Back in 2014, Alice Cooper guitarist Ryan Roxie did an interview with us by e-mail following the release of the Casablanca album “Riding a Black Swan”. Four years later that interview still has more hits than any other on the website. Ryan is now releasing his first solo album and I thought it would be great to get him onto the Friday NI Rocks Show this time. I arranged to speak to him about the new album and more via Skype on 8th May. The album is called “Imagine Your Reality” and it is released in the UK on 25th May through Cargo Records.

The interview can be heard on the Friday NI Rocks Show for 11th May which is now available on our MixCloud page - https://www.mixcloud.com/NIRocks/interview-with-ryan-roxie-on-the-friday-ni-rocks-show-11th-may-2018/

 

 

 

 

 

Check out Ryan’s website for loads of information, links etc - http://www.ryanroxie.com/

 

The interview will be transcribed and posted here later.

 

Full playlist for the Show –

TRUCKER DIABLO – Fighting for Everything

ALICE COOPER – Woman of Mass Distraction

SLASH’S SNAKEPIT – Been There Lately

SAFIRE – Heartbreaker

RYAN ROXIE – California Man

Interview with RYAN ROXIE Part 1 (12 min)

RYAN ROXIE – Over and Done

Interview with RYAN ROXIE Part 2 (7 min)

RYAN ROXIE – To Live And Die in LA

Interview with RYAN ROXIE Part 3 (10 min)

RYAN ROXIE – Look Me In The Eye

ROXIE 77 – The Solution

NITA STRAUSS – Pandemonium

RSO – Forever All The Way

HARTMANN – Simple Man

FRONTLINE – It’s Not Over

MOTLEY CRUE – Dr Feelgood

KISS – Domino

BIG GUNS – Fall From Grace

BLITZKRIEG – Forever Is A Long Time

LILLYE – In The End

BULLETS AND OCTANE – Waking Up Dead

BLUE MURDER – Valley of the Kings


 

The Feb 2014 interview with Ryan can be found here – http://www.rockradioni.co.uk/interviews/1455-ni-rocks-interview-with-ryan-roxie-of-casablancaroxie-77alice-cooper-band.html

 

An interview with Alice Cooper bandmate Nita Strauss from the same year can be found here - http://www.rockradioni.co.uk/interviews/1674-ni-rocks-interview-with-nita-strauss-alice-cooper-band.html - it’s number five in term of most hits; and an interview with bandmate Chuck Garric, also from 2014, can be found here – http://www.rockradioni.co.uk/interviews/1408-ni-rocks-interview-with-chuck-garric-beasto-blanco-alice-cooper-band.html

 

A July 2014 interview with former Alice Cooper guitarist Orianthi is also on the website - http://www.rockradioni.co.uk/interviews/1587-ni-rocks-interview-with-orianthi.html

 

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NI ROCKS – Hi Ryan, thanks for taking the time to talk to Rock Radio NI. Your new album “Imagine Your Reality” is released on 25th May through Cargo Records. We just played the track “California Man” which features Robin Zander from Cheap Trick. Tell us something about that track.

RYAN – First of all, thanks for having me on the air. Well, what can I say except that Cheap Trick was my favourite band growing up and it’s one of those childhood dreams come true to have that lead singer guest on your album. It definitely checks off one of the all time greatest moments in rock n roll for me.

NI ROCKS – It’s a great track. That was the first track that you released then?

RYAN – Yeah, that was the first one to be put out just to get people ready for the album and get people introduced to what type of album it is; which is a straight ahead, guitar driven album.


NI ROCKS – And speaking of guitars, I think you’re the only guitarist playing on the album, although your Alice Cooper bandmate guitarist Tommy Henriksen plays bass on three tracks which also feature Glen Sobel on drums. Did involving those two just seem to come naturally?

