
What was it like being in band with fellas like TOMMY LEE from MOTLEY CRUE and GILBY CLARKE from GUNS AND ROSES? Was it intimidating to be in a band with these guys. On T.V., you're being judged by these guys, but after the show, you're working with them. What was that like?
Being judged by the them on the show was a little weird. I don't know how these people who aren't singers can judge singers, but they picked me to sing for the band and I never really felt intimidated at all. Me and TOMMY always felt like brothers. It's kind of weird. Ever since I met the guy, he was like my big brother. These guys chose me because they knew I had what it took to be that front guy and front guy is essentially the leader. I've learned alot from them, but I'm sure they knew that I knew what I was doing beforehand.
So no friendship or love has been lost then?
No. I talk to TOMMY everyday. He and I might actually have a song for a soundtrack in a movie and I was onstage with GILBY the other night. I was doing an acoustic show with my piano player and GILBY was playing with his band. He didn't even know I was playing until he got there, so we got together and did a SUPERNOVA song and it was cool.
So you're loving L.A. then?
Yeah. L.A. has tried to chew me up and spit me out but I'm a tough piece of meat.
Of course. It's all the frost you grew up within Canada.
There you go.
When the CD comes out, what would like for a person to come away with after they've heard it?
I just want them to know that I'm not some T.V. star and that what I do has nothing to do with this sort of lottery winner bullshit. I'm a real musician and I've been doing this for fifteen, sixteen years. I want them to listen to the record and appreciate it for what it is. I'm not saying that I'm going to sell a billion albums, but I just want people to listen to whats coming from my heart and hopefully it influences their life a little bit.
Knowing where you are now in life, would you do the whole ROCK STAR experience again?
I never have regrets in my life. That was the best experience that I ever had the honor of doing. Sure I'd do it again. It was one of the best times of my life. I'm happy with where I am today. I'd probably do some things a little different, but then I'd be cheating, wouldn't I?
And DILANA ROBICHAUX (the ROCKSTAR:SUPERNOVA runner-up) would kick your ass if she found out.