Hailing from Norway, Rocky Kramer is about to set the world on fire!
This twenty-something has an old soul in the world of rock and I was very excited to sit down with him for an interview during his recent visit to Seattle as the headliner at Seattle Hempfest.
Meeting at Zadart Exotic Car Club & Rentals (I seriously need to come back here and actually check out more of the cars – Sallye and Jackson were so incredibly friendly!) in Bellevue for a promo shoot a couple of days before his performance at Hempfest, I met with Rocky and the CEO of Allied Artists, Kim Richards, who signed Rocky to their record label a few years ago.
Kim himself has over 30 years of experience and a VERY distinguished history of accomplishments in the music world. One of his chief credits is Pink Floyd’s, The Wall – which is the third highest grossing album of all time. Kim has also worked with rock legends including Andy Gibb, Queen, Styx, Steely Dan, Iron Butterfly, Neil Diamond, Carol King — just to name a few.
Kim is a voting member of National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (also known as The Grammy’s), and has held advisory positions with the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and the National Association of Recording Merchandisers (NARM). Remember CD’s? Kim helped establish the standards for CD’s and argued with the industry that they needed to embrace the necessary technological advances away from cassette tapes, and he was even the architect of the compromise to establish how CD’s were packaged.
Basically, can we say it’s established that when a legend like Kim Richards takes notice of you, you know you are about to conquer the stage.
How did Kim find Rocky? Once upon a time, Kim had decided he was just going to run Allied Artists and take a step back from producing artists. Then his friend, famed guitarist, Mike Pinera, called Kim and asked if he wanted to meet this amazing kid, Rocky Kramer. While Kim wasn’t interested at the time, Mike roped him into hearing Rocky’s music. Kim asked Rocky what his musical influences were. Rocky, not knowing anything about Kim, said Pink Floyd and Queen. After learning more about Rocky and hearing his music, Kim’s engines were roaring again. Kim divided his time between working at the desk and helping Rocky become the rock star he was destined to be.
Kim calls Rocky’s music, “AC/DC meets Queen as seen through the eyes of Pink Floyd.” Let’s break that down for a moment. How many rock bands are out there on the airwaves today? Can you name them all? Can you tell who is who by voice alone, without looking at the artist’s name on Spotify or Pandora? I guarantee you, the moment you hear AC/DC’s Brian Johnson’s scratchy voice, as soon as you hear the dramatic range of Freddie Mercury or the smoothness of Roger Waters, David Gilmour and Richard Wright – you know immediately who you are listening to – no cheat sheet required. Once you hear Rocky Kramer’s voice, you will know it’s his vocals and turn up the radio!
Kim plans to develop Rocky the old school way – establish him as an artist, debut his first album, play in Germany and then tour the US.
Rocky grew up in Norway with music in his DNA, inheriting his parents’ passion for music. Rocky’s father was the first violinist for the Trondheim Symphony Orchestra and his mother was a very accomplished pianist. Rocky’s mother met his father when she was singing with the Trondheim Symphony Orchestra and it was love at first sight! When Rocky was five years old, his mother passed away from cancer, leaving his father to raise “two unruly boys by himself.”
With his father’s encouragement, Rocky grew up playing the violin and the piano, but yearned to learn more contemporary instruments. His first guitar, a “Les Paul Double Cut knock-off,” was purchased with his allowance, birthday money and other earnings. He soon discovered he was a Fender man, falling in love with the freedom it gave him. The drums also caught Rocky’s eye and he managed to become an agile drummer. Now you have someone who can sing, play the violin, piano, guitar and drums – a quintuple threat in the music world!
Growing up as a child in the 1990’s, Rocky felt it wasn’t the best decade for rock music. He listened to the sounds of The Beatles and Pink Floyd, all music that was created before he was born. Rocky decided to move to Los Angeles in 2011 and by August of 2012, was signed to Allied Artists. Rocky really appreciates the old ways that bands recorded music versus how computers auto-tune anything and everything today. Bands used to have to get their sets right and record together – today, everyone can get into the studio at separate times to record, with sounds being cut and pasted together.
Gathering his band mates through extensive auditions of more than 300 people, Rocky found bassist, Michael Dwyer (the man has the most beautiful hair), drummer Alejandro Mercado and hailing from Italy, keyboardist, Alessandro Bertoni. Rocky’s debut album, Firestorm, was recorded in the same studio that Metallica recorded The Black Album.
Rocky’s connection with the hemp industry relates to his passion for the use of sustainable materials to help save the planet. Rocky does not use pot recreationally and his advocacy is strictly for the industrial use of hemp. You can learn more about the industry through Seattle-based, Titan Bioplastics.
We are excited to welcome Rocky Kramer to the world of rock! Stay tuned to rockykramer.com for more information on their new album and first ever European and US tour!