The Absolute
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The Absolute

Los Angeles, California, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2008 | SELF

Los Angeles, California, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2008
Band Rock Classic Rock




"The Raw Power of The Absolute"

Spotlight on four-piece LA rockers The Absolute, fresh off the release of their EP Time Will Tell.
By Chris Camargo

When Phil Ross, lead singer for LA rockers The Absolute was freelancing at Coachella, he found himself looking from offstage at the crowd, the festival trapping, the immense setup, and asked himself, “Could we play twenty minutes from now?” Without hesitation his answer was, “Yes.”
If you have ever watched Almost Famous and thought, “Damn, I wish I was there for that music scene,” I can tell you a version of it still exists. That was the reaction I had after the first time I saw The Absolute (Whose members include Ryan Driscoll [bass], Michael Pozzi [guitar], Phil Ross [lead vocals], Anthony Paul Lopez [drums]). I was at the Hotel Café for the second night of their March residency and their cover of “Champagne Supernova” by Oasis made me not feel as bad as I once did for never seeing them live. All of a sudden it was 1969 and Zeppelin’s II was in the new release section of Tower Records on Sunset Blvd. They played like “piss out of the broken window of their hotel room, cigarette burns in the bed, fuck your girlfriend, trash the bungalow at the Chateau Marmount and made you happy you saw them live” kind of rock stars. It was the feeling of seeing a great band before everyone else. It was the feeling of being able to say in a five years, “The Absolute. Yeah. I saw them in Hollywood in 2016 for $10.”

I met with the guys at their music compound on the edges of Little Armenia, where if you get street parking in front of your house, you’re tempted to leave it there and take an Uber everywhere rather than lose it. It was from these houses of the holy that the band wrote, rehearsed, and recorded their latest EP Time Will Tell. The five-song release dropped at the end of March and is the howling incantation of what the band describes as their new direction, a 70s heavy metal influence that goes back to the days when Pozzi learned to play “War Pigs” in middle school. (A bonus, politically-charged B-side track is set to be released May 23, the last day to register for the California primary.) The shreds are loud and heavy without being distorted, while the songwriting holds a sensitivity Badass Bands Blog founder Jolynn Braswell described as: “So honest and raw, they always kind of hit me right in the guts.”
This progression comes after a year that included leaving their label (and the music they recorded with them) and a reformation of the band. Yet they display a maturity and understanding of the music business that keeps them from being jaded about the experience. The recalibration period was only momentary. In the end, they knew who they were as artists, the direction they wanted to take their band, and had a sense that wherever they were going, they were going together.

It doesn’t take long to see that they have supreme confidence in their music and each other. These guys are not just musicians. It’s not hard to find musicians in LA. They’re artists. When Mike was asked about his guitar influences, the list was long, but rested on Paige and Townsend. He said it was not just that they were amazing guitarists, it’s that they were writers. They wrote songs that he, and the rest of the band, felt a connection toward and it was done from a guitar standpoint. But it was the connection between artist and audience that made them influential. Ross, the lead singer, echoed a similar sentiment when he said, “I have fun watching people be entertained.” He wants to make that connection to every audience. Watching him perform, there is nothing made up, unnatural, or inauthentic. Singing “Stay with Me,” whiskey in his hand, nothing seems out of place. You understand what he means when he says, “I stop being myself and become supremely confident.”

The Absolute inhabit that rare space of being supremely confident in their music yet are more than willing to admit that they have a long way to go. They have put in the work because it is more than just music, it is their lives. Drummer Lopez, soon to be seen on Cameron Crowe’s Showtime series Roadies, echoed that sentiment. “I can’t imagine a life where I’m not constantly thinking or hearing music.”
They’re going to go over the hills and far away from where they are now. Even with the success, they have a sincerity and purity toward their craft that keeps everything, as bassist Driscoll says, “It’s a fiesta.” - Yay! LA Magazine

"Waxing Philosophical With Alt Rockers The Absolute"

I don't want to dismiss music that's meant to simply be...consumed out of hand. When I'm on a long-commute from my place in Park Slope to somewhere in Manhattan -- say the IFC Center which has become one of my favorite spots in the city -- I appreciate access to easily disposable pop music that makes being packed like sardines in a can (if I'd spelled that intentionally wrong, I could have made a Radiohead joke there) a bearable experience. But my real love is music that makes me ask questions, music that is capable of taking me momentarily out of its own experience to force me to contextualize what I'm hearing. And that's what "Smile" by The Absolute made me do.

