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Rocky Votolato Biography

Home > Music > R > Rocky Votolato > Biography

Birth Place: Seattle, Washington, USA
Years Active: 1995 - Present
Genres: Folk, Alt-country, Indie Rock

Rocky Votolato (born 1977) is an American singer-songwriter.

He was born in Dallas, Texas and raised in Frost, a small town roughly 50 miles south of Dallas, until the age of 13. After his parents divorced, his mother remarried and moved the family to the Pacific Northwest in 1991, where he attended Ingelmoor High School just outside of Seattle. Alienated by his southern roots, the isolation led him to focus his attention on learning to play guitar and writing songs. Inspired by punk shows by bands such as Jawbreaker and Fugazi, he started several different musical projects while in high school.

When his band Lying on Loot disbanded in 1996, he started playing under the name Waxwing with friends Rudy Gajadhar (drums) and Andrew Hartley (bass). Rocky's younger brother Cody (of The Blood Brothers) then joined the band on second guitar, and they recorded their self-titled debut 7" for Henry's Finest Recordings. In 1999, Second Nature Recordings released their first full-length, entitled ''For Madmen Only''. Blending straight-up rock with elements of post-hardcore, and guitar work by Cody reminiscent of metal, Waxwing established a strong local following, and released two further full-length albums: ''One for the Ride'' in 2000, and ''Nobody Can Take What Everybody Owns'' in 2002. During this time, the band's profile in the Seattle music scene grew substantially and they played clubs including the Crocodile Cafe and the Paradox Theater.

In 1999, Votolato branched out from his work with Waxwing, having written a handful of songs which did not fit their aggressive, fast-tempo style. He has since toured with Damien Jurado, Small Brown Bike, The Get Up Kids, The New Amsterdams, Owen, and The Casket Lottery, members of the latter having provided assistance as backing musicians on occasion. His studio albums have also featured appearances from Seattle musicians including players in the bands Red Stars Theory, Sharks Keep Moving, The Blood Brothers, Death Cab for Cutie, Pedro the Lion and Sub Pop solo artist Rosie Thomas. On the production side, Votolato has worked with Matt Bayles (Pearl Jam, Botch, Murder City Devils, Hayden), and Chris Walla of Death Cab for Cutie. Votolato has progressed stylistically from his low-key self-titled album of 1999 (all pretty much recorded live) to recent alt-country, folk-influenced records such as ''Makers'' (2006). A video was shot for the first track of ''Makers'', "White Daisy Passing", a song which also appeared on an episode of ''The OC''.

Votolato starred in the film ''The Edge of Quarrel'', which he worked on with Dave Larson from Excursion Records. It also includes members of the Murder City Devils and Botch, and is about a gang war between straight-edgers and punk rockers where he tries to achieve peace between the two opposing groups.

He is married to April Votolato; they live in Seattle with their two children.