Before you did this solo
album you sang for several bands including Driver, Joshua and Impellitteri. Does it feel
different doing a solo album compared to just doing the vocals for bands?
Yeah, I think when you're doing a solo
album it's a lot more pressure. It's a lot more responsibility when it's only your opinion
that matters. So when I was deciding what tracks would stay and what tracks would go and
how the mix would sound there was a lot of anxiety because you want to get it right
because your name is on it. So, I worked really hard where I felt it's right and I think
it's right and I'm very happy with the record. So, it's different than just being in a
band situation where it's not your responsibility, where it's someone else's
In a band situation you just did your thing
and that's it. With the solo album you're responsible for everything. How exactly did the
album come about? How did the songs come together and how did you get the line-up of
It was a few years ago, almost since 1996,
when I was talking with JVC (Rob's Japanese label, mpo) about doing a solo album. And when
I discussed with them in what direction I would go in, I told them about the thirty songs
that I had demoed with Roy Z back in 1990 when we were together in Driver. So, I picked
three or four songs from there that stood the test of time, that are still strong today.
And then we re-wrote those songs and used that as the seed of the new album. It showed the
direction that we were going to go in. And then we wrote some more songs to make the album
together. I had always had Roy Z in mind for doing a solo album 'cause we always wanted to
make a real full album together 'cause we didn't get the chance in 1990. But we finally
got the chance with the solo album. And we also used Butch Carlson who was in Driver with
us at that time. And the Driver I'm talking about is the second Driver. The first Driver
was M.A.R.S. Project - Driver; Rudy Sarzo, Tommy Aldridge and Tony MacAlpine. That came
out in 1986. But the Driver line-up I'm talking about here is the one I put together after
I left the Joshua band. And in 1990 we did some recordings and some demos. So, I used that
base for my solo album in 2000.
You wanted to work with Roy Z. And what
about the other musicians you were talking about? Did you pick them because they would fit
the music the best or were there other reasons?
Basically I picked them because they are my
friends and I think they are great musicians as well. I have a friend, Ray Burke, he
played some bass on the record. And of course Jake E Lee who was a mutual friend of Roy
and I. And he played some solos on All I Need and Media Machine. Those two songs.
So, you've made the album together with
friends. Okay. A lot of the music is written by Roy. In how far is it really a Rob Rock
album as it's Roy's music trademarked by your voice? So, is it really a Rob Rock album or
is it a Rob Rock and Roy Z album?
Well, it's really a Rob Rock album with Roy
Z because I think together with Roy Z we tried to make the end result. Something we were
both shooting for, you know. But it was my original vision and then Roy Z helped me to
achieve it. And with the songwriting I would sing vocal parts and melodies to Roy Z and he
would put music to them. That was a different way of writing songs as opposed to me just
getting music.....Like in Impellitteri I would get the music already recorded and I would
come up with melodies and lyrics over the music. To me it was a fresh album written around
the songs and written around the voice as opposed to the old way I used to do it.
So, there's more of Rob Rock into the album
and into the music.
Yeah, because Rob Rock was more the focus,
the voice, instead of the guitars.
Okay. The album was first released in Japan
through JVC. The Japanese version also contains the ballad Beautiful Lady. This song is
not on the European version. Why is that song not on the European release?
With my original contract with JVC/Victor
they have a provision in there to have a bonus track because they have a big problem with
import sales there. That once an album comes out in the rest of the world, they have a
glut of imports so they cannot sell records after that. They made a few provisions in
their contract where they get the release three months ahead of time plus they would have
a bonustrack. So, as Japan is so familiar with my singing through the Impellitteri
records, that I've been released there, I thought that it would go well in Japan and in
the Asia countries because they're really familiar with my voice as far as ballads are
concerned. With Impellitteri we've done eight records in the last eight or nine years. And
Beautiful Lady is a very soft ballad with just acoustic guitar and the voice. And to me,
my solo album coming out in Europe is a new thing because the other Impellitteri album
were never really properly released in Europe. So this was like a new thing to me and I
wanted to make sure that this album was very strong. And I think on future releases I
could include maybe more of the ballad stuff. But I didn't want to start out that way.
And this ballad, Beautiful Lady, might it
resurface here in Europe in the future?
Ah, yes, I think it's probably gonna
resurface maybe in a couple of years. It's a good song and they liked it really much. Like
in the Philippines they are playing it on the radio even. In the Philippines! So, they
really like that soft ballad stuff. But for Europe, I really like the hard rock, I wanted
to make sure that Europe understood that I'm still singing metal.
One of my favorite songs on the album is
Streets Of Madness. Can you tell what this song is about?
(laughs) Yeah, that's my favorite song too!
I really like that one!
Streets Of Madness is about how crazy
society is here in America. How there's people out on the streets that are basically
insane, doing what they're wanting to do. Committing crimes and stuff. A lot of evil
things go on. And that song is more like a painting, or a moviescript for that scene, of
all the bad stuff that goes on around there. You know, I see things on the news every
night, about killings, about crimes. So, I took those ideas and put them in a song and
called it Streets Of Madness.
It is sort of like a soundtrack for the
book Street Lawyer by John Grisham. I don't know if you know this book?
No, I don't know that. I've heard that
name, John Grisham. I think he has made some movies, right?
Yeah, that's right. He wrote books and a
couple of those books were made into moves. Well, anyway, that was a comparison that I
saw. Okay, another question, are there plans to bring out a video for one of the songs?
At this point, I don't think so. Right now
we're putting out the album and see how it goes. Then, if all goes well, I'll be coming
for a tour at first. They wanna push a tour before a video. I'm actually coming in
December but I wanna return again in March for a full tour.
So, there might be a video recording of a
Yes, at that time.
