Bottle Cap Rockets: “Down And Dirty”

Posted by Dee-Ann On February - 26 - 20143,019 views

BCR feb 2014

Mathias: So Al, as I understand it you are the founding member of Bottle Cap Rockets, how about giving us your background.

Al: Ok … I’ve been a singer songwriter for several years, been in a couple of original bands, and it was all great fun and I learned a lot through playing live and working with other musicians. Then later co-writing with my good friend Peter Surdoval, an amazing producer and sound engineer we were lucky enough to sell twenty-five songs to Universal Music. Some of which appear in the academy award-winning movie Monster staring Charlize Theron, The Pentagon Papers, staring James Spader and TV shows such as Monk and Cold Case. By 2009 our partnership ended when Pete decided to leave the music business and pursue more profitable ventures. Well I was pretty bummed and I wasn’t ready to just stop making music. In 2010 I was actively writing and recording demos. I ended up writing about 20 songs, some were lame but others had potential. I then made the decision to look for band mates.

Mathias: So Al, has that worked out for you?

Al: Well…(he chuckles) the line up has changed over time. The band began to take shape once I hooked up with Chris Wolfer on bass. Chris is very creative and a joy to work with. He started his musical journey as a drummer eventually switching to the bass and, has the perfect voice for belting out those higher pitched rockers. He’s tight on harmonies as well. Chris and I have become the core of the band out of necessity, feels like we’re leasing a new drummer every 5 months (Al chuckles)

Mathias: Why is that?

Al: Pro musicians are in high demand and expect to be paid. The live music scene has really changed over the years and guaranteed paying gigs are few and far between. Without the funding of a record company or a hard-core following it is always a struggle to keep a band alive. What keeps us moving is pure passion and high standards in performance.

BCR logo and shirt0Mathias: Ok, have you resolved the drummer dilemma?

Al: Yes, Chris recently brought in Mike Fumento, a seasoned pro that shares our passion and has a “day job” what more can you ask for? (Al gives a wicked laugh) Mike brings a great energy to the band. We’ve now played three shows with him and have more booked through the fall of 2014.

Mathias: How did you guys get interested in the Rockabilly scene?

Al: We were all over the map with “The First Seven”. Literally the day after we released it, I had an epiphany…we needed to go rockabilly/roots rock! I have always had a love for that style going back to the period when I discovered The Stray Cats. They lead me deep into the early days of rock&roll. I dove head first into Elvis, ” The Sun Seasons”, Eddie Cochran, Chuck Berry and many more great pioneers of rock.

Mathias: You mentioned The Stray Cats as one of your big influences, can you elaborate on that?

Al: They were my hometown heroes back in Massapequa, Long Island. No one to speak of in the American main stream was doing rockabilly in 1979 /80 so the Stray Cats traveled to Europe to establish themselves eventually coming back to the US in the early 80’s and turning us all on.

Mathias: What was the first Rockabilly song you guys ever played together?

Al: Eddie Cochran, “Twenty Flight Rock”.

Mathias: Are you planning a tour? If so, tell us more about that.

Al: No tours I am sorry to say. We play out about twice a month locally. There just isn’t enough money in it to sustain us as a touring band. The music business is rougher than it’s ever been and that’s not going to change any time soon.

Mathias: Describe to us the rockabilly scene in New Jersey USA. Is the rockabilly and vintage lifestyles an accepted way of life there?

Al: Well there really isn’t much of a scene here in New Jersey I am sorry to say. There is a better scene in certain pockets along the East Coast and yes…people dress Rockabilly and drive vintage cars and all that stuff. Then there is Austin, Texas and, areas of the West Coast like Las Vegas, Arizona and, California to name a few. Guess I live in the wrong place for this type of music but I’m stuck here so I make the best of it. From what I can see, parts of Europe take Rockabilly and Americana much more seriously then we do here, there’s a deeper appreciation, they’re big on authenticity.

performanceMathias: If you were stuck on a deserted island … whom do you want to be rescued by?

Al: Gee…. That’s easy…. Imelda May in a latex Nurse’s outfit carrying a tray of Martini’s.

Mathias: Oh yes! …Definitely Martinis (ha ha)

Mathias: Tell us about the funniest thing that has happened to you on your gigs or tours?

Al: We were playing a show on a very tiny stage that was in very poor condition. It was sinking and vibrating as we continued to play and we were looking at each other in utter disbelief. Parts of the drum set started falling over, there was a floor tom rolling around on its side, a crash cymbal went down and the mics were wobbling and bobbing so much I kept getting smashed in the mouth OUCH! It was a disaster at the time but comical looking back I guess.

Mathias: What are you planning for the future? What can we expect from you guys?

Al: Getting good gigs is always priority. We have a release titled “Down And Dirty” coming out by April. It will be available for FREE! at reverbnation.com

Mathias: Well thanks for the interview Al. We look forward to hearing your new songs come April.

Pretty Face:

I Don’t Love You:

Website:

www.bottlecaprockets.com

reverbnation band page:

http://www.reverbnation.com/algrossthebottlecaprockets

facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Al-Gross-The-Bottle-Cap-Rockets/377685522117?ref=hl

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