Nick Rozz is a twenty-something guitar player from Hollywood, California. The former guitar player for The Tattooed Millionaires took time out of his busy schedule, and upcoming project, to discuss music with our editor Tanya Vece.
More than words....
I became aware of Nick Rozz earlier this year at The House of Blues in Las Vegas. I was sitting at the back of an unfilled room with my brother and Dave Navarro. A pile of black haired and under fed looking guys were checking their equipment on the stage, preparing to warm up the room for the main event (Navarro). The band looked like a typical Hollywood band. All the members oozed trashy bad-boyness. As the lights went down the band all took their shirts off at once. I nearly spit my beer out. My brother looked at me and asked if this was a joke. Navarro and his girlfriend left the room.
As I stood and listened the band reminded me of Guns N' Roses meets The Sex Pistols. I also noticed one more thing, their guitar player was too talented to be mixed up with the rest of this dying breed of Motley Crue imposters. He played better than the rest, looked better than the rest and seemed to have the IT factor. The side of the stage near Nick Rozz was packed with girls as the rest of the stage front remained empty.
I tried to track down Mr. Rozz over the next couple of months. I missed him at The Rox Club, and then again at Prive. Unbeknownst to me Nick was getting ready to part from The Tattooed Millionaires and take off on an incredible journey making his own music. As I spoke to Rozz one Thursday afternoon I found his excitement for his new project and overall passion for music really stood out. He was eager to talk about his music. The interview lasted more than an hour and Nick often took over the conversation going into detail about everything from his opinion on Axl Rose, how MySpace isn't necessarily a good thing for musicians, and the Los Angeles club scene.
Nick Rozz's story starts off like many other aspiring musicians. At 18 Nick left the whole-wheat goodness of sleepy Connecticut for a chance to make it in plastic fantastic Hollywood. A place where bands like Motley Crue, Guns N' Roses and others all got their start. Like other musicians, Nick started playing Jam Nights and "met as many people as I could". Unlike the other aspiring musicians, Nick has never had to "have a real job". Rozz was able to support himself by playing in cover bands.
He eventually picked up a gig as the guitar player for The Tattooed Millionaires. A band with a dedicated street team of blind followers whose love for their lead singer Johnny Jetson somehow forgives Jetson for his lack of talent. In fact the times I have tried to contact him, Jetson was rude or busy asking his fans for money. Bails outs of Johnny's van, food, and other requests are often posted by Jetson on his band's Myspace.
I asked Nick about his two years with the Tattooed Millionaires, and referenced a post I read stating Rozz called the band a "toxic environment". Nick said "I was a hired man. The band held back my creativity. I was treated liked a hired guy which is fine but then I can't be a hired guy and creative with it is convenient." Rozz continued, "There were two schools of thought going on and creative differences. I don't have any bad wishes for anyone. It was just time for me to move on. It was time for all of us to do our own things."
I will say if you look at the band's history the ever changing line up does say something about a temperamental lead singer who is larger than life in his own mind. Nick Rozz will be spending the next couple of months in the studio and pitching his newest project through his lawyer. The other members , including a singer from Atlanta, and a drummer from Boston, who have been working with Rozz via E-mailing completed demos back and forth from other cities, can not be named at this time. "Music really shouldn't be about how your hair looks" Nick said speaking of his new project.
"I grew up listening to Motley Crue and the like, but I dont think that waking up and doing an eightball every morning would really help my career right now. Kids today are young, dumb and full of cum." The guitarist said. Nick's new project is still a heavy rock album with modern influence and is really about where he is now at this point in his life. He wants the project to be right, and he has worked hard not to buy into the bullshit of Hollywood's self-promotion tactics. Nick then confessed an unknown rule of the current LA based nightclubs. "There are kids paying to play right now. They have no material, no idea what they are doing and to be honest, there are really no bands getting signed out of Hollywood circut right now. They pay to open for a semi-known band hoping to get noticed!"
Rozz is doing something different and his theory may have all the right combinations of talent and business to get him noticed. He has material. He isn't self-promoting a name or an image. He doesn't have leaked clips of his project on his Myspace and he isn't paying the clubs help him pave his way. Nick Rozz is actually working, silently and in the shadows of California's hills, with the help of modern recording technology to connect his musicians across the country. Nick has been busy developing a product that is worth more than a cheaply put together demo followed up by a glossy Myspace. Rozz's project promises to have roots to hold the rock to his roll. He says the new album, still untitled, has about thirty songs written by him. He will be spending the holidays of 2008 to go though the songs and see just what will make it to press, or digital these days.
"I don't like to listen to my own stuff after it is done, so it can get hard at times to really know what 12 songs I like the best out of so many demos." the guitarist said about the task at hand. "There is one song called City Fools. It is basically my view of Los Angeles." Nick went on to say "The cream always rises to the top" about his upcoming project and why he has remained reserved about it. "Art is art. Anyone can have a 16 track demo on Myspace. Kids think being in a band is easy and they can make it via MySpace or the internet. Myspace is almost polluting the music business and its growth. You have thousands of unsigned bands on there and maybe thirty of them are really good. Those thirty may never get noticed because of all the sixteen year olds on there with their photos replacing what is supposed to be a band."
"There is no Aerosmith these days!" Rozz went on to say about today's music. "I grew up listening to Appetite for Destruction. That doesn't mean I should try to re-create that record! I want to make something different that will stand the test of time like Appetite but I don't want to re-create Appetite." Nick and I discussed the state of music today and how something is truly missing. I hope with the return of Axl Rose's GNR arena rock will make a comback. As Nick and I discussed this, the conversation turned to the art of a performance.
"Kids like it when I spit on them. They want a show. I'm not anything like the person you see on stage. I'm pretty quiet, I like to stay home a lot. The person on stage is almost and alter ego. If I go to a show I expect to be entertained. I know from seeing it all over the country that kids today expect that from a live show as well."
Hopefully we all will get "spit on" by Nick Rozz soon. He teased a few surprises shows with his new band in Las Vegas and Los Angeles during the early first part of 2009. However his hesitation to guard the project still remained. I could tell he was still contemplating if he wanted the album to be picked up for a contract prior to doing any shows, but I could also tell Nick is a true musician and really wanted to get out there on stage and let his alter ego run wild.
I'm glad I finally got a chance to catch up with Nick Rozz and see what he has been up to since leaving The Tattooed Millionaires. After our conversation, and the various things Nick Rozz and I spoke about, I can honestly say this: Unlike the city Rozz calls home, unlike the other bands paying clubs to play, unlike most of the bands on Myspace who are more about self-promotion than music, and unlike some of the bands who currently have made it when they shouldn't (this means you The Killers and The Jonas Brothers) Nick Rozz's talent is 100% more than just words. One can tell after speaking to him and hearing the excitement in his voice that he will make it, and make it on talent not talk!
As soon as I know when Nick Rozz's project is inked - or when he will be coming to a town near you, of course I will let my readers know.
Check out Nick's MySpace page: