I almost got arrested starting this blog. It was the only time I had ever stolen anything from anyone, but I was desperate: I wanted to get laid.
It was at the old Longs Drugstore on Hollywood/Sycamore, right where the Knitting Factory used to be, and on the same side of the street as that creepy Scientology place. It was a hot spring afternoon in 2007, and there it was atop a bunch of boxes waiting to be locked away in a display case: a Sony audio recorder, retail price $50. Perfect for interviewing bands.
I was new to Los Angeles. I was an arrogant 21-year-old that had just moved from a farm in Ohio where I grew up, starving for experiences and desperately trying to figure myself out. When shit hit the fan back home and our house fell into foreclosure, I bought a one-way ticket to LAX and spent the next several months homeless on the streets of Hollywood. My girlfriend told me that I’d be good at interviewing bands, and when she dumped me because I was a loser with no job, I thought I could win her back with a dose of spite.
“Stop!” a cashier yelled as I bolted out the front door, snagging the recorder. The security alarm went off and someone shouted “Call the police!” So I ran as fast as I could – you know, as fast as a dude can run with a walker – and made my way down to the Metro. Scot-free.
I wish I could tell you that I made a bunch of money interviewing and writing about bands over the past decade, but the profit off this site is equal to the number of sexual escapades I’ve had by telling cute girls I’ve met lots of famous people: zero. And to top it off, my ex-girlfriend never talked to me again.
But doing Ryan’s Rock Show all of these years, I did learn an important lesson: that every person embarks on their own unique route to self-discovery, and no two paths are ever the same. Getting from A to B is rarely a straight line, and you can take several different roads and highways to get to a destination. Sometimes you take detours and get lost in unfamiliar territory, and other times it’s difficult just leaving the driveway. As you continue on your individual journey, I hope this blog can serve as a guidebook for your voyage and help you get to where you want to go.
The interviews on the site (which are mostly video interviews) are with some of the most respected rock musicians in the world. They’re packed with invaluable insights, interesting perspectives, and lessons learned through years of trial and error that have led many of them to the heights of success (and in some unfortunate cases, into infamy). Hopefully you can use these as benchmarks to measure yourself against, as I’ve done in my life.
And of course, what kind of guidebook would this be without a killer soundtrack? That’s why every day in the News section I write about bands that are doing amazing things – some you’ve heard of, many you haven’t – that will undoubtedly add a bit of spice to your expedition.
Whether you’re a high school student unsure of the future, a young professional stuck in a cubicle all day, or a mega-celebrity in a mansion in the Hollywood Hills, there should be something here for you.
If all fails, I hope you can at least find humor in watching an insecure young man grow up, trying to make sense of himself in a complex modern world through a series of awful haircuts.
As an aside: I know “rock” is a loosely defined term encompassing various subgenres. For this blog, rock is an umbrella that covers anything rough around the edges. When in doubt, I always err on the side of music that makes me feel defiant and dangerous. Mainly because I grew up a total square, but that’s another story my therapist says to keep quiet for now.
We can’t all be rockstar musicians, but if we take the time to try on the right lens to see through clearly, we can be rockstars on the stage of life.