RYAN – It came naturally and it came on days off the Alice Cooper tour to be honest with you. Those tracks were recorded, a lot of the meat of the tracks, the guitars, the bass, the vocals; we over-dubbed the drums a little bit later, but most of the tracks were actually recorded in hotel rooms across America and Europe on our days off. Tommy Henriksen did a great job and a lot of people don’t realise that bass is Tommy’s first instrument and he has only been playing guitar since he joined the Alice Cooper Band and I must give him a lot of credit because he does such a great job playing guitar. We hear his bass playing on the album and it really makes sense too because his sense of melody and his sense of rhythm he locks in with Glen and it all worked out really nice.

NI ROCKS – Yeah, he started off playing bass with Warlock didn’t he, from memory?

RYAN – Yeah, I think it was. Back in the club days in Los Angeles we used to both be in power trio bands. We called them heavy pop bands. He was in a band called P.O.L. – Parade of Losers – and I was in a band called D.P.M. which is Dad’s Porno Mag.


NI ROCKS - Other than Robin, Tommy and Glen who else worked on the album with you?

RYAN – We had some great musicians who added their talents all over the record, peppered all over it. We have four different drummers on the album. Obviously you know Glen, but we have a guy Seven Anapolis playing who lives here in Sweden, but he’s an AmeriSwede as I like to call them. He’s from Texas, but he lives here in Stockholm. Seven played drums on “California Man”. Teddy ‘Zig-Zag’ (Andriatis) played keyboards on the album and did a really great job of giving a nice straight ahead honky tonk, rock n roll vibe to it. Everyone knows ‘Zig Zag’ either from Alice Cooper or Guns n Roses, but the cool thing was that ‘Zig Zag’ also played with Chuck Berry, so it was very appropriate the tracks he played on. I had my own drummer from Roxie 77, Antom Korberg, play on a track as well, and Kristoffer Folin, the guy that produced the album, he did a great job and produced seven tracks on the album and he did a great job playing bass and drums. Drums is his first instrument, but he also plays bass. There were a lot of musicians who stepped up and lent their talents to the project, but luckily for me, I got to play all the guitars. (laughs). I got a little selfish on guitar. The production team, and I really give them credit, they gave me a lot of support and really made me focus and emphasise the guitars on this album. They said everyone who kinda knows you, knows you from a guitar based background, playing with Alice Cooper obviously or playing with Slash or in Casablanca; they know you as a guitarist, so let’s make the songs good, the vocals sound great, but let’s really focus on some great guitar tracks and put a solo down on each track; so that’s exactly what we did.


NI ROCKS – You’ve partly answered this question, but where was the album recorded and who did you work with on production etc?

RYAN – Well, like I told you, some of the album was recorded at a Hilton or Sheridan near you probably, but the majority of the tracks were all put together, assembled and mixed here in Stockholm at Purple Heart Studios.....Purple Skull, ha-ha, Purple Heart, sounds like a hero! Get a Purple Heart for making this record! Purple Skull Studios here which is Kristoffer’s studio, as well as Tommy’s studio, Anarchy Studios, in Switzerland.


NI ROCKS – When did you start writing the tracks for this album and was the intention always that it would be released as a Ryan Roxie album as opposed to a Roxie 77 album?

RYAN – If you want to know the truth, some of the tracks started in nineteen ninety something (laughs). A lot of these riffs have been with me for years, but we put them all together in the last year. Some of them are brand spanking new riffs and some go back a bit. You can actually hear the influences – when and where I was when I wrote those riffs. For instance, there’s a song called “To Live And Die in LA”, we’ll talk about it a little bit later, but you can tell what era that came from. I was playing in Snakepit and touring the “Brutal Planet” era of Alice Cooper and a lot of that guitar vibe comes from that era. All I needed to do was translate and channel in those old demos, pick-up on the vibe and the energy from the way I was playing it back then and then put them into my modern day playing which hopefully has evolved over the years. Hopefully that’s what I achieved.

NI ROCKS – And a Ryan Roxie album, rather than Roxie 77; why was that?

