Blackfoot's Tim Rossi

By Jay Oakley


Tim Rossi! How are you, brother?

Good. Good to see you , man.

Great to see you too. Talk about the set. How was it tonight?

Oh, it was awesome. The crowd is amazing! We love it here. We've made a lot of friends in the Maryland and Baltimore area in the last few years so we have a blast coming back here. We know so many people and they treat us great. I mean, they're singing the songs for us out there and it doesn't get any better then that.

You guys have played Fish Head a couple of times but you've played Baltimore regularly and you played the M3 Southern Rock Festival this year as well. So, talk a little about how those types of shows go. You've got the intimate club here and you've got the big festival stage there. Do you prefer one over the other or does it not even matter?

Ya know, it really doesn't matter. Each one has its own angles that make it special and unique. The big shows are amazing because we get to connect with so many people on a big scale like that. But, at the same time, we're very separated. There's a lot of distance between us and everybody so it's a little less intimate in a sense. But, we love it because we're playing with Lynyrd Skynyrd and Charlie Daniels Band and Outlaws, Black Stone Cherry, all these great guys that are so nice to us and they're idols and heroes of ours. So, to be able to do those kind of shows is super special and then, once again, we met so many people at M3 that showed up here tonight. But, on the flip-side, playing Fish Head Cantina, we love it here. It's intimate, everyone's in our faces, we can hear and see everybody, look them right in the eye and there's something a little more special about that because you're so much more connected to the audience and we feel closer to all the people that we know here and we're getting to know so well. So, it's pretty awesome. We love being here.

When it comes to playing the shows, as far as Blackfoot goes, do you consider yourselves a touring band or do you play more one-off style?

We do one-offs occasionally but we try to put together good runs that make sense and get around as much as we can. It varies but we'll go anywhere, we'll play anywhere, we just love connecting with the people and getting out there. If someone lays out the red carpet for us, we show up. [Laughs]

I've got to hit M3 again because you had mentioned idols when you were talking about it. You're one of the elder statesman with this current incarnation of Blackfoot but Blackfoot itself has a long history back to the 70s with Rickey Medlocke. I'd love for you to touch on your relationship with Rickey and how this version of Blackfoot came together.

OK. So, in 2012, Rickey had this idea, which was, kind of, a drastic idea in some people's minds, to put together an all new lineup of Blackfoot with guys from the new generation of rock. So, that's what he did. That's when I got involved in it, that was 2012 and a lot of people think that Rickey doesn't have a lot to do with it. A lot of people have this misconception that he's not really that involved in it but, in fact, he's heavily involved in it. We joke about how a days doesn't go by that he's not calling us or he doesn't come into the studio or he's not Face Timing us. One the road, he's out with Skynyrd, we're on the road and we're hearing from him, Face Timing all the time. The guy's got so much energy, he never quits and it's reflected in his involvement with Blackfoot.

So, for instance, we're working on new material for this next CD that we're going to do and Rickey's right there, every step of the way. We're giving him the ideas, he's working ideas, he's bringing ideas in, we're doing pre-production on new songs and stuff. So, that's one thing that we really want people to know, people thinks that Rickey just picks up a check and doesn't even know who we are, which is not true at all. He's neck-deep in that whole Blackfoot thing. Let alone, just mentoring us in general but he produces the albums, he co-writes a lot of the songs with us and he's just a general source of inspiration for us, in a huge way. He's the greatest guy to work with. For such a legend, he's so humble and he's always passing on information because he's got stories and experiences and all this stuff. So, for us, to be able to pick his brain and to pick all that stuff up from him is a real blessing. So, he's totally involved in it and we're going to do some shows with him. Usually, at the end of the year we do a handful of shows, things slow down for Skynyrd, so that's when we usually do a couple together and he comes out and he plays and it's a blast. So, we're going to New York, Pennsylvania, we're doing a couple of shows with him there and he's amazing so, I can't say enough great stuff about the guy.

Did Rickey play the M3 show with you since Blackfoot and Skynyrd were on the bill together?

He did not. Usually, when we do a show with Skynyrd he's so busy that he has to commit to just the Skynyrd set. But, he's usually standing off to the side messing with us. [Laughs] But, he just sits back an he enjoys and we have a blast and the Skynyrd guys are great. All those bands treat us so well and we've been received in a super positive way by all those guys which means the world to us.

And, you do have a record out with the more recent lineup of Blackfoot.

Exactly, it's Southern Native, which Rickey produced and co-wrote a bunch of the songs with us and Rickey even plays a little bit on it. You'll probably recognize him doing his slide and doing harmony vocal and things like that and he's just such a great guy to work with in the studio as well. But, we have "Southern Native," the single, there's a video out on YouTube for that and "Need My Ride" was the second single. So, if people want to look that stuff up on YouTube and we're on all the social media sites. It's and Facebook and Instagram and Twitter and all that stuff. There's also an online store if people want to get merch and you can go on there and there's a bunch of stuff people can get and we just urge people to go on there and check it out, get the CD. We hope everyone loves it and we just want people to connect with us. Hit us up on social media so that when we're coming to your town we can all get together and hang out and party and have a good time.

Are you the only member of the current lineup, that played tonight, to play on the record?

Actually, Matt did too. Matt Anastasi, the drummer. The thing is, Blackfoot is a heavy commitment. It's not one you can take loosely and we love all the guys. We've had some talented guys come in and stuff but if you can't make the full commitment, be a lifer and commit everything you've got to it and make the sacrifices then it doesn't work. But, we've got a great bunch of guys and hardworking, super talented guys so I feel blessed to have this crew.

Absolutely, Tim. So, what do we have for the rest of this year and the beginning of next year?

Actually, we have a handful of shows that we are doing for the rest of the year but, really, things are winding down and we're working on a bunch of new material with Rickey. And, things are winding down with Skynyrd right now so we're spending a lot of time working on this new material. We've already started pre-production on five new songs, we start pre-production on another five when we get back from this run and we've just got all these new songs coming down the pipeline. So, we're looking, depending on our schedules, if things pop up then we'll run out of town and go play for shows that we can't say, "No." to but, otherwise, we're going to be in there doing pre-production and starting the recording of the next CD in the next few months. We're really super excited for it so keep an eye on us and take a look out there for us because that stuff's going to be coming out soon.

Is the tentative plan for a full length record as opposed to an EP?

Ya know, we're kicking around that idea of possibly an EP. We have plenty more then an EP's worth of material but we're, sort of, kicking it around. With the times now, the music business is changing and there's digital downloads and all this stuff so we're looking at what we're going to do about that. It's at least an EP if not a full CD but we'll see, we'll see. It's a changing musical model that's going on in the business and Rickey's very in-tuned with that so we'll see. But, stuff is coming out so one way or another people are going to be getting it.

Awesome. It sounds like in the big picture you have the Rickey Medlocke blessing.

Absolutely! We laugh sometimes because he gets up early and he calls us and wakes us up and says, "You young fuckers, get up! Lets go! I'm going into the studio!" [Laughs] He's got more energy then we do but yeah, we've go the full blessing and he's more excited then ever right now. He's super excited about all this new material and that's always the best. When Rickey's happy and he's excited, things get done, the productivity goes through the roof and everybody's happy. So, as long as we keep doing what we're doing I think we're going to be alright.

I think you're right. Well Tim, we look forward to some new music on the horizon, way to kill it tonight and thank you so much for playing for us. It's the least we can do.

Thank you so much, brotha. It's our pleasure, we love you guys and we can't wait to come back.