Mike Ruocco
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Mike Ruocco

Baltimore, Maryland, United States | SELF

Baltimore, Maryland, United States | SELF
Band Rock Pop


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Cinder Road has seen a lot of success over the past four years including touring with some of music’s best; Daughtry, Candlebox and KISS. Although the band took some time away from touring they spent that time working on their new release Damage Control. The Hot Zone had a chance to catch up with lead singer Mike Ruocco to chat about the new album and everything else the bands been up to, check out the interview below!
It has been three years between Superhuman and your new release Damage Control what has Cinder Road been up to during that time?
We spent almost all of 2007 and 2008 touring relentlessly around the world. We loved every second of it. In fact we didn’t want to stop but eventually it became time for us to get new music out to our fans. So we spent all of 2009 writing songs for DC. Once we felt we had the songs we went right in the studio to lay them down and here we are…
What do you feel is the biggest difference between your past releases and Damage Control?
Well for starters we are several years older and we have seen a lot in the past three years. Its an old saying but “you live, you learn” and this is deeply reflected in the new album.
You worked with a variety of different writers on this album can you tell us more about the writing process this time around?
I wanted to write with people who have written all types of songs and I wanted to write with as many different people as I could. So I wrote with a bunch of writers and we wrote all kinds of songs. Heavy rock songs, country songs, pop songs and everything in between. I think DC is a great representation of a little bit of all that.
You are part of the Siam Shade tribute album how did that come about and can you tell us more about it?
I met Daita (The Lead Guitarist for Siam Shade) in LA when I was working on our album. Daita is also singed to Sony Music Japan (our Japanese Label). When we met we had a great time and played some songs for each other. Daita liked the Cinder Road songs and I loved the Siam Shade tunes, so Daita asked me to sing on the tribute and I asked Daita to play a solo on our album.
You had success in Japan with Superhuman and are released Damage Control on October 27th tell us a little more about your success in Japan?
We have been very lucky that the Japanese fans have really taken to CR. We had a top 20 hit with “Should’ve Known Better” in Japan and now “It Hurts” is currently at #17 on the charts! We also got a ton of Japanese press, which has been awesome. We have been in BURRN! Magazine many times, which is basically the Rolling Stone mag of Japanese Rock.
The success of “It Hurts” must be very exciting is this your biggest single thus far?
It has been really exciting although it’s been kind of hard to watch the song grow on the charts. The only thing we can do is watch the track move on the internet unlike when we had singles on the radio here in the states. This is our biggest single overseas that’s for sure!
You also recently released a video for the ‘It Hurts” single can you tell us a little more about the video?
The video for “It Hurts” is a performance video. In other words it’s basically a professionally shot version of us playing live. The cool part is that we were able to film on the roof of a huge building on our hometown of Towson, MD. We could see forever, it really looks awesome! (Here is the link. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8cpXTklKwfo )
Any plans for a Japanese tour?
We are headed to Japan in December to open for Orianthi! It’s gonna be awesome. Although we have been to Japan many times with the US Military, this will be the first time we will have the opportunity to play for the Japanese fans. We can’t wait!
Speaking of touring, Cinder Road hasn’t toured the states in a while do you have anything coming up on the schedule?
The music business has been on a constant down curve for the past several years. Less bands are going out, less venues are open and that leaves less spots for up and coming bands like ours to jump on. We live to tour and we are doing everything we can to get back out there. No worries it will happen soon enough.
You have had the chance to see the world and tour with some incredible artists what did you learn about yourself during that time?
I learned that I love to tour, I love to travel and I love to meet new people. I also learned from being home for so long that the opportunities we had on the road dont come often and you have to enjoy every minute of it.
What did you learn about the world and the music Industry?
The world is only as big as a plane ticket and I love that. We have seen so many places and been a part of so many special things it’s hard to put it all in to words. Music speaks to everyone from all walks of life which is an awesome thing. We didn’t have an album out in Europe when we opened for KISS and we were able to make life long fans and that feels great!
You are also a writer for Bug Music how has that been going for you? Any details you can share with us?
Writing for Bug has been an awesome experience. I want more than anything to be rocking out when I’m 75 like Mick Jagger but that’s a tough task. Don’t worry though I’m gonna keep trying! I also have to be realistic and prepare for my future. I write all kinds of songs. Rock, pop country, you name it. Not all of these songs are meant for Cinder Road. So I am lucky to have the opportunity to get my other songs out there in a number of ways. I recently co-wrote a song with the band The Gracious Few called “What’s Wrong”. It is on their brand new record, check it out! I also co-wrote a song with Vivian Campbell from Def Leppard for his solo album coming out soon. I also wrote some music for the show LA Ink among other things. All of these things are great pieces to the puzzle of my musical career.
Any dream collaborations?
Steven Tyler, Def Leppard, Bon Jovi and Elvis
Anything else planned for Cinder Road or yourself this year?
Lot of plans, stay tuned!!! - HotZoneOnline.com

Damage Control
(Indie Release)