We had a chance to chat with The Absolute about their latest single, a piece of emotional and understatedly dramatic 90s tinged rock. The guitars feel like roaring lions in the depths of the jungle. You can hear them, in the distance, but they never get close enough to overtake you, and it builds tension in a marvelous way. And the vocals wrap an emotional vise around you as the singer's deeply emotive voice leaves its own indelible sonic imprint.

Check the single out below as well as our chat with the band.

We live in an age that tends to reject absolutes. Morally ambiguous heroes/antiheroes are all the rage. Why did you choose to be The Absolute?

The Absolute: The music scene, like nature, is eternally on a search for balance. When rock and roll was newly formed, the gods arose, e.g. Led Zepplin, Queen, The Rolling Stones, David Bowie etc.; larger than life entities that the individual listener could attach their feelings and ideals to. They represented how we felt and had the soapbox to express those feelings to the world when the average man couldnt. Over time, commercialism turned the next wave of so called "rock gods" into false prophets, e.g. hair metal bands. They no longer spoke to our inner hopes and dreams and their message reflected the selfish nature of our culture at the time. But, because art and life will always prevail even under the shittiest of conditions, a new breed of music started to bubble up from the underground. The anti-hero's like Bad Brains, Steve Albini's Big Black, Ian MacKaye and Minor Threat, Thurston Moore and Sonic Youth and of course Kurt Cobain and Nirvana. They were the answer to all the bullshit that was being pumped into our airwaves. They dared to hold a mirror up to society and told us to stop fooling ourselves. It was honest and because we as the audience knew this, it became popular. This began the next cycle. In this day and age, most "artists" tend to be followers so naturally the cool thing to do would be to copy and follow suit of these new anti-hero bands but the message of today's music finds itself being very insincere and lacking a message. Music in its essence is there to get us to feel something...anything!!! It is time for a tidal shift yet again. Today's anti-heroes have become everything their predecessors spoke out against. Today's message is apathy and lethargy. To complain but not to do anything about it. Aware of this, myself and the rest of The Absolute wanted to revisit the time of the rock gods. When Artists were larger than life and put on a show that left you emotionally and spiritually exhausted and fulfilled. They posed a challenge to their audience. Here is a problem, how will we fix it? The anti-heroes of today are too vague with their message and it gives the audience very little to attach themselves to. Though as artists we are always growing and changing we wanted a name that represented the fact that we have a mission and a message and we arent afraid of sharing that.

Much of the guitar work on "Smile" reminds me of mid/late-90s alt rock. Were bands from that era an inspiration for you as songwriters?

Seeing as how we were all born in the 80s and spent our important formative years in the 90s, it is no surprise that our music reflects the sounds of that era. Those teen through young adult years are when we start to find our individuality. This is when music is most important to us. We find out who we are and what we believe in through the artists of the time. The good music from the 90s blended melody with angst in a way that is lacking today. We set out to write good music that spoke to people, and as we got deeper into our writing process, the sound began to reflect more and more of the legendary artists of the 90's (as well as some of the rock gods of the 60's and 70's). We didn't set out to make music from another decade, but subconsciously that is what formed when we got in a room together.

We put a lot of emphasis on smiling in society. In fact, there's occasionally an unfair burden placed on women to smile lest they be marked as having "resting b**** face" or be told "you're so much prettier when you smile." What does "Smile" and the act of smiling itself mean to you as a band?

Smile became a personal mantra of mine. I even have the word tattooed on my chest. It is so easy today to get overwhelmed and caught up in our own negative bullshit. We forget to smile and to enjoy this unbelievable opportunity that we have been given called life. We only get one ride on this little blue planet and it's imperative that we enjoy it. Just the simple physical act of smiling can set off a powerful chemical chain reaction. Positivity breeds confidence which gives us the security to go out and accomplish what we want to do in life. Everyone finds themselves being insecure from time to time and when that happens we dont have the confidence to follow through. A common theme found in our music is that of a "positive apocalypse". The world cant keep functioning in this negative headspace. It is time to make a change. We know this is a lot bigger than just us as a band but it has to start somewhere. We spread our gospel at every show we play, and I try to spread the word on a daily basis with the word smile on my chest. When I am having a face to face conversation with someone my tattoo is a reminder for them to smile...or at least give it a try. :) - Baeble Music

"Premiere: The Absolute, 'Grow'"

The classic rock of L.A. quintet the Absolute covers a lot of turf, from the folk-inspired troubadours of seemingly ancient times to the audacious shredders of the 1970s to current crop of axemen who mash together all the influences of decades past. The band – singer Phil Ross, guitarists Ashton Likes and Michael Pozzi bassist Ryan Driscoll and drummer Anthony Lopez – came on the radar with an EP in 2011 and have released a trickle of singles since, but now they’re ready for their big turn. Their full-length debut, “Grow,” comes out Sept. 26 on Randm Records (A House for Lions, Filligar, et al). Produced and engineered by Mike Butler, “Grow” mixes broad social commentary with tender introspection – as on the strings- and keyboard-infused title track, a hopeful paean to fighting the good fight in which Ross sings “We ascend and take flight / This time I’ll get it right.” -

"The Absolute @ Boardner’s Club Moscow"

The lighting was like every other nightclub in the world – dark, and impossible to photograph well with my ‘fancy’ camera that was now just another bulky object taking up space in my purse.

“Then we’ll just have to put out our natural light,” he said, gesturing invisible light rays from his chest. The funny thing is that what he said was exactly what I would see when The Absolute started playing. I’ve known Michael Pozzi for a year or two but I’d never met his band before the show. I hadn’t even known the band’s name until last night, only that my friend had joined them about a month ago. But when they took stage and played the first notes a strongly connected energy flowed from the five of them directly into every one of us. Sound waves mixed with colorful light to create a vivid portrait.

When good music takes us out of our self-conscious minds and lets us dance, our bodies move effortlessly and we feel light. Making music, I’ve discovered, is the exact same way. If you are free enough the music actually seeps from the instrument through your skin. You can see it in your stance and the way you roll your shoulders, whether or not you close your eyes or how you move your hands. When you feel the music you look different, your mind is someplace else while your body is in a room full of people watching you.

This was the first time I’d heard my friend play, really play. My first time at Boardner’s too. It was fantastic. There were two separate rooms with bars and music, and a lounge up top. Leather couches and fountains made for plenty of seats. Our room was mostly open to the sky and the air fresh except for cigarettes and liquor. Cobblestone floors were not great for wedges but it wasn’t too packed and everyone present was pleasant. But most importantly, I could stand right in front with room to breathe and see the band’s faces. I could see the elegant movement of Phil’s hands as he sang and strummed. His voice was so raw it took your breath away. Michael stood so near that I could see his eyes smiling, and they didn’t stop until his solos when they would shut and his face would melt and morph with the sound the he was shredding from his strings. I could watch all four that stand close in toward the drummer as they built up the song, stepping with each other as if in conversation, and then when it reached its peak their energy would explode and all attention would move into the crowd, letting us feel everything they were playing. When I gazed around me, everyone had the same smile in their eyes as Michael’s.

As always, live music is about a feeling for me. Experiences like these remind me of how that connection is supposed to feel. No one can go to a giant festival with hundreds of thousands of people and feel the music like I did. When you can look an artist in the eye as he plays his songs for you, it’s a one-of-a-kind memory. First impression of The Absolute: Electrifying. Now all I have to do to complete the picture is listen to their lyrics. I will be seeing more of this band. - BY SUNNY STYLES

"Los Angeles Rockers The Absolute"

