A true product of Minneapolis Sound, Alex Rossi & Friends roll a mash-up of traditional blues, the swagger of hip-hop and the high energy of rock’n’roll into several funky hours of music. ‘The After Party’ will have you dancing into the early hours of the morning with solid soul jams featuring special Fringe guests! Rossi has shared the stage with notable artists including George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic, Chicago, Steve Miller Band, Jimmie Vaughan and many more!
With his soulful vocals and rock inspired guitar licks, ‘The After Party’ became the worst kept secret of Ed Fringe 2014 as it raised the roof of the iconic Checkpoint venue with guests Lady Rizo, Tom Thum, and members of the Rhythmic Circus band. Set to become your new late-night Fringe destination. Alex Rossi answers a few questions about his career and playing the Adelaide Fringe.
How would you summarise the Alex Rossi musical journey so far?
I got my first guitar when I was 14 years old and had dropped out of high school and was playing music full time at 18. I never received any formal training but learned the craft by sneaking into Blues clubs in the Twin Cities area and getting to know industry vets. The projects that I have helped create have brought me all over the world, including a six-week residency on Broadway in New York City. I’ve written three studio albums and recorded one live album, played thousands of shows, and shared the stage with many of my hero’s over the course of almost two decades.
How would you describe your music to the uninitiated?
The live show is a high energy experience with a lot of soul-funk, R&B, and danceable grooves. I think that one of my strengths as a singer, songwriter, and entertainer is that our shows are unscripted so fans and patrons will never experience the same show twice.
What can Fringe-goers expect from your show at the Garden Of Unearthly Delights?
I had the privilege of experiencing the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and there is no other experience like it. I hope to provide a place for Adelaide Fringe-goers to come and participate in the spirit of this Festival where they are just as part of the art as the music and various acts that they are here to appreciate. I want to show Fringe-goers my appreciation to them by providing a space for them to dance, sing, connect, and share this experience.
Will the show change from night to night?
Yes, I plan on hosting special guests including other acts and performers of the Fringe, as well as local Adelaide musicians.
Echoes From The Arches is a great album, did you feel that really challenged you?
Echoes from the Arches was both a challenge and honour to work with the producer, John Fields. It was my first time working with a destination producer like him. It was difficult for me to write some of these songs in the time frame that John works in. Johns pace is much quicker than mine so it kept me on my feet. I learned a lot under his direction.
Do you like to have your ideas well consolidated before recording?
No, actually, I’d prefer to have the arrangement of a song set before going into the studio but the final product is always based heavily on what I’m getting out of that specific and unique session. I can’t always prepare or stick to the idea that I have in my head because a lot of ideas flow in the moment. I have to follow that inspiration.
What comes first, the music or the lyrics?
Usually a little bit of both. Sometimes a melody or arrangement will fit over a lyric that I’ve already written and than I’m able to conceptualise the rest of the song. I rarely write a full song of lyrics or full arrangement of music before adding the other.
What would you consider your biggest musical influence to be and why?
Jimi Hendrix because he was the one that started it all for me. I knew what I wanted to be doing for the rest of my life within 10 seconds into Voodoo Child.
Do you often get confused for American professional race car driver of the same name?
Actually, it’s the Italian harmonica player that is the biggest pain in my ass but the race car driver and adult film star have also been cause for confusion.
Beyond Australia what’s the plan for Alex Rossi?
I’d like to record another record when I return home. I’d really like to work on a TV show incorporating my two favourite pastimes: music and fishing. You learn a lot about a person when you see them hold a fish.
Interview By Rob Lyon
Catch Alex Rossi & Friends at the Fortuna Spiegeltent at the Garden Of Unearthly Delights. Dates, times and ticket info at Fringe Tix.