INTERVIEW WITH ALEX GROSSI OF QUIET RIOT, BEAUTIFUL CREATURES AND MAPS TO THE HOLLYWOOD SCARS
Date: February 5, 2017
GUITARIST ALEX GROSSI IS ONE BUSY MAN. MOST KNOW HIM AS BEING THE CURRENT GUITARIST FOR THE LEGENDARY QUIET RIOT — A POSITION THAT HE HAS HELD PRETTY MUCH SINCE 2004 — BUT AMONGST OTHER THINGS, HE ALSO HAS A NEW PROJECT ENTITLED ‘MAPS TO THE HOLLYWOOD SCARS’ WITH AMERICAN IDOL FINALIST JAMES DURBIN AND HE IS PART OF THE BEAUTIFUL CREATURES REUNION. SLEAZE ROXX CAUGHT UP WITH GROSSI SPECIFICALLY TO FIND OUT MORE ABOUT MAPS TO THE HOLLYWOOD SCARS AND THE BEAUTIFUL CREATURES REUNION.
Sleaze Roxx: How did you hook up with James Durbin?
Alex Grossi: I have known James since he was on [American] Idol. We both had some of the same representation and I would often go to his shows when he would play in LA. A couple years later, I ended running into him out here in Vegas last fall where he was doing a show and we ended up jamming together. I sent him some demos that I had been working on, and he nailed them, one after another… I played them for a few close industry friends, one being New Ocean Media, and we ended up cutting a deal with them and went right into the studio. Now here we are with our EP set to drop in less than 2 weeks… It’s been a bit of a whirlwind, but a good whirlwind….
Sleaze Roxx: There must be a story behind the band name ‘Maps To The Hollywood Scars.’ How did you come up with that album title and band name?
Alex Grossi: James had a band pre Idol called “Hollywood Scars.” I added the “Map To The” part. It all came together very quickly, as we have both have “done time” in LA in different ways, and a lot of the lyrics on the EP reflect that.
Sleaze Roxx: How would you describe your path in Hollywood and the music industry?
Alex Grossi: I moved to LA sixteen years ago, and just recently moved to Las Vegas. I was in a band back east that had a pretty sweet deal with Atlantic Records. In 2001, AOL and Time Warner merged and hundreds of people lost their jobs including our A&R guy. So I immediately decided to move to Hollywood and start over. Most people that have never been there or lived there still seem to have an opinion of it — which I think is funny — but it really is a great place to find out if you are truly cut out for this It’s not easy, but if you really want it and work hard enough out there, you will end up with a gig.
Sleaze Roxx: Maps To The Hollywood Scars are poised to release two EPs — one on February 17, 2017 and one this spring. Why two EPs rather than a full-length album?
Alex Grossi: A lot bands are just doing EPs or singles now. There is not much of a point in recording an entire 12 songs and releasing them all at once, as they will just end up on some torrent site for free. So we knew that going in. We also wanted to gauge our audience and where the PR [public relations] department of the label should focus on. We just released a demo of the song “Roads” that was literally written, recorded and mixed in less than three hours. The people at most “hard rock/metal” sites hated it. Yet, if you look at the more mainstream outlets, it went over quite well and was shared over and over again. Our pages started getting a ton more hits, and the video had a couple thousand views in the first 24 hours — so now we know what demographic to hit from a PR standpoint! Experiment complete!
Maps To The Hollywood Scars‘ “Roads” (demo version) lyric video:
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Sleaze Roxx: How did the writing process go for the two EPs and how would you describe Maps To The Hollywood Scars’ music?
Alex Grossi: It was very simple and organic. I would send over a demo and just tell James to do his thing. We would make slight changes and then put them in the pipeline to record. I hate trying to describe music, but if I had to, I would say classic melodic rock with modern production and sensibilities.
Sleaze Roxx: It’s no surprise to see your Hookers & Blows bandmate and Guns N’ Roses keyboardist Dizzy Reed is making an appearance on the Maps To The Hollywood Scars’ debut EP. When did you first meet Dizzy and can we expect some future recording collaborations between the two of you?