Until recently you were the lead singer for
the band Impellitteri. As I understand it you were dropped by the band because of the solo
album. Chris Impellitteri gave you an ultimatum to either continue his band or to pursue a
solo career. How do you look upon that situation?
I think it was unfair because I told Chris
all along about the solo album. It took a few years to come about. And he was okay with
it. But once he found out it was a very strong album and a very heavy album, he thought
that it would compete with Impellitteri. But I have a different opinion. I thought that it
would only make more fans for Impellitteri. So, we have two opposing ideas. So, he said
"no you cannot do both", and I said "I wanna do both". And from that
conflict we decided to just pursue our careers separately from now on.
So, there was a competitive situation to
Yes. We are still friends and everything,
but I could see no reason why I could not do both. I think Chris was just worried that the
Rage Of Creation album would compete with the Impellitteri albums.
Another question now. You will be playing
in Europe on the Christmas Rock Night. Can you tell me about the line-up of your
It took me three or four months and I found
some great players here from the central Florida area that I have been rehearsing with.
We've been rehearsing the album for the live-set. And it's going very well and I'm very
happy with the players that I have. I originally wanted to get the players that were on
the record. But all of the players on the record have other things going on. And
especially Roy Z being such an in demand producer. He was not abled to make a commitment
to the time because he's gonna be in the studio. So I had to find people locally that I
could play with live. So, we're gonna go over in December and play Germany and then go
back to Orlando and play some shows here. And then hopefully go back in March for a tour.
One of the things you can do now as a solo
artist is do outside projects. Like you're helping the LA band Warrior with the vocals and
you're working on the Tobias Sammet CD. With what artists would you like together
Uh, I don't know! (laughs). Right now I'm
really focused on the solo career. But Tobias Sammet contacted me and I thought it was a
great idea with all the great players on the album. I wanted to participate. And then Joe
Floyd, he had helped Roy Z and myself mixing the Rage Of Creation album. So, after that he
said "would you please help me with writing and recording the next Warrior
album?" And because I was not in Impellitteri anymore I said "okay, I think
that's a great idea because I have a lot of respect for Warrior." So, the Warrior
album will be coming out some time next year. And I think right now I'm just kind of
waiting to see what happens with Warrior. Maybe I can tour Rob Rock solo album and then
after that go and do Warrior tour or something. I'll have to wait and see.
And are there other musicians you would
like to work with? Someone you've got in mind?
Uh, at the top of my head I actually don't
know anyone offhand. But I do have some ideas. Do you want to know my ideas?
Yeah, of course!
Actually, there's a great guitar player
that's on Shrapnel Records. His name is Borislav Mitic. I've talked to him about maybe
singing a track for him on his next album. But he's mainly an instrumental player. And he
wanted to have a vocal or two on his album. So, I thought I would maybe try to write songs
with him and see how that works. But I have made no commitments yet.
Okay. In several interviews you've said
that you're a Christian.
Are you also considering working with
Christian artists like Ken Tamplin?
I think, maybe, if the right opportunity
comes up. But I'm not interested in being labeled a Christian because in America a
Christian seems to be only be abled to play Christian audiences. And I wanna play for rock
'n roll audiences, you know. So, I try to avoid that label. And I don't have a Christian
label, only a metal label. And that's the way I like it. So, I don't wanna be put into a
Christian audience only. But I think if the right opportunity arose, maybe working with
Ken Tamplin would be great. I did work with Ken Tamplin before with Joshua. He wrote a lot
of good songs for the Joshua Intense Defense album that I ended up singing.
And you also did Angelica.
Yeah, Ken was producing that album. I guess
the singer for Angelica couldn't sing in the studio for some reason. So, Ken asked me for
a favor so I went in and sang the album for him. And in return he came and sang backing
vocals on the Victim Of The System EP for Impellitteri. Both times it was very fun to be
with Ken. And maybe in the future, I didn't think of that, but now that you mention it
that might be a good idea.
Within a month it will be Christmas. What
would be the ultimate Christmas present for your career in music? What is your biggest
My biggest dream is to get signed to a US
label. A big US label that would put a lot of money behind the album and make it very
known in the United States. But another good Christmas dream for me would be to have the
album do great in Europe so I can come to Europe and play live and get down some very good
tours. Because I know the Europeans really appreciate the melodic metal that I write. I
would rather play for an audience that really appreciates it, you know. Where America is
so trendy. You know, right now they do the rap-metal and all these girl-bands and
boy-bands. And that's gonna burn out and something else will be big and everybody will
copy that. So, that's not really a long term thing for me. But it would be great to be
very well known in your own country. But I have a lot of respect for Europe and for Japan,
because they go for quality music and not the trends. That would be a great gift, if I
could do very well in Europe.
Yeah, and how do you feel about the fact
that America is not really melodic metal minded nowadays?
Of course I'm disappointed. But I also
understand that a lot of the young artists today grew up hearing the rap music. And so now
they naturally take the rap music and infuse it with hard rock. There's a lot of hybrid
going on. I'm hoping that it will come back to melodic metal again. Because I think it's
great music and it would stand the test of time and not be put away like disco was.
And what do you think the future of metal
is in the United States? Do you have hope that it will come back within a few years?
Yeah, I do. Right now it's underground and
very strong. So, I think it's rising up. But I would like to see a major label or MTV
putting some money behind it. You know, put your money where your mouth is and make it
happen in a big way. That would be great!
But then there's the risk that it becomes a
trend, just like there are trends right now....
Right! That's the bad part. Like I said, it
would probably become another trend and then maybe die out again. I don't know. The best
thing about it is with the internet now. It seems to me that the internet allows people to
get the music that they really want. And that's why metal seems to be on the increase
because I think there's a great demand for it even though the record companies here do not
So, that's why you have good hopes that it
will come back within a few years.