Bobby Rock (Vinnie Vincent Invasion): The exclusive interview (Part 2), by Nasos Kavathas
With his herculian appearance and his gentle manners, Bobby Rock has the respect of the music circuit and not only. His book 'The Boy is gonna rock' stands out among the similar books, the 'rock memoirs'. It’s a valid chapter in the whole ‘Vinnie Vincent Invasion saga’ - you can go to Part One to get more information (here)
So, how’s the general reactions and the fans response to the book? Been going great! Looks like everyone’s been enjoying the book. I think people love to read about the state of music back then, what I refer to as “the last great era of hard rock.” Plus, I know there have always been a lot of questions surrounding the VVI and what the hell happened. So I think the book covers both of those subjects pretty well.
I really love the fact that in your book (I’m halfway in) music and business are in the central focus, sex and drugs are mostly on the background – surely everyone mentioned in the book had a piece of action/partying but we still get guys always being 100% professional and commited to the music. (I say that because many memoirs/documentaries are mostly based on their decadent parts: addicts that merely do the music part, almost on the side of getting fucked up and ‘kitten-hunting’). Do you have any favorite rock memoir or music related book(s)? I know exactly what you mean. I get that if everyone was doing a lot of drugs, then you probably have to write about it. But to me, those kinds of books can be very one-dimensional, because I don’t think those authors can remember too much with really sharp accuracy! I always wanted to know more details about the tours and the sessions.My favorites would be Neil Peart’s “Roadshow,” which is as much a travel memoir as a music book. But the guy writes his fucking ass off. Also, not rock-related, but an epic read about one of the greatest musicians of our time: "Traps, the Drum Wonder: The Life of Buddy Rich." It’s a bio about jazz drummer Buddy Rich, one of the baddest motherfuckers ever to step behind a drum kit, written by his friend and colleague, Mel Tormé, a renowned jazz vocalist who was also a great writer. Killer read.
Before VVI, as you quote, you were into Jazz/Fusion/Progressive stuff. Any recordings of that material existing? Have you ever revisited it? Probably the closest I would have to that would be with my solo records, particularly, “Out of Body.” And yes, I’m looking to finally revisit more of that progressive, drum-heavy instrumental stuff very soon!
You mention it was a little ‘Dixie Dregs-like’ so I just suppose that during the 70s you were also into progressive bands as Kansas or even Jethro Tull that were huge back in the day? Oh, hell yeah… loved all that stuff. Kansas was one of my faves, for sure. They were always phenomenal live, as was Jethro Tull. Also, I dug U.K. (both with Bruford and Bozzio on drums), early Genesis, Yes, and of course, Rush. But for something a bit more in the Dregs/fusion vein, I still go back to Billy Cobham’s “Spectrum” and Return To Forever’s “Romantic Warrior," as two of my all-time favorite such records. Still spin both of those bitches regularly!
Any other ‘non Hard Rock’ artists/bands/drummers that you still favor to this day? Sure. Actually, my favorite music to listen to is classic, straight-ahead jazz. Topping that list would be 60’s-era John Coltrane and Miles Davis—who had two of the greatest bands EVER, in my opinion. I also love those old 70’s era Buddy Rich recordings for the big band vibe. Grew up on that shit! Actually, people would probably be stunned to know how many of those old records I still have on vinyl. But even beyond the “classic” era, I still like a lot of different kinds of jazz: most of what Wynton and Branford Marsalis have put out there through the years, Chick Corea (both acoustic and electric band stuff), Weather Report, Dave Weckl, pretty much anything Herbie Hancock has done, and the list goes on from there.
Of course you have a spectacular run, still going, but I just wonder if Kiss or even Alice Cooper ever had Bobby Rock on their list. It’s very possible, especially if they probably knew about your skills, work ethic and no-drugs policy. After all you are a welcome part in the extended ‘Kiss family’. Fans would love it. Yes, I'm still waiting for THAT call! But actually, been having a blast touring with Lita Ford and band these days.
What a heartfelt moment, Arejay Hale’s drum solo featuring Bobby Rock and calling you outloud as his mentor, proving that the ‘Metalmorphosis’ video was such a right move. Do you get that kind of reactions from peers a lot? Arejay’s the man, and that was pretty mind-blowing. And yes, that kind of thing seems to be happening more and more. I guess a lot of the kids who learned from that video (and book) have now grown up and are kicking ass out there! Very cool to see.
In all these years since VVI, have you ever reached to contact Vinnie or you’d think that you’d not be welcome and discarded the idea to call? I have never been clear on where Vinnie stood with things in the aftermath. So at most, I’ve let a couple people from his inner circle know that I would be open to connecting with him. Not sure if he ever got the message. Beyond that, though, I would never try to contact him directly. I figure he can reach out when and if he’s ready.
Finally, have you ever been in Greece? Or anything about Greece/Greeks in your life – maybe even in your Philosophy work and approach? Well, I’m a huge fan of Renaissance era Italy—da Vinci, Michelangelo, Botticelli, etc.—and you can’t be a fan of that culture without acknowledging the Greek influence! Also, every writer should have at least one copy of Plato's “Republic” on their bookshelf. I hope to get to Greece for my annual writer’s retreat either this year or next. I am long overdue.