The Dictators helped launch the CBGBs era of punk rock in New York City, then came Shakin’ Street, Manowar, Brain Surgeons, Death Dealer and now a solo career and the common thread throughout is New York City raised Ross The Boss.
Currently on tour supporting a single, “Denied By the Cross” and their soon to be released new album, “Born Of Fire,” Ross the Boss and the band are playing to sold out venues across the country as they prep for their Spring European tour.
“We’re finishing up the U.S. leg so we’re pretty tired,” laughed Ross when asked how he and the tour were doing prior to a recent area show. “The tour has done pretty well so I can’t complain; for heavy metal it’s great. We’ve gotten a lot of support out there so it’s been great.”
Perhaps best known for his years of searing guitar licks with Manowar, Ross The Boss has seen his share of the struggles that come with the rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle of a working and touring musician; one of which is acceptance in your own backyard. However, there’s life beyond those confines and like a lot of groups who have met the same obstacle he and they persevere.
“First of all, Manowar never really took off in The United States and I attribute that to the fact that we didn’t play enough here when the buzz was on and the metal thing was really truly happening here. We should’ve played more here but Joey (DeMaio) didn’t want to play because he couldn’t drag all of the equipment out there; so the deck was stacked against Manowar in The United States but in Europe it’s fantastic. I think that’s what guides us now because the support for Manowar is in Europe.”
Ah Europe, that bastion of increasingly fertile ground for many American musicians who can’t seem to gain a strong enough foothold in the U.S market to complement their efforts. Ross elaborated on just how much of a difference maker the proper line up and foreign support has been to him and his music.
“It’s a long story with me getting back to playing all of this music,” he said slowly. “Basically what happened was, I had my record deal with AFM in Germany in 2008 and I played festivals in Germany to keep on the circuit and I did a demo and got the deal with AFM and did two records with that German line up and after 2010 I said, I want an American band, not that those guys were bad but I just wanted an American band. So I got an American band in 2012 and it brought me back to playing the same festivals again with another line up and it went viral. So I was offered 35 shows in Germany and Europe and that band that I had didn’t want to go on tour believe it or not; so I said, OK guys you’re all fired (laughs). So I picked Michael LePond on bass who is just one of the best bass players in the world, probably is the best bass player I think. Then I picked Rhino the old Manowar drummer who is no longer with us so now we have a new drummer, Steve Bolognese and Marc Lopes and he was the key, the singer and that’s my touring band now. So that’s where we’ve been for the past three or four years and we’ve been really busting it hard and we’ve gotten a live reputation which is stellar and I think I’ve just got the right band; it’s magical. People are just blown away, I can’t even tell you how impressed people are with the band and I’m not just saying that just to say it but as a live unit it’s great to play with these guys because they are just so good. I look forward to every show, I look forward to playing with these guys because they’re great and I’m hearing it from everybody, everybody says it’s so great. Plus we’re playing these old classics and we’re blasting them and my punk rock principals of playing; there’s no down time, there’s no bull shit, there’s no talking, no special effects, there’s no tapes and none of that stuff that clogs up heavy metal, the extra shit that just gets in the way of the whole thing. So we have a streamlined band and we just come on stage and rip and that’s our signature.”
“So I mean we are playing these songs to the faithful Manowar fans of my era from the six records that I did; that will never be challenged for greatness. It’s like we are cross-pollinating the two and we’ve been doing that for the past two years and it’s been working out. It’s a roundabout way of getting my stuff out there so it’s working. Obviously the single “Denied By the Cross” is rippin’; did you hear it? I mean as far as heavy metal goes this thing rips! The production is fantastic, it’s getting a reaction, the band is tight as hell, our touring drummer played on it, the same touring band that I have now so that cohesion that’s on the record is showing live. I think it’s helping everything out, people are just knocked over by our band; it’s a great thing, it’s wonderful.”
“Denied By The Cross” was released in advance of the new album and like many touring acts Ross The Boss is using this portion of the journey to see what works and what doesn’t and thus far he’s rather pleased with the results and is cautiously optimistic about the upcoming record.
“The new single on YouTube is doing really well and the response from the crowds to the new music and to the old music has been great and the band is playing amazing. Actually it’s more Manowarbecausethe new record hasn’t come out yetand my older records haven’t had the presence here in The United States like it has in Europe so we’re keeping it more Manowar, we’re adding a lot more of the new songs because we have to work those songs up for the year. Our Europe tour is in April so we have to have those songs in shape to play in April; we’ve got to take advantage.”
“The release date for the album is March 6; I’ve done so many records like 37 or 38 but I don’t know, this one is really special I think. I like to think they’re all special but you know how things work out; you do your best and you think you want the best things to happen but the music business is weird; this record has got some power, some real power so we’ll see.”
True road warriors in every sense of the word, Ross The Boss and the band launch “The Tour of Fire” Europe 2020 starting April 1 in Denmark; so what happens after that?
“We’re talking about a second U.S. leg in October, we’ll see what we can get up and see the reaction to the record; we’re just magnifying everything we can do and we’ll see what happens. We have the European tour in April with Burning Witches who are an all-female Swiss metal band supporting us and another group from England called Asomvel and it’s going to be a great package. After that we are starting to book festivals; we just got added to a mega-festival but I can’t tell you what it is but it’s in Scandinavia someplace. So everything is filling in; I think everyone is waiting for this record and to see how it does.”
To discover more about Ross The Boss and the Ross The Boss Band, please visit www.Ross-the-boss.com.