Steamboat Springs Heading out on the road last year with his band members and a mind full of lonely thoughts, Chris DiCroce's intent was to record an album filled with sounds of the American dream - rock 'n' roll.
But when he headed into the recording studio, DiCroce stopped production to record the most personal and introspective album in his career. And although he doesn't regret making the album, DiCroce can't wait to get back to his rock 'n' roll roots.
Being married to country star Deanna Carter may seem like a fantasy for some, but for DiCroce, both spouses on the road is more than hard, it's tough.
"A lot of time was spent apart on this record. I'm so ready to make the next (record). It was a tough year," DiCroce said.
And if being married to another musician wasn't difficult, DiCroce said being married to a big record label is hell.
"There's no bottom line to meet being independent," 33-year-old DiCroce said of his decision to go independent.
To avoid dealing with major record labels, DiCroce started his own label in 1998, Flyboy Records.
A man who set out knowing what he wanted, DiCroce produced his debut album in 1999 "Brand New Fool." His style on that album can be described as more of a Springsteen influence than Dylan. But his sophomore album "american dream" sketches a combination portrait of Dylan and Petty containing a similar tone and beat.
"I used to listen to stuff like The Ramones and Lou Reed when I was in college," DiCroce said. "But I listened to a Tom Wait album in 1988 that blew me away. It was the most influential music I've ever heard."
With musically-talented brothers who hung out with other musicians, DiCroce said he was never interested in playing when he was young.
"Bands like Kiss and Led Zeppelin were enormous bands then," DiCroce said. "I always listened to older music for my age, but I didn't want to pick up music until college."
After attending Pennsylvania State for a career thought to be destined in marine biology, DiCroce decided to take drum lessons and the rest, they say, is history.
At 19, DiCroce attended a music school in Philadelphia that went bankrupt two years later. After four years of school, DiCroce eluded the return to college and gave into the lights and glitter of a fame-filled career in the music business. And Nashville looked promising.
"Some of the most amazing songwriters come out of Nashville," DiCroce said.
Nashville was promising, but not with the first band. They left and he stayed and he made the career.
Although he won't compartmentalize his own music, he claims that American rock is his music inspiration, with no British influence.
"As they say, 'Your first record takes your whole life to make, but it only takes six months to make your second,'" DiCroce said of his personal experience in the music business.
"The Contract," a film starring Jeff Fahey, got DiCroce five of his original hits on the soundtrack and his chrisdicroce.com web site up and running. After doing the hits for the movie, they presented a clip of a 42-minute documentary of the band shown on the web site.
The band drove across the country, filming themselves and old American towns along the way. The images of the film they created goes along with the album "american dream."
"I met other people who thought 2000 was a really strange year. So we went to old cities and got images of different people across country," DiCroce said. "We wanted to film old places in America that have been forgotten about."
The somber mood of "american dream" created a different mind set in DiCroce. The first album's up-tempo songs with geared-up tunes didn't seem relevant for his thoughts at the time for the second album.
"I wasn't happy with the rock when I was in the studio and I was writing what was more like a journal," DiCroce said.
DiCroce said the electricity of the next album will be high. More rock 'n' roll and more electric guitar will make the future record one you can play at a party, one that he can perform in a club.
"I want to kick it up a little bit, have some fun and get people moving around," DiCroce said.
DiCroce will head out on the road from Nashville in about two days to open for The Samples at Levelz Wednesday night. DiCroce's feelings about Colorado, "I dig it out there."