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Ready to Tour: Rocking Out with Supernova’s Lukas Rossi

[IMG:L]When multiple talent-based, reality shows began sprouting up like wild grass on the networks, such as American Idol, Rock Star: Supernova and America’s Got Talent, everyone thought the same: it’s just a fad…and fads fade away. However, following certain undeniable truths–multi-million dollar record sales, a bona fide Oscar win, and a crop of emerging TV stars–it’s become rather clear: these shows are here to stay. And we’ve only just begun to see their impact.

Some of the players who benefit the most from these reality shows are, of course, the frontrunners of the competition. One of those winners, Rock Star: Supernova’s Lukas Rossi, has already been tearing-up the talent charts. Following the show’s stiff competition, the Canadian, neo-goth rocker has been making waves on the scene.

Although the first album that’s sprouted from Rock Star: Supernova hasn’t proven to be a big hit, it clearly has promise and its own steady following. The group is already preparing to release a second one before 2008. The spirited Rossi has been prepping his own solo album for release–and as well, kicks-off his much anticipated tour in Cali this week.

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Hollywood.com: So what are you up to today?
Lukas Rossi:
Today I’m actually going back into the studio. I’m doing an acoustic EP before I go out on tour in the States and into Canada. I’m just recording some music I have inside of me that I couldn’t put on the Supernova record. This stuff is real close to my heart and real personal.

HW: Who’s backing you up on it?
My fans are backing me up on it. A lot of them have been asking me for a lot of music that’s just from me. It’s actually my guitar player from my last band before Supernova, from Rise Electric–Dominic Cifarelli. He came down to LA and we wrote, like, five tracks; and he recorded the tracks in Montreal and I’m recording some here. We’re sending tracks back and forth on the internet and we’re just doing what we can when we can. I’m really proud of it.

HW: How many songs are going to be on the EP?
Five tracks. I put up a sample every day on MySpace to let the fans know what’s going on it. It’s not going to be plugged-in sh*t. It’s all going to be stripped down. I didn’t want to hide behind any lights and all the glam stuff. It’s just going to be bone dry; just me.

[IMG:R]HW: You shifted pretty quickly from group collaboration on Supernova to doing your own solo stuff.
It’s not over, man. There are just a lot of music projects I have to get out of me. This is an acoustic EP tour. When I get back, I’ll start writing with Tommy [Lee] and Johnny Colt and we’re going to see how it turns out and what direction we want to go. Obviously the name has got to change, but I’ve got some pretty rad music so it’s going to be a big surprise.

HW: Is your solo stuff still hard rock?
: Oh yeah man. It’s not like I’m going all opera on your ass.

HW: If you had to compare the work to one of your favorite artists, who would you say?
 Freddie Mercury on acid. It’s got balls and definitely got some teeth.

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HW: What kind of name are you guys thinking of for the new Supernova?
I can’t tell you that. I have a name, but I want to make sure everything’s together, and then we’ll let you know.

HW: Did you guys all come up with it together?
No, I thought of it.

HW: It sounds like you really get a strong voice in a lot of the decisions. Is that true?
Yes. Everyone’s equal. In a great band it is hard to have everyone be heard equally. You get these assholes who think they know it all. But with these guys, it is really fun to be around them and play music.

HW: When you were on Rock Star: Supernova were you ever nervous about not getting to be a major part of the band?
No, I don’t think that anyone chose me to be their lead singer just to be a push over. That would suck. They don’t want to hire some puppet. I wouldn’t want to be some monkey on a string.

HW: Were you nervous around these insanely famous guys, especially when they were judging you?
Not at all, man. I am always really relaxed and laid back. I was having fun, and it was a really great audition. I got to sit in the sunshine and drink beer all day, which felt good.

HW: How do you think the rumor started that Gilby [Clarke] was thinking about leaving?
LR: I don’t know, man. Gilby was doing a tour through Canada with his other project, and I guess people took it upon themselves to decide for him. You know the way it is out there; everyone has something to say and that’s no good.

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HW: Was Gilby ever thinking of leaving?
I don’t think so, as far as I know.

HW: How do you look back to the show now?
The only thing that sucked was being away from the outside world. Thinking about it now scares me. Living in that mansion was like being in a really nice jail. But it went fast, I met some nice people and I learned a lot through the audition and I learned a sh*tload on the tour.

HW: Do you still talk with anyone who was on the show?
Yeah, I’m going to be going to Iceland for the first time with Dilana [Robichaux] and Magni [Asgeirsson]. From what I hear, there are some wicked [Supernova] fans there. I haven’t been down there because I’ve been so busy trying to get the first record off and the tour started and stuff. The first time I have time, I’m going down there. It will be great.

HW: You had another band before being on the show. Did you tour a lot?
It was mostly Canadian stuff.