RYAN – Well I figured, you know what, if I don’t make a solo album soon, I’m not going to make one (laughs). I’m starting my solo career when most people are about ready to retire. I think it’s a whole new chapter for me, and again, the production team really made me focus on ‘hey, this is your album, this is your baby, make the guitars great and just put it out there to see what people think’. ‘You have a catalogue of Roxie 77, you have D.P.M., you have a plethora of other bands that you’ve been in, but the one thing that is constant about all these bands for you is that you Ryan Roxie have been in them, so why not do something that just has your name on it’. It made sense.


NI ROCKS – Will there be another Roxie 77 release? The last one was the (“Ameriswede”) EP in 2014.

RYAN – I’ve been asked that question about Roxie 77 and I’ve been asked that question about Casablanca. I also get that question about will the Alice Cooper touring band make an album with Alice. I always leave that door wide open, because there has never been a problem, personality wise with anybody in any of these line-ups or bands. It’s the timing, the way things worked out and what our focus was at the time; ended up leading up to what it is right now. I would love to make a Band album with this touring band, with the Alice Cooper Band. There are two line-ups of Roxie 77 – there’s an American line-up and there’s a Swedish line-up. I’ve been playing with the Swedish guys for so many years, it’s like we know each other’s playing upside down, backwards, forwards and everything. So when we get together it’s always very natural and feels good. Casablanca is the same. I never say never to any of that stuff. I just want to play music and get it out there and hopefully continue to play music for as long as I can.


NI ROCKS – The Ameriswede EP was released in 2014 and featured 6 tracks with two different mixes – one by Tommy Henriksen and the other by Jon Borden in Sweden. Originally it seemed to have only a limited release as a vinyl bundle I think – why was that? It’s now available on iTunes I see as well.

RYAN – Yeah, I always try and do stuff maybe a little bit off the beaten track when it comes to releases; something a little special, especially when it comes to our vinyl releases. That was to have two different versions – an indie Swedish vibe with Jon mixing it – he was actually one of the producers on one of the tracks on “Imagine Your Reality”, the new album coming out as well. We keep it in the family. We had that Swedish indie vibe on one side and then Tommy Henriksen gave it a bit more of a lush production feel on the American side. That’s what made “Ameriswede” special. The album before that “Two Sides To Every Story” I did eleven tracks electric and then the same exact eleven tracks acoustically in the same order, with just a little acoustic vibe on that. All that stuff you can find on Spotify and you can check it out. The new album, our little twist on that is that the actual vinyl album cover is allowing you to pick whatever album cover you want. We’re releasing it in four different colour types – red vinyl, white vinyl, blue vinyl and traditional black vinyl; but the actually album cover that it comes in, you’re going to be able to switch them so that it can be one of four album covers. So that’s a little bit different. And also, the other little twist that we have on this album; if you want to hear all of the tracks on the album you’re going to have to go old school and get either the tangible vinyl or the tangible CD. If you want to wait for a digital release- iTunes, Spotify or YouTube; I’m going to release those one by one. The reason for that is that I want this album to have a long shelf-life so that I can promote it all through the next year. I’m going to be touring on and off with Alice throughout the year. Whenever there are breaks I’m going to be doing my damn sure best to make it down to the UK for sure, and make it wherever I can to book gigs. I want to be able to make this whole year an exciting year of Ryan Roxie single releases, but if want to hear all ten tracks in their entirety, which I hope you want to do, you’ve got to pick up the album or CD and do it old school style.


NI ROCKS – Talking about the new album, we’ll play a second track now. The track “Over and Done” was released recently. Tell us something about it.

RYAN – That’s our latest single which we have out. It was the first song that Kristoffer Folin and I worked on together. This is sort of our test song – to test the waters to see what our working relationship would be like. If you check out the lyric video you’ll see that Kristoffer plays the drums in it and I’m playing guitar in it and it’s a little bit like a White Strips vibe – just a guitarist and a drummer. The whole track turned into something really cool that we wanted to continue to record and that basically was the seed that ended up getting planted and “Imagine Your Reality” ended up being the tree.


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NI ROCKS – “Imagine Your Reality” is released on 25th May. Are you going to be able to do any touring to support the release of the album? You mentioned already that you were hoping to.

