Norwegian rocker Rocky Kramer is celebrating his USA citizenship after making his home in California. As a child prodigy Rocky learned the violin at age 3 and went on to master many other instruments along the way. His heart and soul however, is the guitar and Rocky is now considered to be one of the leading guitarists in music today.
While some call it confidence, others call it faith, Rocky’s talent is brave and courageous. The label doesn’t matter as it’s the theme that frees him to embrace his many talents as a songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, singer, and writer. With his greatest love of performing live and the world slowly opening up, Rocky’s future is beginning to shine brightly.
Splash Magazine had a chance to sit down with Rocky to discuss topics fans around the world are asking:
Do you have any regrets?
It’s easy to look back at things and think of how I could’ve done something differently or better, but I’m more at peace with myself when I accept the past for what it is. I can’t change it anyway, but I can certainly change the future. One of the benefits of living is developing experience and having a better understanding of the world and how everything in it works, so that I don’t have to make the same mistakes over and over again but learn from them and move on.
What do you feel is your best and worst quality and of course why?
I would say my best quality is that I’m dedicated and don’t quit easily. I’m also a believer in being on time, preferably early, so that no one has to wait for me. My worst quality is probably that I’m an introvert, so I’m very inconsistent socially. I might not say a word or very few words, or I can be very talkative and entertaining, perhaps a little too much. I’m very selective that way, and it might make someone feel that I’m not interested in talking to them or getting to know them, which isn’t necessarily the case. Maybe sometimes, (laughs)!
You have your own rock n’ roll broadcast on Tuesdays….what goes on there and when and how can fans tune in?
Every Tuesday night at 7 PM Pacific, I have a two-hour show called “Rock & Roll Tuesdays with Rocky Kramer” on Twitch. I play guitar and sing rock and metal songs, originals and covers. Because it’s in real time and chatting is an essential part of Twitch, viewers can share news that we can discuss together, and they can request songs for me to play. It’s something I started doing because of the pandemic, and it’s been a lot of fun and it’s made being stuck at home a lot more enjoyable.
As an 80s rocker born in the 90s, what influences you the most when you pick up a guitar?
I love playing guitar, so I don’t really need anything or anyone to inspire me to play, but I always enjoy watching other guitar players, whether they’re the most legendary, iconic guitar players of all time, or someone much lesser known doing something unique on the internet. These days I’d rather see that, than another “Eruption” cover.
What is your recipe for success?
The recipe for success is like any food recipe. No recipe works for everyone, but there’s a difference between fast food, a meal at a five-star restaurant and grandma’s cooking. Success is achieved through a combination of hard work, exposure, and luck. You have to be great at something, and people have to know about it. You also need to be at the right place at the right time and meet the right people who can push your career further. Hey, you might get lucky and have a video go viral on YouTube, Instagram or TikTok, but in most cases, it takes years to become an “overnight sensation,” so don’t give up because of a failure or setback. The road to success will have several roadblocks and detours, so buckle up and enjoy the ride!
Who would you love to open for at Madison Square Garden…or who would you like to open for you?
I would open up for anyone, just to perform at Madison Square Garden, but I would love to open up for Queen, Dream Theater or Yngwie Malmsteen. In a perfect world, I would say Pink Floyd, but I don’t expect another tour from them. I would love the opportunity to open up for David Gilmour or Roger Waters though. That would be amazing!
If I were headlining Madison Square Garden, which would be an unbelievable achievement, I would love to have a band or artist open up for me that I personally believe in and wanted to give them the exposure they deserve. It would be an artist with similar influences and sound.
You became a U.S. citizen recently, how did that come about?
I first set foot in the United States when I was 9 years old, but it was only for a vacation to New York for 10 days with my family. I didn’t have specific plans for my future at that time, but I remember having this feeling that I was going to be back someday. I did return at the age of 21, but on the other coast, when I moved to Los Angeles to study English. The school offered host families to their students, and my “host family” was a wonderful grandmotherly lady by the name of Sonya, a semi-retired tennis teacher. After hearing me speak English fluently, she wondered why I needed to study it. I told her I was here because I wanted to meet music industry professionals who could help me advance my music career. My honesty with her led to a snowball effect that started with meeting legendary guitarist Mike Pinera of Alice Cooper and Iron Butterfly, who later introduced me to Kim Richards, CEO of Allied Artists International, who wanted to develop me as an artist and took me under his wing.
This is what started the immigration process. Without getting into all the boring details, I went from a student visa, to a visa strictly for individuals with extraordinary abilities, then finally to a green card. After 5 years of being a green card holder, I became eligible to apply for U.S. citizenship, but Norway had never before allowed dual citizenship. However, becoming an American must have been my destiny because Norway changed its law to permit dual citizenship literally a month before I was eligible to submit my application for U.S. citizenship. I applied just before the pandemic, and didn’t hear anything for almost a year, but I finally took the civics test at the end of February and was sworn in the following week. I’m officially a U.S. citizen now, making me a true Norwegian-American!
What are you currently working on?
I’m currently working on a video related to my U.S. citizenship, which will be out soon, and I just released a Led Zeppelin cover. Even though I’m primarily interested in recording my own original music, it’s been nice to take a look at songs that I love and make them my own. I’m definitely excited about moving on to my second solo album, which we’re preparing to record later this year. It will be all original material, so in the next couple of months, I will be focusing on taking a final look at the songs to see what improvements can be made. It’ll help to start rehearsing the songs with my band, because their feedback can be extremely helpful and make the songs feel more alive. I can’t wait to share more details!
Rocky Kramer’s Music Video for “Babe, I Gonna Leave You” (Led Zeppelin Cover)
Photo Credits: Allied Artists Staff Photographer