The Absolute
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The Absolute

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"Interview: Norman Music Festival"

The Absolute frontman Phil Ross talks about Norman Music
Festival gig
April 24, 2009 03:21 am
— Editor's Note: The Absolute, a Los Angeles-based alternative rock band with Winthrop Ellsworth on
bass, Adam Keller (a Norman native) on lead guitar, Anthony Lopez on drums and vocals and Phil Ross on
lead vocals and rhythm guitar, will play on the main stage at the corner of Main Street and James Garner
Parkway during the Norman Music Festival. I recently spoke with Phil about the band.
By Adam Scott
Entertainment editor
pop: How are you feeling about being on the main stage of the Norman Music Festival?
Phil Ross: It is definitely surreal, man. This group, though we've known each other as musicians the last few
years, this band kind of came together about five, six months ago, so, we're just, we're excited and super
honored to be given such a great opportunity so early and we all worked really hard, so it's good to see hard
work pay off a little bit and we're all huge fans of (festival headliners) Of Montreal, so we couldn't be more
p: Is Adam Keller looking forward to a visit back to the Sooner State?
PR: Oh yeah, most definitely, most definitely. All of us are looking forward to coming back to his
hometown and getting a chance to meet all the locals and his family and his friends and whatnot. Plus, you
know, all of us here, even being out in Los Angeles, we know how important "Boomer Sooner " and all that
good stuff is. So we're definitely looking forward to the crowd. We heard it's a rowdy, fun crowd in
p: I've gotten the mythic version of how The Absolute formed on your MySpace page. Would you be OK
with detailing a more mundane version of the philosophy of your band?
PR: ... The philosophy behind The Absolute is generally, and especially in times like these, to be looking for
the positive in everything. There's a silver lining to every cloud ... A problem with our generation, with
future generations, is kind of this apathy and this lethargy to get up and make a change, because they feel
like, most of them think that "oh, everything's already been discovered, there's nothing left, there's no new
soil to be turned."
But I feel like that is horribly wrong. I feel like there's plenty of new things to discover and if anything,
maybe re-mulch the soil, rejuvenate what has been discovered before you. The whole general philosophy
behind the music is, if we can inspire one person to get off their butt and create something of their own then
we are satisfied. Because we are fully aware that no matter how big a band can get, if you can push your
hands out there and inspire others and kind of spark the renaissance, whatnot, I feel like, then our job is
The Absolute frontman Phil Ross talks about Norman Music Festival gig 6/5/09 6:39 PM Page 2 of 2
p: It's hard to tell from photos on a Web site -- just how tall is Winthrop Ellsworth?
PR: To go along with the size, he's got quite the grand name. His full name is actually Edmund Winthrop
Partridge Ellsworth. So it's quite the mouthful. Winthrop, yes, he is our gentle giant and he is one of the
smartest people that we have in the band, as well as the most sensitive. But at the same time, you don't want
to meet the business end of his fist, I am sure.
Winthrop stands about six-two, six-three, maybe one ninety-five. He's a pretty lean guy; He's pretty big but
he's definitely in shape for a big guy.
p: How long have you guys been playing together?
PR: Separately, Adam, Winthrop and I have all known each other from college. Anthony was an awesome
discovery that we were able to make along the way. He's up from the central coast of California, originally,
and then along the way, the songs have been formulating about a year but as a group, we got together
actually putting something out there about six months ago. And Los Angeles, it has been awesome. I
thought that there was no such thing as an actual fan, especially in L.A. anymore, but the ones that we have
been able to accrue out here have been insanely amazing ... We definitely love our jobs.
p: The music videos by that Aaron Brownlee guy on your site seem really smooth and polished. Any thanks
you'd care to give Aaron?
PR: Oh, most definitely. Again, going back to the whole idea of being able to put our arms out there to
other artists. This is a good example of that on the local level. He's a filmmaker, he was originally out from
Georgia and was working in Los Angeles on the whole film career, director, writer. We crossed paths with
another like-minded artist who is really hungry to make change.
We came across each other and we wanted to team up. He had lots of cool ideas ... because another thing
about our music is we want it to be an all-around show. Listening to music is great and watching someone
just jump around and scream and throw stuff out at the a -

"Review of Festival Performance"

"Named after the Eastern metaphysical philosophy of "the absolute", the belief in an unconditional and ultimate reality beyond everyday existence. It's a big name for a band with a big sound: completely raw and alternative rock with a little bit of everything thrown in; at times they remind me of U2 with more of an edge..." - Oklahoma Daily


Still working on that hot first release.