RYAN – We’re going to try to fit as many gigs in during the breaks. Everybody knows that Alice Cooper is all of our priority – everybody that is in the touring band. We all have other bands as well. Chuck Garric has Beasto Blanco, Tommy Henriksen has his own band as well as myself. We love to do gigs together, nights off – on our own; but we all prioritise Alice because he is the guys who’s name is up on the marquee, we ride his coat-tails and wear his name very proudly on our sleeves. To be honest we just love jamming with him and touring with him. We are going to book shows though during the breaks and right now is a good time during this release time, Alice is touring with the Hollywood Vampires, so it gives me an opportunity to do some shows around here, in Sweden, maybe dip down to the UK and do something here and there. But definitely check out the album when it comes out on the 25th.


NI ROCKS – When are you due back out on the road with Alice?

RYAN – What’s going to happen is that I’m going to do a US Mid-West tour for myself in July and then I’m going to hook up with Alice and with the rest of the guys and girl in the band in August and tour pretty much up until the end of October I think. There are dates all the way through now until the end of October, so we’ll see what happens during November and December, but like I said I’m Imagining My Own Reality in a way so I’m imaging coming down there and playing for you all.


NI ROCKS – Judging by social media, there seems to be a great comradery between everyone on the Alice Cooper tour – the band members, crew etc. How would you describe the relationship?

RYAN – At this point everybody is...I don’t like to say family, but families always argue and fight and we barely argue or fight. I guess the fact that we have single hotel rooms every night (laughs), which is a very big perk, trust me, it doesn’t go un-noticed. I know when I get out there with my solo thing we’ll probably have the whole band in one room. At the same time there is something cool about being able to have our own time on the road, but to get together in the dressing rooms, on the bus, on stage and we’re hangin’ pretty much the entire day. I think that the reason that it is so cozy is that this is the most consistent Alice Cooper touring band that he has had since the original band. We’ve been touring together now for the last five or six years as one unit and we’ve played hundreds and hundreds of shows and we’ve gotten to see the world together. At the end of the day we all respect the man’s name that is on the marquee and we all know what role each of us have to play. We’re inspired to get up to Alice’s energy every single night because he is still giving it 100%


NI ROCKS – You’d written tracks for some of Alice’s albums during your first stint with the band. His studio albums are a lot less frequent these days and the latest “Paranormal” was a bit of an un-usual one in the sense that he worked mainly with guest musicians. Do you think the opportunity will arise again to write tracks with Alice?

RYAN – Like I said before, I would love to record an actual studio album with this original band; for all the reasons I told you before. This unit is cohesive, we do get along, play well together and Tommy Henriksen is already in the mix. He’s such a proven, great producer who has worked not just on Alice’s records, he has worked on my records, on Chuck’s records and who knows it he’s going to end up working on Nita’s record as well. And he makes his own as well. So I think we have something very special, but then again that’s always up to the boss and the boss makes the call. But I would love to have that opportunity, like the way we did with “The Eyes of Alice Cooper” and “Dirty Diamonds”.


NI ROCKS – You did an interview for me by e-mail in early 2014 following the release of the Casablanca album “Riding a Black Swan”. That interview actually has the most hits on our website than any other. More than Richie Sambora, Graham Bonnet, George Lynch, Orianthi or anybody. Nita Strauss is at number 5 at minute so you’re ahead of her as well.

RYAN – (Laughs) Then definitely you are doing something right for me, thank-you. I appreciate that man.

NI ROCKS – You seem to be very popular in China and Japan as our hits went through the roof when we posted that last interview in 2014.

RYAN – Let’s just pretend it’s 2014 all over again and make this one go through the roof as well.

NI ROCKS – Hopefully it will. That brings me on to my next question. What’s the current position with Casablanca? Were involved with their latest album in 2015?

