Going against the grain is glorified in the long run but scoffed at in the moment. A sage like Dusty Rose is well aware of this trend since he’s lived his life enduring it and reaping the fruits of that bravery once he makes it to the other side. Falls Church will get an intimate portrayal of the man and the music that came from the moxie when Rose and Friends perform at the ribbon cutting of the downtown park on Monday.
A Bay Area native, Rose got his first taste of being counterculture when he hitchhiked cross country for two weeks prior to his senior year of high school back in 1968. It was venturing around the nation and particularly throughout the east coast when he realized that the then-burgeoning San Francisco music scene — with success stories such as the Grateful Dead and Jefferson Airplane emanating from there — wasn’t as good a fit for him. So in 1975, he made the move permanently and hasn’t looked back since.
“Everybody envisions [the San Francisco area] as the place to be and all that is wonderful — and it is wonderful — but the pot of gold is at the other end of the rainbow,” Rose said. “I’d grown up with the San Francisco sound and music and all that stuff, but as it began to change, I came back out here and met other music types.”
Part of the connections Rose has made in his decades as an East Coaster were from the friends joining him on stage, who have solo careers of their own.
Holly Montgomery will be serving as the bassist and has been a compadre of Rose’s on stage many a time, including a Beatles show they did at The Hamilton. Al Williams on the saxophone is former neighbor of Rose and a jazz icon whom visiting musicians love to pay homage to whenever they’re in town. And Paul Bell is a member of the Nighthawks, a blues institution and a longtime friend of Rose’s as well.
“Over the years you play together at various events for various reasons with people who run in the same rock, blues and R&B circles as you do,” Rose added. “[Rose and Friends] know each other so well, we’ll have to rehearse maybe one time before we perform. We’re pretty in sync as is.”
Those decades on stage have also given Rose a glimpse into how much music has changed. Rose hosted Open Mic night at the old Mountain Jack’s and Boar’s Head on Broad St. (now the Applebee’s) back when, as Rose said, “People actually came to listen to the music.” The introduction of TVs in bars during the late ‘80s and early ‘90s began to drain that interest slowly over the years.
That’s also been reflected in how hard it is for young musicians to catch a break coming up in the industry.
Rose won’t concede the death of rock because there are so many ways to get a hold of music now, but acknowledges how hard it is given there’s little money to be made until being signed by a label.
Rose himself defied conventional wisdom by supporting his children purely as a working musician before taking on the studio manager gig at Cue Recording Studios 15 years ago. The regular paycheck helps — as does a little conformity every now and then (wink) — but after pushing against “common sense” his entire life, Rose is alright going with the flow…for now.
Dusty Rose and Friends will be performing on June 10 from 6 – 7 p.m. at the City of Falls Church’s recently revitalized park on the 100 block of West Broad St., between the restaurants Hunan Cafe and Hot N’ Juicy Crawfish.