Name: Adam Bernard Home: Fairfield, Connecticut, United States About Me: Entertainment journalist with 15+ years of experience. Supporter of indie music. Lover of day baseball, fringe movies, & chicken shawarma. Part time ninja. Nerdy, but awesome. See my complete profile
Camped out in her bedroom, New York City rocker Anna Rose is watching a blizzard cover her city in a thick blanket of snow. She says she’s well prepared, armed with “crackers and flat Coca Cola,” and a plan to add unicorn horns to her photos courtesy of the Younicorn app.
Despite being ill, Rose powered through her show at Sullivan Hall the night before. “I have some photos from the Sullivan Hall show. I think I might have to put a unicorn horn on one of those,” she says with a laugh.
Toughness has never been a problem for Rose. Dealing with the assumptions of others, however, used to be an issue. “My comfort zone, for a long time, was sort of saying no one’s ever going to take me seriously because they’re just gonna see (Disney composer) Alan Menken’s daughter, and they’re gonna assume that I’m writing Disney-esque pop songs, or that I’m some sensitive little singer/songwriter writing about her goddamn feelings all the time.”
In a bit of poetry, the blizzard leaving snow all over the city is named Nemo.
Rose admits, “I’ve had to fight pretty hard to get people to listen to me,” but says when it comes to the assumptions of others, she’s now completely ignoring them. “I’m bored of that.”
For Rose, it’s all about rock n roll. “I started playing guitar when I was five,” she remembers, “and I started getting exposed to rock music and blues. Then I started playing with Arlen Roth, and Arlen taught me everything I could possibly know about blues, and I was listening to Jimi Hendrix and Led Zeppelin. I’ve always been playing rock music. I think it took me a while to feel free enough to write rock music. I think there’s a freedom in it for me.”
It’s a freedom that’s on display on her most recent release, Behold a Pale Horse. According to Rose the album is “an open book.” She explains, “I’m thoroughly unapologetic on this, and I think I’m going that way. Frankly, I think that’s what rock n roll is.” Rose adds that when it comes to rock n roll, “it’s completely honest, there’s no fear in it, and I think that’s something audiences are looking for at this point.”
Rose made sure the content of Behold a Pale Horse was filled with that honesty and fearlessness. “I do have a spiritual element to myself,” she explains, “that is not fascinated with death, but with the process of life, and our cycle of life, and what I believe, and what I don’t believe. I think it’s always been something that I struggle with, the idea of people sort of blindly following religions, and things like that. Those things fascinate me. If something makes me uncomfortable, I’ll put myself in front of it and expose myself to it to try to understand it, and to try to gain some knowledge from it in a way, and I think there’s a lot of that in this record.” She adds “there’s a lot of spite in it, too. I think there’s a lot of ‘you are going to believe in me by the end of this record.’”
Over the years Rose has been inspiring a following of people who believe in her. Legendary rockers The Stooges are among them. In 2010, at a tribute show for the late Stooges guitarist Ron Asheton, Rose was on stage at LA’s famed venue The Roxy singing with the band. “They were doing shifts of a lot of musicians and singers,” she remembers, “and I got to do ‘Gimme Danger’ with The Stooges. That was easily the coolest, most fucking frightening, thing ever.”
While being on stage with The Stooges might be a current pinnacle for Rose, it’s one she’s working to climb even higher than. “I have a lot to prove,” she states. “I’ve never expected it to be easy, and I like a challenge. I do it because I love it.”
Anna Rose found her freedom in rock n roll. This is why she performs no matter how under the weather she feels, and this is why as soon as the snow that’s blanketing the city begins to melt, you’ll see her on stage again, guitar in hand, proving herself by playing her brand of honest, fearless, rock n roll.
B-Listers are a select group of artists that were featured in my Artist Of The Week series that ran every Monday from April of '06 to April of '11. All of these artists have two things in common; extreme talent, and a flight path far too under the radar for my liking. They took on the title of B-Listers as they embraced being featured by me, Adam B. Check out the AOTW Archives for all the interviews.