May 22, 2024

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Interview with Rocky Pleasants: There are people who are smart and know a lot about music …

Interview with Blues vocalist Rocky Pleasants․ An interview by email in writing. This interview was done 9 months ago, 9 months ago they sent a video that has only 185 views on YouTube in so many months. Under these circumstances, we understand that they did not want to cooperate with our website and US/EU Jazz – Blues Festival 2024, they were perhaps embarrassed, we are dedicating this interview and with thousands of views, we are helping the poor unknowns to get some exposure. Our condolences …

Dear readers, get to know more about our US/EU Jazz – Blues Festivals and the activities of our US/EU Jazz – Blues Association in the capitals of Europe, we will soon publish program for 2024, enjoy in the July – August – Brussels, Berlin, Prague, Warsaw, Sofia, new addreses this year, also in Amsterdam, Budapest and Liverpool.

JazzBluesNews.com: – First, where you grew up, and what got you interested in music. How exactly did your adventure take off? When did you realize that this was a passion you could make a living out of?

Rocky Pleasants: – I grew up in the United States and I am a native Virginian like Ella Fitzgerald, Edgar Allen Poe, Arthur Ashe and Dave Grohl. I was in the symphonic, concert and marching bands and sang in the chorus in school and in church but I didn’t join a smaller performing ensemble like The Hurricane Party that made the girls dance until later in life.

OUR US/EU Jazz and Blues Festivals 2024

OUR US/EU Jazz and Blues Festivals 2023

JBN: – How has your sound evolved over time? What have you been doing to find and develop your own sound?

RP: – I didn’t know I could write songs until I tried. I showed the first one to the guy who would become my songwriting partner Rob Marlowe, an amazing guitarist out of Gainesville Florida, and when he said it was pretty good it gave me the confidence to write more and more songs. I have no idea where my song ideas come from. It’s one of those things where you don’t want to analyze it too much for fear that the ideas will dry up.

JBN: – What routine practices or exercises have you developed to maintain and improve your current musical proficiency, in terms of both rhythm and harmony?

RP: – I sing along to music I like in the car and in the shower. I mean often and loudly. My sweet esposa has a lot of patience.

JBN: – Have you changed through the years? Any charges or overall evolution? And if so why?

RP: – If there has been any change in me over the years it has been in not needing the approval of critics. You know whether something you’ve done is good or not. To wait and around and hope an “expert” acknowledges that is something I don’t do much of anymore.

There could be talk or advertising about your CD

JBN: – In your opinion, what’s the balance in music between intellect and soul?

RP: – There are people who are smart and know a lot about music … ove music even who get this one wrong all the time. It’s not about who can play the fastest, who can play the most notes, who is the most proficient on their instrument, who has the most technical prowess. It’s about touching people’s emotions. If you don’t do that, what are you doing exactly?

JBN: – There’s a two-way relationship between audience and artist; are you okay with delivering people the emotion they long for?

RP: – I’m sure we’ve all been to see bands play where there was almost no interaction between the performers and the audience and we’ve probably all seen bands play live who seem like they’re glad to be there, are having fun and are actively connecting with the audience. Which one is more enjoyable?

JBN: – How can we get young people interested in jazz when most of standard tunes are half a century old?

RP: – As long as there are music education programs / art curriculum in schools creative people including kids will always gravitate toward musical expression; and that includes jazz.

JBN: – John Coltrane once said that music was his spirit. How do you perceive the spirit and the meaning of life?

RP: – The full quote is “My music is the spiritual expression of what I am – my faith, my knowledge, my being… When you begin to see the possibilities of music, you desire to do something really good for people, to help humanity free itself from its hangups … I want to speak to their souls.” It is my humble opinion that Trane was able to do that with his music. Mission accomplished. I also think the music I write is a summation of what I’m trying to say and do with music. To not take ourselves too seriously, to be free, to dance like nobody is watching (and hopefully with an attractive stranger).

JBN: – If you could change one single thing in the musical world and that would become reality, what would that be?

RP: – Please get away from the shows where the band is lip synching to pre-programmed tracks and doing a dance routine. I’d much rather see a sloppy, heart-felt true live performance that may have mistakes in it than an over-produced, over – rehearsed pantomime to pre-recorded tracks.

OUR US/EU Jazz and Blues Association 2023

JBN: – Whom do you find yourself listening to these days?

RP: – Great question. Robert Glasper’s Black Radio, Southern Rock Opera by The Drive-By Truckers, Anthology by The Temptations, Kamasi Washington’s latest Final Floor which came out in 2021 and a several great singles from Richmond Virginia based bands; Tyler Meacham – Golden Blues and Bad Motivator.

JBN: – Let’s take a trip with a time machine: where and why would you really want to go?

RP: – Oh I love this question. I’d go to see an early concert from The Who. They were white hot in the early 70’s. How about 16, August 1972 when they played Vorst Nationaal in Brussels. A quick search of the internet shows they played Bargain. Sparks, The Relay, Naked Eye and Baba O’ Riley. Wow – that must have been something!

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Interview by Emmanuel Bolton

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