Time for the next edition of Metal Anarchy’s “Music In The Age Of COVID-19” series, the feature where I discuss the ongoing pandemic with various musicians. This time I have an interview with Ryan Rosoff of Little King.
METAL ANARCHY: How have you been holding up during the coronavirus pandemic?
ROSOFF: Good morning! Good to speak with you all again, and thanks so much for your support last time around with Occam’s Foil!
We have been busting our ass, to be honest! Personally, I have gone through some pretty major life changes, but all of them are positive and I feel very fortunate that my family and I are all healthy and relatively stable. I have quit drinking, lost 30 pounds, sold my house/cars/furniture and moved from Delaware back to the Southwest. I am a full-time single dad now, and we moved in with mom out in Tucson for a while. All is good, but we just wanted to go back West and see how things would play out for a few months before settling somewhere permanently.
Perhaps equally important, though, is my proximity to Eddy Garcia and his studio (he’s our drummer and studio engineer). I am in Tucson and he is in El Paso (as is my daughter, who is 23 and needs her dad…intermittently!) So, on the way down, we packed up a trailer full of our remaining worldly possessions (mostly amps and guitars and clothes and artwork) and Manny (Tejeda, bass and drums) drove us from Delaware to El Paso. I can’t drive right now because I’m an asshole, so Manny did the entire 2112 miles with his foot on the gas. And…wait for it…we are making a new record. Drums and bass are done, and about 80% of the guitars as well. Very exciting stuff!
METAL ANARCHY: Have you been using your downtime to work on new music?
ROSOFF: Absolutely! As we just discussed, the new album is set to be released in early 2021. The title is Amuse de Q, and it will feature 7 new songs inspired by my time in quarantine. Lyrical topics include overcoming the desperation of isolation, sobriety, domestic abuse, social media and the BLM movement, and much more!
Little King had a great run with the last album, Occam’s Foil, which we spoke about a few months ago. Radio and press took to it, and most importantly, a ton of new fans jumped on board. We were set to tour, but that disintegrated pretty much overnight. So, I was faced with a choice to either hibernate or create. And with all of the madness I was watching along with the rest of the world on lockdown, there was more than enough inspiration to draw on to move forward and make a new record. Little King’s 7th, I might add…pretty cool, right?
As things started to play out in March and April, my work career changed dramatically and left me with a lot more time on my hands than usual. Suffice to say, I don’t sit still well! I picked up my classical guitar and started writing. And editing. And writing more! I think it was born of a need to purge the complexity of emotions we were all dealing with, and still are, to be fair. But like never before the music flowed, and soon enough I had 7 songs finished. From there, Manny came over and rehearsed them from 6 feet away, and because he picks things up so quickly, we were ready for Eddy in about July. Once my house sold in August, away we went.
Amuse de Q…sounding amazing with just the faders-up mixes. I am so excited to share them with our friends and fans. I am finishing vocal melodies now and will be back in Texas soon enough to finish tracking guitars, some strings, and my son, who will have a piano part on a song called “Set It Down.” That is the realization of a dream that I first referenced way back in 2008 and before that in 1998 on the albums Legacy of Fools and Time Extension, respectively. And the kid can play…he’s creative, although a little nervous. But the part he has written is awesome and makes that song even more special.
METAL ANARCHY: What was the last show you played or attended before the shutdown?
ROSOFF: Jeez…I barely remember. What’s a “show”?
I probably saw our friends from Delaware called Lower Case Blues. They are a local blues trio and I supported them when I could back in Rehoboth Beach. As for national acts, it’s been awhile. I am notoriously agoraphobic, so I don’t care much for crowds anymore. I did a run of Metallica, U2, David Byrne, and Steely Dan a couple summers ago, and that was insane. Had tickets for Maiden as well, but that evaporated as well. Can’t remember why!
METAL ANARCHY: Are you planning to play any livestream concerts during this time?
ROSOFF: Not at all! I post little snippets of new songs and older songs, but I am not about the livestream thing. It cheapens the experience both for the audience and for me, as there is just no comparison. I don’t get the energy back from the crowd, and they are watching me on a computer or phone which is NOT how I wanna be seen. No shade to my friends and colleagues who are all over it, but it’s not my bag.
Also, my band is spread across the country. Manny is back in Delaware again, and Ed is in El Paso and also working on his band Pissing Razors’ new album, Eulogy Death March. He’s a busy guy, right? If I was to do something live, it would be with an acoustic guitar, sad eyes, and a tip jar. No one should want to see that.
METAL ANARCHY: Do you think the live entertainment industry will ever recover?
ROSOFF: Absolutely! The demand will come back stronger than ever. Live music has been around since Thrak Uggabugga banged a bone on a cave at a cookout in England in 25,000 BC. People NEED to commune with their favorite acts, to dance and drink and fuck, to share that mind meld with their fellow concertgoers. We don’t need a crystal ball to know that some day soon, all of us on both sides of the stage will look back at 2020 as the catalyst for a whole new appreciation of the role live music plays in our lives.
METAL ANARCHY: Lastly, is there anything fans can do to help your band or others that may be struggling during this time?
ROSOFF: Merchandising (in my best Mel Brooks from “Spaceballs” voice!) We spent a lot of money we didn’t have on t-shirts and hats for a potential tour. Now, it’s turned into the “feed the band” fund. We’ve got kids, man!
Seriously, visit us at http://www.littlekingtunes.com and poke around a bit. I think it’s as comprehensive as a web site can be. We are also at http://www.facebook.com/littlekingtunes and http://www.instagram.com/littlekingtunes and we update these things frequently…especially now that we are working on new music. But yeah…the hats and new shirts are awesome, and it means the world to us if you rep our gear and feed the studio fund. Love the FOLK (Friends Of Little King) and all of their support over the last 23 years