Interview With Share Ross
Of Vixen, Down N' Outz, Twin Flames Radio, and Bubble
Rockin’ Interviews- Which did you start playing first, guitar or bass?
Share Ross- “I started with piano first, and then played a little bit of guitar and a little bit of bass, and kinda went back and forth. I think what happened was the first guitars I had were acoustic, so I didn’t feel like I was rocking out. Then I got a bass and I was like, this is way cooler. Then I got to join the coolest band in high school, with all these dudes. So that was it, I was a bass player.”
R.I.- What inspired you to become a musician?
S.R.- “The biggest inspiration was that it was just surrounded with joy. Playing music with other people always felt really good. My mom was a musician, and she had six brothers and sisters, and they were all musicians, her parents were both musicians, so when they came over, it was this huge family jam session. That was a huge inspiration, playing music just felt really good.”
R.I.- When did you discover you could sing like you do know, or was it a skill you developed over time?
S.R.- “Interesting, good question. Singing was definitely something I worked on over time and developed over time. It came about from building up my own confidence with it, and learning how to use my voice in different ways and things like that, a lot of exploration there.”
R.I.- Tell me about how you met Jan and eventually formed Vixen.
S.R.- “Jan saw me playing in Hollywood when I was playing with a bunch of different bands, just some rock band with a bunch of dudes. She came up to me after the gig and introduced herself and gave me her name and wrote her number on a bar napkin and said, ‘You know, I have this band called Vixen, and you’re a really cool bass player and you should come and check out my band sometime.’ and I was like, oh that’s cool. I didn’t really think anything about it, one way or another, and I read a review of them about 3 months later and it was saying what a cool band they were and how solid and everybody was a really good musician. Right around that time I was really sick of being a session player because I was just a gun for hire, if you’d pay me, I’d play in your band. So I was in zillions of different bands, and I was loyal to none of them, I just didn’t care. But I was really sick of that, that wasn’t what I got into music for, and it wasn’t satisfying me and so I called Jan with the intention in hoping that I could come to one of their gigs and she could introduce me to other musicians and then that would lead me to find another band. But, as fate would have it, the day I called was the day they had apparently fired their bass player, it was pretty weird. Then I really got excited and really wanted to be in the band and then when I met Jan and Janet, they gave me a cassette tape and I came home and learned it every which way I could, so that whatever they wanted me to play, I would be ready. This way and that way, I learned every single harmony. Do you want me to sing this part or that part, whatever you need, I’ll do it any way you want? I think it was pretty evident that I wanted to be in the band.”
R.I.- How did that grow into the writing and recording of the first two Vixen albums?
S.R.- “A lot of those songs were pretty advanced by the time I joined because it was 6 months to a year after I joined, that we had our first record deal, I’m not exactly sure of the timing, so a lot of those songs were already done. So I just did the best that I could to play the bass the way they wanted it and to enhance it a little wherever everybody thought it worked. I guess there was a few exceptions, Richard Marx came into the rehearsal room and sang that guitar line and we came up with the rest of the parts on the spot. There was a few other things we wrote together. Bands have to get to know each other to gain trust and share your musical idea and not feel like you’re gonna be laughed at or made fun of. I think as humans, one of our biggest fears is being laughed at. It took a little bit of time for everybody to develop that sense of where we were going, and at the same time, we were blowing up on MTV, so that happened.”
R.I.- What was your reaction to seeing your video(s) on MTV?
S.R.- “Pure, unadulterated joy. Just absolutely fantastic. It was pretty crazy.”
R.I.- Who are some of the people you’ve been starstruck by, if any?
