Facebook R&B crooner Mario has been relatively quiet on the music front for…
- Posted on Mar 15th 2010 9:11PM by Sarah Vasquez
How did you come up with Rockwell Knuckles as your stage name?
Well my name used to be Rocky beforehand. That sounds kind of juvenile so it made me sound more mature if I called myself Rockwell. Another guy named Rockwell, the original Rockwell that put out the song "Somebody's Watching Me," he literally called himself Rockwell for the exact same reason. I was very embarrassed when I found out he did that for the exact same reason.
When did you start performing?
Started performing in June 2000. I was 17 year old. I just graduated high school and a friend invited me to come perform at some shows and I came out. It was a good time and people liked what I did. I wasn't even that amazing with the rapping at that time. I was very juvenile but it was still entertaining so the people skills are there.
What are your musical influences?
Chuck Berry. Prince. Michael Jackson. Biggie. The Beatles. Mozart. Tupac. Big Pun. Bone Thugs N Harmony. Journey. Billy Idol. Bob Dylan.
That's such an eclectic mix. You named Journey and Michael Jackson so what would you say is a musical guilty pleasure?
I don't know. The Thompson Twins? I can't think of one. I like a lot of cheesy '80s soundtrack songs. One hit wonders. Simple Minds. I love Molly Ringwald movies.
How would you describe your sound in your own words?
Tomorrow. That's the best and I don't know what it is. It's my best presentation of myself of what I think and what I feel.
You currently have a mixtape out called "The Glow." I love that you included clips from "The Last Dragon." That's one of my favorite movies ever.
Oh my goodness. Berry Gordy was a genius for putting that together. It's such a good film and the ideology of it is ill. That was my whole point to be perfectly honest. It was you're watching it and he's already got this ultimate power. His kung fu master is explaining to him "We are now peers. You're no longer my student." You have to get out there and live life, but it's difficult trying to express that.
You also have a new mix tape coming out. What can fans expect from that compared to "The Glow."
All original music. Not doing any mix tape tracks. It's called "Choose Your Own Adventure" like those books when we were kids. You want to go to the swamp, go to page seven. You want to go into the fire, go to page two. I'm not doing all of that because that's too busy and I don't want to block people on with all that BS. The whole point of it is it's your life. What are you going to do with it? Where we going today? What thrill are we seeking? So you're going to find a few songs on there that you can listen to everyday and then you might like some more songs on a different day for different reasons. Some you might want to play in the rain. Some you might want to play when it snows. Some you might want to play when you're driving. Stuff like that.
What would you consider as your biggest vice?
I don't have a really good filter sometimes. I'm very polite. I'm not disrespectful but sometimes I can be very blunt in a very polite way. Sometimes that can be a gift and a curse.
What is the craziest thing you have seen or experienced while you've been on tour?
You said on tour. I'm thinking the strangest thing ever. I'm thinking when lightning struck my bedroom and set my things on fire or when I met the Pope. I met the Pope in '99. That was crazy. But on tour, what was the craziest thing I've seen? I don't really know. I'm pretty cordial. I let things slow.
I don't think anything can beat your room set on fire though. That's a pretty high bar.
Oh, it was awesome. It wasn't really awesome but it was interesting.
Who was your first celebrity crush?
Vanity from "The Last Dragon." She was ethnic. She was super '80s. She had the big hair. It was the light makeup. It wasn't too much paint on her face. I'm not a big fan of extra paint on your face. I mean it was there but with the camera working the lighting, it was gentle. Her outfits were superb for 80s. She was awesome.
What can people expect at your SXSW performance who hasn't seen you before?
Energy and power and love.
Sarah Vasquez is a contributor from Seed.com. Learn how you can contribute here.