Inspired by the eastern philosophy of “the absolute”, a concept in which a divine reality exists that transcends everyday being and ordinary life, the Absolute has embarked on a journey to inspire people to awaken their social consciousness. At age eight, lead singer Phil Ross knew he was destined for something greater in life. Raised in Orange County, CA, Phil studied music and theatre. Inspired heavily by Bill Medley (The Righteous Brothers), Brian Wilson, and Black Francis (The Pixies), he developed the skills he needed to one day have his voice heard. Yet, he was a band of one.

After years of performing with other musicians, Phil finally met his muse, bassist Edmund Winthrop Partridge Ellsworth, while studying at USC. Winthrop, described as a bassist who plays and lives his life like a battleship entering foreign waters with the grace and form of a ballerina, helped plant the seeds to what would eventually grow into the Absolute. When asked about meeting Phil, Winthrop responded, “The first time I heard Phil sing and play, I knew that he was going to do something amazing, and I had to be a part of it.”

Still, Phil and Winthrop were only a band of two. Working with various musicians, the group continued to evolve. Winthrop explains, “We went from being two acoustic guitars and vocals, to when I was out of the band, it was huge! There were 6 guys and seriously shredding guitars.” “Yeah,” Phil adds, “it’s been constantly making mistakes and learning along the way, falling down, getting back up and making it a bit further. Part of our making mistakes and getting back up included the return of Winthrop on bass.”

When Phil met Anthony Lopez, a young drummer from Central California. Phil was blown away by Anthony’s musicality and introduced him to Winthrop. Anthony, the youngest member, easily became the most “rock n’ roll” of the band. “Instead of going out and partying after a show like the rest of us, Anthony would make a b-line back to our rehearsal studio and practice until sunrise.” added Winthrop.

With a mutual interest in philosophy and social awareness, the Absolute was born. The band setup home in Los Angeles and began writing and playing shows, however, there was still an element of Phil’s songwriting waiting to be unlocked.

When a long time friend of Winthrop met the group, the Absolute was instantly complete. Adam Keller, born in Oklahoma, rounded out the lineup better than anyone could have hoped. With poignant and powerful solos, Adam was born to rock. Even when he isn’t rocking, he’s actually rocking (you just can’t see it)! “Getting Adam to play with us was something that has made the band skyrocket…it really feels perfect for the first time! All the pieces are in place now and as soon as Adam joined the band, things suddenly got easier.” says Winthrop.

Now complete, the Absolute is working on their first E.P. What should one expect? When Phil writes, he talks about epic journeys across post-apocalyptic barren tundra, about a man too vain to love, about fire, because that’s how Phil tells a story. He starts with a simple chord change, and three short vocal melodies, until finally, there is “a sound”. “I grew up thinking pop music was lame,” says Phil, “but eventually, if you can make great pop music, that's the ultimate accomplishment. Because you have the most simple ingredients, to make something different and unique is truly interesting.”

“We want to take our audience on an emotional journey…to be immersed in the sound to the point where they feel what we’re feeling and we’re going on a journey together (a journey on a Boeing 747 blasting it’s ass off into space)!” exclaims the Absolute. Regularly playing clubs around Los Angeles and Orange County, the Absolute is quickly expanding with shows in San Francisco, San Diego and Oklahoma.

To see what the band actually wanted you to read, check out “the Absolute: A Present Day Odyssey” (available upon request).