Testarossa is a four-piece rock-n-roll band out of Charlotte, NC. With a thunderous rhythm section, a unparalleled lead guitar, and a frontman that harkens back to the glory days of flamboyancy and excess, Testarossa commands the stage like no other band can. They have the looks, the skills, and the desire — the total package. The tunes they write focus on one thing only, and that’s having a good time. Rock-N-Roll is back and you can thank Testarossa for that.
XS ROCK: Tell me about the latest band news? Any new projects coming out, live shows or announcements?
Colten: We just wrapped up recording our debut album. It’s filled with chart toppers and b-side boppers. We look to release it on the public possibly January-ish. It’s easily my proudest musical accomplishment. We even have Danny Worsnop from Asking Alexandria featured on a song, as well as in the music video. It’s straight up rock-n-roll in the same vein as Aerosmith, Guns N’ Roses, and Motley Crue. We didn’t reinvent the wheel, we just re-inflated it. We’ve been playing some pretty large shows as of late. We have played with Jackyl, Buckcherry, Joyous Wolf, Texas Hippie Coaliton and Danny Worsnop recently. Our latest song “Rock-N-Roll” is currently available on all the streaming services and itunes, etc.
XS ROCK: So how long has the band been together?
Colten: We’ve been playing as Testarossa for about two years now. We’ve played in various other bands, and Testarossa is made up of the serious members from those “other bands.”
XS ROCK: What was your main motivation for originally starting or being in a band?
Colten: I discovered Kiss. After that, it was all over. I wanted to play music for the rest of my life. Forget college, I wanted to play dingy dives every weekend. I wanted to see the country.
XS ROCK: What is your music background?
Colten: I taught myself to play guitar in the sixth grade by writing my own songs. As soon as I could play a power chord I was in a band. No one in my family plays, so I had to learn everything on my own, before youtube.
XS ROCK: What image do you think your music conveys?
Colten: We are all about having a goodtime. Let’s not overthink things. People want to have a good time and sing along. There is a reason AC/DC, Aerosmith, Motley Crue, ETC… are still popular. They write catchy tunes. Most modern music is depressing. Also, when did it become unpopular to try to learn how to play guitar better than everyone else and have a front man who was visually inspiring? You may throw a party, but Testarossa is the party.
XS ROCK: What are your current music career goals?
Colten: Play music and not go bankrupt doing it. I just want people to give rock-n-roll another chance. As I stated before, modern music is dead. I want to hear good guitar solos on the radio backed up by a rhythm section that knows their place, serving the song as efficiently as possible; I want to hear catchy songs. A chorus is only good if the crowd can sing it back to you.
XS ROCK: Which do you prefer? Writing new songs and recording or playing for a live audience?
Colten: I’m a songwriter first, a frontman second, and a singer last. I love writing new music. I have pride in Testarossa’s ability to write good songs. Songs are only fun to write if you can perform them live. I’m no vocal virtuoso, so I don’t try to be. I’m an entertainer. If you have good songs, they are easy to perform live, convincingly.
XS ROCK: What are your songs’ lyrics about?
Colten: Any and everything. We have our serious ones but we also have ones that are pure comedy gold. I don’t want to say we are like Steel Panther though, our funny songs are more tongue in cheek and well thought out. They could be taken as serious songs until you really listen and put some thought into them. Humor is a trait that everyone enjoys, so why are there so few bands writing humorous songs? Everyone else is trying to be so hard or edgy, Testarossa is just trying to have a goodtime. Subject matters of our songs range from losing friends to drugs to describing ourselves as the self-proclaimed “World’s Greatest Lovers.” We can and will write a song about most any topic. Love affairs with older women, regular love affairs, managers trying to rob you blind, swiss timepieces, it’s all there.
XS ROCK: What is the single most important thing to you as a musician?
Colten: Simple reassurance that someone cares about our music. As long as somebody listens, we will play.
XS ROCK: Do you have any outrageous tour stories from the road? If so, please fill us in.
Colten: One time, me and the drummer from another band hopped a train mid-gig. Needless to say, the show was over prematurely. We ended up riding that train for over an hour before we finally got the guts to bail. It was pretty wild, everyone was wondering where we went. I don’t know if I would hop another one. Speaking of trains, I hung out with a literal train hopping hobo at a show in Florida one time. He smelled like death and called himself ZigZag. He claimed his parents were killed in the Waco, TX incident, I believed him. He said he had been riding trains around the country ever since. Very nice guy though.
