Catch urban hard rocker Bizzythowed at The Viper Room in LA next Tuesday and look for his debut full-length, Blank Check, Volume 1, to be released later this year.
What got you started in music?
Initially, I went to a music and science academy when I was in elementary school and, in second grade, they make you take general music and they teach you how to keep time and tempo and things like that and you pick your instrument and so I picked the trombone and I excelled at it; it came naturally, I was good at it, and that started my love for playing music. I really enjoyed concert band, I enjoyed competition and all the things that came along with it and I was first chair.
Now, as far as guitar goes, my dad was a rocker. I grew up listening to a lot of classic rock with my father and when he passed away I was 12 and my mom put me in all kinds of extracurricular things to keep my mind off of that, so everyday after school I had gymnastics, I was playing football, I was in band, all these things. Out of a tribute for my dad, 'cause he loved rock, I was like, 'hey mom, I wanna learn guitar'. I always thought, watching MTV and watching the music videos in the late '80s and '90s, guitar always looked cool to me and I just thought, 'hey, I wanna take guitar lessons'. So, my mom bought me a guitar and I started taking lessons every Saturday on the weekends and, same thing, it just came to me naturally. There was even a part in my life where my mom - my mom is an attorney and my mom was in law school at the time - she couldn't afford guitar lessons and she told my guitar teacher, you know, 'I might not be able to have him come this month,' and my guitar teacher offered to teach me for free because I was his best student; from that point on he would pick me up from school, he'd help me with my math homework, all these things because he believed in me, and I guess that's kind of how I started.
Then, when it came time to say, 'okay, what are you going to do with your life?' I just wanted to move to LA and become a rock star at 17 [laughs], but my mom, being a lawyer, was like, 'you gotta go to school and do something,' so, for me in order to stick it to her, I majored in guitar, but I got into Berklee College of Music; I auditioned, I got in, and my last guitar teacher was a Berklee alum so he helped me get in and helped me with my recommendation letters and all that stuff.
Which musicians have you been influenced by?
In the beginning, it was Metallica - James Hetfield and Kirk Hammett - Kurt Cobain, Jerry Cantrell of Alice In Chains, Dave Mustaine, and just a lot of hard rock musicians, early on. Then, as I got older, I went through my Bob Marley phase, discovered him; I discovered my Jimi Hendrix phase and I was deep into his vibe; then I went through Prince and Lenny Kravitz. I'd say, nowadays, now that I make music and I've been making music and getting placements for over a decade, same thing, I still pull from my older influences. Bowie's a huge influence, obviously; Bowie was huge growing up, my dad liked a lot of Bowie. Led Zeppelin, Robert Plant - all the older guys. David Gilmour from Pink Floyd was huge, love his stuff. I pull from everything, everybody. I could go on and on for hours about people who influence me [laughs].
Any current artists you would recommend to your listeners?
I love Kanye West and what he's doing; I think he's a genius and, obviously, people either love him or hate him [laughs] and I think that comes with genius. Some people don't respect or get what he does, so I think, Kanye West, his stuff is good right now. I love The Internet, they're young, they're good. I like Rae Sremmurd, they're really good. As far as rock goes, I've always liked Sevendust, their new album Kill The Flaw is really, really good, I'm feeling that, a lot.
How would you describe your own sound?
I mean, I just call it urban hard rock. I grew up in the streets and I grew up with that dual life; my dad was a street dude, my mom was a bookworm, became a lawyer, so I got the best of both things. It's the same thing, growing up listening to gangster rap and growing up listening to heavy metal, hardcore, different types of music; it's just my way of combining those things, something I've always done. I guess I could say urban hard rock, urban alternative rock, ghetto metal [laughs], hood rock. [Laughs] But, politically correct, urban hard rock.
What inspired your single, "Nothing You Can Do About It"?
The song "Nothing You Can Do About It" is one of those songs about letting go. It's being in a situation you maybe know is not healthy for you or maybe it's no longer beneficial to you, whatever reason, this is you taking that stand. If it's a bad, toxic relationship, a bad job that you're not going anywhere in, things like that, it's like, okay, my mind's made up, my bags are packed up, I'm going away [laughs]. The first part is, you realize life is crazy and, if you get caught up in it, you'll become a slave and you'll always be unhappy unless you take that chance, that one choice, and you remove yourself from what it is that's holding you back or what you feel is deterring you. That's kind of what "Nothing You Can Do About It" is, because it's like, once my mind's made up and I know this is wrong and I'm making a difference, I don't care what you say.
That's the first single from your forthcoming album, Blank Check, Volume 1, could you tell us more about that album?
Well, Blank Check, Volume 1 is a culmination of all my experiences from living in Houston, Miami, and LA and being in the music industry for the last decade, behind the scenes, [laughs] the good things and the bad things that come along with it; the debauchery, the drug use, the experimentation, the relationships with friends that come and go, the people who you can and can't trust: these are all issues that I cover, as far as Blank Check, Volume 1. It's autobiographical for me. It's basically my life, the last ten years, summed up. It's good music, it's real good music too, because the whole point of Blank Check is, it's about freedom, no restraints. When you're with me or you're listening to my music, I don't want you to think about rules, I don't want you to think about what society thinks of you, I just want you to be completely free to do whatever the fuck you wanna do [laughs] and that's the same thing when you come to my show. When you come to my show I want you to laugh, I want you to cry, I want you to get your frustrations out, I want you to grab that girl next to you and tell her you wanna be with her [laughs].
Do you have a favorite song to play live?
I think one of my favorite songs to play live is, definitely, "Life Is Here", which is a song which will be included on the album, but that song is very powerful to play live. I like playing "Nothing You Can Do About It", too, it's a good song live; I like to end my shows with that song.
What do you hope your listeners are able to take away from your music?
I just hope they're able to get something out of it, emotionally. I want music to make people feel and make people come away thinking about whatever thought that song invoked and that's what I want, I want people to hear the honesty and the rawness in it. I want people to hear the truthfulness in it.
Is there anything you want to add?
I have a show next Tuesday at The Viper Room out here in LA and if you wanna come check me out live, I'll be there playing at 10.