Trailer-Park King

Self-proclaimed hoosier Rosco Villa shines a rock & roll light on fucked-up lives

Rosco's discography to date includes titles such as Country Metal Up Your Ass; Inhalant Bent and Hellbound; American Country Metal; Bad Words, Bad Women, Badder Drugs; and the more pithily titled 7-inch "Drugs." But the bands that backed Rosco on those albums -- including players such as Slayer Jones and Carlos, their Hank Jr.-meets-Metallica sound -- are all long gone. Rosco is looking for a more acoustic, song-based sound. In January, if the money comes together, the current band will record again. The lineup features Mark Johnson, a longtime hired gun and one of the best, most understated guitar players in the bi-state area. "I like to complement Rosco's songs," he says, "bring them out and enhance them." Jeff Widdows, who studied classical violin at Southern Illinois University and has gigged at bars for years, joined last month. "Rosco's music was real," he says. "It was still fun, but it was real as hell." The band's rhythm section, no surprise, is in flux. "We keep having to find drummers left and right," Rosco complains. "I can't find a drummer who don't piss me off."

As clichéd as it may sound, so me hard-to-nail-down honesty, some "real as hell" quality redeems Rosco's music from his own over-the-top, under-the-barstool obsessions. He's just a Midwest rocker, but he doesn't pretend he's anything more or less. "I kinda live a hoosier lifestyle," he says. "I don't want to be mean by saying 'hoosier'. I work as a carpenter; I'm a blue-collar guy. I love NASCAR. Shit, I'd love to have a satellite dish. I'm not too big into hunting, though. You gotta be able to laugh. In some ways, I'm making fun of myself a little bit. I don't intend to piss people off."

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