RYAN – I was not. I was on the road the entire year. Alice Cooper was touring with Mötley Crüe that entire year. But they made a great record. Casablanca made a great third album. It’s not the same vibe and flavour as the first two – “Apocalyptic Youth” or “Riding A Black Swan” – it evolved and I respect those guys for that. And at the same time, I’ve never closed the door; I still have conversations with those guys. We’ll see what happens. I still to this day say, pound for pound, Anders Ljung is one of the coolest frontmen out there.


NI ROCKS – Now, getting back to your own album “Imagine Your Reality”. We’ll play another track now. Do you want to pick one this time and tell us something about it?

RYAN – I’d love to pick one. Ok. I’ll pick one with that vibe that I told you about that I drew from the demos, where the original riff came back from the late 90’s or early 2000’s. You can almost smell the room that I was in when you hear the guitar playing because it’s pretty greasy and sleazy. I think the whole vibe smells of Los Angeles, so what better title than “To Live And Die In LA”.

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NI ROCKS – We mentioned earlier the musicians that you’d worked with on the “Imagine Your Reality” album. Do you have a wish list of musicians that you’d like to work with; or even work with again?

RYAN – I’m so happy working with the guys that I’m already surrounded by. I feel that I’ve been blessed to work with a level of musicianship that always keeps me pushing and striving to write a better song, a better guitar part, write a better solo. And that’s all you can ask from guys that you play around – that they make you want to strive to be better. As far as dream bands, I think there are a lot of new bands that I love that they’re drawing a little bit from the grunge scene, and are definitely guitar driven. When we talk about guitar driven bands that are mega these days it always comes back to The Foo Fighters because The Foo Fighters have found a way to make guitars still relevant. And that is all that I’m trying to do with this album; to make guitars relevant, make guitars loud and abrasive, but still very melodic. That’s not to say that every guitar driven album has to have a real heavy riff or a real detuned guitar; you can make pop sounding songs and create them with heavy, aggressive guitars and I think that’s what The Foo Fighters do from album to album and I have a lot of respect for that.


NI ROCKS - In our previous interview you’d mentioned the importance of image and fashion in music – at that stage it was in relation to the Swedish music scene. Image is obviously a huge part of the Alice Cooper stage show. How much of that is down to the individual musicians and how much is co-ordinated for the band?

RYAN – (Laughs) There is no co-ordination with everything when it comes to the Alice Cooper Band. Pretty much everything that we do is done just by basic instinct and survival. Not wanting to get stabbed by Alice because you know he has a sword at this point in the set. A lot of people ask us about the Alice Cooper show and is all the parts when you’re on stage choreographed – no, we’re usually just running away when Alice has a snake, or he’s throwing knifes somewhere. To be honest it takes about a week or two for us to find our spots on stage – what feels good during what solo, what part feels good in a song for us to be everybody stage left or everybody split up. Once we get comfortable with that when we start a tour, we’re kinda comfortable and stay that way the whole time. It’s not like we choreograph it, it just naturally happens.

NI ROCKS – Some the outfits or gear you wear is class too, whether it’s Wornstar or Chad Cherry or whatever.

RYAN – You know I’m a huge, huge fan of Chad Cherry. He’s been making my clothes for the last, I don’t know how many tours. Everytime I send him a pair of jeans that feel comfortable for me, he just customises them to the point that everybody wants a pair, everybody wants to have a pair of my jeans and I say no-no, get your own jeans, just call Chad and he’ll do them for you.

NI ROCKS – Some of his stuff is class. Actually I interviewed Chad a couple of years ago too. He’s a really cool guy. http://www.rockradioni.co.uk/interviews/1547-ni-rocks-interview-with-chad-cherry-of-the-last-vegas.html / https://www.etsy.com/shop/ChadCherryClothing

RYAN – Getting back to fashion, just real quick. There’s Solenne Menger, she goes by the name Lord SM Paris, she’s out of Paris, France and she does a really great job of doing clothes as well. She’s been designing a lot of new clothes that I’ve been wearing as well (http://www.lord-sm.com/ ). So between Solenne and Chad Cherry, they got me covered.


