of Alice Cooper
also played Slash's Snakepit, and his own bands, 'Dads Porno Mag,'Roxie
77 & Casablanca')
by telephone on Wednesday, 11th April 2012 by Glenn Milligan.
Glenn: Hi is that Ryan?
Ryan: This is Ryan.
Glenn: How you doing, it's Glenn from Metalliville.com.
Ryan: How are you? Nice to hear from you.
Glenn: You too. The last time I saw you was with
Alice Cooper and I met you outside the City Hall, Sheffield about 12
Ryan: 12 years ago.
Ryan: You were a young child.
Glenn: I was yeah.
Ryan: So was I.
Glenn: I remember you had the big blond dreads
Ryan: The big blond dreads, the big blond dreads - the Brutal Planet
Tour - it must have been.
Yeah that's the one. Yeah it was a good one. How time flies.
Ryan: That's the thing about it. Huh?
Ryan: My dreads are gone now but the memories remain.
Ryan: It still happens once in awhile - "You're the guy with the
dreads?", "Yes I am....and now I'm the guy with the Keith
Glenn: That's the one. Yeah. With regards to Casablanca,
the band, how did you decide on that being the band name and where did
the title of the album come from?
Ryan: It's a good question and we get asked about the name of the band
a lot. When Casablanca was named by our singer. He pretty much came
up with the name along the bass player who bring in the majority of
the songs. They become 'Casablanca' songs with each of our collective
parts and stuff. That's why the album is credited with all of Casablanca
writing it..... but Mats and Anders Ljung are kind of the 2 unspoken
leaders of that band. Anders is a huge fan of the band Kiss. If you
remember, Casablanca was the record label Kiss was on back in the 70's.
Glenn: It was yeah.
Ryan: So in
a sense, we just couldn't believe that the actual name of the band hadn't
been taken yet for a rock band. There's some Swedish dance band (a type
of music 'special' to Sweden) that are around and I'm sure there's probably
some Bulgarian Folk rock doing some disco Moroccan thing but not a rock
'n' roll band called Casablanca! The name had a sense of timelessness,
a good era that we liked obviously because of its connection with Kiss
and something that sounded a little bit exotic. Casablanca much like
Sweden and is one of those things, a little bit tricky to point out
on a map. If your average American is shown to point out on a map where
Sweden or Casablanca are, they probably 9 times out of 10 point in the
wrong direction...hell, I still do...ha!
I notice when you mention Kiss, you can hear some of the Kiss coming
through on the album as well. It's like you've worn your influences
on your sleeve or on the CD as such. So it stands out quite a bit.
Ryan: I think collectively as a band we did that consciously. We took
a few bands that we all (love) and put them on the table and said, "What
do we want this album to sound like?". Kiss was one of the bands
that was a major influence that we all had. There were other bands,
like there's a touch of Thin Lizzy in there, there's a touch of early
Billy Idol. There's a little touch of Hanoi Rocks and there's a modern
touch of a band like The Foo Fighters. So we could blend. We took all
those bands I just mentioned and put them into some sort of blender
and put the food processor on - perhaps you'd come out with some sort
of Casablanca puree. That's what, you know, the key to any really successful
band is drawing from your influences but making them your own and then
putting out an album that sounds like your own band but reminiscent
of all the things we just talked about.
Yeah, I totally agree. What would you say your favourite songs are on
the album and why?
Ryan: I think I am really proud of the album is because I don't have
any particular favourites....For me, I enjoy listening to the album
from start to finish. I really do and it's very rare that I find albums
that you can have on where you are able to do that anymore because we
live in a world where you're pressed to write a hit single and then
put that out on an album and the rest are just 'album track songs'.
If I had to pick out a few that stand out for me I'd go with track 2,
'Deliberately Wasted' because it is a track I enjoy playing live. I
really enjoy what I did in the guitar solo. It's pretty simple but at
the same time I told a little story in the solo. I think 'Love &
Desperation' - the way it sorta has that ode to Kiss 'Black Diamond'
in the beginning and then it goes into this sort of 'Heart - Barracuda'
vibe. I like that sort of influence as well and 'The Juggler' because
it reminds me of a (Rolling) Stones era which I think has been widely
overlooked - it's sort of the 'Emotional Rescue' era.
