I had the opportunity to have an interview with Alex de Rosso who?s been in the business for a decade. He had recently released the first album with his new band Headrush where he teamed up with fellow Italian Roberto Tiranti (also singer in Labyrinth). Besides Headrush have Alex played with Dokken and released a few solo albums as well.
Interviewed by: Anders Sandvall
Thanks to Frontiers Records for the promo pictures.
Thanks to Stefan at Atenzia records for the help with the interview
You have released some solo albums before Headrush, what kind of music is it on those albums? What did the media think of your solo albums?
A: Yes, I?ve released three solo albums before Headrush.
The first one, ?Alex De Rosso?, is mostly instrumental and had very good feedback from the media all around the world?
The second ?ossimoro? was totally different, more into the ?90
kind of hard rock, and to tell you the truth it was more difficult
to understand it for the media, that probably was expecting something like a sequel?my third album, ?the thin line between black and white?, was released in late 2002 and was free of influences, maybe a timeless piece. Good reviews from most of the media for this last one, except for someone that didn?t like my voice as a lead singer.
Are those albums available today?
A: Not sure about the availability in the stores, but for sure you can order the CDS wisiting my official website www.alexderosso.com Right now I believe we are out of stock for the first album.
My info note calls you a guitar hero, what do you think of that and? Were you called guitar hero on any magazine or how did that comment got up?
A: I understand that, it?s because my first album, as I told before it was mostly instrumental, with technical peaks here and there?I got this label, and it?s still there, even if I don?t consider myself in this way. I love to play guitar, but for me music is definitely more important than my instrument?
How long have you played guitar and do you have any role models or ?idols? within the guitar scene?
A: Right now I?m into the 24th year of musical ?activity?, and of course I have a few influences on my style.
I don?t wanna write a chart, but I loved everything that was
musically born in the eighties. My favorite guitar players ever are Edward Van Halen, George Lynch, and Steve Lukather.
Where do you live today and how old are you (consider you looking so young on every picture I?ve seen)?
A: I live in Padova, Italy, pretty close to Venice, and I?m 38 right now.
How did you end up as a part of the line up in Dokken, and how was it to play in Dokken?
A: They were looking for a guitar player to fill in the last minute, ready with the songs and with that style, and a friend of mine give them my name?it was an incredible experience for me, considering that they were one of my favorite bands, and George Lynch on of my favorite guitar players !!!
Did the Dokken fans welcome you with open arms?
A: I can say 98% of them, a success for me !
Are Dokken one of your favorite bands and was it hard to learn all the songs?
A: Yes, and for this reason it was easier for me to play the songs, I used to practice on their records when I was young?The difficult part was to have all that responsibility, and to keep myself not too excited !
Were you offered to be a permanent member and how was it to replace John Norum, what do you think of his guitar play?
A: Yes, I was asked during the first American tour, and we started to work on new material? It was an honor to replace John Norum, of course one of the best guitars players in rock. I think his guitar playing is very solid, I specially like his soloing style.
Did you ever hesitate on joining Dokken?
A: Not even once !
You have released 3 solo album, do you have any plans on continuing releasing solo albums?
A: Usually I release a solo album approximately every four years, that?s not a rule anyway, but of course I will. In this way I can always do everything I want without any kind of compromise.
Last year you released an album with Kevin Chelfant and Shadows Fade, how did that album do in the media and amongst fans?
A: I saw mostly good reviews, but I think we can do better with all original songs next time.
You?re not ?only? a guitarist you have also produced the album with Headrush, but can you play other instruments as well?
A: Well, I sing lead on my third solo album, I can play some bass and percussion, and a little drums?I wanted to be a drummer when I was a child !
If so what instrument do you think you?re best at, not included guitar?
A: Ehm?maybe percussion?
I?ve read that Shadows Fade has their own studio, where is it located and is it only you that uses it or anyone else too ?
A: I can say that I have my own personal recording studio at my place, ?the cube?, where ?Shadows Fade? was mainly recorded, except for lead vocals.
Have you been out on tour on your own or are the tours with Dokken your only tour-experience yet?
A: I did something in Europe, but nothing major like those tours.
Do you think your label Frontiers Records have done a good job with promoting the Shadows Fade album?
A: To tell you the truth I didn?t follow so well the promotion of it, because I didn?t really consider that album so personal, I just wrote three songs, and I produced it.
Can we expect more albums by Shadows Fade in the future?
A: I hope to produce the next Shadows Fade, this time with all original songs.
How big are you today and can you live on being a musician or do you have a regular job besides the music?
A: I don?t consider myself ?big? yet, just someone so lucky that can make a living with his passion: music. Yes, music is my only profession.
You have recently released the debut album with Headrush called HEADRUSH, can you tell us a bit about the album?
