Interview with Stus Rollins

Stus has been playing guitar since his teens, he was part of the London Rock scene in the 80s & 90s played in bands such as Generation X , Driving South, Hollywood beyond, performed with Seal and recently with guitarist Larry Carlton. He has played on countless recordings as a session player worked with Madonna, Greg Howe, BB King and many more.

Stus Rollins’ third album, Amygdala, for Alien Resurrection Records is an all-out Rock & Roll guitar instrumental anthology, that reflects his influences from the past three decades of Guitar Heros.

Metal Express Radio: How did the band originate?

Stus Rollins: As a Solo artist I get involved in all sorts of projects and the band members come and go depending on who is free to record or tour. For my latest Album Amygdala I only really had a drummer and sometimes bass player come in and do sessions. The rest I recorded on my own at Starmaker, my recording studio in the UK.

MER: Which bands/albums have been the most influential to your music, and why?

Stus: I love Metal and Heavy Rock. Guitar driven stuff is really what I’m into. Tony Iommi was a big influence when I was younger. Van Halen, Yngwie, Jimi Page. Steve Vai & Joe Satriani came later. More recently Kiko Loureiro. Paul Gilbert. Andy Timmons.
Passion & Warfare and Surfing with the Alien were the big wake up calls for me both those albums had attitude and the guitar playing was what I had been missing for years first class. Get Out Of My Yard was another, Gilbert really peeled it all back to the raw on that album. Really from Zeppelin to Angra if the guitar is in there and it’s cranked then I’m in.

MER: Which musical trademarks/elements/styles are most typical for you music?

: I’m trying not to emulate other players and staying true to my path. On Amygdala there are sound bites of the moments in musical past or present that tell a story. From Richie Kotzen. Steve Vai, Scott Henderson and news reports from the Lynyrd Skynyrd plane crash also Randy Rhodes and Stevie Ray Vaughan. It’s like a rock anthology with music interspersed. These were all influences on me and my playing. I guess you would have to buy the album to check it all out but in a way they have all played a part in my development and my style.

MER: Do you feel you would ever compromise on your musical style in order to gain success?

Stus: No I don’t think so. When I’ve got the guitar on it just needs to be played the way I want to play it. I’m not interested in watering it down to suit a style or a fad. It’s all about rock and roll and long may it carry on. I think it’s important to search out all avenues whilst writing and playing. I have no pressure on me to conform so screw that It’s all or nothing as far as I’m concerned.

MER: What is your band’s greatest highlight thus far?

Stus: I guess that would be supporting Larry Carlton at the London blues festival. I know he’s not very rock and Roll but we were. We totally blew them away and the audience, who were settled in for some nice blues to go with their evening coffee. But hey It was a moment to say the least.

MER: How much live experience does your band have and what is your most memorable gig?

Stus: In the last 10 years not so much live work for me. I spent years in a van on motorways going from one toilet to another. I feel I’ve done that so I sit and wait for the nice gigs to come around. As a solo artist it’s not so easy to stand out. I do a lot of recording and session work, studio based mainly but all that is about to change soon as I feel the urge to get in front of an audience. I’ve got to get my next album Magnificent Skin finished and that will pave the way for some sort of tour or decent support slots.

MER: If you could tour with any band, who would that be, and why?

Stus: I guess that would be Motorhead as they are still pure Rock & Roll and their audience is across the board and willing to be played for and I love Lemmy he’s just the King of Metal. That would be like the old days, no bullshit just pure R&R.

MER: If you could choose one festival to headline, from the past or present, which one would that be and why?

Stus: Download in the UK. I’ve been there a few times both as a punter and an artist. They have a great main stage and very often a great line up. It’s three days of Metal heaven.

MER: What do you hope your fans and the music industry will say about your band in 10 years?

Stus: Oh wow… Urm. That guitarist Stus Rollins is still ripping it out, pushing the boundaries of what is possible on the fretboard. Something like that would be nice. Ten years blimey, I can barely think of what things will be like next year never mind in a decade.

MER: What are your immediate plans for the band?

: Well I’m busy writing and recording for the next six months working on the new album. Then it’s promo time and festival period. I’m living in Lisbon at the moment so things are all a bit new for me here. I’m looking for some great musicians to complete my lineup then we will get busy and get on down.


  • Dan Skiba

    Dan is a former partner at Metal Express Radio, and also served as a reviewer, photographer and interviewer on occasions. Based out of Indianapolis, USA he was first turned on to Hard Rock music in the mid-1970s when he purchased Deep Purple's Machine Head as his first album. He was immediately enthralled with the powerful guitar sound and pronounced drumbeat, and had to get more! His collection quickly expanded to include as many of Heavy Rock bands of the time that he could get his hands on, such as Ted Nugent, Judas Priest, and Black Sabbath, to name just a few.

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