New England native talks Hookers & Blow
By Jeff MacRae
Citizen Chronicle Contributor
Alex Grossi has performed across the country, in Asia, Europe, and South America. A recent local performance, however, was a bit of a homecoming for the Connecticut native.
Recently, Grossi was at Southbridge’s The Cannery Musical Hall, 12 Crane Street, performing with Guns N’ Roses keyboardist Dizzy Reed in their band Hookers & Blow. The band’s recently completed tour took them through Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Idaho, Illinois, Missouri, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Utah, Wisconsin, Wyoming, in addition to the local performance, and one in New Bedford.
Grossi sat down with The Citizen Chronicle, talking about visiting Old Sturbridge Village, hanging out in Salem, and catching ballgames at Fenway Park in Boston. He went west as part of his musical dreams, settling in Los Angeles in 2001. Since then, Grossi has performed and recorded with a number of bands and acts, most notably the heavy metal band Quiet Riot — a group founded in 1973 by famed Ozzy Osbourne guitarist Randy Rhoads.
It was on Hollywood’s Sunset Strip one Sunday night in 2003 that Grossi met Reed during one of the famously revered jam sessions the now defunct Cat Club was perhaps best known for. At the time, Grossi had recently joined the band Beautiful Creatures, replacing guitarist DJ Ashba, who was pursuing a solo career before ultimately performing with Sixx:A.M. and later becoming lead guitarist of Guns N’ Roses. It was at this fateful first meeting that Grossi suggested Reed join him on some east coast shows. Reed agreed, and the band Hookers & Blow was born. Grossi said it “snowballed” from there.
Over the years, Grossi and Reed have had some very talented musicians join them. Among them have been Enuff Z’Nuff bassist Chip Z’Nuff, W.A.S.P. bassist Mike Duda, and bassist Todd Kerns, best known for his time with legendary guitarist Slash, as well as The Age of Electric. On drums, Hookers & Blow has featured drummer Matt Star, of the Ace Frehley Band and Burning Rain, and drummer Johnny Kelly of Type O Negative and Danzig.
For Grossi, Hookers & Blow is a side project where four guys get to just play music. The musicians go out to have a good time and get a break from their “day gigs” with their better-known bands Quiet Riot and Guns N’ Roses.
“It’s a lot more laid back and less stress type thing,” Grossi explained.
While Hookers & Blow plays a number of Guns N’ Roses songs — including hits like Sweet Child O’ Mine, It’s So Easy, Pretty Tied Up, Dust N’ Bones, and Used to Love Her — they also delve into classic rock by The Rolling Stones, David Bowie, Elton John, and ZZ Top.
The relaxed atmosphere Grossi and Reed want from their Hookers & Blow performances results in a great deal of banter between the band and its audience. Since talking with The Chronicle, Grossi’s laid back time with Hookers & Blow has taken a break as he hits the road with Quiet Riot in support of their 2017 release, “Road Rage.” Quiet Riot’s touring schedule will take Grossi to Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Utah, and Washington, as well as to Milan, Italy for the Frontiers Rock Festival. Along the way, Grossi will also be taking part in the Rock Legends Cruise with Sammy Hagar and Bad Company.