Artist blog | Emily Barker on Rocky Votolato

Our favourite Australian songstress Emily Barker is on the road as part of the revival tour. It’s a five week European jaunt with a slew of other artists, full of collaboration, covers and singalongs.

After her last blog, in which she spoke to Cory Branan, here’s part three – an interview with Rocky Votolato.

The Revival Tour

I type from the backstage area of tonight’s venue called Zapata in Stuttgart, Germany. We’ve now got 19 shows under our belts so are more than half way through.

We’ve covered a lot of ground in the past week, through Germany, Austria, Croatia, Italy and back to Germany again. Late night bus journeys have been spent gambling dice (I cleaned up on a game called “Three’s Away” which I was pretty stoked about!), sipping whiskey, concocting “bus melts” in the microwave from various rider leftovers, everyone speaking in bad Australian accents, and generally having a lot of fun.

I’ve managed to stay sane on this tour by going for long runs every second day with Joe Ginsberg (double bassist/musical director.) It’s such a great way to get out and see some of where you are and avoid the routine of… tour bus, backstage, onstage, tour bus, which is such an easy pattern to fall into.

The shows have been going incredibly well. More and more collaborations happen every day and it now feels like we’re just one big band.

So this week I speak to Rocky Votolato

Rocky Votolato

Musical background
“My uncle used to come over to my house during holidays and play Beatles songs, Dylan songs and old outlaw country songs. That was my first exposure to music and what made me want to play. Then that same uncle gave my older brother a guitar and I looked up to him and wanted to learn too. I grew up in Texas on a 50 acre horse ranch and so was exposed to a lot of country and folk music when I was in high school, I moved to Seattle and got into the underground punk and hardcore scene there. So a lot of my music was the two of these worlds coming together.”

Touring in Europe/UK
“I’ve been over a bunch, a couple of times each year for the last 4 years. My first time over was in 2004 and I played 8 shows in the UK and 3 shows in Germany. The German shows were all sold out and it was a huge surprise and I found out that I have a lot of fans there. Since then I’ve been coming a couple of times a year and I’ve toured Europe extensively. I’ve worked with my record label in Germany, Defiance Records, and I feel like they’ve helped me to solidify my fan base over here. I’m currently touring my latest record ‘Television of Saints’ that came out earlier this year.”

Revival Tour experience
“I’m having more fun on this tour than on any tour I’ve done in a while. I think that’s because of all the amazing songwriters that I’m collaborating with and the general feeling of camaraderie. I’ve never done anything like this before so I feel like it’s been a real learning and growing experience. Learning so many songs so quickly has been really challenging but now that most of the hard work is done, it’s really rewarding. Playing on stage with everybody has been such a cool experience. This show definitely feels like a unique experience for the people that go to the shows as well as for the artists.”

Something personal about the tour/your tour routine
“One way that I deal with stress on tour is by mediating or maybe doing some yoga. I also read quite a bit and have been recently reading “The Tao te Ching” and “The Alchemist.”