Monsters in the Morning

Monsters in the Morning

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"Hold My Beer" Album by Russ Ray Rollins : {online interview}

New music A Journey from Airwaves to Melodies - Russ Ray Rollins Unveils "Hold My Beer” album in OUT NOW! 

In the world of radio, there are voices that become part of our mornings, the soundtrack to our daily routines. One such voice, that of Russ Ray Rollins, has been captivating audiences for over three decades as the charismatic host of "Monsters in the Morning" on iHeartRadio. But as the saying goes, there's always more than meets the ear.

Today, we speak with Russ Ray Rollins, as he steps beyond the confines of the radio booth and into the world of music. It's a transition that's as unexpected as it is exciting, as Russ unveils his debut album, "Hold My Beer."

In this exclusive interview, we dive deep into the realms of Russ's creative psyche, exploring the stories behind each track on his album. With song titles as intriguing as "Her Face Is Busted, But Her Feet Are Hot" and “Hey Son, It’s Day”, it's evident that Russ brings his signature humor, wit, and raw emotion to his music, just as he has for his radio listeners for decades.

We'll uncover the inspirations that led Russ to craft a musical collection that reflects the diverse facets of life, love, and laughter. From poignant ballads to foot-stomping anthems, Russ navigates uncharted musical waters with the same gusto that has made him a beloved radio personality.

As we explore the evolution from radio to melodies, we'll gain insights into how Russ balanced his well-established radio career with the demands of songwriting and recording. We'll also delve into the creative process behind each track, discovering the moments of vulnerability, triumph, and introspection that culminate in the songs of "Hold My Beer."

Russ Ray Rollins is no stranger to capturing hearts and ears, but with "Hold My Beer," he opens up a new chapter that takes us beyond the boundaries of a radio broadcast. So join us as we sit down with Russ to discuss his journey, his music, and the stories that have shaped "Hold My Beer" into an album that promises to resonate with his loyal fans and newcomers alike.

Get ready to raise your glass to Russ Ray Rollins' musical venture and uncover the stories behind the tracks that make up "Hold My Beer." This is an interview that celebrates not only a radio icon's foray into music but also the unyielding spirit of creativity that drives us to explore new horizons. Here is our talk with RRR. 

NMO- Can you tell us about the inspiration behind the title of your album, "Hold My Beer”?

RRR- It was a New Years resolution I made in January. I told myself I would complete an album this year. We were challenged last year by Mark Tremonti of CREED and ALTER BRIDGE to step outside of our comfort zone and record a song for a fund raising project he was working on. I recorded a song, “Cold Gin”, and I had a blast doing it. After that I met a genius in the recording studio named Mathew McKeown. He has a band, Nova Scotia, and is an incredible producer. He was willing to work with me on some songs I had written. He was willing and I was ready for the task. It’s been such a great experience. 

NMO- After such a successful career in radio, what prompted you to dive into the world of music and release an album?

RRR- I’ve always written songs for the radio show. Back when Bubba, Jeff and Savannah where on the show, I’d write songs all the time. I didn’t sing many, I just wrote for them. I co-wrote a bunch of our biggest songs like “Southern Girl”, “Read for the weekend” and “The Beer Song” which I put on this new album. 

NMO- Could you share some insights into the themes and messages you explore in the song "Hold My Beer”?

RRR- It’s one of my favorite songs on the album. I knew I wanted it to be the title track. Hold my beer, is a song about me proving everybody wrong over and over again. I’ve been told so many times, “you can’t do this”, “You can’t do middays”, You can’t do mornings”, “You won’t be number one in that time slot”, “You won’t make it when that guy leaves the show”. To that I’ve always said “Hold my beer, let me show you how to do it AGAIN!” I’ve proven people wrong for decades. I’ve lost once or twice, but I only count the wins. (Laughter)

NMO- "Girls Drink Wine, Women Drink Whiskey" seems to have an interesting perspective. Can you shed light on the story behind this song?

RRR- The lyrics to this song were the first thing I thought when Jessy Lynn Martens and I decided to write a duet for this album. She is a very good long time friend of mine. Her voice is amazing and she plays the fiddle like nobody you’ve ever heard. She is such a talent. You can hear her as a character on the TV show Archer as the country singer Cheryl Tunt. Anyway, I’ve been drinking with Jessy on many nights back in the day. She was always a “whiskey girl”. I felt like the lyrics were something she would have said to a chick in a bar. Jessy and I work well together, she sings most of this song, because she is a world class singer. 

NMO- "Her Face Is Busted, But Her Feet Are Hot" has a catchy title. What was the creative process like when coming up with such a unique concept?

RRR- This is a goof song. I remember back in my younger drinking days being drunk in a bar and picking up girls just based on if they had pretty feet or not. (Laughter) Not always the best way to pick em, ya know??

NMO- "There's Been Worse Country Songs" appears to have a sense of humor. What inspired you to create a song that reflects on the genre?