Glenn: Yeah that rang through.
Ryan: The 'Emotional Rescue/Some Girls' era of The Stones was what 'The
Juggler' sort of reminds me of. So those three tracks I guess you could
say stick out to me.
Glenn: Got ya. What about highlights actually
recording the album? What stands out from that point?
Ryan: The highlights
of recording the album is that we actually did it the way you are supposed
to. We sat in a room, in a big studio room and recorded the album. It
was done at Polar Studios which is famous for all the big Abba records
and Led Zeppelin's 'In Through The Out Door' - . It was a really nice
sounding room. The drums were all set up with tons of mikes with all
of us in the room doing the basic tracks. So a lot of the basic tracks
that you hear, - rhythm guitars, bass and drums - those are all from
our tracks we did in the room together. We did some overdubs with, but
our Producer, Chris Laney was pretty adamant on having us record as
a band the way you are supposed to. He did a great job with the album
Yeah you mention Chris Laney and with his albums is such a cracking
producer. When he did the Randy Piper's Animal album, that's an incredible
- the 'Virus' album - that's just amazing. He captures it and he literally
sounds like he's just pressed 'record' and it comes out how it should.
Ryan: We were very lucky. Chris became a fan of the band cos we are
obviously fans of his and his work. We think he is such an up-and-coming
talent that we really thought that he would do the best job of representing...
getting the sound authentic. Having my Les Paul & Marshall sound
like a really nice old school Les Paul and Marshall. Having the background
vocals sound really lush and thick. he was really good at making good
warm sounds through all this cool analogue that he was able to use at
Yeah awesome. Regarding 'Rocket Songs' (that that album is issued on),
is 'Rocket Songs' actually a label?
Ryan: Yeah 'Rocket Songs' is a label. Fredrik (Hultgren) and David (La
Roxx) are the CEO's. They're awesome for us.. I don't know if you know
the band 'Houston' , but they've also put out the Houston record.
Glenn: Oh yeah.
Ryan: Houston has done quite well in the AOR world. For Casablanca,
they've taken our album really gotten people and press to listen to
it. I really admire what they've done. The way we're at in this world
with the state of the music business, is that independent labels with
the right sort of attitude and the right sort of game plan can actually
compete with majors. Because of all the tools that are out there to
use as far as social media marketing.
Ryan: It's a small label out of Sweden but it's getting bigger all the
time and, you know, that's the way we look at our band. We're a small
band but hopefully we can get a bit bigger every year.
Glenn: Yeah, I mean you've got some big names
in there, I reading through the CD booklet and I noticed the name Anders
Johansson and was like 'holy sh*t, that's Yngwie's old guy isn't it'?'
Ryan: Yeah - he is one of the top guys in the business as far as the
A&R goes....we were very lucky that we were able to have him on
our team because he believes strongly in the strength of the songs of
the band. We're always gonna be indebted to Anders for his guidance
on this record.
Yeah. How did you get to know Anders?
Ryan: He was working with Joesphine's band 'Sahara Hotnights' and Josephine
(Forsman, drummer of Casablanca) said, Hey I got a rock band too that
I'm playing with, you should check this out". He basically fell
in love with the songs and helped us out and he's done as much as he
Glenn: Awesome. That's great. What about the photo
on the cover. it's like a painting as such - where did the idea come
from to have that?
Ryan: Well I think the album title had a little bit of influence on
it, 'Apocalyptic Youth'. We were feeling a bit of the 70's movie, 'The
Warriors'. We wanted to have sort of a denim and leather look which
was another sort of conscious decision on how we wanted to come across
on the 1st album as well. The painting makes it a little bit 'Classic
Rock' and the brick wall - what can you say... you can't mess with that.
The Ramones weren't wrong, Skid Row wasn't wrong and the sort of album
cover of 'The Warriors' has that sort of look as well.
Yeah you are dead right.
