Rough Cutt (Rockin’ Dave Alford and Chris Hager) Interview

Rough Cutt debuted a new lineup in 2019. Yesterday, the other original members said, “no, we are Rough Cutt” and released their version of the same song. Founding members Rockin’ Dave Alford and Chris Hager immediately talked to Pariah Burke to set the record–and LP record–straight.

Video Interview: Rough Cutt (Rockin’ Dave Alford and Chris Hager)

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Rough Cutt is one of the original Sunset Strip heyday bands, playing with, and often trading members between, Ratt, Dio, and other bands of the era, though Rough Cutt never quite achieved the same level of success as some of their peers.

In 2019, they were still around, though in the process of merging into a group called Rough Riot with members of Quiet Riot. When Rough Riot finalized its lineup change in the summer of 2019, now called Carlos Cavazo’s Rough Riot, it was with Paul Shortino, singer of Rough Cutt, Amir Derakh, one of two Rough Cutt guitarists, White Lion’s Greg D’Angelo on drums, Sean McNabb from Quiet Riot on bass, and guitarist Carlos Cavazo, also from Quiet Riot.

Rough Cutt’s Rockin’ Dave Alford and Chris Hager, not a part of Rough Riot, decided to continue on with a new lineup of Rough Cutt. Alford, along with Shortino, was a founding member of the band, and Hager and Derakh, though not strictly founders, joined very early on, before the band recorded its first album. Alford and Hager auditioned and eventually hired musicians to fill in the missing three band positions. They publicly debuted their new lineup in November of 2019 during a live show in Portland, Oregon, which is the first time Pariah Burke interviewed the band.

Leading up to, and in the year and a half since, that new lineup debut, Rough Cutt has aggressively marketed themselves, letting the world know about the new Rough Cutt, now including Steven St. James (Sarge, Cagny and the Dirty Rats) on vocals, second guitarist Darren Housholder (Shrapnel Records recording artist, Love/Hate), and bassist Jeff Buehner (The Loyal Order). Slowed by the pandemic, they spent most of 2020 using social media to connect with Rough Cutt fans, while not able to finish and release their first single together until March 2021, when they simultaneously dropped the single and music video for it with plenty of pre-release press and fanfare. According to the Alford and Hager, they never heard from their former Rough Cutt and Rough Riot bandmates; in fact, Alford’s and Hager’s attempts to contact them went unanswered.

Which is why they were so surprised when, yesterday (June 8th, 2021), their former bandmates released their own album as Rough Cutt, including their own version of the single Alford’s and Hager’s lineup put out in March. The new album, titled Rough Cutt 3, because, other than a best of anthology, it’s only the third studio LP released under the Rough Cutt band name since 1985. The release of the album, which had no pre-release announcement or marketing, was accompanied by a press release asserting that the trio calling itself Rough Cutt–Paul Shortino, Matt Thorne (aka Matt Thorr), and Amir Derakh–are “the three main men of Rough Cutt” and are “arguably the three most important members of Rough Cutt.” Further, without naming them, Alford and Hager were accused of making “false accusations” and lies about [the others]].

Within minutes of the release of the album by DDR Music Group, formerly Demon Doll Records, I reached out for comment from both versions of the band. My message directly to Paul Shortino went unreturned, though the owner of DDR and producer of Rough Cutt 3, Lance V, said he would pass along my request for an interview to Shortino. Hager immediately agreed to an interview, and brought along Alford.

This is my conversation with Rough Cutt founding members and apparent torchbearers Rockin’ Dave Alford and Chris Hager the day after Shortino, Thorn, Derakh, and DDR Music Group issued Rough Cutt 3 and its accompanying incendiary press release.

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