(AIM) Jehuniko interview with G-rep/Zulu Soldier & The Aim West Coast Leader Gabe Rosales 

Sometimes if you don’t ask then you just never know what the person next to you is doing and has done. From world tours with Christina Millian, Jennifer Lopez, to rocking mics as an MC to protests on the front lines of human rights. It is an honor to bring this interview to you with my fellow Anti-Injustice Movement representer by the name of V-Non, or Gabe Rosales. An MC, vocalist in a band and overall musician to the stars. Always good to know that people traveling the world with their music also share a common view point as it relates to human rights, Chicanismo and hip hop. 

Jehuniko: Peace my brother. So tell me is it V-Non or Gabe Rosales?

I go by both because I’m representing my band Vital Nonsense which is a conglomerate of 8-10 people. My album was the launching pad for this band. As of right now I’m doing most of the writing musically and almost all the lyrical content but having everyone involved helps the music evolve. I put together musicians who are affluent in many styles because I love music in general and I want the music to portray the emotion. I do not always feel like a hip hop beat, sometimes its pure salsa or sometimes nothing can encompass frustration more than grinding metal riffs, to me at least.

Tell me about your band Vital Nonsense? 

The concept was derived from Gary Zukav’s book The Dancing Wu Li Masters which takes the reader through a study of the evolution of quantum mechanics. There was a section on "nonsense” and how crucial it is to the creative process because thats how we as a civilization grow. Nonsense is only nonsense to the judgemental intellect that calls it that. At first I was going to release my music under separate guises because each style was so different than the last but I decided on keeping it together because that is who I am, and that is who most people are in the US, a mix of people from different places.

I knew it would be a marketing nightmare but I do not do this to market to consumers, I do it as therapy for myself and to aid other people in seeing there IS another way in may apsects of the music world as well as in life. Thats what I’m trying to portray at my shows. We flip from jazz fusion to metal, from latin to funk. Its all music. Its heart, great musicianship, talent and a message. For details on who is in the band check my website at gaberosales.com and click on the VNON tab. The album was created with many cameo appearances from great musicians I know such as fusion legend Dave Weckl and Prashant Aswani. I got Stephen Perkins from Jane’s Addiction on a track and I also got Bert Baker from The Pharcyde along with many more amazing musicians. It was produced by Riz Story and touring and session legend Paul Pesco, my mentor.

Are you doing hip hop beats equally, or more with the live band?

I have not incorporated turntables into my shows though that is the norm for traditional hip hop. I do it more like The Roots with live musicians as well as I play guitar and bass during the show. I have nothing against spittin to tracks and that would be alot more practical but there is a certain excitement brought on stage when each sound is being created in realtime. There is room for the energy to expand from more people than just myself and we all feed on that.

I hope you saw that we posted your track with Divine Styler as well as the link to your free album. How you end up hooking up with an LA OG?

I met D in sur Orange County where I’m from. I was approached by him after he saw me playing with a local jazz fusion band and he wanted to start working on stuff. The music with him has been in the works for a few but it will happen. Good things take time. I am honored to have such a genius mind on my tracks as well as the flow of King Live D, the other emcee on the track. Divine is actually from the east coast originally, a Brooklynite. His innovation is unparalleled. He really doesnt give a shit and I mean that in the most respectable way. His musical mind expands past what most people are capable of comprehending and I love him for that. He is a legend in my book and to get him to bless my tracks was a highlight for my career undoubtedly.

Give us some background on your history with Jennifer Lopez, Christina Millian, The Police, TRL, Saturday Night Live, Super Bowl 35. What was your role?

I started as a kid playing around on my moms nylon string guitar, turned to more piano by 10, then when I hit 14 I picked up bass because the death metal band I was growling for was lacking a bass player. When I started teaching music I focused back on guitar but my heart and soul and prowess is all on bass guitar. I went on tour when I was 19 almost right out of high school, turned 21 on the road and started making a name for myself. This was back in 99 so its been a minute. I’m not the "prodigy” kid anymore, haha, now I just play. I played bass for all these acts and musicians you mention. Some of them I tracked for and others I was just part of the backing band. I got an agent/mentor friend who took me under his wing when I was 17. I was at the right place at the right time. He eventually became the producer on the 1st pro album I recorded on and then he became the musical director of Jennifer Lopez which he also brought me in on. From there it was word of mouth.

