Although he recorded a mere 29 songs, blues-man, Robert Johnson (who was born over a century ago) had a huge influence on guitarists through the history of rock and roll. Johnson’s legacy is one of the most studied of all country, blues and rock musicians; and he’s been the subject of many books, films and essays. But the mythology surrounding his life just will not go away. If you know anything about Johnson, chances are you are familiar with the story that he sold his soul to the devil at the crossroads (Clarksdale MS.) in exchange for his musical virtuosity. . As a young man, he was more interested in music than farming. He’d hounded the older blues musicians for a chance to watch them play. Fuck, he’d go around and “cop-off” other guitarist’s riffs and claiming they were his own.
This myth is from the 15th century and is based on the German character, Johann Faust… Being dissatisfied with his life, it leads him to make a pact with the Devil… exchanging his soul for unlimited knowledge and worldly pleasures. The situation doesn’t have a story book ending.. the ambitious Faust surrenders moral integrity to achieve power and success for a delimited term. The story gathered references from medieval Christian, Roman, Eastern Buddhism, and Hellenic poetry, philosophy, and mainstream literature.
And then there is the body of work from New York based songwriter/guitarist, Danny Rocco.. aka. Des Rocs. Before starting his solo project, Rocco was part of a pop-rock duo Secret Weapons; however due to his band-mate, Gerry Lange’s Lyme disease and the sub sequential retirement from touring had to take a hiatus and Rocco came up with the solo project.. Des Rocs. His first EP, “Let the Vultures In”, was released in November of 2018. The lead track, “Let Me Live/Let Me Die” streamed over 38 mil!
Conjured from the dark “gutbucket” of notes slinking underneath the frets and illuminated by languid abrupt chiming tones gliding on swinging flat-four chords. With a bad-ass attitude he roams the stage as if he that owns it! No stage is too big…Des Rocs can make slow songs dramatic, sad songs tragic and up-tempo songs frolic. He seems to be enjoying himself at every turn; which means you will too!
His newly released single, “Wayne” seems to step out of the tune’s depths of loneliness to question the inevitability of Rocs’ influences… Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, and Jimmy Page are among the elite who have testified to the magnetic power of musical mojo… Yep, Rocs is bringing rock and roll back to the people!!
I had the chance to interview Des Rocs…. Get ready.. its going to be special…
Rock Bands of L.A.com:With space-age rockabilly and thick machine gun beats, sees Danny Rocco.. aka..Des Rocs retreat from the real world and jumps head-first into a ‘Sci-Fi” rock and roll. If you are a rock and roll fan, Des Rocs will once again prove that rock and roll is dead! Your songs exude the characteristics of an older guitarist. If you could get a guitar lesson.. who would you choose??? Hendrix? Clapton? Jimmy Page? What’s your favorite guitar to play? In considering your “bucket list”, what song would you like to cover? Who are your fave guitarist… alive and deceased?
DES ROCS: A lesson? man i don’t think what any of the “greats” have is teachable, nor do i wanna emulate any one’s style. I’d really like to cover Donna Summer’s “I Feel Love”. My favorite guitarist of all time is either Stevie Ray Vaughan or Prince.
Rock Bands of L.A.com: Have you ever spent time writing in L.A. and if so, is the vibe here inspirational for music writing?
DES ROCS: Just little bits here and there. New York City is so essential to my writing process that its a very different kinda sounding record that comes out of the west coast.
Rock Bands of L.A.com:In 1965 (I’m sounding old).. Bob Dylan played at the Newport Music Festival…. To the audience’s chagrin, Dylan came out with an electric guitar. You could hear a pin drop. The crowd was livid! Folk’s poster child abandons fans? It was a turning point for Dylan’s career. I finally have my question… No, you don’t sound like Dylan! But you are “Dylanesque” as far as music evolution and purpose.. Your lyrics say it all…they’re full of metaphors and similes.. which is certainly Dylanesque….What direction are you headed for? The touring business is “kaput” for the time being..Are you planning to go back into the studio??
Des Rocs: I’m writing and recording constantly, it never ends. My music is a constant evolution, I always wanna push into new territories and always feel “creatiely” uncomfortable. I wanna finish a song and wonder if it’s too weird or too crazy to put out.
Rock Bands of L.A.com: I watched your live video on You-tube.. and you roam the stage like a caged animal! For a trio band you sure put out a lot of music…Who’s in the band?
Des Rocs: I produce my music, and a few close friends help breathe live into a lot of it. the band consists of my childhood friend Will Tully on drums, and music extroardinare Eric “Doc” Mendelsohn on bass.
Rock Bands of L.A.com would like to thank Des and Heidi Ellen Robinson-Fitzgerald for their help…