ON THE OPEN ROAD OF LIFE, BRUNO ROCCO IS THE LONELY RIDER By Sandra Castillo
The small package arrived sometime in mid-December, amidst the chaos and exhaustion of the 2017 holiday season. Once it was in my hands, I knew exactly who it was from and why. I opened it with feverish anticipation, knowing that any music received from this artist, thousands of miles away, would be treasured, simply by the last, few months of learning more about him and his craft made that much more relevant by means of his own set of muses. Any man who is inspired enough to create a body of work excavated from their love and admiration for one of the greatest, living musicians of all time-Bruce Springsteen, that is-is more than enough reason for me to take notice and listen.
International recording artist Bruno Rocco is that rare, wonderful anomaly in today’s music industry, which demonstrates just how powerful the influence of one of Rock and Roll’s most enduring, influential artists of the last one-hundred years can be. His inspiration to create music that delves deep into one’s soul is a gift that transcends space and time. Rocco’s propensity to write and deliver songs that are drawn from the same well-spring as the one that has quenched the creative thirsts of such legends as Bob Dylan and Van Morrison is trenchant of his talents as a story teller, astute purveyor of life and the universal bond of humanity’s emotional spark.
Rocco’s album, Lonely Rider, reaches back into yesteryear, when his musical hero and muse, Bruce Springsteen, first released Nebraska more than 35 years ago. Both artists’ masterpieces are beautifully haunting, soul-searching, seeded by a certain melancholy interspersed with those solitary moments traveling the back roads of rumination and yearning. Rocco’s five-song set is juxtaposed between the wide, open spaces of the two-lane blacktop and shadows caressing the winding corridors of his soul. His music is brooding, albeit, redemptive with vocals eerily reminiscent of early Tom Waits. When any singer-guitarist worth his Fender Telecaster can rightfully claim “Inside,” “Precious Times,” “The Ride,” “When Your Time Comes” and “Lonely Rider” as their own, you can count on this writer as the one who will be keeping an eye and ear out on this lonely rider.
RG Magazine caught up with Bruno Rocco to speak with him about his life, music and Jersey’s favorite son who inspired him to heed the call to music all those years ago. Here’s what he shared with the publication…
Let’s introduce the readers to Bruno Rocco. Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I was born in Rotterdam, Netherlands on January 6, 1976. My name at birth was Bruno Miletic, but I prefer to use the name Bruno Rocco, professionally. By the way, I still live in Rotterdam in the very same neighborhood I grew up in.
When did you first become interested in pursuing music?
Well, it started when I was nine years old, when I first saw Bruce Springsteen’s video for “Dancing In The Dark” on television; around Christmas of ’85, my father bought me the “Born In The U.S.A” tape. I would listen to it every day on my Walkman, and I would dream to be, also, on stage. So, I tried to sing like Springsteen for many years. Then, two years later, I received his Tunnel of Love album and attended my first-ever Bruce concert in 1988. That was it, an unbelievable experience for me!
Besides guitar, what other instruments do you play and are you professionally trained or self-taught?
I first started taking lessons for classical music for a few years. Later, I took lessons for electric/acoustic guitar. Now, I take professional lessons for the Blues harp and piano.
In your journey as a musician, where have you performed your music “live?”
I’ve performed only in The Netherlands-Rotterdam, The Hague, Amsterdam on radio shows, music competitions and in clubs, bars. I’ve also traveled extensively to other countries around the world, including England, Belgium, Germany, Austria, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia, Serbia, France and Italy.
What was the catalyst for your decision in pursuing music?
Because I believe I have something to say!
Most musicians cite others who have honorably inspired their craft. Do you care to divulge the one who has obviously inspired you?
Definitely Bruce Springsteen-I knew for certain when I heard his music for the very first time that I would listen to it ‘til the end. He’s my greatest hero! I also love to listen to Van Morrison, Otis Redding, Johnny Cash, Elvis, Buddy Guy, Bob Dylan, Albert King, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Bob Seger, BB King, John Mayer, The Gaslight Anthem, Jason Isbell, Public Enemy, Ice Cube, Tom Waits, Ben Harper, and so on.
What, exactly, is it about music that fuels your inspiration to create it?
In a specific moment, there’s something happening, and I feel something floating in the air, so I pick up my guitar and play it or write it down, so I don’t forget it. It’s like something is pushing you, hopefully, on the right track.
In your professional opinion as a songwriter, what constitutes a “great” song?
When you can feel it deep inside and when you can find yourself in the song…that is what truly makes a great song.
What does it personally feel like for you, when you perform on stage before an audience?
It depends on what kind of crowd it is, but mostly, it feels like hard work and sweat. Lots of times, when I get lost in my music, it goes deep and way back in time. I feel like a kid with a guitar in his hands. I remember when I was 12 years old, and my biggest dream was to be like Springsteen. I was participating in a play at school, and I had to sing a part. I just couldn’t hit the higher notes! The vocal coach was irritated and told me then, ‘You can’t and won’t ever be a singer! Just forget about it.’ That had such an impact on me that even today it haunts me sometimes.
But, there’s also a big relief when everything goes o.k. when performing, and you leave the stage with a smile. After the performance, when people come up to me and say, ‘Hey, I really like your voice’ or ‘The band sounds really cool,’ then, you know you’re doing something right.
Where do you hope your music will take you in 2018?
I’m currently working on new songs and hope to release them before summer. I also hope to find my audience and perform around the world sometime in the new year.
To find out more about Bruno Rocco and his music, please visit http://brunoroccomusic.com