S.R.- “Well, I’ve never met Paul McCartney, but if I met him, I would be starstruck. I once walked in front of Elton John as he was about to go on stage and that kinda terrified me. Ozzy is a cool guy. I played pool with Keith Richards. It was very casual, I was still starstruck at the same time though. I’m standing there going, I’m playing pool with Keith Richards, don’t tell yourself that Share, you’re going to have a panic attack. You know, trying to play it cool. It’s crazy, you just try to be cool and go with it. I guess it depends on the situation, if somebody gives you an introduction then you’re not as starstruck because they talk to you like somebody they need to talk to. But if you don’t have an introduction you’re like, ‘oh my god, I’ve always wanted to meet you, I can’t believe I’m talking to you.’ Something like that because deep down inside, we’re all fans. Every musician is still a fan of somebody.”
R.I.- What are your experiences like in the music industry now, compared to the 80’s?
S.R.- “I feel like the music industry is very strange now, and for the most part, I just show up and play gigs and release music. I don’t really feel like I’m a part of the industry in that way, you know, like the people who are really in there like Katy Perry and Beyonce. These people are huge. It’s really different now, radio is very controlled and it’s a whole different world. To me, the biggest differences are, in the 80’s, to hear a band live, you had to go and see them, there were no Youtube videos, obviously. So it was a lot harder to have that access to find out what a band actually sounds like. It was really hard to do and it changed everything. It gave the bands lots of mystique and it gave bands a lot of attraction because you had to go. If you were going to see them, you had to be there personally. I guess that’s a really big difference. And the industry itself has changed, obviously. CDs are going to be phased out next, that’s the next to change. It’s all vinyl and downloads now. Who knows what will happen next, maybe we’ll have a feed implanted into the back of our heads and we’ll think what music we wanna hear and we’ll hear it in our brain. I don’t know, it’s crazy.”
R.I.- What’s it like playing in a band with Joe Elliott?
S.R.- “It’s cool. Joe’s really a cool guy. It’s really fun and he’s a super hard worker. If anything, I was blown away by what a perfectionist he is. Lets just put it this way, we had 3 days to rehearse for the last tour, and I was really glad that I had put in the hours and hours and hours of preparation because when I got there, everybody was on their A-game, there was no slacking. We’d be out somewhere in the United Kingdom and I’d stumble out of my hotel room at 9 or 10:00 A.M and Joe’s already been up since 7 or 8:00, signed all the posters, done three interviews, and he’s ready to go. I was like, what? Excuse me? He was like, yeah, you gotta sign all the posters here you go. You can’t slack off because he is nonstop. He doesn’t say, I’ve done enough, I’m big enough, I don’t have to work as hard anymore. He is just super passionate and doesn’t stop. Very inspiring.”
R.I.- How did you adjust to Britt Lightning after parting ways with Gina Stile?
S.R.- “It really wasn’t an adjustment. After playing in so many bands, musicians are musicians and you just hangout with each other and get to know each other and pretty soon you’ve got your little “in the band” jokes, and the little things you tease each other about, every band does it, just like best friends. You hang out with your group of people whether it’s guys or girls or others and pretty soon you’ve got all these jokes flying, and it’s the same with bands. That was about it really, just getting comfortable with each other and I think we’re there now.”
R.I.- What’s your favorite tour memory?
S.R.- “I would say the very first time we played European arenas, opening for the Scorpions. I know I was personally so scared to play in front of a European crowd and I didn’t know how they were gonna receive us. There’s this bit of you that doesn't wanna have rotten fruit and vegetables thrown at you because they hate you. So I was pretty nervous. When we got to the venue, and the Scorpions had left us each a handwritten note and roses and some champagne and the note said, ‘Welcome to the big time.’ They were so gracious to us. It was really a lesson on how to be cool when you’re a headliner. That was really phenomenal. Then the happy ending was that the crowds in Europe absolutely loved us, so that was good.”
R.I.- Do you have a favorite Vixen song?