HW: How different were those days to what you do now?
: Not much, but on a larger scale. … Everyone sees Supernova as TV show band, which is obviously was–but it is just like any other band. It wasn’t like that INXS thing or that The Next Big Band thing where they hired the singer to take over his spot. This is a brand new band, with four different minds collaborating and going on the road together. So with any band, you have to start from ground zero. We didn’t sell that many records, but that’s fine. I didn’t expect to supersede all the other bands that work just as hard as we do. The music industry is a hard business and a hard life. I ain’t going to give up, this is my life; this is what I was born to do.

[IMG:L]HW: Why do you think the Supernova album isn’t doing as well as people wanted it to?
LR: We went platinum in Canada. In America, there’s way too much of everything. Our label didn’t really push the record like we thought, which is very disappointing; but I’m sure that will all turn around when they all see what’s coming next, man. I want the public to understand what the music is, and where I’m coming from. I don’t think anyone’s trying to make a quick sell or sh*t like that. I could give a fuck about that. Like with any other band, it’s your music and your art, and you just hope that people can attach to it and feel what you feel when you’re writing it.

HW: On the show, how tough was it to have to sing those ‘classic’ rock songs, and yet make them your own at the same time?
I hate doing cover songs. That’s why I’m always changing it to make it my own. I try to make uncheesy by reinventing the song for me.

HW: Was it somewhat nerve-racking to alter the songs of people who were sitting directly in front of you?
No, I didn’t care, dude. It was awfully fun for me.

HW: Lukas, let’s try a different tactic. What do you care about? [Laughs]
[Pauses] I care about all the people that have written to me saying that I’ve changed their lives, or touched them in some way; or the kids who write and say they now have a direction in life because of me.

HW: How was it getting a standing ovation in your hometown of Toronto?
LR: That was unbelievable. It is unbelievable how good that feels.

HW: How big was the venue?
Four thousand people. It was crazy, dude. I was sleeping on the bus and then they woke me up five minutes before I was supposed to go on. I was all like, “Are you kidding me. You didn’t wake me up earlier?” I went out there and did what I did. I don’t know where I got the energy. I was in a dream state. It was euphoric to have people just keep getting louder and keep screaming my name, especially in my own country. It’s hard to explain in words, man. I almost had tears in my eyes. It was the best feeling ever.

HW: Is Jason [Newstead] going to be back with the band?
I don’t think so. We’re going to have to talk to him and see what’s up.

HW: Any idea who you would want to replace him?
Jason was on the record but Johnny Colt did the whole tour with us. He’s amazing person and he was definitely an asset to the band on tour.

HW: What’s up with all the Rock Star: Supernova winners being from Toronto?
Canada has always been a big rock place. They just love to get down. Canadians are like that.

HW: You seem to be having a lot of fun with the paparazzi. You showed-off your boxers…and you and Tommy Lee made out for the cameras. Is that a way for you to deal with all the media attention?
LR: I’m just like that all the time. I don’t see the paparazzi being anything bad. They just want to see what’s up, and I’ll show them what’s up. If it happens to be my ass, then it happens to be my ass. [Laughs]

HW: With all the people out there to kiss, one might think Tommy Lee wouldn’t be at the top of the list.
[laughs] He’s a good-looking guy. He’s my boy.

HW: Originally you didn’t even want to try out for Rock Star: Supernova.
LR: I was a little ambivalent about it. At first I thought it was Van Halen looking for a singer and I was like, “Hell no. I’m not doing that.” Then I heard it was Tommy and the boys, and I was like, “Yeah dude!” My band was defunct at the time, so I thought it would be fun to go out to LA and audition. I think I was suited for it.

HW: When you first auditioned were you one those “I’m going to win Rock Star: Supernova!” contestants?
Yeah because you got to believe in what you do. I think that if anyone on that show was thinking that they weren’t going to win, they should have stayed home.

HW: As you said, you’ve been releasing songs on the internet, is that because you’re really web savvy or is that the way the market is now?
LR: The world is changing. The only way of keeping in contact with fans, besides giving them your phone number and having your phone go off all day, is the internet. So I utilize that MySpace thing and it’s been great. They really keep in contact and they share your music with people. I’ll come from the studio and put the song up on the same day to show people we’re still rocking and that there’s music to come.

HW: How did you end up writing for bands at age 15?
I had a publishing deal when I was younger, and there are just a lot of musicians that need help getting deals and stuff. My first band, Cleavage, had a manager and he managed a few other bands. I gave him this song and after a week of him shopping it around I got signed. They would call me in and I would help them out. Those same people told me about the auditions for Supernova–small world.

HW: What else do you want to do besides music?
I got offered a three-movie deal, man.

HW: What?
Yeah, dude. I can’t really say anything, but it’s going to be rad. I’ve done some acting before so it should be interesting to see what comes of it.

HW: Are these just small roles?
No, I’m going to be the lead role.

HW: How big is the tour that you’re going to be doing next?
LR: It’s going to be 40 dates. It’s going to be huge.

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