If it feels right, it’s rock & roll. An interview with The Road Crew

Fleur the Kiwi

Photography by Rockin’ Ryan, Rockin’ Ryan’s Garage

Crashing the energy of punk into late ’80s Sunset Strip–style glam metal, SF Bay Area rockers The Road Crew have shared the bill with Jetboy and Hanoi Rocks cofounder Michael Monroe. DGT&G caught their set at a 100,000 Musicians for Change show in Santa Rosa, CA, the last Friday in September. The Road Crew brand of hard-driving rock ‘n’ roll got the crowd up on their feet and for 40 minutes the venue was shot through with adrenalin (and earplugs were not a bad idea).


The Cast

Nikki “The Hellion” Scott — lead vocals
Derek “D-Rock” Warwick — drums
Jakki Dee — bass
Downey Orrick — guitar

Click here for bios of the band members

The Interview

DGT&G: How did The Road Crew come together?


Derek “D-Rock” Warwick

Nikki Scott: Derek, you want to take a spin on that one?

Derek Warwick: Yeah, dude. Basically, Nikki Scott was drinkin’ a lot of beer [Nikki laughs] and a lot of vodka—

NS: What else is new? [Laughs]

DW: —and met Marcus McMann, which is our previous guitarist. So those two met up, started writing a couple tunes, saw me play in a fucking basement with this old punk band, said, “That’s the fuckin’ drummer we need—”

NS: Derek, you’re sitting there twirling your fucking drumsticks in these skintight, leopard-print spandex, man, and I’d just walked down to this dirty, crusty basement, watchin’ this crust punk band play, and I’m like, “Why is that guy so outta place. Why isn’t he playing for me?”

DW: Yep! And so they got me. The newest formation, hopefully going to stay for a while, forever—Downey’s on guitar now; we just got him last month. He’s fucking killing it. It’s all going forward and up from here.

NS: Hell, yeah.

Jakki Dee

Jakki Dee

DGT&G: And Jakki. When did Jakki come on board?

NS: You kinda forgot about Jakki! He just walked in in these stiletto fucking heels, and we’re like, “You’re in, dude!”

DW: We just saw his hair and his heels, and we’re like, “You’re done, dude. You’re in.”

Jakki Dee: Short story. [Smiles]

DGT&G: You’re all in your early twenties, and yet the music you relate to most strongly ruled the world a generation ago. Why?

NS: Wow.

DW: It’s our parents.

Downey Orrick: Yeah, our parents. Just better music.

NS: Hey, man, alls I got to say is one thing: “Rock and roll will never die.” It doesn’t matter how old it gets.

DGT&G: Who are your main influences?

DO: Beatles.

JD: Alice Cooper.

DO: Zeppelin, Guns N’ Roses.

NS: Fuck, yeah, Motörhead. Mötley Crüe. Ugly Kid Joe, definitely.

DW: Kiss.

DO: Green Day.

JD: Even Green Day.

DO: Green Day inspired me, man.

DGT&G:  What’s your songwriting process? 


Downey Orrick

DO: Well, I just learned them. [Laughs]

NS: Chaos, beer. Pot.

DW: Girls.

NS: Girls.

DGT&G: Do you play instruments? [Laughs]

DW: If you want to call that an instrument, yes. No, but seriously, it’s all based around the riff, and then we come up with the verse and chorus. We just branch off from there.

JD: Come up with music and then words.

NS: If it feels right, it’s rock & roll. [Laughs]

DW: It’s painting a picture.

DO: A very nice picture, isn’t it.

DGT&G:  And then, Nikki, you write lyrics. 


Nikki “The Hellion” Scott

DW: Yeah, he writes lyrics.

NS: The depraved soul of Nikki Scott.

DW: We’re not a complex band, here.

NS: I just write about real life and whatever.

NS: We’re showmen, man. [Laughs]

DW: We don’t write about shit like Iron Maiden does. We write about shit like Motörhead and fucking Mötley Crüe.

