This afternoon, I had a phone conversation with alternative country / punk / rock musician Rosie Flores while she was in the candy aisle at a truck stop somewhere between Minneapolis and Milwaukee.
Flores, who has a gig tonight at Kochanski’s, finds inspiration in junk food, although she doesn’t eat much of it.
While touring, which is often, she looks at the candy for sale and if an item reminds her of a story from her life, she buys it, photographs it and then writes the related story. She plans to finish a book, a collection of memoirs called "Wacky Truck Stop Candy and Road Stories," by the end of the year.
In the meantime, she has dozens of gigs across the country. Originally from San Antonio, she resides in Austin when she’s not on the road.
At 63 years old, Flores still likes life on the go, but admits it can be difficult.
"I really enjoy the people I travel with and I enjoy the people I meet," she says. "The hard part is not getting enough sleep and lugging suitcases and having to stay so organized. I’m constantly wondering, ‘Where are my strings? My picks? My favorite brassiere?’"
Flores’ music career began at the age of 16, when her father helped her buy musical equipment to start an all-girl band, called Penelope’s Children, in her garage.
"My dad jump-started my musical career. I had girls’ rock camp in my garage and it was a pretty wonderful way to grow up," she says.
By the time she was 18, Flores was touring, fronting her punk band, Rosie and The Screamers, and later an all-female countrified band called The Screaming Sirens.
In 1995, Flores, dubbed the "Rockabilly Filly," joined Wanda Jackson on a coast-to-coast North American tour and then toured as a member of Asleep at the Wheel in 1997. She also appeared on "Austin City Limits" and "Late Night With Conan O’Brien."
Flores has 11 albums, including her latest on Bloodshot Records called "Working Girl’s Guitar." She had a recording deal with Warner Brothers in the late ‘80s, but realized mainstream country wasn’t a good fit for her.
"I may not get a lot of money and lose a lot of sleep – and it's hard, I'm not gonna lie and say it's a piece of cake because I do suffer sometimes – but it’s all OK. I have the power to say 'I want to do this’ or ‘I'm not going to do that.’ I get to control my life and nobody’s telling me what to do," Flores says.
Flores is currently touring with a drummer and a bassist.
"During the 90 minutes I’m on stage, I’m 16 again," says Flores.
Flores plays at Kochanski’s Concertina Beer Hall at 9 tonight. Jake LaBotz opens. Tickets are $15.
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