Ross Rocks Benefit at Hollywood Alley, 4/28/12
Ross Wincek, the co-owner of Hollywood Alley is responsible for bringing countless great bands to Phoenix over the past 25 years, as well as giving local bands a place to grow. Wincek had a stroke in March, so local bands and fans of the Alley are doing everything they can to help out.
Tom Reardon of The Father Figures organized Saturday night's Ross Rocks benefit to help raise money for Wincek, who has about $10,000 in medical bills. For $10, fans could enjoy 19 bands spanning across 15 hours. The venue also had an auction with all sorts of goodies -- a spa package, a vintage Slayer T-shirt, a skateboard deck, a bag of pubes.
The night was full of great music, fun stories, and well wishes for Ross.
There was a fantastic turnout Saturday night. The bar was packed for most of the evening and parking was scant. Thankfully the nail salon across the street didn't tow.
At the end of the night, Fun Bobby (a legendary Hollywood Alley barkeep who returned from Oregon to visit) asked who had been there the whole day and only a couple people raised their hands. Kudos to these folks, because even with arriving in the early evening, last night was exhausting (but still a great time).
Local punk stalwarts The Father Figures played a bunch of new songs tonight for a nice, big crowd. The band will be recording a new album in June that is estimated for a fall release.
"You can play here and not worry about getting paid. It's really what a rock club should be, that's the bottom line," said Father Figures' guitarist Michael Cornelius. "A story I remember the most is I played here on New Year's Eve in '90/'91 with my band Housequake. After our show, Ross and Ross' mom fixed all of us breakfast at 2 in the morning. They made it home. From then until now, I spot in my heart for the Wincek family."
Melissa Fossum Fat Gray Cat
Fat Gray Cat mixed metal and sludge with vocals reminiscent of Tool. The songs were long and very guitar-driven. Vocalist Michael Pistrui has been playing shows at Hollywood Alley since 1989-
"I played in several other bands as well and got to criss cross the country. I've played in all sorts of different clubs from CBGB's to Whiskey a Go-Go to . . . you name it, and there's nobody like Ross. I love the guy, he's so easy to work with and in all of the 20 years that I've been here, I've never had a bad experience," Pistrui said.
Melissa Fossum Via Vengeance
Via Vengeance was really entertaining to watch, as it is the one-man band of Shane Ocell. Ocell sings, drums, and plays guitar all at once to create aggressive metal without the use of a backing track. He got the idea for Via Vengeance after his father died in 2005 --
"My dad passed away so I had lyrics kind of spewing out and just was messing around one day and just figured it out and ran with it," Ocell said.
He also spoke very highly of Ross: "We all know Ross rocks. [He is] ust so humble and nice and just awesome. Not one negative thing to say about the guy, he's just an awesome guy."