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 this


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 true!

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 quietly.

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?