A Weapon or a Teddy...
Interview with R*E*P*E*A*T's Rosey
by Sam K July 2021
This interview was conducted by my guitar student Sam
as part of his year 10 media project. I reprint it here not just to
show off his (and my!) obvious skills, but also as it addresses many
questions I am often asked.
He was awarded a grade 8 for it of course, just 2 marks
off a 9...if only I'd talked more about badgers!
Richard Rose is a rock enthusiast, brand owner and
guitar teacher based in the UK. He started playing rock at the age of
12 and wishes to gives his students the lessons he wishes he had. One
of his many favourite songs is Motown Junk by The Manics as well as
their song, Motorcycle Emptiness. Currently, he works at a school where
kids have been excluded, and uses his love of music and teaching to
help them learn.
1. When and how old were you when you first got into rock music
and why did you first start?
I got my first guitar when I was about 6 having seen a teacher play
his in assembly in my infant school. However my first lessons were in
folk then classical guitar; I taught myself rock guitar from the age
of 8 or so, but seriously from 12 onwards. I try to give my guitar students
the lessons I wish I'd had.
2. Do you have a band that inspires you and if so why?
Manic Street Preachers are the band I felt I'd waited for all my life
when they emerged in 1990s for the way they mixed excitement, glamour,
energy, ideas, intelligence, adrenaline, anger and being mouthy. Like
They've calmed down a lot now of course but they've stuck to their
beliefs and I respect them for that, and for the fact that they still
inspire young bands eg Idealistics and Primitive Soul, who are a year
10 band whose debut I recorded and released this month. And Manics gigs
are still special. We just published a book of photos we've taken from
1991-2019. What other band could continue to be inspiring for so long?
3. Are there any songs or bands you think spreads a good message
to their audience.
Manic Street Preachers primarily what other band would get a
song about opposing Fascism in Spain in the 1930s to number one in the
charts? But also all the bands I work with, and all the acts involved
with Love Music Hate Racism. And on a bigger scale, I love IDLES. So
much so that we just published a book on them too.
4. What is your favourite song and why do you like it?
Too many to mention, but if it had to be one it'd be two (!) ie Motown
Junk by the Manics, a perfect manifesto, the track that first hooked
me in. And also their 'six minutes of Situationist beauty' Motorcycle
Emptiness, which is due to be played at my funeral.
5. What encouraged to start your brand, R*E*P*E*A*T.
I finally realised that with a glue stick, some scissors and a photocopier,
I could say something about the music I loved and become a creator myself,
rather than just a consumer. Fanzines at the time were becoming more
ambitious, covering more than pretty pictures and the favourite colours
of stars in dull big bands, but writing about literature, art and politics.
Then local bands got in touch and we found that some that had better
songs than many we were hearing on the radio, so we set up the record
label, started putting on gigs and built a recording space in Arbury.
We even took The Hammers from year 6 in Histon to play to 6 million
people on kids TV. Of course the internet has changed things, for the
better and for the worse; people can now look and listen online, but
the main idea remains the same.
6. What tips/advice would you give to teenagers who want to get
into rock and start playing it.
Do it! Don't worry too much about technique, musicianship, what other
people think, and so on, just make and noise and make sure you enjoy
it. Anyone can make a joyful, empowering noise. Worry about scales,
theory etc second, make a racket first. Be enthusiastic and genuine,
and other people will follow you as band mates, fans, collaborators.
The success of our young performers gigs in Cambridge show this to be
7. Why do you think music is so helpful for teenagers?
I now work with kids excluded from school due to behaviour problems
and very little calms and encourages them like music does even
if I do get a bit sick of hearing Seven Nation Army and Smoke on the
Water 6 million times ...
Music is a great way of expressing yourself at a time in your life
when you're likely to have things you want to say, and rock music is
something you can use without having to spend ages practising technique.
To be a violinist good enough to put your ideas into music would take
years and years; you can be good enough to play guitar in a band in
months, or less, if you are determined, have 3 chords and an idea. Kurt
Cobain was never a brilliant guitar player, yet his songs express how
millions and millions of people feel.
8. What characteristics do you think a young rockstar should have?
Have something to say. Be charismatic but also individual, no need to
be the same as everyone wants you to be. Be exciting on stage. Love
words and music. Be enthusiastic and believe in yourself, even if just
9. Is there any underrated band you think deserves fame, if so why?
Looking to the future, I have to mention Primitive Soul again here...
but also looking backwards at R*E*P*E*A*T's back catalogue, Johnny Panic
and Miss Black America were wonderful bands that should have been massive,
but weren't. In fact, the whole of R*E*P*E*A*T's history is littered
with bands who should have made it massive...what a glorious failure!
10. What makes you love rock music
It can be exciting, inspiring, uplifting and intelligent. It can help
you change the world or change yourself. It mixes adrenaline, excitement,
glamour, words, ideas, tunes, and a good old loud noise into something
genuinely new and moving. It can be a weapon or a teddy. And anyone
can do it.
wers to questions...It's never about looking forward to it. Actually maybe I
should change the
script, maybe we are looeir musicm
the 3rd album?