Ryan: So if you think about Skid Row's album cover, you know, band against
a brick wall. You think about one of the Ramones most famous promo shots
against a brick wall and then add in the The Warriors movie soundtrack
cover - there you go. Combine all those three things together and you
got the cover of 'Apocalyptic Youth'. There's the secret.
Exactly, and even 'The Wall' itself, that is like the wall cover for
the wall. So it's another brick.....
Ryan: You know what, you just added another influence - that's perfect.
Ryan: The ironic
thing about that photo is that we've done a lot of photo shoots since
we've been a band. We've probably done more photo shoots than actual
gigs. This album cover came from one of the first photo shoots we ever
Ryan: That photo just kept coming back......'denim and leather brought
us all together'.
Glenn: Yeah, if you look at it, it looks like a painting that's turned
into a photo or a photo that's actually turned into a painting. You
can't really decide if it's one or the other or a bit of both. It's
Ryan: Then I won't give it away.
Glenn: Or you'll have to kill me?
Ryan: But I think I just did.
Glenn: Yeah it works anyway, especially the way
you've got the shine off the leather and the denim and everything else.
Ryan: The guy
who painted the actual album cover did a really good job of taking the
best parts of the photo and putting it into the painting. That's an
awesome job on his part.
Glenn: Yeah. What would you say you are most proud of so far as a guitarist
Ryan: As a guitar player there's nothing that gets me more proud than
when I get a facebook message or an e-mail from someone that says, "Hey
I saw you on stage with Alice Cooper, or with one of the bands I have
here in Sweden 'Roxie 77' or 'Casablanca' and they say , "I saw
you on stage playing and you inspired me to play guitar - you inspired
me to stick with it", That's sweet to hear for every guitar player.
There's nothing more you could ask for than your influence rubbing off
on someone else - your positive influence. Nothing gets me more proud
than when someone comes up to me and says, "Hey man, you affected
my life by what you do on stage." That's all I ever wanted to do.
Yeah and you're not conscious of doing it yourself, it just happens
Ryan: Well I kind of think that this is what I've done primary my whole
entire life and it's what I intend to do as long as I can, So you know,
it's very, it's a very lucky when you find the thing in life that you
like to do and you're actually able to do it as a career. There's not
a day goes by that I don't appreciate the life I've been blessed to
Glenn: Oh no,
I can imagine.
Ryan: I've been
through some pretty bad times, I've been through some decadent times,
I've been through some rough times ......but at the end of the day I'm
still able to play guitar and make it my primary source of income, so
I'm one of the lucky ones. You know what, it's not because I've practised
more than anybody, it's not that I'm luckier than anybody, it's just
because it's something that I knew i wanted to do and I was gonna make
it my life since I was a young kid. I fully believe you can sort of
create your own reality. You can create this reality of yours. I may
sound a bit like a hippie but I was born in the 60's, so I got a little
bit of hippie in me anyhow.....
It's like when I run the website and that, you become what you wanna
become and you can work from that. It's all inside of you and it's what
you enjoy doing.
your Reality' was the working title for the last album that I put out
with my band 'Roxie 77' - it ended up being called 'Two Sides To Every
Story' and that came from my personal life. I thought, 'Hey there's
two sides to almost every argument, two sides to every person opinion'
and that ended up being the title but the working title before was called
'Imagine Your Reality' and I really thought that that was kind of a
cool title too so you never know, I might use it again.. If you can
actually think about it, visualize it in your head, you can actually
make it real.
Yep. I totally agree.
Ryan: I realised 'that' just sounded like a hippie....ha!
Glenn: I've got literally thousands of albums
on CD, tape whatever but at all times, I'll always put in my top ten,
the Slash's Snakepit album that you played on, it's such a cracking
Ryan: 'Ain't Life Grand'
Glenn: Yeah it's a f*ck*n' amazing that album.
It's just that everything about it is perfect.
