Roxy Blue Rocking The Whisky on the Sunset Strip
Roxy Blue Rocking The Whisky on the Sunset Strip
The almighty Roxy Blue was back on the Sunset Strip, headlining the world-famous Whisky A Go Go a day before The NAMM Show was about commence. Also on the bill were the raging SteelCity and the fast-rising Lost Hearts – and all the bands who performed made it a glorious hard rocking night to remember! Prior to Roxy Blue’s thunderous set, Highwire Daze caught up with vocalist Todd Poole to find about more about the past, present, and future of this epically underrated band! Read on…
We’re here with Roxy Blue backstage at the Whisky on the Sunset Strip. First of all, introduce yourself and tell me what you do in Roxy Blue.
Todd Poole, lead vocalist/guitar player.
What are you guys looking forward to the most about your show here tonight at The Whisky?
Well, I mean, just the fact that we’re here in LA, it’s been like, for me personally, it’s been, I think, ’94 since I was here. We did our record out here in ’92. So, I came in the Whisky a bunch and had good time, but we played The Troubadour, we didn’t play The Whisky.
And so, I came back out here with Warrant, I think, in 1994 and did some stuff with them. So, we hung out, but I’ve never played The Whisky. So Roxy’s never played The Whisky. So we’re just excited to be here. It’s a Wednesday night. All the bands that are playing so far have been kicking some butt and we’re here.
We’re still sitting and they’re going to kick some butt too. So, we’re just excited to be in LA, man. And it’s just a great vibe out here in the club. The soundcheck was great. The club’s great, obviously. So just to be able to have this experience is going to be great. We’re ready just to crank it up and slam dunk this motherfucker.
Your former record label, Geffen, who used to be down the street from here.
What was it like working with Geffen at that time?
It was surreal. So we got signed by Tom Zutaut, who signed Guns N’ Roses, Motley Crue, Tesla. But he came to Memphis and saw the band, didn’t sign us at first. He liked the band and he said, “Look, I want to give you guys a little time and just work on some more stuff. I’ll come back.” But he gave us this thing. They had first dibs at us. So the night we got signed, we had 2 labels there. I won’t mention who they are, but they were there and the place was jam packed and we’re in our hometown.
And back in those days, you created a buzz and A&R people would come around and Jani Lane actually kind of discovered Roxy Blue. So he kind of helped the buzz go a little bit more. The place was packed and then Zutant walks in. We didn’t even know he was there, but word was he came in right before we started. And then he wrote down on a napkin that to our lawyer, Jim Zomal, “Hey, I want this band“. So the other labels saw that he was there and he was a hot A&R guy.
So they just said, “Okay, back at it.” So, he comes back after we played and before we went on for an encore and says, “Hey man, what’s up guys? Hey, you guys want to be on Geffen? Go out there and tell everybody you’re Geffen’s new recording artists!” So that was unbelievable. So, to answer your question in full, it was a dream come true for any musician in the world. We had Tom Zutaut who was hot, he had Guns N’ Roses. We had Warrant and they were getting their managers to come to Memphis a bunch.
It was really kind of a blur, but I don’t think at the time – in that reality, you would think there was a lot of pressure to rise up to that. And we were very confident as a band, but we didn’t think about that. We didn’t realize the pressure that was on us, man. “These guys the next big thing!” We just looked at it as, “Hey, we’re just having fun and we want to make a great record and we wanted to be everything we could be, everything we’d ever work for in music.”
We were only together for two years when we got signed, but we worked everyday writing. We lived it man and I think it’s all luck, but I think you do have to work hard. So being on Geffen was being in the company and on the power team. We were able to go to all the cool parties, we were able to hang out with rock stars that people only see in magazines. And I’m talking like we got to go to the cool Guns N’ Roses stuff, we got to go to the Motley Crue, and it was unbelievable man!
Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley came and watched us rehearse when we’re doing pre-production. I wouldn’t trade it for the world. And no, we didn’t become huge rock stars and all that, but it was an experience that I wouldn’t rewind and do it any different. But nobody knew Seattle was gonna come in and do what it did it and I actually liked that music. They played me in a demo of Nirvana while we were out here making our record and I freaking loved it! I didn’t know what that was gonna do for our career, but we just kept rolling and kept rolling and we had a great time. And the fact that we’re able to keep doing what we’re doing and there’s people out there that still want to hear it, that’s cool! We do it for a different reason now. We’re not trying to be rock stars – and you know we got kids and wives, but we still love playing music. So just to see people who come out and want to hear us play – that’s everything to me! I don’t overlook that – none of us do.
What was it like putting out your second album years later on Frontiers?
When we approached this record, I was not trying to be anything. I was writing from my heart, and I had a lot more to write about that I could not write Want Some to. I mean I don’t really want to write that record, it would not be real and rock and roll – fans are smart. They might get up there and put the horns in the air and shake their head and everything, but they’re smart. They can see plastic all day long and they can see right through the bullshit.
So I wanted to make a record that was real that could touch somebody, and I thought we did that. So, I thought it was a great record. We ended up, parting ways with Frontiers after that. Covid hit a couple years after that. The record did really good. It did good enough for us to get vinyl that you had to recoup. But, they wanted us to make a record within a year of that and Covid was out and it was like who wants to put a record out then? You can’t go out and support the record. So, I didn’t realize that they needed a record within a year. So two years later we say, “Hey man, we got a record for you“. And it just didn’t work out. We wanted a little bit more money. Frontiers was cool with us when we were with them.
Josh, our bass player said it best. He was like, “Hey man, ain’t nobody else doing anything with us right now.” It’s a great thing. And I think Frontiers gives you a great platform to get out there and do it. But, in the music industry, what we’re doing is so much different than it was back in the day that. You know, I’m old school. In order for a band to survive these days, you gotta get good on the fucking computer – you gotta know what the fuck’s going on out there – you gotta network yourself. All of us lazy guys – we had people do it for us for all that time, so we just try to get out there and promote it as much as possible.
But I think it’s all about the live show now. You just go out and you play, and people say rock’s dead and to me, they’re definitely wrong. Every show we go out and play – these festivals and stuff and there’s people out there and they grew up with us and they’re out there having the best times of their lives. And they actually have enough money to buy the record.
Any new music on the Horizon? Do you want to make album number three?
We are! We actually had a record that was finished, and we parted ways with our last drummer. We do have a new lineup that’s really great. With Jeff Caughron on guitar, who’s been with us for a while, and he’s a great guitar player, gives us a different sound than we had back then, which we needed. Josh Weil still plays bass like a beast. And we got a new drummer named Chris Cook. But we had a record that was finished and we recorded at our drummer’s house, great musician, did a great job on the stuff. And kind of, to me, I don’t want to say anything bad about him because he’s a great guy and he’s a friend of mine, but in a way, he kind of hijacked the record.
He wouldn’t give us a record. There’s a few songs on the record that I think we might keep, it’s really a good record. But it’s been kind of a little bit of time now, so we’re working on some new material. So, I don’t know if we’ll do an EP, or I don’t know how we’re gonna do it, but I do know that we’re gonna have some new music out sometime this year. That’s all I could tell you.
Do you have any messages used for Roxy Blue fans who are reading this in the magazine right now?
First of all, make sure you keep reading this magazine because it’s awesome. I just got a copy of it. The other thing is just go out and support live music. That’s what keeps bands rolling, is to be able to go out. And it’s tough to play in front of nobody, but everybody that plays music, I applaud anybody who plays music. It’s just such a universal language. And so come out and see Roxy Blue. If you liked this back in the day, I think you’ll be surprised. And I think you’ll like what we’re doing now. We had a few little bit of new twists of things, but we still play a lot of stuff from Want Some. And just keep rock and roll alive.
All the podcasters and the magazines, you guys are the ones that are kind of keeping rock to me on the forefront. Because radio they’re not taking chances, they’re doing about playlists. So you got to kind of go with what I would call underground. But the podcasters and the magazines, you guys are all kind of keeping all of us working. And we appreciate you.
(Interview by Ken Morton – Photos by Joe Schaeffer)
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