We first met Mike Ruocco while he was lead vocalist for Cinder Road, a band that’s fairly well-know for their upbeat brand of rock and their relentless touring schedule. Now, while Ruocco is prepping his solo project including a new album and tour, he sat down to speak with Type 3 Media about the exciting things he has in store for fans.
Type 3 Media: I’ve heard your new single, “Too Late,” and it sounds like your writing skills have progressed.
Mike Ruocco: Thank you, I really appreciate that. The interesting thing with that song is that the verses and the choruses are a little bit more in the pop vein, but 80’s hair metal had to come out of the bridge where it breaks down and gets heavy. I just couldn’t resist myself.
Type 3 Media: Have you announced a release date for the new album, The Rise. The Ride. The Risk?
Mike Ruocco: I think that’s going to be the conversation I have as soon as we hang-up. I need to pull the trigger.
Type 3 Media: Will this be an independent release?
Mike Ruocco: We’re doing the radio campaign totally independently, we’re funding it ourselves. We have a whole radio team, press team, we still have Union Entertainment managing us, and I’m signed to BMG as a staff writer. So we have everything in place except for the label, and the game plan is we’re going to take this thing to radio and feel pretty good about its chances. When it starts getting some turns, I know that labels will come around. At that point, we need to make a conscious decision of whether we stay fully independent or if we take on some help. There’s a lot of different ways we can go with it. I’m comfortable with being an independent artist now. It’s become acceptable and cool to be indie again. I like that, because it gives you a lot more creative freedom on everything from album artwork to songs to the look of the band and everything in between. It’s always challenging, when you’re up and coming, to go up against The Fray or Gavin DeGraw… great artists who have major backing. We’re very optimistic about our chances on this one.
Type 3 Media: What happened to Cinder Road?
Mike Ruocco: After the KISS tour we asked that EMI let us go because we really didn’t like how things were going within the label. They kind of dropped the ball, our second single should have done better and they could have done more than they did. We found out after the fact that they pulled the plug early because of all the label stuff that was going on. People were getting fired. The typical major label B.S. that goes on. We went and made the second Cinder Road album, Damage Control, out of pocket. The album came out in Japan and we had a top ten single on the international charts. We also did a tour over there supporting Orianthi.
I really thought we were going to get another deal for Cinder Road. It just didn’t wind-up happening. We got shopped around and we were one of those bands that had enough success that plenty of people knew who we were, but it wasn’t enough. It was one of those situations where you’re a little bit damaged goods. So that, coupled with the fact that some of the founding members of the band left, my bass player, my drummer… it was basically me and my guitar player left. I just didn’t feel right calling my new music Cinder Road. I’ve always had a little bit of a pet peeve for when you’d go see a band and it was only like one original member. I’ve always wanted to see the original bands if that was possible.
With me continuing to write music, I came up with some stuff and it was a little less heavy than Cinder Road. I wanted to take the opportunity to branch out on my own. I always wanted to do a solo record and a solo career, but being in the band was my number one priority. I thought that if Cinder Road ever took a break I’ll do a solo record, then come back to the band. We weren’t able to do it in that way, so when I wrote these new songs I went ahead and pulled the trigger on this thing. I got a fantastic band together to support me and I feel like some of the best music I’ve written in my life is on the record. It’s still going to be palatable and exciting for the Cinder Road fans to get into, but at the same time it’s a little bit more mature, a little more leaning toward the Hot AC vibe and definitely good time music.
Type 3 Media: Anything we didn’t cover that you’d like to mention?
Mike Ruocco: The single is up on iTunes right now, and we’re going to be on tour hopefully starting in April or May. I can’t wait to get out there. I’m excited.