Los Angeles rockers The Absolute released their debut LP Grow back in 2014. I’m pulling up their track “Smile” to give a little light on the indie rock community. This LA band has been playing all over Souther California, from shows at Silverlake Lounge to The Bootleg Bar, The Absolute is not a foreigner to LA’s love for rock music. And they deliver. “Smile” teeters the lines of alternative rock and the more retro-ish indie rock. This particular song has the same air and class of The National back in the early 00s. Philip Ross’ vocals ooze confidence and flair and it definitely gives the song that tint of LA garage rock. - Abduction Radiation

"Single: The Absolute - 'Smile'"

Hailing from Los Angeles, California, The Absolute bring us new single 'Smile' and a foot-stomping retro indie sound. Unusually given their Stateside origins, lead singer Philip Ross' vocals are a dead-ringer for legendary scouser Lee Mavers from The La's, and the music at times drifts between (the good stuff) Kings of Leon and Interpol, particularly in between verses. There's some nice lyrics in there too and overall a warm fuzzy feeling of early nineties nostalgia abounds throughout. - Remy's Music and Film

"First Listen: The Absolute "Smile""

Equal parts Ian McCulloch and Bono, Philip Ross, frontman for Los Angeles-based The Absolute, understands adulthood can be a bitch. Backed by drummer Anthony Lopez, guitarists Michael Pozzi and Ashton Likes, and bassist Ryan Driscoll, Ross and The Absolute take the darker edges of the former with the once-earnestness of the latter on “Smile,” the latest single from their 2014 debut LP, Grow.

Detailing lessons learned from experiencing life’s false promises, The Absolute show us storybook endings are nothing but fiction on “Smile.” What one learns from such events should inform and inspire human growth.

Stream “Smile” below and purchase Grow via Randm Records. - Bucket Full Of Nails

"New Video & Stream From LA Based Band ‘The Absolute’ ‘Smile’ From Debut Album, “Grow” Out Now On Randm Records"

Infusing a mix of 90’s Grunge with 70’s Guitar Hero rock n’ roll, think of The Absolute as the soundtrack and preparedness kit for your life’s journey. Hailing from all corners of the US, lead singer Phil Ross, drummer Anthony Lopez, guitarists Ashton Likes and Michael Pozzi, and bassist Ryan Driscoll form The Absolute.

Their first full length album Grow (2014) is their latest project, and will be released with San Diego based Randm Records. Produced by Mike Butler, Grow centers around how the band were changing as individuals while also commenting on broader issues and the world around them.

Starting with the folk inspired opening track From This Day Forward to the heavier rock anthems of Seek and You’ll Find and Like I Do, The Absolute is issuing a call to arms. “We’re not telling you what to think”, says Anthony, “We just hope that you will think. So many of the issues surrounding us today have a tendency to be simplified into these very polarizing viewpoints. It’s a lot of black and white and everyone has their own agenda. Hopefully our audience isn’t going to just jump on the band wagon…hopefully they’ll look a little deeper and be moved to find their own voice.”

But it’s not all social commentary on Grow. Ross contemplates failed relationships in the infectiously catchy Smile and Bite Your Tongue while also turning more introspective, reflecting on one’s own failures and legacy on the hauntingly beautiful tracks No Wonder and Grow.

In between sessions at the Lost Ark Studio, the band has been performing frequently at renowned LA rock clubs – Hotel Cafe, Silverlake Lounge, The Satellite, and Bootleg Bar among others. But the Absolute’s concert is more than a performance. “What we try to encourage through our live show is an open, creative environment,” Phil says, “A platform to expand your mind. We’re here to challenge you: the absolute art, the absolute love, the absolute life; do everything all the way… and Grow.” - The Planet of Sound

"Rock Song Of The Week"

The Absolute "Smile" - Good old-fashioned rock music from California. It’s an anthemic track nicely carried by excellent guitarwork, and I love the vulnerable vocals from Philip Ross. - RARAs Farm's Rock Music Blog

"Badass Bands 57- The Absolute"

The Absolute. Sounds plain and simple yes? Not so much when it comes to Badass Band 57, they are a far cry from plain and simple. This band has mastered the ability to tell amazing stories through their music and put on a show that will bring you emotionally to your knees. They are truly a diamond in the rough.

