Music | You Can't Stop The Rock


An indie-veteran with a proud place on The OC soundtrack, Rocky Votolato has no intention of hanging up is guitar, writes Kate Rothwell.


Rocky Votolato is no stranger to touring. He has spent more than a decade part of the American music scene. From his time as frontman of rock outfit, Waxwing, he has spent more recent years touring and promoting his own solo work.

His recent US and current European tours of little over two weeks are short and sweet in comparison to the longer hauls that he has endured and enjoyed before now.

“I’m used to touring. I have done less touring this year so it’s been nice for me. I was ready to do that trip and had been conditioned from the past of doing too many tours.”

The European leg of these excursions will culminate with a performance in Dublin, the hometown of one of Rocky’s long-time idols- Bono.

“I’ve always also been personally inspired by Bono’s life; the path he choose as a spiritual leader. I think he’s the kind of human being that we need more of in the world.”

“I’ve always also been personally inspired by Bono’s life; the path he choose as a spiritual leader. I think he’s the kind of human being that we need more of in the world”

An avid U2 fan, Rocky attributes their influence more directly to his Waxwing days, which are a world away from his current project.

“That music was more U2 inspired, but it was also different- it was much more punk rock and a lot heavier, louder and faster.”

Waxwing certainly wouldn’t have made it on to The OC soundtrack, a feat which Rocky achieved with his track ‘White Daisy Passing’.

Such a slot has catapulted many a lesser-known artist into the limelight, and the exposure is something that Rocky is openly grateful for.

“It had a really good impact on my shows and I’ve started seeing lots of different types of people coming… it wasn’t the normal, core fanbase. It was more like punk kids or younger, all ages crowds. I’m fine with whoever wants to listen to my music- I’m not exclusionary about it.”

Votolato’s acoustic, indie material has often been likened to that of the late Elliott Smith, a comparison which Rocky accepts as a compliment.

“I met him a few times and I saw him play a lot of times before he was famous. We toured the same clubs and I always considered him more of a peer than an influence” he explains.

“We have a really similar background and a similar aesthetic, and that definitely wasn’t intentional on my part. It’s flattering because he was a really great songwriter and I hope that I could write songs as good as that someday.”

After his European tour Rocky plans to return to the States and focus on recording his next solo album, but the idea of starting a new band-based project is not off the cards.

“I’m always talking with different friends about it. As of now there is no fixed plan but I would like to have that at some point again. I think I had to get away from it for a few years to realise that it was something that I miss having.”

Rocky Votolato’s career has already outlasted that of many an indie darling, but he has enough plans up his sleeve to ensure that this won’t be the last time we hear from him.

Rocky Votolato plays upstairs at Whelan’s on the 5th October