DO: We write about real life.

DW: Starry-eyes fucking rock and roll.

DGT&G: You’re in the process of preparing your album for release, right? Your debut album?

DW: Yes.

DGT&G: How’s that going?

NS: Well, it’s already recorded. We gotta get Downey’s tracks recorded. All the lead guitar stuff done. Pretty much the rest of it’s done and then we’re gonna move on, we’re gonna do a four-song EP. Then we’re gonna get back in that studio and start writing the next album. Bring it on.

DW: We gotta tour with CrashDïet.

NS: Hell yeah, dude.

DW: We’ll just hop on their wagon with them. We’ll go perfect with them.

JD: We’d blend in.

NS: It’s all one band, dude. They all look the same. Fuck!

JD: They would be like, “I hear your band CrashDiet did really good last night.”

DO: Road Dïet the Crash Crew.


DGT&G: So you’re working on a video for—is “Lost” the first single?

DW: “Lost” is the first single off of the Adrenaline Junkie CD.

DGT&G: The video teaser evokes the fun attitude of the Sunset Strip circa 1989, but with a modern edge and your own style. How much fun was that to make?

JD: There’s a lot of footage that won’t be in there.

DO: Just FYI that pelvic thrusting will not be in the video.


DW: Ladies, keep calm and just come to our show.

NS: Keep your panties dry, women.

DW: Keep calm and come to the show and you’ll see it.


Check out the pelvic thrusting while you can:

DGT&G: You’ve shared the bill with Michael Monroe, cofounder of Hanoi Rocks, and Jetboy. How was that?

DW: Oh, man.


DW: Pushing a van for six hours.


DW: First off, it’s not even so much that we got to play with them, it was how we got there, dude.

NS: That was the real story.

DW: We’re in the free candy creeper van, right? This van is a ’78 Ford F-350, no windows, and it’s all the band members, all our girlfriends. We’re going 30 on the side of the 280, man, going fucking down, trying to make it to Santa Clara.

NS: Every five miles I got my head underneath the fuckin’ hood. [Laughs]

DW: We made it just in time for soundcheck. And then we had some time—it was hurry up and wait, you know. But we made it. Jetboy loved us. What did they say, what did the lead singer say?

NS: Oh, dude.

DW: “Props to Road Crew for bringing the hot-ass babes.” All our girlfriends—

NS: That was our trick, man. We had the hottest girls standing behind that merch booth. And we sold more merch that night than any other night.

JD: Yeah. And that place is huge, too.

NS: Thank you, girls.

DW: Yay for girls.

DGT&G: So, what’s the most memorable gig you’ve ever played? TRC_Downey6b-RR

DW: I would say tonight.

NS: Tonight was pretty bad ass.

DW: Tonight was—

DO: I’ve only played three shows so far.

DW: This is Road Crew at its finest right now. It’s just gonna get better.

DGT&G: What distinguishes your brand of rock and roll?

NS: It’s got my stink on it.


DW: Yeah, it’s just very all over the place, you know? We don’t try—

NS: We thrive off energy, basically.

DGT&G: You’ve played all over the Bay Area. Any plans to head to the Sunset Strip?

NS: Oh hell, yes.

DO: Yes.

DW: Soon.

DGT&G: What does it feel like when you’re playing live?

DW: Oh, man.

DO: It’s a rush.

DW: Yeah.

DO: It kinda just goes by really fast. You have no time to think, really.

DW: If you’re playing and you’re not thinking about it and you’re fucking just—that’s when you know you’re doing it right. When you’re not even thinking about what you’re doing.

NS: Hey man, playing on stage is gotta be like one of the best fucking drugs known to man, because godammit, we are poor fucking starving musicians. Why the fuck would we go up on that stage unless we had a reason to.

DW: Yep, yep. We’re pretty hungry. And we’re not gonna stop till we get it.