Alex Grossi: Dizzy did a great job on a darker ballad we have called “Till Death.” We will probably be releasing that song next, and shooting a video for it. I met Dizzy in 2004. We immediately hit it off and became very close. I actually auditioned for Guns N’ Roses in 2006 when they were making a guitarist change. We just released a cover of the Elton John classic “Saturday Night’s Alright For Fighting” to promote the Hookers & Blow merch line, which we give away with every purchase. We have been lucky to have Forgotten Saints in Hollywood carrying the line and shipping worldwide, and, of course we will always do Hookers & Blow shows when time allows.
Sleaze Roxx: I didn’t know you auditioned for Guns N’ Roses! How was the audition process?
Alex Grossi: It was around 2006. I was just told to learn three songs and go through them with the band… It was to fill Buckethead’s slot, so you can imagine what kind of player they were looking for. They ended up getting Bumblefoot, who is an amazing player. Some of those ‘Chinese Democracy’ parts are not easy!
Hookers & Blow‘s cover of Elton John‘s “Saturday Night’s Alright For Fighting”:
NEW MERCHANDISE & FREE DOWNLOAD NOW AVAILABLE http://forgottensaintsla.com/collections/gift-card HOOKERS & BLOW, the band featuring GUNS N’ ROSES keyboardist…
Sleaze Roxx: Maps To The Hollywood Scars have an EP release party at Count’s Vamp’d in Las Vegas, Nevada scheduled for Wednesday February 22, 2017. What are your plans going forward?
Alex Grossi: The next few months are gonna be pretty crazy with all the press we have — TV, print, online and radio. Then we will see from there… We are letting this project go where it goes and not try to plan too much.
As far as a “target audience”, I would say we don’t really have one. I think there will be preconceptions just based on the American Idol and Quiet Riot associations, which is fine, as the reaction so far from regular old music fans has been great. I couldn’t give two fucks what someone, who spends their day online critiquing bands, thinks about my music — and even if they did like it, they would most likely just steal it off the web anyway! David Lee Roth once said “You know why all the critics love Elvis Costello? Because they all look like him!”
We also just signed on with a company that is going to drastically change the way fans buy music, and we are very excited to be one of, if not the first up and coming rock act they have. They are called iDitty. On the surface, they look like a simple backstage pass, but with all the app that accompanies it, musicians on the iDitty platform have the power to load them with music, videos, artwork and so much more. When you redeem a card, you get instant access to all that content direct from your browser or mobile device. It’s very very cool and has unlimited possibilities. They are already being called the “The Music Delivery Platform of the Future”… and for a very good reason.
Sleaze Roxx: You do seem to be a very busy guy since you appear to be the architect behind the Beautiful Creatures reunion. What led to the Beautiful Creatures reunion?
Alex Grossi: We were all behind it, If anyone steered the ship it was Kenny Kweens. We have all been through a lot both personally and professionally, yet have always kept in touch. I saw Kenny Kweens and Joe Leste on the last Monsters Of Rock Cruise and we all ended up all onstage together playing a Beautiful Creatures tune. Within 48 hours, all of our phones lit up. So, we collectively said — “Why not?”
Sleaze Roxx: The Beautiful Creatures reunion coincides with the remastering and remixing of the band’s sophomore album ‘Deuce.’ Why did you decide to remaster and remix that album and why not the self-titled debut instead?
Alex Grossi: The debut album is owned lock, stock and barrel by Warner Bros. The rights to ‘Deuce’ have now reverted back to us. Plus, we wanted to have more creative control, and unlike the self-titled album, Anthony Focx mixed ‘Deuce’ and had access to the actual files for us to manipulate for the better.
Sleaze Roxx: What are the bonus tracks that will be included on ‘Deuce Deluxe’ and when were they recorded?
Alex Grossi: That will all be announced soon. We are still putting the finishing touches on them but I have heard where the old songs have gone sonically and it is night and day. I think the fans are gonna love it.
Sleaze Roxx: Beautiful Creatures have had a few different line-ups. The “reunited line-up” does not include guitarist DJ Ashba and drummer Glen Sobel. Was there any talk of having them included with the reunion and/or did you just concentrate on the line-up that recorded the ‘Deuce’ album?