A: Our intention from the beginning was to write a very solid, guitar riff based album with great melodic vocals on it? It?s a kind of late ?80s concept with some fresh and modern stuff here and there, it reminds me something like Lynch Mob meets Queensryche. And I think it?s exactly what you can hear from the tracks?
Are Headrush a band or a project?
A: We like to think that we are a band, we are already talking about the making of second album.
Did you know the singer Roberto from Labyrinth from before?
A: Me and Roberto Tiranti first talked about Headrush something like 3 years ago, but I was busy with Dokken and he was busy with Labyrinth.
How long did it take to write and record the album, who?s written the lyrics and are the lyrics about anything special?
A: We started to work on this album in early 2004.
Pat Scalabrino, also my manager, wrote the all lyrics except the acoustic song ??til I know? in which I wrote the lyrics too. The lyrics are about everything in general, life experiences, but without forget the difficult situation we are living in these new millennium, with this absurd violence and terrorism.
Can you tell us a bit about the other guys in the band Mauro on bass and Dave on drums, have they been in any famous bands prior to Headrush?
A: Mauro Catellani and Dave Fini are the new guys; we collaborate on some live projects here in Italy, so I decided to have them on this band just because I think they deserve that. They are young and versatile musicians, always ready to work hard. This is their first experience in an international band.
Which studio have you used to record the album, who have done the mixing and where is the mixing done?
A: We recorded everything but the vocals at ?the cube?,
from the first pre-production to the mix and the mastering,and I did everything by myself.
How long did it take to record the album, did you record everything together or was any part recorded separately?
A: It was a kind of slow process, because I like to take my time listening to the production step by step. I like to be very accurate to obtain what I really want, no matter how long does it takes. In September we recorded all the vocal parts at Roberto?s house and I did the mix and the mastering during the late 2004.We recorded every track separately, I think that in this way the sound quality of every single instrument is definitely better.
How do you comment the fraise ?Headrush is a new hardrock band bringing together the two great Italian artists for the first time??
A: It make me feel honored about it?and then?it?s the truth ! Roberto is for sure one of the best rock Italian singers ever.
Have you read any reviews of the album yet, what have the media to say about it?
A: We are satisfied so far about the reviews, 80% with a very good ?score?. Our feeling is that the public really enjoyed our first album.
Do you have any release dates for the US and the rest of the world?
A: Same release date for Europe and Japan, nothing scheduled yet for the U.S.
You are listed as producer of the album, how is it to produce yourself?
A: It?s great ! lot of fun and no headaches !Talking seriously, lucky me I?m very picky, and I usually I work with no rush in my studio.In this way I?m almost sure that everything is done in the right way.
Seen from a producers point of view, what are you most happy about on the debut?
A: Considering that I really gave all myself in the production of this album, I?m especially happy about the guitar sound.
Is there anything you feel you could have done better or in another way?
A: I will never tell you !
What do you think of your own effort on the album, and what do you think of the other guys efforts?
A: Regarding this album I think that everyone was really passioned in the making of it, and for all our efforts we can say that has been worth it !
Why the name Headrush? Does it mean anything special?
A: Pat came out with this name and we liked immediately?but no particular reason why we choose it?
Who have done the artwork on the cover? What?s the thought behind that?
A: The artist did the cover artwork is Gyula Havanes?c.
First of all I think it?s a piece of art?I believe it?s a kind of shocking cover because the little boy supposed to be an angel but now his wings are dry, and he has a gun in his hands with bullets ready?for me it?s anguish and fear for the crazy time that we are living.
The info describes you as a hardrock act, I?d describe your music as somewhat harder melodic hardrock band much because of your mean guitarsound. How would you describe your music?
A: I don?t really like labels in music, just the minimum to explain the genre. I write and play rock music, and it can be harder or softer depending on the kind of sound, more or less aggressive, I use for the song. I will stay on the hard rock definition for Headrush.
Are there any current plans on going out on the road now that the album is out?
A: It?s our intention to promote the album live, but nothing is scheduled yet, especially because Roberto is pretty busy with Labyrinth.
Are you going to release more albums under the name Headrush?
A: definitely yes, I just talked about this subject with Roberto.
Both Shadows Fade and Headrush are signed to Frontiers, why did you pick them?
A: Ehm?we better ask them why they picked me?
What are the plans for the rest of 05?
A: I will start to write for a fourth solo work, and for the second Headrush album.
Finally, is there anything you would like to say to the readers of metal-rules?
A: We really hope that all of you will enjoy our first Headrush album, and feel through our music the passion we had making it !
Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions.
A: Thank you !
Read the CD-review on the new Headrush here
Read the CD-review on the Shadows Fade here
More info about the band.