I knew after a couple of years after being able to step back and listen
to it objectively, that there's A LOT of music on that album. If you
listen to that album there's music and there's parts going that definitely
fill up the eardrums. The drums are monstrous, the bass playings monstrous,
the guitars are everywhere but at the same time because of the production
of Jack Douglas it all works together. I must say that, you know, of
all the albums I've played on, it's definitely one of the most musical
albums where you know, there's a million parts and you think it's gonna
almost teeter on being a train wreck but it kinda works itself out and
I'm really proud of that album as well. Rod Jackson's just one of my
all time favourite singers.
I mean he is a cracking singer - he sort of reminds me of Lenny Kravitz
Ryan: If Lenny
Kravitz all of a sudden took a bunch of steroids - yeah Lenny Kravitz
with road rage.
Yeah. I mean 'Just Like Anything'; 'Mean Bone'; 'Speed Parade' and even
'Ain't Life Grand' - it's.. you know, what can you say, it's perfect.
the difference between God-given singers like Rod Jackson and everybody
else. There's been a couple of people that I think in this world that
have just god given voices and I'd put Rod Jackson in that league. Guys
like Freddie Mercury, guys like Robin Zander from Cheap Trick. These
are guys that just have these God-given voices that I don't know where
it comes from but they are just incredible singers. The rest of us like
guys like me who, I mean I front Roxie 77, I feel like I can sing okay
and I can sell a song and I can carry a tune but man, how I wish I had
that natural gods gift ability. . There's something special about these
are some of your best and favourite memories of playing on that Slash's
Ryan: My best
memories of that album were the routine we got in actually recording
it because we recorded the album over a precess of time and it took
actually a couple of years to record. I remember recording the album
three times. First we demo'd it and we recorded it at Slash's at Slash's
Studio called 'Slash's Snakepit Studios' and then we got in Jack Douglas
and we eventually went to Ocean Way and recorded the whole album again
but the writing process that we'd go through to write that out, like
we'd all show up at around noon, 1 o'clock in the afternoon and play
until about 10 o'clock at night - that was our job to play rock 'n'
roll. Can you think of a better job than that?
Glenn Nope. I actually got to meet Jack in 2009
at the LA Music Awards. He was receiving an award and I congratulated
on him getting the award and he said, "Oh thanks man", so
that was nice. He seemed a cool guy.
Ryan: Jack's a good guy.. I really have the privilege of working with
some of the worlds greatest Producers. I mean the 1st record I ever
made, Tony Visconti was the Producer on it. Tony Visconti did all the
great T-Rex records and Bowie etc.. Bob Rock produced and album I worked
on with a style all his own - completely different from Jack's approach,
which is completely different from Tony's.
Yeah, he had that great band as well called 'Rockhead'.
Ryan: Yes, well Bob Rock is a guitar player himself and he pushed me
to play the best I could when I worked with him. With Bob Rock you definitely
had to be on your toes and you had to be on your game. Bob Rock can
hear every tone of every note that you play - trust me.
Glenn: I can imagine. What was it like playing
for Alice Cooper, was that different to playing with Slash or very similar?
Ryan: Well it was an evolution, in between (working with Alice Cooper)
I met Slash, he seemed really cool and we got the idea of playing together
and making an album together. While on tour with Alice, Slash would
come down to a bunch of shows on the 1st and 2nd tours so I guess that
would be in '96 or '97. He would come in for the encore or whatever
and sort of gravitate to my side of the stage and we played very well
off each other. So, you know, the fact that we did those james, I was
introduced to Slash after playing with Alice. It works that way. And
regarding Alice's band, I got to play with some of the coolest guitar
players that I can think of. Dudes like Pete Friesen, Eric Dover, Reb
Beach and Damon Johnson. I got to play with so many talented guitar
players I always wanted to. I think the key to being a guitar player
and especially in a two guitar player band is being able to learn from
the other guitarist. Slash definitely taught me a thing or two about
I think he's taught a lot of people. You can just tell Slash's style
straight away from anybody else after a few notes - he's just got something
else. You can't put your finger on what it is.
Ryan: Yeah. Like I mentioned earlier there's God given singers and there's
God given guitar players and he is definately one of them. There's guys
like Randy Rhoads, Brian May and Eddie Van Halen. They sound like themselves
and that's all you can inspire to do playing guitar is sound like yourself.
