Interview with Timmy Rough (The New Roses) – “We need positive energy to deal with it”

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The New Roses released their new album ‘Nothing But Wild’ and I got the chance to talk about it with lead singer Timmy Rough. What’s behind the songs and the album in general? Do we see them at festivals next year? One thing I can already tell you: having a positive spirit is the keyword.

GRIMM: Hey how are you? It’s Annet from GRIMM.

Timmy: Hey it’s Timmy. I’m great, you?

GRIMM: Yeah I’m fine too, thanks!

GRIMM: ‘Down By the River’ talks about having fun and not having to worry about tomorrow. But I can imagine that life on the road is pretty busy. Do you still have these moments when tomorrow is a year away? Like the song says.

Timmy: The good time moments you mean?

GRIMM: Yeah.

Timmy: For sure, for sure. When you’re on stage and you play the first notes of the night and you feel the energy that is unleashed so to say. And that connection between the audience and the band builds up. That is the magic moment and then time disappears. It vanishes into the air you know. It’s not there anymore. So you can just keep on playing and the next thing you know the night is over. But during the show everything is a year away. Not even tomorrow, even an hour is a year away. That is the coolest thing.

On the other side, sometimes when you sit on the bus, or when you wait for a sound check at a festival or something like that. Then, in a negative way, tomorrow or one hour is a year away because it seems like it’s one year until the sound check. It’s just so boring.

GRIMM: It takes forever.

Timmy: Yeah it takes forever. The miles between you and the show or the venue, they seem to not get any shorter. That’s a negative way of tomorrow was a year away. We still try to keep that childish fun inside of the band and the childish adventures kind of spirit. That’s why we started all this. When we wouldn’t have that, we would have never started the band. Because you need to be fearless. Reckless and fearless. If you have those doubts, say like, ‘ooh, will I make enough money’, ‘will I make it’, ‘can I pay my bills’, … You know, ‘What happens when I’m old’, bla bla bla, and will I have pension or something. When you think about these things, you get too scared to try. So you need that childish ‘Lets see what happens’ kinda spirit and I Think we still have this in the band.

GRIMM: A lot of people are actually worried about ‘can I pay my bills’, or ‘where will I live’, or …

Timmy: Yeah of course. Sometimes it hits you like a sledgehammer, you know. When you don’t think about it. Like, when we started this band, I was living in a one room apartment and every end of the month the power would go off, the heating would go off, my phone would be shut down because I couldn’t pay the bill. So, we didn’t think about these things, but reality always catches up with you. You sit there, no light, no heat, no food on the table, and stuff like that. So yeah. As a musician at that point, when you start your band, you just deal with the problems when they are there. It’s not that we never had the problems, we had them, but we dealt with them when they appeared and not earlier. We didn’t take any prevention.

GRIMM: Yeah, I think you would have a lot of stress if you would think about all the problems that would come in the future.

Timmy: Yeah, that part of the career was terrible. Everybody told us we wouldn’t make it and we wouldn’t have to write songs and we wouldn’t have the band and about the money and we didn’t have no record deal, … You know. We were broke and we had no perspective and everybody told us that would never change. So that was kind of the downside of it. There was a lot of fun as well of course. So you always try to keep the balance.

GRIMM: The song Heartache starts with the sentence ‘There’s a monster under my bed and I feed it even though I want it dead’. I love that sentence. What inspired you to write this lyric and what does it mean to you?

Timmy: I think everybody has been there and has had a broken heart and a love relationship. From my personal experience, every time the lights would go out at night and everything got quiet. No more distractions so to say. You would lie down in your bed and you would feel the emptiness, that ‘how would I live without her’ kinda thing. Those worries would always haunt me for the night. It kinda felt like there is a monster. Because when you are a kid, and you think there is something there that is not even there. But it scares you just the same. That’s the same thing when you think you can’t live without your love or without that girl or something. Of course you can live without her, but it feels like the world end.

The line ‘I feed it even though I want it dead’ is like you don’t want your heart to ache, but just thinking about her, thinking about the good times, … Everybody has been there, those things make it even worse. By trying not to think about it anymore it gets worse.

GRIMM: To me, ‘As the Crow Flies’ kinda summarizes life in a positive way. In the song you’re giving examples of things in nature that are just happening. Like the sun that’s not afraid to go down or the fire that gives you a spark. What does this song mean to you?

Timmy: For me it combines my two loves. You know, I love Rock ’n Roll music and being on the road and all that. The hysterical, ecstatic way of living. My other love is being out in the nature. So I do a lot of stuff outdoors. That’s why I always keep those pictures when I ride. I have those strong pictures of mountains or the ocean or the sun and stuff like that. I have a lot of respect for the power that is in nature. Like how long the mountains have been there and that they are still growing and they have a totally different sense of time. You know, one year that means a lot to us, is a joke for a mountain. Or even a lifetime, like a hundred years is a joke for a mountain or a tree or something like that. To kind of observe power form that, like from the sun, I’m just like that you know. I’m not afraid to go down because I always will come up again. Stuff like that. I like strong pictures out of nature because they give me a lot of strength and a lot of inspiration. I wanted to combine those two worlds. Rock ’n Roll and those big pictures out of nature. I always write one motivation song on every record. If you look back on our records, I always write one song that goes like ‘I will never give up’, ‘I will keep on going’, ‘I’m strong’, ‘I can do this’, you know. Because I need it for myself and I think everybody needs a song like that every once in a while.