DGT&G: What’s your best Spinal Tap moment?


DW: We’re talking daily, here. OK, for example, our last show. We’re just about to go, right? Downey’s amp cuts off.

DO: Yeah my fucking amp breaks.

DW: His amp cuts out. Like, OH NO.

DO: And we couldn’t figure out what was wrong with it. We had to use somebody else’s amp and it sounded like shit. And the sound guy decides to blast it through all the fucking speakers.

DW: Once he got it going dude, yeah.

DO: So all you could hear was guitar. [Laughs] So it was twice as bad.

JD: It was fucking all—

DO: Like, I was right next to Derek and I couldn’t even hear him.


DW: I couldn’t hear shit.

NS: I felt like I was pantomiming. [Laughs] I kept screaming but nothing was coming out.

JD: I heard a slight guitar. I didn’t know where Derek was.

DO: It was like the worst time—

NS: Dude, remember that one time when I jumped—the whole setup was brilliant. I mean, it was gorgeous. Derek comes crashing in on the drums. Jakki Dee on the bass. Downey on the guitar, and I jump out on the stage and there is my mic—unplugged … and set up for a midget.

DW: So that was Spinal Tap, dude. That was total Spinal Tap.

NS: I’m like sitting there looking at the sound guy like, what the fuck?

DO: You gotta work with it.

JD: We walked on stage with the intro going and then—we didn’t have time to really check anything. But we pulled it off.

Nikki-RoadCrew-LMC20-7-13b-wmDGT&G: So, what’s in your future?

NS: Sex, drugs, and more rock and roll.

DW: Yes.

DO: And pizza.

NS: And beer.

DW: And, like Nikki stated earlier. Basically just getting this album finished and out and traveling. We’re gonna travel. We got a new line of merch and logos coming out.

DO: Keep playing shows, man.

NS: People are gonna hear us some day, man.

DW: Soon.

DGT&G:  Anything else you want to say to our readers, besides come out and watch you play?

NS: Yeah, get ready to fucking rock, man.  [Laughs]  Road Crew is coming up quick.

JD: We aim to please.

DO: Go check us out on Facebook. We got videos, recordings…

DW: Yeah, check it out, Facebook.com/roadcrewrocks. Twitter, Facebook, ReverbNation. Check us out on YouTube.

DO: We appreciate the support too.

DW: We’ll show you the same.

DGT&G:  Thank you.


Starry-eyes rock ‘n’ roll

The Road Crew are…

Nikki Scott: Nikki got his start on the scene as a bass player, playing in “way too many bands to name.” Tired of playing for other bands, he started writing out his life story in lyrics. After falling in and out of drug and alcohol addiction, he took up the mic and passed the bass to Jakki Dee when their producer got Nikki drunk and found out he could sing the songs he was writing.

Derek Warwick: Since picking up the sticks at age 12, Derek has played and toured with a number of bands of the punk and hard rock variety: The Ashes, Tattooed Millionaires, P.M.R.C. In addition to The Road Crew, he occupies the throne for Bay Area-based electronic rock band February Zero.

Jakki Dee: Influenced strongly by The Beatles and Alice Cooper, Jakki started playing bass in sixth grade. En route to finding a spot as the bridge between guitar and drums in The Road Crew, Jakki played for Bay Area bands Electric Rose and Wayward Guns.

Downey Orrick: Downey’s lifelong interest in music can be traced to being surrounded by music from an early age. At 6 years old he tried his hand at the drums. After hearing the Beatles for the first time, he was inspired to pick up the guitar, and soon after began teaching himself how to play. Heavily influenced by guitarists such as Slash, Jimmy Page, and Stevie Ray Vaughan, Downey bases his style on British blues and 70s hard rock. The dream of being a renowned musician fuels his desire and determination to be the best guitarist he can be. In addition to The Road Crew, he also plays guitar for Bay Area-based band The Jaded.


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