I first saw The Absolute a of couple years and minus a couple of members ago. I remember being insanely impressed by them and then they kind of seemed to go into hibernation mode, and I was left wondering if they were still around. After a bit, close to about eight months ago, they popped up on a bill for a show I was already going to see, actually the one where I interviewed Pink Fuzzy Animals. I was so stoked to see them again, and they didn’t disappoint. All I could think at the time was, “HELL YES, they are still around and as awesome as ever!” This is a band that truly, truly puts on a show. No offense to other bands, many bands put on great shows, but these guys, well, maybe I should use another word for it. These guys don’t just put on a show, they create an experience, and not via props or crazy lights or gimmicks, via passion and the unique journey they decide to use to bond with the audience through music each night. I have never seen this band do the same set, they (as you will read in the interview) pride themselves on putting on an entirely new show every night they play, and they succeed.

Now, normally this is where I would discuss maybe a couple songs, their messages, the guitar riffs, rhythms and whatnot. Honestly, with The Absolute, there is no way I could describe their tunes that would do them justice. Melodies and lyrics are all over the map, they are elegant, honest, dramatic, and forceful. If I really had to pick some personal stand outs, it would be ‘Luck Be My Savior’, ‘Mean Machines’ and from their older EP, ‘Carry Me Home’, ‘God Rest My Mind’ and ‘Glass‘em’.

The band is comprised of Philip Ross- Vocals/Guitar, Anthony Lopez- Drums, Ashton Likes- Guitar, Ryan Driscoll- Bass and Michael Pozzi- Guitar. Each of these guys actually plays a handful of instruments, which only adds to their appeal and range. They’ve been actively releasing a single a month so the masses can constantly get their fix of this radical band. - Badass Bands Blog

"(the) Absolute Rock!"

Simply put: the Absolute rock. This is nodding your head to the beat rock music. This is close your eyes let the music take you to a different place rock music. This is the Absolute.

The Los Angeles-based band is rooted in thought without becoming too art house and losing its swagger. These Songs From A Room performers remember that a wink and a smile should not be barred from the seriousness of their music.

The band’s web site states they believe there’s more to reality than just the mundane. Their music is an attempt to go to that higher level with a motto of compassion that seeks understanding. The Absolute are not afraid to admit they hope to inspire.

Songs like “God Rest My Mind” and “No Respect for Author” from their album La Fin du Monde showcase a band that would fit on your stereo, your radio, a live act worthy of your attendance. - So Far Sounds / June 30, 2011


From The Sleep Of Reason - Single, self-recorded/self-produced
Release Date: May 23, 2016

Time Will Tell
- EP, self-recorded/self-produced
Release Date: March 28, 2016

Grow - full length album on Randm Records label
Release Date: September 22, 2014



Always sweat, and blood if needed, when they perform – absolutely. They play for the record sales they deserve and not the sales they have. It’s the war chanting of rock music’s last defenders. It’s the band that will play a full set and end with a ten minute spot on homage of War Pigs.

You don’t need them to tell you their influences, because you hear it in their music. They feed on the same ambrosia Zeppelin and Oasis did. They don’t play like their heroes. Rather, The Absolute channel the same force their heroes did so that when they play, it is familiar but completely original. They have this effortless attitude that only comes from behind the scenes grinding to bring balance to the rock universe. For all the shitty bands, one truly authentic rock band, a band that lives and breathes their art, can even it all out. Or in The Absolute’s way of things, play so fucking powerfully that you can’t hear anything that sucks.

When the question was put to them and they had to choose between the music they felt in them or go along with a label that had their own visions, The Absolute kept to their vision and with their latest EP, Time Will Tell, proved it was a decision well made.

The band is made up of Phil Ross, who is from SoCal and not Staffordshire, England, illustrating the range of voice he has developed, Mike Pozzi shreds harder on guitar than anyone you’ve ever seen, Ryan Driscoll’s slamming bass, and Anthony Paul Lopez pounding drums which gives the band’s music its backbone.

But it is more than just their music. The Absolute provide one of those rare pleasures in the world of getting to watch people who are supremely talented and committed to their art practice it for you.

-Chris Camargo, Music Journalist, Yay! LA Magazine

Band Members