If you want it done right, do it yourself. That’s Rick Monroe’s philosophy and he’s sticking to it.
“It’s rough,” the Los Angeles-based singer-songwriter said recently of releasing his debut album “Legends Diner” through his fledgling independent label, Divorce Records. “But at the end of the day, you know everything’s been done because you’ve done it, or if it hasn’t been done, it’s because you didn’t do it.
“If anything else, it’s been a great learning experience. I don’t know where the future’s going to go with it, but I have definitely have enjoyed the process of learning how it’s made and what really goes on.”
Other labels were interested in Monroe’s cohesive guitar rock, but he said he wants to follow the indie road as far as he can.
“I don’t want to be forced into a situation,” he said. “It can get too big and too difficult to cover all the bases.”
“Legends Diner,” Monroe said, documents where his life was shortly after going through a divorce (hence the label name).
“There’s an amount of anger on the record,” he said. “It’s funny how all the songs came off on that slant. It kind of had an L.A. edge to it. Somebody said it’s like a music soundtrack for living in L.A.”
One of the most poignant moments comes in the first single, “Life Goes On in L.A.,” an ode to Monroe’s friend, record promoter Charlie Minor, who was shot to death in his Malibu home in 1995.
Monroe, who was born in Clearwater, Fla., and raised in Winter Park outside Orlando, always knew he would be a musician.
“When I was a real little kid, I was a big Jim Croce fan,” he said. “My mom had all his albums, him and James Taylor. I used to sit around and play that. When I got older, I got into the hard rock scene. I had long, bleached-blond hair and I was in a band and we opened up for Motley Crue. That was the pinnacle of that. Then I really wanted to go back to what I grew up digging; that’s when I picked up the acoustic guitar again, taught myself how to play and played in coffeehouses. It built up from there.”
What would he say to a customer at Tower Records who came across his CD and was considering buying it?
“I would tell them I think a lot of people miss good, old-fashioned rock ‘n’ roll,” Monroe said. “It’s a quality record. If you like rock, check it out.”
BWF (before we forget): Sit down a spell with Rick Monroe on the Web @ www.rickmonroe.com.
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