We caught up with Rob Rock recently and he had a lot to say about the new Impellitteri album, his solo career and his faith.
The Pure Metal Fan: What made you want to become a musician?
Rob Rock: I think growing up in a musical family played a big part in what direction I went in. Loving rock and roll on the radio and having my brother’s band rehearsing in the basement really cemented my love for music. Plus the fact that I was always encouraged to chase my dreams was fuel for the fire.
TPMF: Who are your major influences?
RR: Foreigner, Styx, Bad Co., Uriah Heep, and Grand Funk Railroad were my earliest influences. I started as a drummer who also sang leads and backing vocals. As a singer, Lou Gramm and Dio were my favorite vocalists, and Queen, Judas Priest, and Boston were also some of my favorite groups.
TPMF: How did you meet Chris and when did you start working with him?
RR: I met Chris at a gig. My band was opening up for the Gregg Allman Band and Chris was there. After the show he introduced himself and told me that we needed to play together. He came down to the club the next day and we jammed and he was right. Soon after he joined my band and we started writing songs and performing originals and cover songs together.
TPMF: Who writes the songs for Impellitteri?
RR: Chris is the driving force for the songs but the whole band is involved, especially writing our own parts. Chris is the catalyst for the songs, demo-ing up song ideas and passing them around to the band. Everyone adds their parts to the song and we put it all together. Chris and I work together offering suggestions on the title and melody framework and I take it from there as far as the lyrics go.
TPMF: Could you briefly describe the music-making process?
RR: First we demo-up the songs and decide which ones are keepers and which songs work well together to create an album. Then the band will go in the studio and record the songs live, concentrating on the drums. From there we each do our parts and once we have all the tracks complete it goes to mixing and mastering.
“LOL…that was kind of scary actually…I had my reservations about messing with such a classic.”
TPMF: Who came up with the ‘beasts and monsters’ theme for The Nature of the Beast?
RR: Chris had the original thoughts on the title and from there is just kind of evolved into a theme. It was not intentional from the start but naturally occurred during the writing process. Even though there is no song with that title, I reference the theme in several songs which became a thread that kind of runs through the album.
TPMF: What was it like doing a metal version of The Phantom of the Opera?
RR: LOL…that was kind of scary actually…I had my reservations about messing with such a classic. When I heard the demo, I was floored by Chris’s take on it. Wow, how is this going to go over? Then I had to step up to the plate and deliver vocally. Chris and I discussed that we would demo it and see what the result was, and make sure we were happy with it. I think it is a unique take on the song for sure, and hopefully we will surprise a lot of people.
TPMF: Is it just me, or does Masquerade sound a lot like Randy Rhoads era Ozzy? Was this intentional?
RR: Yea, I could hear that! It was a riff Chris was playing around with when we were practicing for the tour after the Venom album was released. It sounded great on the demo so we went with it. Of course the #metoo movement was beginning to get a lot of exposure and attention so I just had to comment on it.
TPMF: Does the verse, “Come to me, and I’ll set your spirit free” on Kill the Beast refer to Jesus Christ? And what is the overall theme on the song?
RR: There are some lyrical double meanings throughout the album and the answer to your question is yes. The theme is about dark influences and spiritual warfare in the world. The song “Man of War” is a tribute to the Armed Forces but also has an underlying spiritual theme to it.
TPMF: Which songs do you like the most off the new album?
RR: That depends on which day you ask me…I go through phases where I like certain songs more, and then I’ll find myself gravitating towards other songs as well, so it’s really hard to say. I like all of them actually… this album has a lot of depth once you sink into it.
“I find it really hard to exist in a box or a label that has been created by others.”
TPMF: What has been Impellitteri’s biggest challenge as a band?
RR: I think finding the right touring situation has been a challenge. We, to this day, are still seeking a great way to reach the fans that makes sense to everyone involved. We do some huge shows in Asia and Europe and want to do that here in the States as well, but we need to get the promoters on board to open the doors for good touring options.
TPMF: It’s a well known fact that Impellitteri isn’t a Christian band, but do you consider yourself a Christian musician?
RR: I find it really hard to exist in a box or a label that has been created by others. I’m not sure that one label means the exact same thing to everyone. I know I’m a Christian, and I know that I’m a musician.
TPMF: How big of a role has your faith played in your songwriting, and your life in general?
RR: When I write lyrics, I write from my personal point of view, or from the point of view from the subject of the song, or sometimes from the viewpoint of others. I don’t lock myself in any box. I just try to do what’s best for each song and not compromise my beliefs in the process.
My faith is reflected in my songwriting and I also vary my approach to lyrics with the situation I am writing in. It is not always blatant. Sometimes my lyrics are commentary observations of the world around us. My faith plays a huge roll in my life and is always present in creating music and lyrics.
TPMF: It’s been over 11 years since your last solo album, when can we expect a new one?
RR: I’ve been continually asked about the next RR album. I am currently writing songs with several friends and hope to get on a roll to put together some demos in the near future. I’m not sure when it will all come together, but I am hoping that 2019 will be a good year to start recording.
TPMF: Any parting words?
RR: Well, I hope everyone will support the Impellitteri band and buy a CD or download. Hopefully the chance to see us live and get a T-shirt will come together soon, too.
The band seems to have a lot of momentum with the release of “The Nature of the Beast”.
We are working on getting the band out there and hope to tour soon and do some concerts and some more festival shows all over the world.
I would like to thank the fans and friends and supporters who have stayed with us and supported us all along this ride. It’s amazing that our metal family is still so strong!
Thank you, and God bless you all.
You can purchase your copy of The Nature of the Beast from Amazon, Google Play, iTunes and other fine retailers.