Interview | Guitarist, singer & songwriter Rob Lamothe

About `Gravity', Riverdogs & travelling light

Singer, guitarist, songwriter, producer Rob Lamothe is ready for the next European, read mainly Dutch, solo tour. Coincide with the tour we see the re-release of Lamothe’s very first solo album ‘Gravity’ on the new English label Border Town Sound. This album now includes a bonus CD with rare recordings and will also be released as a limited edition on vinyl. Altogether a must have for the fans. Back in the day, we are speaking 1996, ‘Gravity’ was released by small German label Dream Circle Records. Everything leads to the release of Lamothe’s next solo album later this year. Headbangers Lifestyle’s Ron Willemsen met up with Rob Lamothe the day before his departure for Europe.


,,This will be only me and a back pack stuffed with essentials travelling’’, Rob Lamothe starts. ,,No guitar, no laptop, just travelling as light as possible. I will pick up a loan guitar from Godin in Rotterdam and that’s just it.’’

Coincide with the tour his very first solo album ‘Gravity’ will see a re-release.

,,I got in contact with Dan Nevin in 2016/17 but I met up with him in 2018 when I visited my son, who was playing with his band in London. Dan was talking about starting a label and launch it with re-release of ‘Gravity’. He wanted to introduce more people to my music by re-releasing my solo albums. He wanted to stick to the original but it is specially remastered for vinyl. And there is a special edition 2CD version with on that second CD bonus songs. Some songs are mixed differently, in an analog studio, stripped back to the basic versions. And ,,The Light Of You’’ shows you how it developed from jamming with Spencer Sercombe from Shark Island who co-wrote it, to the final version. So hopefully people find it interesting.’’


The original release was on Dream Circle Records.

,,That was just something that happened. There was no internet when we signed the deal in 92/93. Everything went by mail and somehow the managers of Riverdogs at the time contacted the record company. They released two Riverdogs albums ‘Absolutely Live’ [1992] and ‘Bone’ [1993] and kept Riverdogs happening after Viv [Vivian Campbell] left. It was a one man record label owned by Ole Bergfleth who also had Psychotic Walt and some others. I used to be frustrated, come to Europe and he setting up a press day in Amsterdam, touring and than struggle to get paid at end of the tour. Not because he was dishonest but he was depending on what he earned with us. He worked so hard and gave me incredible opportunities that I still got benefits of. Unfortunately I lost touch with him.’’


‘Gravity’ could be qualified a his most personal album ever with songs like ,,Kevin Was My Cousin’’ (about Lamothe’s murdered cousin) and ,,Strongest Man in The World’’ (about his father). Add to that the album cover with his two sons and the inlay with a lot of personal photos and people get to know Rob Lamothe a little.

,,I agree, it is a very personal album. It is only me finding myself as a singer and a writer outside of a band. That was great although I always had creative freedom. That album was me stepping away from Riverdogs. As a solo artist not speaking for a band so I really embraced that and continued that with all my albums after that. Nowadays it might not be so explicit anymore. I worked with established writers between 92/95 and learned a lot. Specially my time in Nashville helped me what you can do speaking from your own experience without being too literal.’’

And your sons on the cover and photos from your own archive makes it even more personal.

,,It is all part of the vinyl packaging and double CD. Dan wanted to stay true to the original art and spirit of it. So we tracked down the original collage Actually it were just pictures cut out and pasted on a sheet. Totally old school and hand built. My wife is a graphic artist and illustrator so she has a big portfolio and found the original artwork and rescanned it. So beautiful.’’


There are six tracks on the bonus CD that turn out to be from the same era as the original songs on ‘Gravity’.

,,They are all from the same time as writing for ‘Gravity’ between 92 and 96. I was writing with great writers and alone and those songs were to be pitched for other artists, tv shows, movies. Dan wanted songs from that same era. Most of them I recorded myself in my studio back in Los Angeles. When Riverdogs was winding down I was writing and recording like a madman. I found a box with old DAT tapes that I mixed in my studio. Some 50 tapes with different mixes and versions of songs and even rough ideas. It tells the story about where I was at that time.’’


A song that keeps coming back is ,,House Of The Rising Sun’’. Riverdogs recorded it for ‘Absolutely Live’ it was on the original version of ‘Gravity’ and there is another mix on the re-release.

,,Yes, it is special to me because it was the first song I learned on guitar. My cousin Linda taught me when I was 8 years old. Only 30 years later I found out about the Lamothe connection with New Orleans, the vineyard, the special house. To me it is just one of the greatest songs ever written. I love it so much that is why there is this extra special version on the bonus CD. It was such a fruitful time. I felt Riverdogs was over and that was fine. For this I dug through my old stuff and found a treasure cove.’’

On the original release of ‘Gravity’ the song ,,Stay’’ was there but not mentioned on the tracklist. It was a ‘hidden track’.

,,It is listed now, on the original there are the song writing credits somewhere, Hidden tracks where a fun thing to do, haha. The song is about a really amazing woman I met while touring Europe in 94. We ended up being boyfriend/girlfriend for a while.’’


Most shows on the current tour are in the Netherlands and not without reason.

,,We won the Edison Award for the Riverdogs debut album and that helped us. For some reason people in Canada think I’m really big in Europe because I keep going there, but than I say ‘no’ I play these small shows but with an amazing loyal audience that nowadays even bring their children and grandchildren to my shows. I’m very aware I have a foothold here because of the Riverdogs and Arnhem became my home base. I often said if I had no kids and a no mortgage I probably would have moved to the Netherlands. Canada is a good place if you are a musician, America is very difficult to break out because it’s just too big. But I’m always welcomed in The Netherlands.


The fact that the tour coincide with the European Football Championship doesn’t bother Lamothe.

,,I tried to avoid the Olympics and the original idea was to start in May but that was pushed back to June. I did not wanted to go too late because I’m also supporting a couple of other artists in the Fall in Canada. And yes, I realised there is football but we just make the best of it. Germany has a match on the 19th, so that’s why there is no show. I also found out that when I am in Paris, the Tour de France passes approximately 120 km from there, so I will take a train and see a stage of the Tour de France, because I am a big cycle fan. Just go with the flow that’s what I try to do and I am so looking forward to it.’’

Check out the listed tour dates and try to catch one of the shows. You won’t be disappointed. And while there, pick up the re-release of his brilliant debut solo album.

All photos taken from Rob Lamothe Facebook Page



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