Quiet Riot guitarist Alex Grossi and American Idol finalist James Durbin recently announced a new collaboration, Maps to the Hollywood Scars.
Volume One, the duo’s debut five-song EP, which was released today (February 17), sheds light on the darker side of Hollywood and the music industry—at least from the perspective of two of rock’s hardest-working artists.
Songs like “Roads” and “The Lost Boys” showcase the stinging one-two punch of Grossi’s ace guitar playing and Durbin’s powerful voice, while “Never Ending Ride” is a window to a post-apocalyptic world of ruin.
How did this collaboration come about? How did you guys meet?
GROSSI: I met James in 2011 via a mutual acquaintance. I remember being taken back, not only by his obvious vocal prowess but by his knowledge and love for real rock n’ roll. Then, last year I went to a Vegas show he was doing, and we ended up jamming together at the after-party.
DURBIN: After the Vegas show I was involved in ended, I unexpectedly received an email from Alex sending me some instrumentals. I took a listen and was immediately inspired. We started sending ideas back and forth and before long decided, hell, why not make an album or two?
How would you describe the EP in terms of its sound—and maybe how it relates to some of your past projects?
DURBIN: We both have our own influences, and there’s an age gap between us, but I think that works to our advantage as far as the writing and crafting goes. It’s all loosely based around rock n’ roll, so it’s not hard for us.
GROSSI: It’s honestly like nothing I have done to date. We’ve both been involved in many different projects, but this happened so quickly and organically, it really stands on its own.
You’ve mentioned that this project was meant to showcase the darker side of Hollywood and the music biz. Can you elaborate on that?
GROSSI: It’s not really about selling the industry—or Hollywood—down the river. It’s more of a reflection of where the record industry was, is and where it’s going. What once gave artists and record labels a medium to actually sell music has now become a place where the general consensus is that music is free. Where some people will gladly spend $4 on a cup of coffee without batting an eyelash but feel totally fine about illegally downloading a song or record that cost thousands of dollars and countless hours to create, produce and market.
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Interview with Grossi and Durbin by Clicking Here!
2013 is shaping up to be a busy year for Hotel Diablo’s Alex Grossi. Already one of the hardest-working guitarists around, Grossi also performs with Quiet Riot (which celebrates the 30th anniversary of its monster album “Metal Health” this year). In addition, Grossi mentors other up and coming bands and is also involved in a clothing line with Forgotten Saints.
Grossi first met vocalist Rick Stitch back in 2009 when both were members of Steven Adler’s band, “Adler’s Appetite”. After parting ways with Adler, the duo (along with bassist Mike Duda and drummer Mike Dupke) began writing songs together and formed Hotel Diablo.
It wasn’t long before friend, producer and former Guns N’ Roses guitarist Gilby Clarke took notice and asked the guys to come down to his studio and record. It was also no coincidence that the first song they recorded was “Set It Off,” a track that would instantly catapult an entire project.
Pleased with the result, the band ended up doing a total of nine tracks with Clarke at his studio and two additional ones with LA underground producer Matt Starr. The result? Hotel Diablo’s debut album, “The Return to Psycho, California”, an 11-song arsenal of killer riffs and grooves.
Grossi explains the story behind one of the album’s strongest tracks, ‘Psycho, California’. “When we all moved out here to LA from different parts of the world, we were all fresh-faced, young kids. But we quickly discovered how this town can just eat you up and spit you out. This place (LA) has a lot of mythology to it, and that’s really what the song is about.”
When it came time to do a video for the song, the band already had a vision for how they wanted it to be. They joined forces with Emmy-winning director Fabio Jafet (Pitbull, KISS, Enrique Iglesias, Children of Bodom), who was instrumental in helping to capture the true essence of the song. It was an organic process that quickly took on a life of its own.
Hotel Diablo recently completed a show at the House of Blues in LA, officially unveiling the new video and following it up with a live performance where they were joined onstage by Clarke himself. Bassist Chris Wyse (The Cult/Owl) also joined the band for the song “Bury You”, which Grossi revealed will be the next video released from the album and will once again reunite them with Jafet.
When asked about the future and working on the next Hotel Diablo video, Grossi is quick to point out his admiration for the director. “Fabio is world-class and the fact that he wanted to work with us was humbling.
Our goal now is to keep the creative momentum going.”
Alex Grossi is considered one of the hardest working guitarists around. His resume includes working with such artists as Quiet Riot, Steven Adler (Adler’s Appetite), Jani Lane of Warrant, Beautiful Creatures and Dizzy Reed and Gilby Clarke (Guns N’ Roses).
After coming off a grueling World Tour with Adler’s Appetite in 2011, Grossi (along with vocalist Rick Stitch) parted ways with Steven Adler and together with bassist Mike Duda and drummer Mike Dupke formed Hotel Diablo.
The band would soon join forces with producer (and former Guns N’ Roses guitarist) Gilby Clarke and release their debut album, ‘The Return To Psycho, California”, an eleven song arsenal of riffs and grooves that hard rock fans have been longing for. With a worldwide deal with Scarlet Records and Entertainment One in place, the sky’s the limit for Hotel Diablo.
I spoke with Grossi about Hotel Diablo as well as his work with Adler’s Appetite, Quiet Riot and the late Jani Lane.