Tell us some crazy stories from your world tours.

Beautiful places, lots of drinking and lots of drugs. Sounds cliche’ but "partying” was always a big priority to me most of my life. I use that term "partying” loosely because I’ve been clean for almost 4 years now and looking back at the places I was, I wish I would have actually BEEN there, HAHA! I toured Europe in a private jet with JLo which was good times. We had cristal waiting for us after every show and we had our own waiters on call. There was a huge after party after SNL both times in 2000 and 01. We ate and drank then when it was getting close to midnight we went to the after hours party where members of the cast got their fade on.

Taking drugs in a dimly lit bar with security all around, it was chaos. Tracy Morgan had his shirt off of course and was running around like a madman. Japan with Christina Millian was dope too. Also a debaucle. I missed lobby calls and thought I would have to fly myself to the next country, I almost got jumped by locals in countries many times, I got drunk and threatened Backstreet Boys, I got to hear Luther Vandross sing Jlo’s favorite song to her in a rehearsal as a Valentines gift from Puffy before he pulled her into a room and yelled at her, laughed with Fat Joe, and ate amazing FOOD. To be honest, I cant remember alot either but thats some of the blur that was my 20′s haha!

Classic. Back Street Boys-well done brother! With all that mainstream activity/exposure, you spit conscious revolutionary lyrics. Bridge that gap for us.

I was always about a message in the music I created whether it be comedic of serious. I started writing lyrics when I was as young as 6 and I always wrote my thoughts. I wrote lyrics for my death metal band and it kept evolving. The clarity came later. After my 1st tour I came back so out of my mind at 21 that my oldest friends hardly knew me. I attended a meditation school where you go for 10 days, meditate 16 hours a day and are in silence the entire time. It drastically altered my outlook, not in a religious way though you could describe it as a religious experience.

It was pure experience and reality at the deepest level of consciousness and it was perfectly in sync with my quantum physics studies. My addictive personality crept up on me again and I stopped meditating and continued with drinking and eventually selling drugs. The knowledge and the inspiration didn’t come till "the show was over” so to speak. My alcohol abuse got me rolling with shitty ass people and got me into horrible predicaments so I ended up getting locked up. I was looking at years but I got a descent lawyer who copped a great deal so I got the charges dropped to misdemeanors and I got 3 months instead. This experience in jail was akin to a kind of meditation school but obviously it was more sinister, funnier, and life threatening. I was running with the biggest gang in the facility, the surenos, and the last week I was there we got orders from upstate to riot with all blacks.

Up to that point I was doing alright. I just watched how things were run and read and worked out. I had some friends who I had developed while I was there and I had alot of fellow surenos bringing positive vibes to cope with time even though it was a twinkle in homies like X’s sentances. I learned from the highest southsider up how his family ran the city of Santa Ana and I learned some of the innerworkings of the gangs in that area. I saw how the paisanos which are mexicans born and raised in the mother land, were filed in just to take up bed space at all times. I saw inmates get sick and cough up blood and the deputies do nothing. Not everyone there was there for legitimate reasons. Some young mexicanos were just riding in the car and were illegal and they were treated liked they raped someone. My eyes started opening and I saw how lucrative jail was as a business. Commissary was marked up 1000 percent and it is privately owned! The surenos popped it off one night in another barack and we went on lockdown for days until they opened us back up.

That same day other homies went into chapel with blades and started cutting people up so we went back on lock again. Deputies would come in and shoot pepper spray into our cells just for fun. Everything changed for me in jail. After that experience I vowed to take no more pop gigs. I couldnt back commercials anymore trying to take focus off how horribly some people have to live. I can’t sell my talent to a record company to promote plastic bullshit. I couldnt keep drinking, using and running away from who I am. From meditation I felt the unity of us all and through jail I’ve seen how separate we are taught to look at each other.

You are also a member of the Anti-Injustice Movement, tell us how you being in Southern Califas got down with a movement which started in Glasgow, Scotland.