GRIMM: That’s true.

GRIMM: To me the whole album is really positive and uplifting in general. What’s the main message you want to spread with it?

Timmy: You know, if you look around, I think there are so many raised index fingers. You know what I mean?

GRIMM: Yep, definitely.

Timmy: Everybody is pointing at you, like you do this wrong, you do that wrong.

GRIMM: Absolutely

Timmy: Look at this and there is crime and there is this and there is that. Everywhere you look, you kind of get depressed you know. Don’t get me wrong, of course it’s important to deal with stuff. But I learned for myself that I can deal with difficulties in life better if I have a positive spirit. If I’m in a positive mood and I think I can do stuff, then I can actually do it. If you think ‘you can do it’, you can do it. If you’re halfway and you think ‘oh no its too far away, we’ll never make it to the top’, you can just let it go you know.

GRIMM: Very true.

Timmy: So we just started to make a record that when you put it on, you want to drive faster or push stronger if you’re in the gym or run faster or like, give it another try in your relationship you know. Or quit your job because it sucks. Stuff like that. We want to make a record that gives people strength and power and a positive spirit. And not write songs about, I don’t know, about depressing things. Because you can not look over them these days. You can not be like ‘Oh I didn’t know about climate change, oh sorry’. So we don’t have to write a song about that. Everybody is aware of it. We need positive energy to deal with it. So that is why we wrote songs with a very very obvious positive spirit.

GRIMM: I think you really succeeded in that. Like I love listening to it.

Timmy: Thank you, thank you.

GRIMM: You also said in an interview that the album is great to listen to while you’re in a car and I also described it like that in my review. Do you like to go on road trips yourself?

Timmy: I just got the routing for our fall tour, for the Nothing But Wild Tour. And we go 8000 kilometers in three weeks.

GRIMM: Wow, That’s a lot.

Timmy: So that’s a pretty big road trip. So when I come home, I don’t think like ‘Hey, let’s sit in the car and drive for eight hours’. Although I end up doing it all the time. When I go on vacation I kind of end up driving. So everybody is like ‘How do you do this’? You can drive for eight hours straight and I’m like ‘Yeah I do this everyday’. It’s in my blood and I kinda get nervous when I’m just sitting in a chair or lying on the beach or something for too long. I grew up driving to festivals or to shows or to crazy places and then we started this band. It’s all I know.

GRIMM: You played Wacken this year for the first time, how was your first Wacken experience?

Timmy: Yes, it was amazing. We had a good slot and we had a good vibe and it was the release day of the record. That made it even more special to us. It went perfectly. We went out, the tent was full, there was like around, I don’t know, around 10.000 people. We played our show and of course it was much to short because we only had fifty minutes. But everybody was so stoked and amazed by it and I guess we will be back and have a better slot and a longer slot. As it was the first time, it was just amazing you know. After that, I saw Black Stone Cherry and Body Count and I had a lot of funny interviews that day. It’s like you’re tripping. One big kind of drug trip.

GRIMM: And thunderstorms this year.

Timmy: Yeah, right after our show, they evacuated the whole festival ground for like two or three hours. So we were very lucky. The band after us didn’t even start.

GRIMM: Have you visited Wacken before? Or was it really the very first time?

Timmy: No, no, I’ve never been there.

GRIMM: What’s your favorite festival to play?

Timmy: Ugh, maybe Hellfest so far, in France. It’s like a really dimensional super big festival. Like one of the biggest, you know. It was the first time that we did this and, maybe that’s the advantage of that experience, because everything seems even bigger than it seems now. You kinda get used to it. I guess Hellfest was the first time we did this and it was amazing. Perfect weather, great stage, Aerosmith playing after us, … It couldn’t have been better. I think that will always be a special part of our history.

GRIMM: In December you are coming to Belgium and the Netherlands, what can we expect from you?

Timmy: A very very motivated band because these countries are still pretty new for us. We have been there with The Dead Daisies and I think in the Netherlands we have played a show in a small club once. It was crazy funny. We did a lot of stuff there, but we never played a proper tour. So we are very motivated to show you how Rock ‘n Roll form Germany sounds these days. We will try to convince each and everybody of this country to listen to Rock ’n Roll Stuff.

GRIMM: Maybe it’s a bit far of, but do you have any plans for festivals in Belgium and The Netherlands next year?

Timmy: I actually don’t know that, but we always have plans. We always want to play as much as possible. I will see how the shows go and how the records comes out in The Netherlands and Belgium. I think you have like Pinkpop or Graspop?

GRIMM: Pinkpop is in the Netherlands and then Graspop is in Belgium yeah.

Timmy: Definitely I would love to play there. I only hear great things about these festivals and we would love to do that. Everything is possible so who knows.

GRIMM: Cool, I will definitely try to catch you at one of your shows because I’m really curious for the live experience.

Timmy: Of course! We are a live band. We only make records so we can play them live. We’re not Queen or Pink Floyd or anything, you know. We are bound to the road.

GRIMM: I’m really looking forward to that. That was the last question I had. So thank you so much for your time.

Timmy: It was nice talking to you and hopefully I see you at one of our shows!

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