RRR- Look, I know I’m not a great singer. I think I can write pretty good songs. I think this was a way for me to stop anyone before they say “that song sucks” by letting them know, “hey, it’s not great but there have been shittier songs!” I hope it makes some people laugh. 

NMO- "Eatin' for Two" has an intriguing title.

RRR- That song was about how I’ve handled break ups in the past. Just start eating everything in sight and gain 80 pounds. Not a good way to handle it. But, a funny song. 

NMO- "Love at First Sight" is a universal theme. How did you approach writing a song about this topic in your own unique way?

RRR- This song was about how I met my wife Maryellen, and fell in love with her that very night. It’s a true story, It’s my love song to her. I talk about how many mistakes I’ve made, but not this time. I sing the chorus’ but speak the lyrics to try and get the point across. It was hard for me to sing it the way we wrote it. Thank God for my friend Maggie Melville (Monster Mags) for singing harmonies and making it so much of a better love song. I wrote this for my lovely wife. I hope she loves it, she has not heard it yet. 

NMO- "Weekend Eve" seems like a fun concept. What inspired you to write a song centered around that anticipation?

RRR- On the radio show for many years I’ve viewed Thursday as “Weekend Eve”. I say it all the time. One day, my co-host Carlos Navarro said “You need to write that song!” I went home and wrote it that night. Thank you Los for the idea!

NMO- "I'm Your Hero” is a song I remember hearing on the show years ago, is this the same song?

RRR- Yes! I wrote that song about 20 years ago, the great Bubba “Whoopass” Wilson recorded it with Jeff Howell. I wrote it way before superhero movies were big. I wrote it because I have always loved superheroes. Batman being my favorite. It’s a comedy song, I always loved it, but we didn’t play it on the show that much. I had to change parts of it to make it more “RRR”, I hope people laugh. Some people get upset if you re-do a song that someone else sang. I don’t get that. I wrote it, so I can take a shot at it. 

NMO- "Let Me Go" appears to have a more reflective tone. Can you discuss the emotions you wanted to capture in this track?

RRR- This is another song I wrote 20 years ago. It was originally sung by Jessy Lynn Martens, then Tiffany Martin sang it. I wrote it about a really bad break up I was going through at the time. I wrote in on a plane, flying out to go skiing with Dirty Jim and a friend of mine Kim Hooker. It was the first serious song I’de ever written. It really helped me at the time to get those feelings out. Jessy and Bubba brought that song to life back then, but this new version is off the charts, crazy good! Jessy sings it again, Iv’e added some vocals. It has a hard rock feel. It really kicks ass. I think it’s the best commercial hit on the entire album. I really hope people at least listen to that song. It’s badass. 

NMO- How did you manage to balance your busy radio career with the demands of creating an entire album?

RRR- Thank God for Mathew McKeown. He made time for me after the show.I would write songs in my down time and get ideas when I couldn’t sleep at night.

NMO- "Best Day Ever” is kind of a sad song. It seems very personal. Could some people in your life get offended by this track?

RRR- Well, maybe. Most songs are written from the point of view of the song writer. This is the only song on the album that was not written by me. Mathew McKoewn wrote it for me and he nailed it. This song tells my truth, the way I see it. I’m sure there are several people in my past that will call “bullshit” on this song. I don’t care. It’s how I feel. Mathew has listened to the show forever and he really hit the nail on the head with this song. 

NMO- With your background in comedy, did you find yourself infusing humor into most of the songs on the album?

RRR- Oh yes. I’m much more comfortable with the comedy songs. The more serious songs like “Hey son, it’s Dad” were harder to do. That song is about a true story of me getting a voice mail from my father after he died. I used his words to write the song and I play his actual voice mail in the song. It is 100% a powerful song, that should make you cry. It was hard to record, but it’s the song I’m most proud of. But, comedy is more fun. (Laughter)

NMO- "The Beer Song" wraps up the album. What role does this song play in the overall narrative of "Hold My Beer”?

RRR- This is the most popular song the “Monsters in the Morning” have ever recorded. To remake the song, for some people is sacrilege. I felt like, I wanted to keep our old friend “The Beer Song” with us. I wanted to give it new wings and let it fly for as long as the Monsters are around. We have new listeners who had never heard the song. The old recording was losing sound quality. It’s over 25 years old, so it was time for an update. It’s sung by Me, Ryan Homes and Carlos. Angelique can be heard on the song and Angel gets to yell “shut up!” (Laughter) I love that part. I’m really glad the current cast sang it with me, we are all proud of the way it turned out. We play it every Friday, I’m glad it makes people happy. 

NMO- Lastly, how do you hope your long-time fans from your radio show will connect with this new musical endeavor?

RRR- I really hope they like it. Hell, I just hope they listen to it! It may not be for everyone, but it’s a project that took a year of my life. I wrote it, I sang it and I lived it. I hope listeners laugh at the comedy, share the songs they like and realize I’m not taking myself too serious with this album. This is a bucket list album. I said I was going to do it, and “Hold my Beer” let me show you how I do it again! 

Photo: Russ Rollins

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