NI ROCKS – In the last interview you also talked about some of the bands that you were listening to and how you discovered new bands, through Spotify etc. What have you been listening to recently and what bands have you discovered that are new to you?

RYAN – Oh man, you going to make me give away all my secrets for the next album away; is that what you’re going to do? (laughs). I still do, we call it spotify roulette. A lot of times what we’ll do on the tour bus is everyone will have their iPhones and we have a cord that we plug into the main bus PDA or sound system and everyone will play their favourite song that they’ve been listening too. So I actually do get a lot of my new bands and new songs from bands that other members of the Alice Cooper Band have turned me onto. Do you want to hear a few? There’s  a two piece band out of Canada called Death From Above; they were called Death From Above 1979 but now they’re just Death From Above. They’re a very cool band. Another band I just discovered going down the rabbit hole of rock one night was Holy White Hounds who are from the Mid-West. They kick ass. The singer Brody Dalle, everyone probably knows her as the singer of the band The Distillers, but she also has an amazing solo album as well as a band called Spinnerette; but this Brode Dalle kills it, she’s great. A straight ahead rock n’ roll guitar band, Biters, they’re killing it. At this point everybody is going nuts over The Struts; that everybody is discovering now, although they’ve been around for one or two albums and are absolutely killing it. Obviously the kids are loving Greta Van Fleet these days, you’ve gotta give it up for that. A band that I’ve been really into that have such a cool, eerie vibe and an esoteric vibe but still knows how to place guitars is Highly Suspect. Then there’s this joker called Ryan Roxie (laughs); silly name!


NI ROCKS – We’re going to talk about the new album again in a moment but before we do that. At the end of the Show I’ll play something from “Ameriswede”. Do you have a particular favourite from that EP that you want to play?

RYAN – Absolutely, “The Solution” is one of my favourite tracks still to this day. In fact I’m sticking it in on this new tour that we’re doing. I’m going to play a bunch of songs, mostly songs from “Imagine Your Reality”, but I will definitely play what you might call classic Roxie, old-school Roxie. I’ll play some D.P.M., I’ll play some Roxie 77 and maybe a song or two that we wrote with Alice on “The Eyes..” and “Dirty Diamonds” albums as well.

NI ROCKS – That’s great. Hopefully that tour manages to make it to Belfast or even Dublin.

RYAN – If you get this thing kickin the way you say in China and Japan, there’s no way we can’t meet up in Tokyo, how about that? (laughs).

NI ROCKS – (Laughs) Sounds good. Which version of that track do you want to play, Tommy’s or Jon’s

RYAN – We’ll do Tommy’s version of “The Solution”, how about that?


NI ROCKS – Ok, getting back to “Imagine Your Reality”. There are ten tracks on the album. We’ve played three already and we’ll play another shortly. Which of them took the longest time to get finished exactly the way you wanted and why did it require such blood, sweat and tears?

RYAN – Oh! You know what, I’ll tell you. It was one of the songs that I thought was going to take the least because it was basically just...I wanted a vibey sort of supersonic, Oasis-type, slinky, John Lennon’y sort of rock song. It’s called “Look Me In The Eye”. I had this riff, but then I kept on changing it, with the arrangement, here and there. We’d say this verse needs to be different from the other verse and this chorus lets add this and this solo let’s make it something special and sounding a little bit different than the rest of the song. So, in reality a song that was basically just a straight ahead rock song, a sleazy rock song, ended up taking the most time just because me and the production team kept coming up with ideas. The very end of the song is just a cacophony of guitar and that’s maybe a good one to play actually.


NI ROCKS – We are going to play another track now so do you want to play that one?

RYAN – “Look Me In The Eye”, why not!

NI ROCKS – That’s a great track and actually one of my favourites on the album, so I’m glad you picked it. That’s all the questions I have for you, thanks for taking the time to talk to us at Rock Radio NI and best of luck with the new album.

RYAN – Nigel, it’s always a pleasure and like I said let’s either meet in China, Japan or your home town!

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Last Updated (Monday, 03 September 2018 22:16)