Lucky Clover Coin
03. Red River
04. Eyes Like Static
07. What Waited For me
08. Sun Devil
09. Don't Be Angry
10. Where We Started
Rocky Votolato is an American singer-songwriter from Seattle, born in Dallas in 1977.
Inspired by seeing many punk shows including bands like Jawbreaker
, he started several different musical projects while in high school. When his former band Lying on Loot
disbanded in 1996, Rocky Votolato, along with friends Rudy Gajadhar
(drums) and Andrew Hartley (bass), started playing under the name Waxwing
. Rocky's younger brother Cody (The Blood Brothers
) soon joined the band on second guitar, and the band recorded their debut 7" for Henry's Finest Recordings. Waxwing
soon established a strong local following and then released three full
length albums: "For Madmen Only", in 1999, "One for the Ride" in 2000,
and "Nobody Can Take What Everybody Owns" in 2002 on Second Nature
In 1999, Rocky Votolato branched out from his work with Waxwing
having written a handful of songs which did not really fit in with
their more aggressive, fast-tempo style. Along the way he has toured
with the likes of Damien Jurado, Small Brown Bike, The Get Up Kids, The New Amsterdams, Owen and The Casket Lottery
members of the latter having provided assistance as backing musicians
on occasion. His studio albums have also been littered with appearances
from some of Seattle's finest musicians (including players in the bands
Red Stars Theory, Sharks Keep Moving, The Blood Brothers, Death Cab for Cutie, Pedro the Lion
and Sub Pop solo artist Rosie Thomas
). On the production side, Votolato has worked with Matt Bayles (Pearl Jam, Botch, Murder City Devils, Hayden
), along with Chris Walla (of Death Cab for Cutie
After his self-titled album "Rocky Votolato", released in 1999, 4
others brilliant albums were released during the last decade, "Burning
My Travels Clean" (2002), "Suicide Medicine" (2003), "Makers" (2006),
and "The Brag and Cuss" (2007) on Barsuk Records.
A video was shot for the first track of "Makers", "White Daisy
Passing", a song which also appeared on an episode of the popular TV
show "The OC".
Rocky also starred in the film "The Edge of Quarrel" (2000), which he worked on with Dave Larson from Excursion Records.
His last two releases found him exploring and paying homage to the folk and country music that shaped his early life in Texas.
"True Devotion", his new album, is a passionate, stripped down, and
mostly acoustic reflection on moments from his current life; showing us
where he is, where he has just come from, and where he’s going...
Interview with Rocky Votolato :
S: How and when did all begin
My uncle used to come over to our house on holidays and play Beatles
and Dylan covers. That was what originally interested me in
playing guitar…, then in High School my older brother
inherited our uncle’s Gibson Les Paul and that’s
what really started it. When I saw him and his friends playing I knew
it was something I had to do. When I moved up to Seattle I
went to a Jawbreaker show and that was it – I knew I wanted
to play music for the rest of my life.
S: Do you feel anxious before a
I used to get really nervous and have waves of anxiety about an hour
before I went on, but after doing 250 + shows for several years
straight I got to the point that it just didn’t bother me at
all anymore. Once I realized that no single show really had
any impact on my career long term I stopped worrying about
it. Now I just try to have fun every night.
S: What musicians or artists had
an influence in your life and in your work?
Reading "Steppenwolf" and then "Siddhartha" by Herman Hesse had a huge influence
on the way I wrote lyrics early on. He got me interested in
dark transcendental philosophy and since then I have always loved
playing with existential ideas in song lyrics. Allen Ginsburg
and Jack Kerouac were also very formative for me (songs about
traveling). On the musical side of things I started out going
to see punk bands at all ages clubs when I was about 15yrs
old. I loved bands like Jawbreaker, Fugazi, Drive Like Jehu
and Unwound. I always had a much softer side though and even
when I was doing Waxwing full time I was writing folk songs that pulled
more from music I had been introduced to as a kid. Cat
Stevens was and still is a huge influence on what I think it takes to
make a great song.
S: Do you remember what was the
first CD you bought?
My memory is hazy on it, but I think it was either Nine Inch Nails
"Pretty Hate Machine" or Def Leppard "Hysteria". I know it was in the
S: Do you agree with Victor Hugo
who said :"Melancholy is the pleasure of being sad"?
I think that is a nice description. In The Course in Miracles
talks about how all pain is just distorted joy and I think
pretty much the truth.
S: What is your favourite song
of Rocky Votolato and why?
Probably "Tinfoil Hats". Something about
just feels like it came out right to me. And my son helped me
write that one. It’s got good advice about how to
aliens from reading your mind in it – so I count it as a real
contribution to humanity :).
S: As musician, what is your
feeling about Internet?
It has it’s pros and cons like anything that happens in life
guess. It has utterly destroyed the music industry as a
Fewer and fewer people feel it is necessary to actually purchase music
– but now independent artists can reach people all over the
world. It opened things up for more people to be a
the music business – so maybe I should just be thankful that
came along or I may not have a career in music at all.
S: Where would you like to play
in the future, is there a place in the world you would love to visit?
I would love to go to India. The history of India is so
interesting to me and Mahatma Gandhi is one of my greatest
heros :) . He’s the kind of guy that I think all of
current political leaders should be looking to for advice on how to
stop destroying our world. I don’t know if I could
there, but maybe? I’ve never really heard of indie
rock/folk songwriters going on tour in India, but I guess anything is
know it’s a difficult question, but if you would have to keep
just one album from your CD collection what album would it be?
I think it would probably be Neutral Milk Hotel’s "In the
Aeroplane Over the Sea". It’s an
masterpiece from start to finish and everyone in my family agrees on
this so we could all listen to it together.
S: What was the last song you
listened to before the interview? And, if you know, which one will be
Before the interview: "Aluminum &
Light" by Blunt
Mechanic (from their unreleased album World Record coming out on Barsuk
early this year)
Next: "Inni Mer Syngur Vitleysingur" by
S: Can you tell us the name of
one French song, or singer, or band?
S: And say something in French?
Bonjour! Je m'appelle Rocky. Tres Bien!
That’s about it :)
S: What are your plans for the
My new record will be coming out early this year. The album
called "True Devotion" and will be coming out on Barsuk Records
23rd 2010. Once that is out I’ll probably be
world again :)
S: And finally, what’s
the most important thing in life for you?
My family and following the path of truth and virtue are the most
important things in life to me. After that comes music and doing what I
can to care for the environment and help make the world a more peaceful
place. Thanks so much to you for your interest in my music and I hope
to come back to France again really soon!
MANY thanks to Rocky and Barsuk Records for the interview!
More informations about Rocky Votolato:
- on his site:
- on his Myspace:
- on Facebook:
- on Twitter: