Rotary Downs is proof that rock and roll is alive and well in New Orleans, unrelenting since its birth in the Crescent City in the 1950s. Most people know that New Orleans is the birthplace of Jazz, but what some might be surprised to learn is that rock and roll was born here, too. You could call the father of rock and roll Cosimo Matassa, who recorded the first rock music at his studio in New Orleans by artists like Fats Domino and Little Richard.
On this episode of GoNOLA Radio, we’re honored to have New Orleans photographer and drummer of local rock band Rotary Downs, Zack Smith, join our hosts to talk about the creative nature and possibilities of New Orleans. Zack is in a unique position as a New Orleans artist, placed both in front of and behind the scenes. As a photographer, he observes the artistry of New Orleans as it’s being created and in turn that product itself becomes art. As a drummer for Rotary Downs, he switches roles, creating upbeat, infectious rhythms with his band mates for the audience on the other side of the stage. The result is a distinct indie rock approach influenced by unique New Orleans style which produces completely delightful, often danceable, ambient rock.
In this GoNOLA Radio podcast, our hosts talk with Zack about the musical bridge between New Orleans and Lafayette, Louisiana, referencing Cajun rock cohorts Lost Bayou Ramblers and Brass Bed. They muse on other important fixtures in the current New Orleans rock scene, like the visceral noise pop power duo Caddywhompus who have catapulted to national and now international stages, with a European tour under way.
Hear about all these bands and much more from Zack Smith on this episode of GoNOLA Radio!
GoNOLA Radio is a free New Orleans podcast hosted by Sunpie Barnes, Lorin Gaudin, George Ingmire and Mikko about the food, music and culture of the Crescent City. Subscribe to GoNOLA Radio on iTunes or download to your mobile device on Stitcher. GoNOLA Radio features music by Cale Pellick.