I was watching videos on youtube and I saw a video on black atheists which was intriguing to me and in one of the vids they mentioned Greydon Square, a fellow AIM soldier, Iraq war vet, ex-compton crip, quantum physics major. I had just released my album and I hit up Greydon on myspace and facebook to see if he ever needed any bass tracks. I love his music and intelligence and wanted to get down on some shit with him. Within weeks of affiliating with Grey I was approached by AK and asked if I was interested in joining the AIM. The rest is history. From that point I became aware of Street Poet Monte Smith whom I’ve become pretty tight with as well as Capital X. Both of these dudes influenced me tremendously along with the entire AIM fam. In working with my local Calafia Zulu chapter and with AIM I’ve been able to help, raise awareness and basically become what I need to be and all I can be, like the army, HA!

So what is your focus both politically and musically?

I focus on the central banking circus which is the Federal Reserve which is here to literally keep the world in a bullshit debt like slaves. I’m all about bringing down the corporations that have torn this world to pieces like the biggest most deadly cancer in existence and I also strongly fight against injustices brought by religious beliefs. This is something that is very deep to me which I started against when I was 13. I denounced all my religious ties when I was 13 and declared myself a satanist because things I said to my friends were literally written word for word in the satanice bible. I was a satanist for four years till I realized it was just another group of people pointing the finger in the opposite direction. Some of the statements still have stuck with me but I’m more on the buddhist athiest tip these days. Religious affiliation doesnt really matter to me, its when people start claiming they know what god wants to justify injustice that I lose my shit.

Musically, I’m working on a new album and the focus is more good music. You can expect heavier, funkier, more roots, and more aggressive lyrical content focusing on war, war with self, drug addiction, corporate crime, simple reflections and consciousness. I’m most definitely gonna have some dope Cameo appearances like the last album but this time it’ll be an AIM and Zulu cast.

As I understand, you have gone through your struggles on various levels. How has your experience been as a Chicano in the music industry?

Being latino has helped because the pop world always wanted people of "color” behind anything supposed to be hip hop, R&B or dance. Thats another learning lesson, just like in any other business. The management company hires you and when the next young music school student graduates who has the right look, they’ll drop you and hire the kid who will work for 500 buck a week. They do not want people with experience because its easier to exploit no names. We’re expendable like the cheap labor we get in India or trafiic in from South America. I can tell you having a shaved head and being latino is a look that the mainstream has stayed away from though. Gotta have the look, doesnt matter how you play, half the gigs are lip synced anyways. Its all fake but the fakeness comes with the money because if there were flaws than these people wouldn’t be larger than life and disenfranchised people do not want to see everyday normal people because it reminds them of themselves. Its a all facade, like photoshopped models.

What is the last album that you bought?

Last album I bought was Diabolic-Liar and a Thief, before that Greydon Square- The Kardeshev Scale.

What artists are you feeling right now?

I love Messhuggah, a metal band from sweden, probably the best band in the world. Slayer is always a favorite because they NEVER disappoint me, new album came out a little bit ago. I also have to say Immortal Tech, I bump 3rd World religiously. I do like Muse alot because I’ve taught them and they’re interesting. I still go back to the oldies regularly. I listen to Herbie Hancock and Cameo, and Django Reinhardt a gypsy jazz legend. And no BS, I listen to alot of AIM artists on a regular basis.

What do you have going on at the moment?

’m working on getting a degree in philosophy, working on a new album, teaching music, training hard in the gym and jeet kune do, Zulu charity events, playing in 4 other bands all assorted music from funk to fusion, and I just finished recording an album with Andy Summers the guitarist of The Police. We’re gonna complete that and see whats up. It’s a blend of Andy’s tunes he wrote for movies that he didnt use. HAHA!

You could look at The Police as a "pop” gig too I guess but to me those dudes are innovators and Andy himself has won 6 grammy’s. I’ll make the "pop” exception once. HA! In the meantime I also make time to hang with my fam who mean alot to me. My gramma made my first recorded album possible.

What’s next for you?

Continue to grow AIM as the West Coast Chapter leader and keep helping the community with Zulu, get this degree then on to civil rights law, keep teaching these kids, continue putting out albums with Andy Summers as well as my own albums, collabing with other artists, and take care of my girl and her 2 kids. Thats whats up

Added by: Watcher, 14/Jun/24 | Comments: 0
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