Alex Grossi: DJ was into it, but he is super busy with Sixx:A.M. and Glen is busy with Alice Cooper. That’s when we decided that we should just start with this, play a very few select live shows and possibly put out new music at some point.
Sleaze Roxx: How did you end up joining Beautiful Creatures back in the day and why did you leave the band?’
Alex Grossi: I met Joe Leste at the Cat Club in Hollywood on a night where everyone was just jamming and hanging out. We ended up playing together and hit it off. He asked for my number and a few days later, I got a call from Kenny. Within weeks, we were in the rehearsal studio working out riffs that would be the framework for ‘Deuce’ which we recorded not too far after. I ended leaving in 2004 when I was offered the Quiet Riot gig. I always dug that band, even before I moved out to LA, then I got to know them as people and we definitely had a bond. I am really glad we are working together again.
Sleaze Roxx: Why did Beautiful Creatures disband in the first place?
Alex Grossi: There was never any real “reason.” We just sort of all went our separate ways. We all kept in touch and would talk about “maybe someday”…. “Someday” came on that last Monsters of Rock Cruise.
Sleaze Roxx: With the release of ‘Deuce Deluxe’ next month, the big question is whether Beautiful Creatures will be playing some shows in the future. What are the plans in that regard?
Alex Grossi: We already have offers, and I am sure once we have a better scope of what 2017 looks like, we will fit those offers in when possible. We will probably do a Hollywood show for sure, and if the circumstances are right, a fly date or two… Who knows? I think we were all taken aback at the crowd’s reaction when we did that last minute Beautiful Creatures song, and then when we docked, it started to snowball…
Sleaze Roxx: Most people know you as the guitarist for Quiet Riot. How are things going with new singer Seann Nicols and what’s the status of the new upcoming Quiet Riot studio album?
Alex Grossi: We just did our first Quiet Riot run with Seann and he did great. There are tons of YouTube videos out there already so check ’em out. As for the new record, last I heard, we were looking at sometime in the spring but it’s done and there is a lot of really cool stuff on it. The Quiet Riot movie [‘Well Now You’re Here, There’s No Way Back’] has also really grown legs, and has been great for us. It’s been in active rotation on Showtime for over two years, and now it’s fully available at QuietRiotMovie.com [see link below].
Quiet Riot playing live with new singer Seann Nicols in January 2017:
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Quiet Riot‘s Well Now You’re Here, There’s No Way Back movie trailer:
OFFICIAL TRAILER, QUIET RIOT: Well Now You’re Here, There’s No Way BackAfter losing his best friend and band mate to a drug overdose, 80’s metal rock star Fr…
Sleaze Roxx: Is there anything else you’d like to add that we have not covered?
Alex Grossi: One other thing that happened was that Hotel Diablo, a side project with Mike Duda [W.A.S.P.], just got a really cool placement in the movie ‘Criticsized.’ It won “Best Picture” at the last Hollywood Film Festival and is getting great reviews at all the major film festivals. They used the song “Bury You.” It’s a very intense song and scene. The director Carl T Evans really brought it to life. Also, thank you to all the fans that continue to come out and support rock n’ roll. Without them, there would be no us! And thank you to you and your site for giving rock n’ roll a positive, factual outlet, and not trying to be TMZ. It’s hard enough as it is!
Sleaze Roxx: Last question for you — what are your top three favourite albums of all-time and why?
First would be Guns N’ Roses’ ‘Appetite For Destruction.’ It’s the first record I got totally into and to this day, there are guitar parts that inspire me. Second would be Pantera’s ‘Vulgar Display Of Power.’ Dime [Dimebag Darrell] was not only the sweetest guy ever but hands down carried the “guitar hero” when everyone jumped on the “the worse I play, the better I am” bandwagon. He was playing and writing things that to this day nobody will ever be able to emulate. He’s truly one of a kind. Third would be Marvellous 3’s ‘Ready, Sex, Go.’ Butch Walker is an amazing songwriter. This record should have been huge…