Have your personality come through your guitar.
That brings me onto the next question as I was ask you to describe the
guitar style of Ryan Roxie and I know exactly what you are gonna say
Ryan: Well hopefully it's my personality....It's my head and my heart
trying to tell my fingers what to do and get my personality to come
through that Les Paul.
Glenn: Awesome. What originally got you around
to playing guitar and what was your 1st guitar?
Ryan: The very first guitar I owned was a Fender Stratocaster. I actually
think my parents did the right thing. Okay, it wasn't my parents, it
was Santa Claus. Santa Clause did the right thing and a real brand guitar,
a real branded name and I learned off that and quickly traded it in
for a Gibson Les Paul Gold Top. It was the same Gold Top that I have
today that I play on all my records. I call it my first girlfriend.
It's a '71 Gibson Gold Top Basically, I was influenced by 70's Rock
which I was so happy to be a part of, you know, in that time. Those
guys who were creating and pioneering rock and roll - it was 1st generation.
It wasn't 2nd or 3rd generation influence like it is today. I was getting
my musical influences from the source, so to speak, The Beatles, they
were putting distortion on records and I was able to listen to it for
the 1st time. There were bands like Queen, Kiss, Cheap Trick, I mean
the list can go on - Van Halen. They were doing things with instruments
that hadn't been done. I mean, Eddie Van Halen was doing things with
the guitar that no one had ever done before and he was evolving the
instrument so that's what inspired me.
I'd like to say congratulations on getting the job with Alice Cooper
Ryan: It's like I said, 'Imagine Your Reality' and putting it out there
and wait to see what happens.....I've said this before. but I'm really
more excited this time around I think then I was the 1st time I got
to get out there because I appreciate everything so much more. Perhaps
I did in '96 but I've gone through so much more life experience. I've
gone through so many good times and so many bad times and now realised
just how hard it can be to tour in a rock 'n' roll band....It's gonna
be nice to get into a little more of a nicer touring lifestyle, but
at the same I will appreciate everything. All the moments up on stage.
Glenn: That's cool. It's weird because you and
Keri (Kelli) seem to be doing a merry-go- round regarding playing with
Alice Cooper and Slash's Snakepit.
Ryan: Well, what you need to understand is that Keri and I have known
each other for SO many years. I brought him into the 1st solo band that
I put together called 'Dad's Porno Mag'. We brought him in because we
really wanted an extra guitar player to fill out the sound and he did
such a great job of learning the album better than me to be honest with
you......In fact, one of the first phone calls I got was from Keri saying
congrats on the Alice Cooper gig,....I told him thanks and "I'm
sure our paths will cross somewhere this Summer so I look forward to
seeing you", because you know he's gonna be rockin' and rollin'
in some band.
Oh Yeah. I've met him a couple of times and he's a cool cat and a crackin'
guitarist like your self. What would you say you are looking forward
to about playing with Alice on stage and being in front of the crowd?
Ryan: I'm most looking forward to being part of this band that Alice
has put together on this tour because I think the opportunity to play
with a line up three guitarists is exciting.... It's gonna be myself,
Orianthi (Panagaris) and Tommy Henriksen. If we can take the most out
of this three guitar player line-up plus all the other stuff that Chuck
(Garric, Bass) and Glen (Sobel, Drums) are gonna be bring to the table...
I think it has the possibility to be one of the most musical bands that
Alice has had in a while....and he's had some great ones no doubt.
Glenn: Cool. I'm hoping that I hear you on a new
album as well. I'll let you get off for your next interview and it's
been a pleasure Sir.
Ryan: It's been
really great talking to you and I hope I'm gonna see you on the road
some time this year.
Glenn: Yeah I'm planning to come and see you somewhere
when you're playing with Alice.
Ryan: Well you let me know what date you are gonna be at and I'll see
Glenn: Oh thanks man, cool you take care there.
Ryan: Keep in touch....you can always find me at www.ryanroxie.com
Glenn: I will man, take care.
Ryan: Take Care.
big thankyou to Faye @ No Quarter PR for setting up the Interview and
Ryan himself for such a fine interview!