Rock guitarist Alex Grossi is referred to as one of the most sought-after musicians of his genre. Joining steadfast forces with Quiet Riot in 2004 per request of late front man and tenderly remembered rock icon Kevin DuBrow, Grossi shreds with gusto, leaving no question that his come-hither look is just icing on the cake!
Settled into his home in Las Vegas with his pet chihuahua, the clock strikes 2AM as VH1 Classic’s David Bowie Tribute makes up the background noise for yet another night the musician won’t catch many Zs. “I can’t sleep, as I’m still on road time,” he said. “I have a ton of work to do before NAMM and the February tour. So, here I am.” I was lucky to catch up with him, even if at the waking hour of the creative.
It’s early in the New Year, but Grossi is already trekking through 2016 with a heavily marked up schedule of travel, work, and few days off in between.
His latest touring shebang blasts straight out of Hollywood as the uproarious, musical gang, Hookers & BLOW. Forget about your average cover band, and think of the sexy, sweaty, high-powered essence of the best rock show you’ve ever been to. That’s HN’B: talent, sex appeal, and anything but merely the illusion of fun. It’s a roaring circus of talent, with Guns N’ Roses covers like “Bad Obsession”, “Pretty Tied Up”, and Rolling Stones’ “Sympathy For The Devil”.
With an ever-rotating lineup, the current gang consists of what Grossi himself refers to as the best lineup the band has had yet, with Johnny Kelly on drums (Type O Negative, Danzig), Mike Duda on bass (W.A.S.P.), and Dizzy Reed of Guns N’ Roses on keys. Past members have included artists from The Cult and Marilyn Manson; and in 2013 Hookers & BLOW held two guest residencies at the world famous Whisky A Go Go in Hollywood.
At the start of 2016, Hookers & BLOW hit up the east coast on the first leg of it’s winter tour, along with That Metal Show co-host and comedian Don Jamieson, who Grossi and his fellow band mates consider an official member. With Jamiseon opening the shows, the tour is more of a major event, a comedy/rock tour, as opposed to a typical rock show.
With the 20 minutes we took to chat, I was able to get some answers to my pressing wonderment of just what Hookers & BLOW is all about.
Hookers & BLOW hit up 8 US cities at the beginning of January, and there are a slew of more dates to come in February. That’s a pretty killer way to kick off the New Year! How’d the first leg of it go?
It went great. The past 10 years of work we have done has really started to pay off. We took something that was initially a joke and have built it onto a viable commodity, getting more work than “real bands” in many cases. On this past tour we did the best numbers we have done yet – even sold out a couple, which has never happened.
“The past ten years of work!” That’s a long time going for a band that started out as a joke! I think it’s fantastic. What’s in store for HN’B this year, then, other than what’s left on the tour schedule?
We are going to fulfill our February tour dates, but after that we are going back to our respective bands as they are all ramping up for some very big things this year…
Including yourself, you’re in a band with three other major rockers. How does a lineup like this come about?
We have all known each other for years, when I started getting offers in late 2013, after 2 highly successful residencies at the Whisky A Go Go in Hollywood – I literally sent 3 texts out to the guys and we dialed it in.
Can fans likely anticipate a full-length record of covers or original music from Hookers & BLOW in the near future?
- Nope. Never – EVER!
Well, you’re very adamant about that! Would it be ruining the notion of what HN’B is about, or is there just no time to get it done?
Hookers & Blow isn’t really a band, it is more of a concept, and that concept is to literally not do anything we don’t want to do; mainly writing music and creating extra work for ourselves. We take pride in excelling at what we do, while at the same time, doing the absolute BARE minimum.
What makes this lineup of HN’B the best one yet?
Dizzy Reed (GUNS N’ ROSES) and myself have kind of been the “Gene & Paul” of HN’B since it’s inception. This line up was a long time in the making. We have all played together once or twice in Hollywood, or at a NAMM event. When Johnny Kelly (TYPE O NEGATIVE, DANZIG) and Mike Duda (W.A.S.P.) came back into the fold we booked an actual tour without even rehearsing. We flew into NY the day before the first show, blocked out time in a studio, and just went for it. After about 30 minutes, we knew it was there.
You’ve toured worldwide with Adler’s Appetite, featuring Steven Adler of Guns N’ Roses, and you currently play with Dizzy Reed (Hookers & BLOW) who has also played with Guns N’ Roses. Any parallels in touring with two members from the same band?
I never compare the two, as they are both very different scenarios.
That Metal Show co-host/comedian Don Jamieson is on the road with you guys hosting and opening the shows. What’s it like touring with that guy?!
Don has really added another dimension to what we do. I hate using the term “All Star Band,” as there are so many bands “featuring members of” that it gets stupid, and ultimately meaningless. The great thing about having Don out with us is that he further drives home the point, that we are not here to play rockstar and posture— it’s more about having a party and not caring. If you read the liner notes in GN’R’s “Chinese Democracy” you will see that Dizzy thanks “Hookers & Blow – the band and the concept.” That is exactly why Don fits in so well. He gets it.
What’s partying and not caring like with Hookers & BLOW? I mean, I’ve experienced first-hand that the industry is not all about sex and drugs anymore; but if I was on your bus for a night, would I be getting any sleep?!
Honestly, none of us hit it hard like we used to. Ten years ago we would roll into town and drink, fuck and snort you out of house and home. These days it’s more laid back on our end, but the fans are still as out-of-their-minds as ever, and that is what makes it still worth doing!
I’ll be at the party on February 12th at Tailgater’s in Bolingbrook, IL! Although the winters in Illinois are bitter and hideous, a night with Don Jamieson and Hookers & BLOW will be the quickest way to get warm!
HOOKERS & BLOW UPCOMING TOUR DATES:
2/10/16 – PHAT HEADZ – GREEN BAY, WI
2/11/16 – THE METAL GRILL – CUDAHY, WI
2/12/16 – TAILGATER’S – BOLINGBROOK, IL
2/13/16 – SOUTHPORT MUSIC HALL – INDIANAPOLIS, IN
2/14/16 – THE FIREHOUSE – RICHMOND, IN
Photos: Alex Grossi
Story: Kate Catalina