S.R.- “Shannon, that’s not even fair! It does change, there are some days where I love playing a song and then another day I love playing a different song and then another day I love a song because of what Roxy plays and another day I love a song because of how Janet sings it. So there’s different things. Personally, I love how Janet sings Love is A Killer, it blows me away. I love how Britt plays You Ought to Know By Now, I love how Roxy plays Streets In Paradise. Me, I don’t even know, isn’t that terrible. I love playing all of them, I can’t pick just one. Today, I’m gonna say Love Made Me, but tomorrow I would probably say something different. But I love Love Made Me because of all the harmonies. I really like that song, it’s a really cool song.”
R.I.-Tell me about your knitting book.
S.R.- “Punk Knits. I have this thing were I dive into, stuff. And knitting was one of those things where I dove in hard, but I barely do it now, but that’s partly because I live in Florida and it’s just so dang hot here. The knitting book just kinda happened, I didn’t go seeking to do a knitting book particularly, it just happened. I just really got into knitting and I was looking for a book with people who are pierced and tattooed and have a story behind them, instead of knitting models. I think I just ended up talking to people about it, and they happened to be influential people and they said, you should do that book, and I was like, hahahaha, that’s funny. The intention was to make the book that I wanted to find in the knitting section. And it ended up being really fun and in a lot of ways the people in the book are a time capsule of the Hollywood music scene at the time. And all of those people still have things going on, Alice Cooper’s daughter is in there, Calico Cooper, Roy of Stone Sour, and there’s just so many cool people in it. I still get notes from people saying, this is my favorite knitting book. So go figure, it’s kinda funny. One thing that not many people know about that book is that happened at a time when my mom was dying and during the creation of that book to the time it was published, she died and it sort of ended up being my therapy because I had deadlines to meet and all the photos and final stuff was after my mom had passed away. I remember I’d be at her house taking care of her, while working on designs for the book and talking to editors for the book. It ended up being super helpful and amazing and it’s interesting for me because I can see it in my eyes, in the photographs, in that book. Nothing that I regret, but when I look at those photos and see that time, I think it’s amazing. I think I dedicated it to her as well. She would’ve been so proud. Kind of a cool story. I don’t mean that in a sad way, but it ended up being a strange dedication, not everybody dedicates a punk knitting book to their mom.”
R.I.- Do you plan to do a Twin Flames Radio tour?
S.R.- “ I’m not gonna say no, because never say never, but it was never our intention to do that. However, you just never know, there are different possibilities that could come about. And if it did happen I would say it would look more like Twin Flames Radio along with some of our Bubble songs. I don’t know, we’ll see.”
R.I.- You’re very hippie-style, what sparked that?
S.R.- “I guess my own personal growth and just trying to figure out my own shit. The angrier I would get, the more shitty things would get. I would go off the path and I would act a certain way or eat certain things and it would seem like my life would fall apart. So I started heading in other directions more and the more I did that the more I realized, this peaceful stuff is kinda cool. I would like to say I do yoga all of the time, but I don’t. I would love to say that I do. It’s just sort of something that’s served me well and I feel we’re all connected. If I had to suggest one thing to everybody, it would be to read the small, little book The Four Agreements. And if you can’t get the book just Google the four agreements and if everybody lived by that, man, it would be an awesome world.”
R.I.- Who is one person you wish you could tour with?
S.R.- “Paul McCartney. As Vixen, I would say Def Leppard or Poison.”
R.I.- What tip would you give to young musicians?
S.R.- “Always play with any band that you can. Meet as many musicians as you can. Say yes to every musical situation. Don’t think about, well if I join this band, will I like it in ten years, who cares. Just play. One gig is worth a thousand rehearsals so play as many gigs as you can. Also, dig up the influencers of your favorite musicians, listen to them and then find their influencers go listen to them. Simply stated, listen to the music that influenced your favorite players, and the music that influenced the influencers.”
R.I.- Vixen is working on a new album now, what can we expect from that?
S.R.- “I think it’s kind of a cool direction we’re going in sonically. I can’t say too much because I don’t wanna give it away. I guess it’s maybe a little tougher but still very much Vixen.”