Merriam-Webster defines a greasediver as “a person who maintains a certain less than sanitary lifestyle that leads to a persistent dirty glaze to their skin and hair, and has no use for soap or water.”
That’s not entirely true, as I did make that up, but perhaps you could ask Nashville’s Emmett Rozelle, or Emmy, as he’s known to his constituents, and perhaps he’ll define it for you.
Rozelle is a Glens Falls, New York, native whose abilities and knowledge with a guitar are only one-upped by his drumming prowess. The multi-instrumentalist has played and toured with popular local rock band Voodoo Fix in recent years, among various gigs with other bands. His passion and dedication doesn’t stop at playing music, as Rozelle is a well-accomplished gear doctor and creator. (he performed surgery on my Strat for a 12-pack of Rolling Rock) He’s been to known to make his own pedals, and even a funky little lap steel guitar.
Greasediver’s debut single makes you want to crush empty beer cans with one clench of the fist, put the pedal to the metal, and fantasize about telling your boss to shove it. It’s got a good old fashioned punch, with heavy guitar playing and slaying. Rozelle also delivers super catchy lyrical hooks and choruses, ripe for shouting out. It’s the kind of song Joe Dirt would love — and I say that with the utmost respect. (the guy’s got a heart of gold)
I had the chance to pitch Rozelle some questions from a very safe distance (distant for sanitary reasons other than the virus) and he was kind enough to answer them.
Note: Rozelle is a very hygienic man and a lovely human.
So you’ve been involved in various bands in Nashville and have put in your time. How long have you been working on your solo material?
The concept for the band and this album specifically started almost four years ago, the spring after I moved to Nashville. I’d been putting bits and pieces of songs together for a few years before, but most of these songs were written in that four year span, and recorded over the same timeframe too. I’d started recording the album, then I joined a band called The Voodoo Fix and ended up touring with them for about a year, and by that point I had a whole new batch of songs that I wanted to record, and it ended up taking way longer than I had anticipated. Zach D’Amico, my engineer, producer, (check out Common Man Studio!) and live drummer rightfully gives me a ton shit for taking so long with this album, but we’re in the home stretch now!
And you’re a man of many musical abilities as you beat the skins, shred guitar, and can burp some songs out as well. Is there one that feels most comfortable to you, and would you label yourself a drummer more so than a guitarist/singer?
I definitely will always consider myself a drummer first. My dad’s a drummer and he put drumsticks in my hands before I could walk, I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t playing drums. I started taking lessons when I was 10 and still take them now actually. I’m most comfortable in life when I’m behind a drum set. Guitar was something that was a sort of escape from the fairly serious academic side of drumming for me when I was about 15 or so, and it still provides a great relief when I need a break from drums or need to find a different outlet. And as far as my singing/yodeling/burping… that is by far the least comfortable thing for me. I’m growing to like it now that I’ve been doing it for a little while but when I started singing my own songs I was really self conscious and nervous, and still am, but it’s been a good challenge. I’d like to take some singing lessons here in the future too.
You also are quite savvy when it comes to fixing instruments, and you even make your own pedals etc. Can you talk about some of your musical handy work for any folks who might be interested?
Absolutely! I’m a huge gear head when it comes to electric guitar stuff and I love to tinker with them and swap out parts and whatnot, and I’ve put together quite a few “partscasters” and carved and routed a few guitar bodies when I was in college. As far as the pedals go, I’ve only gotten as far as putting together kits, kind of a paint-by-numbers sort of thing, but it’s given me the confidence to hopefully try out some more challenging builds here down the road. I really like playing an instrument that I’ve put together, eventually I’d like to have an entire guitar/pedal/amp rig that I made for myself. I am available for basic guitar setups and maintenance, I’m a bit limited in some respects by the tools I have (or don’t have rather) and there are some things I’m just not qualified to do, but for the folks in the Nashville area that have sad guitars and want to make them happy guitars again, I’m here to help!
So Greasediver. That’s a hell of a name, and it sure as hell fits your sound. How did you land on the name?
It came from a couple different things actually. I lived in a couple fairly grungy basements for the first few years I was in town and spent a lot of time in vans and dirty clubs and all that kind of thing, and have always been lucky enough to be around people who embrace that sort of lifestyle too. I wanted a name that encapsulated me and my friends and anyone who lives that way for the sake of their artistic pursuits. So one day my friend Kyle was talking about the concept of someone cleaning out a giant grease trap on lower Broadway wearing an old fashioned diving suit with the big brass helmet and lead boots and everything, and the term “grease diver” got thrown around and I thought “oh man that’s PERFECT!” It’s really a tribute to my friends and bandmates and everyone who’s trying their best to make a life out of what they love to do.
What do you feel Greasediver brings to the table that maybe not many other Nashville bands do?
Oh man, that’s a tough question. Nashville is full of really unique bands and it is just so goddamn cool to even be a small part of that. If anything, I hope that people will dig that while we might take the music seriously, we don’t take ourselves seriously at all, and that humor definitely belongs in music.
So you just released your debut single, “Ten High.” What’s this song all about and how did it come to life?
