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An Interview with Rick Monroe
By CSO European Contributing Journalist, Christian Lamitschka.

Ch.L.: How was the last year for you? Where there any highlights?

RM:  Awesome, I bought a place in Nashville, we've been playing non stop. We finished "Against The Grain" My brother got Married and they made me an uncle again. 

Ch.L.: What did you do before you got into the music business?

RM:  I've done all types of jobs. I was the worlds youngest Fuller Brush salesman or sales kid. I've built homes, movie sets and shoveled duck poo.

Ch.L.: Country Music has many new fans in Europe who may be learning about you for the first time. How would you describe the music you play to someone who's never seen or heard you before?

RM:  It's a hybrid from everywhere I've lived or played. From the South it's got a Southern Roots Rock feel, to the North more of a singer-songwriter style and West with it's California Country sound. 

Ch.L.: What is your current CD and how is it doing?

RM:  "Against The Grain" and advance sales have been great. We are looking at a late May US street date.

Ch.L.: How did you find the title for the CD and what inspired you?

RM:  I tend to do things a little different than the established system and I like to go my own way so I felt like it really described everything that we've been doing.

Ch.L.: Do you write the songs yourself and if not, how do you go about finding songs for your albums?

RM:  Yes, but I also like to look for songs. I'm all about putting out what I think is the best CD of songs I can. No matter who writes them. I tend to look for songs that I can relate to and that reflect my own experience.

Ch.L.: What is the different between your last and your current album?

RM:  I'm more focused and I had a lot more time to think about what I was doing. I was also a lot more hands on.

Ch.L.: What kind of songs do you like to record the most?

RM:  A "hit"  ! Actually anything that moves me emotionally. Good, bad, happy or sad as long as I feel it.

Ch.L.: What's your favorite song among all the songs you've recorded and what's the story behind it?

RM:  I tend to like songs that are more entertaining than real emotional heartbreakers. The world is crazy enough and I'd like to provide a little place to rest from it all. Tunes like "Love Bug" or "Dance Hall King" which are a little goofy and fun. I guess this should have gone under what kind of songs I like to record.

Ch.L.: How much creative control do you have over your music?

RM:  Is there such thing as " creative control" that's kind off an oxymoron. As of now I guess 100% but I love to work with people and I try and stay open to others creative input.

Ch.L.: There's a lot of work that goes into a Number One hit ... what does it take to make it?

RM:  I'd like to say a "Great Song" and the perfect performance but a lot of it is exposure and money.

Ch.L.: How much do your songs influence your audience?

RM:  I hope it lets them escape the madness for a while.

Ch.L.: The internet is playing a bigger and bigger part in the world of music. Has the internet hurt or helped you and how would you like to see it evolve?

RM:  Massive help. I would have a European Tour if it was not for the net.

Ch.L.: Who do you look up to musically and where do your musical roots come from?

RM:  To many to list. I look up to anyone who gets up and plays music to entertain others.

Ch.L.: What do you think about today's Country Music versus its roots and where do you see it going in the future?

RM:  It's like a growing tree, as long as the roots are strong it can grow and branch out without limitations. I guess the artist would be the leaves even though they are on opposite ends of the tree they are all fed from the same place. I think all the diversity in the format is healthy and the artist that really loose their way will get cut off . 

Ch.L.: If you had the chance to change something about the music industry, what would it be?

RM:  I think it's already happening. With the net artist can really take control of their careers. The old business model of a label getting rich while artist starve is changing. 

Ch.L.: As an artist you have to do so many different things such as recording, touring, doing interviews etc. What do you like best, what's your favorite activity?

RM:  Playing live!

Ch.L.: Are you doing doing anything to take country music beyond itís current borders or are you happy where it is?

RM:  I would presume to think I'm different but you can be the judge of that.

Ch.L.: Before you became a star, where your friends and family supportive or was it a struggle?

RM:  Well when I become a Star I'll let you know  No really I'm a musician, my job is to entertain people. Real Stars are the people that get up every day of their lives to keep the big machine rolling.

Ch.L.: Has your journey to success been a hard or an easy road?

RM:  Life is hard by nature no matter what you do, Actually in the big picture I feel extremely blessed.

Ch.L.: What drives you? What inspired you to become an artist?

RM:  The need to entertain people!

Ch.L.: What's the best thing about being a star and what's the hardest thing?

RM:  Again I don't really dig the label star. 

Ch.L.: What has been your greatest challenge in music business?

RM:  Getting people to hear your stuff. There is a lot of music and it's not easy to break through it all.

Ch.L.: What moments in your career stand out in your memory as highlights and achievements which you're proud of?

RM:  Playing for Gorbachev on the USS Sequoia Presidential Yacht
And doing a couple Vodka shots with him.

Ch.L.: Who's your biggest critic, yourself or others?

RM:  My wife & I are toe to toe on that one.

Ch.L.: When you get time off, how do you like to relax?

RM:  I take Kung Fu, Scuba Dive & I have a 1970 Ford Bronco that still need work

Ch.L.: Is there anything in your life that you would change if you could?

RM:  No, then I wouldn't be who I am now.

Ch.L.: Is there anyplace you havenít played that you would like to?

RM:  As long as there is a place I haven't been I'd like to play there.

Ch.L.: Can your European fans look forward to seeing you in concert in the future?

RM:  Yup, I'm on my way in May

Ch.L.: What can your fans expect to see when they see you in concert?

RM:  They better bring their best dancing boots and be ready to go till they drop!

Ch.L.: When you're on tour, do you have time to play tourist?

RM:  I hope we do, my favorite part of touring is seeing new things and meeting people.

Ch.L.: Many music fans today get their information about artists via the internet. Do you have your own website and what will fans find there?

RM:  http://www.rickmonroe.com  

Ch.L.: What are your plans for the future?

RM:  Stay happy!

Ch.L.: What's the best compliment a fan has ever given you?

RM:  This is the short version but I got a letter from a guy that said he had a massive heart attack and was unconscious for several days. Then his family were playing him some music and he said when my CD came on he woke up and thanks me for guiding him back. I keep that letter where ever I go. To remind me why I do what I do

Ch.L.: What message would you like to send your European fans?

RM:  God Bless and I hope I get a chance to see you soon.

Christian Lamitschka ( Christian@CountryStarsOnline.com )



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