By Walter Price
Back in the late 70s and well into the 80s hip music was the voice of the streets. Beats being created by kitchen table and bedroom maestros/composers and their ever handy boombox pause and play buttons.
Following the huge success of the Beastie Boys’ guitar infused tracks on “License to Ill”, RUN DMC & Aerosmith’s smash genre merging track “Walk This Way” and then the mega cool 1993 Judgment Night soundtrack, the worlds of rock/metal & hip hop seemed to be a marriage made in sonic heaven. Laying the foundation for acts in the late 90s and early 2000s to come up with new ways to fuse hip hop, jazz, pop and whatever else they wanted in a new, and not always loved, genre Nu Metal. Never liked that term, not even an a bit.
While some acts made a name for themselves like Limp Bizkit, KORN, Linkin Park and you know the rest. Some did not fare as well. Names like Adema, Fat, Apartment 26 and Cotton Mouth Kings and so on had minor success but never fully caught on with the masses for whatever reasons.
One of the so called ‘causalities’ of this era in rock history was A.D. Rowntree. Rowntree, the former lead vocalist of a band he’d rather not mention these days, came out swinging with their 1997 self-titled debut. With their highly catchy, riff heavy and sometimes snarky lyric driven sounds should have made this group one of the biggest names at the time. But things just did not work out for the boys and A.D. and along with his partner in crime, Gareth P., went on to greener pastures.
“The things I miss from those days are playing shows every night and writing songs every day. Those are the only things that ever really mattered to me.” – A.D. Rowntree
Today A.D. has moved into radio, TV, podcasting and prolific social media commentary and he has again found his love for making music in his kitchen on an old laptop loaded with Mixcraft. Now under the banner AD Allstars.
At first listen you may find some of his tracks a bit arrogant, nasty and maybe unnecessarily explicit. But that would mean you were rushing to judgment. If you spend some time with these ‘homegroan’ tracks you’d happily discover that A.D. is using his killer production skills to back his life’s stories.
Nothing too different than any of the other rocker and hip-hop voices before him but there is something deeper in his polished tracks. On many tracks you can feel a man working through some issues you’d usually pay a therapist to help you work through.
There is also plenty of social commentary, boasting, swagger and finger pointing at the things A.D. finds ridiculous and rightly so in many occasions. That is where you can find his humor shining through but you have to have an understanding of his wit and need to express himself.
Give tracks “713”, “Happy Song”, “My United States Of Whatever (Petty Staychecl), “Your Band Sucks’ and “Back Once Again” and you should find what Rowntree is trying to convey with his music.
All and all he has recorded 30 tracks and not for money in his pocket. He has passed up lucrative record deals and has decided to donate all proceeds to the children’s cancer charity Johnny Kicks Cancer. Now, regardless of how you rate his alter-ego(s) the AD Allstars and the subsequent music offerings you can/should certainly get behind a cause like this.
“Side note if I had known the music was going to be used to make money for a children’s cancer charity.. there would be significantly less “f” and “c ” bombs on the songs.” – A.D. Rowntree (The GTC Inteview)
A.D. recently promised he had a slew of new tracks going into his machinery and should have them all ready to go in the next 30 days or so. So if what he is doing sparks your interest follow him all over social media and help him work through whatever it is he is working through or giving the finger to and see if you can help him support a great cause. At the end of the day, it’s all for the children.
Just like his predecessors, A.D. Rowntree is a kitchen table maestro/composer. He has moved beyond the boombox and the Memorex cassettes and uses the modern equivalent that is now readily available to him. It’s still an old school music makng way of looking at and commenting on what is going on around and inside A.D. Rowntree. And certainly worth a go!