XS ROCK: What’s the strangest request that you’ve ever received from one of your fans?
Colten: To play their kid’s 8th birthday. It has happened two different times as a matter of fact. Some of the more lively crowds I’ve played for actually.
XS ROCK: Are your friends and family supportive of your choice to play in a rock band?
Colten: I don’t have may friends, but the ones I have are. I’ve been called an acquired taste. My family has been supportive since day one. My dad and mom are my biggest fans, I’m proud of that even though a lot of people would consider that incredibly lame. But people would also think playing an 8-year old’s birth day is lame too. My wife is also very supportive. It takes a special kind of woman to marry a music man.
XS ROCK: What advice do you have for new bands trying to get started?
Colten: Play the music you want to hear and cut all dead weight out of the picture asap. If a bandmate isn’t working, give them the boot. It’s tough, hence the reason for my “acquired taste” nickname, but it’ll save you a lot of time and heartache. Find a group of people that want the same things as you. Forget what other people think as well. You play in a rock band to feed and stroke your ego, not make those around you happy (just kidding).
XS ROCK: What are your favorite tracks to play live?
Colten: The unreleased title track off of our upcoming album, “Late for the Party.” It encompasses the vibe the band is giving off. By the time the second chorus rolls the crowd is always singing it with us, even if they have never heard it.
XS ROCK: Which band or artist inspired you to perform? Why?
Colten: KISS. First time I saw them, I just knew that’s what I wanted to do. Music hooked me worse than any drug could. It looked like nobody was having a better time than them (KISS). After that it was Aerosmith, then all the 80’s hair metal. I craved the good vibes and tasty tunes.
XS ROCK: If you could design a dream tour for your band, who would be on the bill?
Colten: Aerosmith, Black Oak Arkansas, David Lee Roth, Taylor Dayne, and Testarossa. That would be a true freakshow.
XS ROCK: What do you consider your greatest accomplishment so far?
Colten: Getting Danny Worsnop to sing on our album is probably the coolest, most unlikely thing to happen. Not doing drugs, not sleeping around and being a positive influence in this world is also pretty important to me. Again, things are too heavy and dark nowadays. I thank God for giving me all the opportunities I have had.
XS ROCK: If you weren’t performing in a band what kind of career do you think you would have?
Colten: Professional wrestler. I binge watch old WWF and WCW matches on the reg. Wrestlers are a different breed of rockstars. What you gonna do brother when someone drops a five-star frog splash on you? Nothing, because you’ll be out cold. Instant KO.
XS ROCK: What type of equipment do you use for live shows?
Colten: Gibson, Fender, Kramer, Taylor, Jackson, Charvel and BC Rich guitars. I have a pretty sizable collection. Same goes for the guitar player Jordan West. We both use Splawn amplifiers. Buddy Radford uses Cheese drums and Blake Webb plays Rickenbacher.
XS ROCK: What do you think of the current music scene?
Colten: It’s weak. There are good bands and venues, but thanks to smartphone technology people can experience live music without leaving the comfort of their mommy’s basement. There’s a big disconnect, I believe it is getting better, however. People have become gluttons; social media approval, pornos, the instant gratification that the internet provides has killed people’s drive to get out there and live life in the present. It’s an epidemic. Good live music and real interaction with other humans is the cure.
XS ROCK: For anyone that doesn’t know you, what would they be surprised to know about you?
Colten: I’m very much into conspiracy theories. I do believe several of them, but as to not alienate any potential fans, I can not divulge any more info. When we make big money, I can see myself becoming a liability and completely wrecking my career. But I’m not at that point yet (haha). I need a career and an Italian sports car to wreck.
XS ROCK: Is there anything that you’d like to promote or say to your fans out there?
Colten: Yeah, chillout, don’t be a wuss, and have a goodtime. Life is only hard if you let it be. Your opinion doesn’t matter. Do what’s right. And to those who have supported us since the beginning, THANK YOU!
XS ROCK: Thanks again for taking the time to talk with us at XS ROCK!
Colten: Thank you so much for talking to us nobodies!
Colten Bell – Party Coordinator/Ring Leader/Lead Vocals/Guitar
Jordan West – Lead Guitar Wanker/Cat Noises
Buddy Radford – Skin Pounder/Fred Durst Impersonations
Blake Webb – Lead Bass/Rhythm Bass