The incredible indie explosion: Rodney DeCroo


Harrowing, honest, and profoundly unflinching only begin to describe Rodney DeCroo’s Allegheny, in which spoken-word pieces (set to Rob Malowany’s soundscapes) find the singer-songwriter revisiting his roots in Pennsylvania. DeCroo’s childhood was, at the risk of understating things, less than idyllic. That he still manages to make parts of it sound impossibly golden, as in “Behind the Gasworks on Railroad Avenue / An Odd Gift”, is testimony to his enormous talent.

Best local release other than yours:

“Petunia and the Vipers’ Petunia and the Vipers. The entire album is well-done, but ‘Mercy’ is that rare thing: a visionary song dredged up from the messy, murky, dreck-of-soul stuff. It’s all about loss and redemption.”

The year’s best gig:

“Great Aunt Ida’s Vancouver CD release concert for Nuclearize Me at the Waldorf on December 29, 2011. Nuclearize Me is a fantastic collection of songs, and Ida and her band nailed them.”

What classic never leaves the turntable?

“Creedence Clearwater Revival’s Green River. I heard Green River for the first time when I was eight or 10 years old at a friend’s house. When I hear that rhythm section, and that sort of very simple but honest guitar, it’s like, ‘Everything is all right.’ When I’m all fucked up, I put that on, and everything kind of slips back into focus.”

Where are we impressing your out-of-town friends?

“I don’t know if it impresses my out-of-town friends, but I’ve loved Nick’s Spaghetti House on the Drive [631 Commercial] for years. And, no, I’m not being ironic. It’s, like, in a basement with velvet paintings. They serve giant plates of spaghetti with meatballs, and it tastes like Pittsburgh.”

Like LMFAO, who’s sexy and knows it?

“Well now, Nen [Jelicic] is going to probably challenge me to a fistfight in front of the Main some Friday night, but I’ve always thought Julie Bavalis of Eldorado and the Parlour Steps is ridiculously sexy. Go watch her play bass and you’ll see—and hear—what I mean.”

Uncle Morty left you his fortune. Where are you opening a venue?

“I’d turn the revolving restaurant at the top of the former Sears building [555 West Hastings] into a honky-tonk. I’d put the stage in the middle of the room, throw sawdust all over the floor, have a mud-wrestling pit pitting the drunkest women in the room against each other, serve the cheapest gut-rot beer, and add a railing outside and encourage folks to piss off it—or vomit—all over the financial district of Vancouver. I’d bill it as the tallest honky-tonk in the world. Oh, yeah, I’d put a giant neon sign over the top of it that says ‘Kiss My Ass!’ ”

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Props for acknowledging Rodney. He should be a household name in Canada. Maybe this is a small, overdue step in that direction.
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