Maryland-based CINDER ROAD is one of those up-and-coming new bands who have everything that it takes to make it in this industry! Pure rock tunes that lay you on your ass, great songwriting, amazing musicianship, tireless work ethic, and a kick-ass live show! CINDER ROAD is back with their sophomore album, Damage Control. Coming off of their major label debut, Superhuman, CINDER ROAD isn’t letting anything stop them from making music their way! The band has matured, as will happen with 2+ years on the road. But also coming with time away from home, is the coming and going of band members. CR has some new faces, but haven’t lost a single step in the process! Original members, front man Mike Ruocco, guitarists Chris Shucosky and Pat Patrick, are joined by drummer Jordan Young. Damage Control smoothly picks up where Superhuman left off…straight up rock tunes with vigor and fire, ballads to make you weep like a little bitch, and relentless hooks that won’t let go! I’ve been a huge fan since day one! I will continue to sing their praises because they continue to produce amazingly relevant music that sets them apart from the norm! Mike Ruocco has mad skills as a songwriter…his passion and fervor comes through with each and every tune. The first single is still being determined, but you can bet that any tune from this album will do well on active rock radio! Damage Control delivers 13 very special tunes, any one with hit potential. Favorite tunes include “It Hurts”, “The Worst Way”, “More”, “I Don’t Wanna”, “The Devil Made Me Do It”, and “Without You.” This band absolutely deserves everything that music fans and the music industry has to offer them! Show them some love and pick up this album! Keep a lookout for their plans at http://www.cinderrockmusic.com/. Fans of rock music NEED this album! (If you don’t have Superhuman, be sure to grab it too!) Great, great rock album! - RockWire.com


- Single "Too Late" released February 2012
The Rise. The Ride. The Risk. album out Spring 2012!

- Superhuman (2007) - Cinder Road

- Stand in Our Way EP (2007) - As Plunge and Cinder Road

- Here We Go Again (2004, Japan) - SR71

- Tomorrow (2002) - SR71

- Understand (2002) - Plunge



Baltimore, MD bred Michael Ruocco is a craftsman of true rock song. Inspired by the likes of Def Leppard to get up on stage, he started his first band, PLUNGE, at age 12 with school friends. “When we hit the stage and the girls screamed I knew that this was what I was meant to do...” he explains. His parents heartily supported his foray into music – knowing that Mike was precocious and driven and could become a success. The band took their budding career seriously and grew into one of the busiest cover/original bands in the mid-atlantic music scene, playing over 300 shows a year from Providence, RI to Key West, FL. PLUNGE first signed to European and Japanese labels before releasing their album “Hometown Hero” independently in the USA.

Shortly after “Hometown Hero” came out, Mike was invited to join another hometown act, SR-71 – recently signed to RCA Records. He joined the band as a bassist/background vocalist while maintaining work with PLUNGE in his time off from the extensive, worldwide touring they did. SR-71 grew into a Gold-selling band just as PLUNGE started attracting its own A-level attention. “I knew I had a great opportunity in front of me with SR-71, but I also knew if I left my band might not be there when I got back. Fortunately everything worked out,” Mike explained. He also learned a lot that he brought back to PLUNGE to enhance their career. “The rehearsals were more formal, we had a full road crew, the set lists were written out every show, we sold merch, signed autographs... everything.” Not to mention the fact that everyone in SR really pushed me to become a better and more experienced played. I know that I definitely left SR as a different person musically.”

In 2004 Mike returned to PLUNGE and the band signed with Union Entertainment Group (Nickleback, Hinder, Candlebox) manager John Greenberg. They shortly thereafter signed a deal with Columbia Records. Mike then began co-writing with different artists and producers such as Stacy Jones, SR-71 singer Mitch Allan, Holly Knight, Jack Blades, Jani Lane, Duff McKagan, Matt Sorum, John Corabi and many others. His collaborations with Aerosmith Producer/Co-writer Marti Frederiksen created a lasting musical bond. In what has become par for the course in the music industry, changes at Columbia prevented their debut album from ever being made. Their move to EMI was made through Chairman David Munns himself.

Mike and Frederiksen began work on “Superhuman” in 2006. Upon its completion in 2007, Cinder Road was born. During our 07/08 run we toured with Candlebox, Sick Puppies, Hurt, Puddle Of Mudd, Tesla, RED, Alice Cooper and The Vans Warped Tour. But it was in May of 2008 that CR would have an experience that we would never forget. We were asked to be the direct support band for the KISS Alive 35 tour in Europe. The band could not have been happier and we spent 2 months in over 30 different countries playing with Rock Icons KISS. Upon its 2008 release, the Japanese Press hailed Cinder Road as the "Shining Light of American Rock" and SuperHuman was named one of the 400 best albums of all time.

With both Cinder Road and Plunge Mike has spent a tremendous amount of time with Armed Forces Entertainment, volunteering our time to play shows for the troops. We have been fortunate enough to participate in 7 overseas tours to Japan, Guam, South Korea, Hawaii, Greenland, Cuba, Italy, Germany, Belgium and The Netherlands in support of the US military and their families.

In 2009 Mike was signed to a publishing deal at Bug Music in LA where he works as a staff songwriter. With Producer/Song Writer Scott Stevens (Formerly of The Exies) he recorded the follow up album entitled "Damage Control" with his CINDER ROAD cohorts. “Our new album is a collection of songs that totally sums up the past 3-4 years of my and my band’s lives,” he says. “The ups the downs the goods and the bads. it's all there.” The difference from earlier CINDER ROAD music? He sums it up as “CR were heavier and more angry. I'm not angry anymore I am just determined to have my music heard.”

The album was released in the summer of 2010 in Japan. The band embarked on a Sold-Out tour of Japan in support of Michael Jackson Guitarist "Orianthi" in December of 2010.

Mike is continuing on as a solo artist with changing bandmates in support. He knows that CINDER ROAD fans will be with him on this journey. “For a relatively small band we have tons of fans with our band tattoos... We have had fans travel all over the country and the world to see us. They have been amazing to each of us.” Being on the road and seeing these fans means everything to this young veteran. “ I don’t care whether its 5 people or 50,000. I just love playing my music for people who love music like I do.” And the love, is why Mike Ruocco moves forward.