I think it’s about leaving the place where you grew up in search of something more, and then getting stuck for a little while along the way. My bassist and longtime partner in crime Petey Piscitelli and I met in college and ended up staying in that small college town in Upstate New York for well past our sell-by date until we made a break for Nashville, and this song addresses that, and a few other things too.
And folks can expect to see this on an upcoming EP or LP?
Yep! It will be part of a full length album that is due out in late November/early December if all goes as planned! It’ll be released on all the usual streaming platforms, though I mainly prefer Bandcamp, and hopefully a physical release will follow when we’re able to tour behind it. The album is finished recording-wise and is in the process of being mastered as we speak!
Will you possibly name the potential upcoming EP or LP Feel The Grease and give me credit in the liner notes?
Well, I haven’t decided on a name for it yet, so ya never know! I would have figured you’d suggest Grease-Diverticulitis! But no matter what, you’ll get an album credit as “Head of Grease Feeling,” I promise.
So “Ten High” is some good old fashioned rock and roll. Who are some of your musical idols you tried to emulate in this track?
For this song in particular I had just heard a Mastodon song called “Toe to Toes” that I really love, and I wanted to write something in that same vein that had a heavy but catchy guitar part and also had a big chorus to it. The guitar tone in that song in particular was a big influence. I was also listening to a lot of Steven Wilson’s album To The Bone and there’s a lot of that in there as well.
And do you play guitar, drums, and sing on this track?
Yep, I play everything on this track. I played all of the instruments on about 85% of the album, but I could not have finished it without a lotta help from my friends. Petey played bass on some songs and some guitar too, Zach played drums on a song, Abbey Moss (awesome singer, check her out y’all!) sang a duet with me, and a few other folks played on it too. When I have the sound or the part in my head I like to record it myself, but sometimes it’s just way better to let someone who really knows what they’re doing take over. For instance, a couple of the bass tracks that Petey wrote totally make those songs what they are and I never would have even come close with my own parts. And in a live setting I play guitar and sing (burp), Petey plays bass and Zach plays drums. At some point I’d like to expand the lineup but for now it feels good to keep it as a trio. That said, my best friend Ian Colt does our art direction and his artwork is as important to the band’s identity as the sound is, so he’s the fourth member really.
Okay so now it’s time to get down to brass tacks: Top Three Nashville food joints Emmy can be found munching on:
Alright, now we’re talking! Enough of this music nonsense! I gotta say, I love bbq and Peg Leg Porker is my favorite spot in Nashville. About once a month it became tradition that Pete and Zach and I would go to Carter Vintage Guitars and hang out and drool over the instruments and then go around the corner to Peg Leg. Our kitchen cabinets are full of their cups. Next, as an (Upstate) New York guy, I love good pizza, and Five Points Pizza does a damn fine job with their pies, I’m always very impressed. Lastly, I gotta give a shoutout to Clawson’s Pub and Deli. I worked there for a long time and they make a damn fine sandwich and that whole crew is amazing.
I know you fancy yourself an adult beverage from time to time. What drink/drink concoction might you deem The Emmy Special?
Well, if you walked into Emmy’s Pub right now, the Emmy Special would be an ice cold Rolling Rock bottle and a shot of Kentucky Tavern bourbon on the side. Or a rum and coke with extra lime juice.
Now if you could have a drink (maybe an Emmy Special) or a smoke with one of your living idols, who might it be?
I had to think about this one for a while, most of my heroes are gone unfortunately. However, I would love to have a drink with Adrian Belew. As a member of both my favorite era of King Crimson AND a member of Frank Zappa’s band, I would love to hear what he had to say about those experiences. I’ve actually met him a couple of times and he’s such a nice guy too.
What does a dream gig look like for Greasediver?
A soundperson who is cool with plenty of stage volume, a couple beers apiece, and hopefully a few people in the audience!
And while we’re talking grease, if you could only eat one greasy food for the rest of your life, what would it be?
The cardboard on the inside bottom of an empty pizza box. If I can only eat one greasy thing, I’m going all in!
Three albums on a desert island:
Seconds Out by Genesis, Signals by Rush, Powerage by AC/DC. Seconds Out is always there, but the other two may be subject to change, you know how it goes.
Musical pet peeve:
When there’s a bill with 4 or 5 bands on it and there’s that one band right in the middle that takes forever loading on and off the stage. Or, conversely, when you’re doing your best to load off the stage in a timely manner and the next band starts bringing their stuff up before you’re finished.
Something people don’t know about you:
When I enrolled in college it was actually as a physics major. I did a year of those classes before the head of the Physics Department advised me to switch to Music Industry since I was spending all my time hanging out in the music wing anyway.
Your proudest moment as a musician:
I play drums in an instrumental prog trio called Squid Parade and after a few years of touring regionally, we played our first national tour. We did all the bookings ourselves, bought the van, made all the posters, etc. On that run we played in St. Louis and before the show we all stood on the western bank of the Mississippi and I was so proud that our little band had made it that far on our own. Later that night I spilled a can of beans in the van and Petey almost murdered me, but that’s a story for another time.
Lastly, what should folks know about the emerging band that is Greasediver?
Well, we’ve got a full length album coming out this fall, as soon as possible we’re going to be hitting the road bringing the music to the people, and if you see us, come have a beer with us after the show! Thanks for the interview Pauly!