We love Boston retailer ROSTER so much that we bestowed them with our “Retailer of the Month” award a few years back and they do such an amazing job of merchandising (among other things) that they really could be given that honor every month. Case in point? This quite awesome 3 minute Roster Style Report video featuring Laura featuring US! Enjoy & if you’re ever in Boston make sure to Shop with them!
We were looking for some Friday fun. We found some with Ali Spagnola. The multi-talented musical/comedic/ice skating juggernaut who invented the Power Hour drinking game spent a few minutes with us & now we are in an amazingly good mood. We’ll show you where to check her out after you read this brief interview & we bet it will put you in an amazingly good mood too.
Andy: Let’s get straight to the “Power Hour drinking game.” How does that work?
Ali: Basically I do a live show where I perform 60 1-minute songs and do a shot of beer to go along with each song. Of course the people in the audience do the shots along with me which makes for a guaranteed good time (Looks like it; see below)
Andy: I need to know where your next performance is.. And speaking of performance, your videos on Youtube are outstanding and show your vast range of talent; i.e, drumming, guitar playing, organ playing, singing, etc. Where’d this all come from – did you grow up in a musical family?
Ali: Actually I did. My Dad is a bass player and set up a recording studio in the house so it was something I was definitely influenced by. I learned how to play piano when I was 5 which led to the drums which led to the guitar.
Andy: ..which led to doing them all at once really well. I played drums for years but still could never twirl my sticks as good as you do. Your talents go beyond the music and quirky comedy combo; You are a fresh new member of the Pittsburgh Penguins Ice Crew! How’d that happen and can you relate performing in front of an NHL crowd to one of your normal shows in Vegas or elsewhere?
Ali: My brother was a huge hockey fan growing up and we were always on the ice (The Spagnola family lived in the Pittsburgh, PA area). I was a competitive figure skater and in a dance company.
That background is why I wanted to try out for the team. As far as the differences in performing my regular gig and for the Ice crew is nerves. I’ve been performing on stage for years and it’s pretty much second nature. Skating in front of a packed arena for NHL games is totally new & nerve racking. I’m gonna fall.
Andy: Haha, no you won’t! Thanks for wearing our Retro Brand Pens gear too. You look fantastic in your posts I must say. Your fans on Social Media seem to agree based on all the positive comments. Anything in particular you like about Retro Brand?
Ali: Oh yeah, I love them! The shirts are just very, very, comfortable. Some people pointed out that I wore your shirts an awful lot in my posts. What can I say? I can’t help it…
Andy: We so appreciate the pub and wear away! What would you say is the favorite part of your job?
Ali: My favorite thing is having blogs call me to do interviews for their tee-shirt websites. No, but really it’s getting to do exactly what I want when I want all the time. It’s not lost on me on just how lucky I am. Life is pretty good right now.
Andy: You mean we weren’t the first tee-shirt site to ask for an interview? Well we’re happy it’s one of your favorite things! And Yes, we’d agree your life is pretty dang good right now and thanks for making ours pretty good too.
Now if you want to get into that aforementioned amazingly good mood we were talking about, then you’ll check out her latest video below and then do the following:
1) Get her App!
2) Follow her on Vine – It’s Crazy Good! https://vine.co/alispagnola
3) Go to her website & follow everything HERE
…or any Roller Derby you can remember that resembled pro-wrestling ala Andre The Giant & Chief Jay Strongbow. Retro Brand spoke with Missouri Tigers fanatic & Professional Roller Derby skater Michael Christopher recently to bring us up to speed on how things have changed since the good old days.
Andy: First question is how did you end up in Professional Roller Derby anyway? You grow up roller skating?
Michael: I don’t have a background in skating at all. I used to play some street hockey here and there when I was a kid… usually the goalie… that should tell you something about my skating skills. A good friend’s wife played for the Arch Rival Roller Girls in St. Louis and I started going to her bouts every month. When the St. Louis Gatekeepers started up, my friend constantly tried to get me to join. I was hesitant for a long time, but once I went to practice I never looked back.
Andy: What about the sport do you love so much?
Michael: I grew up playing several sports. This was something new and exciting. I didn’t have much skating experience and that is what is great about the sport. Our team is made up of dudes from different backgrounds. Many of my teammates watch footage and cross train when they aren’t at practice. In this sport, you can become a good player through hard work and determination.
Andy: So tell us the difference between the “Old” pro roller derby compared to what you do in the rink today.
Michael: When my Grandfather found out I was playing roller derby he got very excited. He used to go downtown on Friday nights to watch derby bouts back in the 70s and 80s. What he saw was more like professional wrestling. A lot of it was scripted, pure entertainment. Today, there isn’t anything scripted about the sport. What you see is what you get. The wins, the losses, the big hits, everything is genuine. In fact, there is a big movement to get roller derby into the 2020 Olympics.
Andy: Ok, this is no joke then… Is Professional Roller Derby your full time job?
Michael: Derby is a pay to play sport. Everyone in our league has a real-life job. I work for an experiential marketing agency by day. In addition to skating for the Gatekeepers, I also coach the Arch Rival Roller Girls All-Stars. Between skating and coaching it can feel like a second full-time job. There is great passion for the sport in the STL, which makes it all worth it.
Andy: Wow, do you ever have any down time? Like to watch your beloved Missouri Tigers? That’s how I got to know you in the first place; Retro Brand and the Mizzou Tigers.
Michael: Haha… That is a great question. It can be hard to find some down time, but when I do, I am usually watching other sports. I love watching Mizzou football and basketball. And while I didn’t attend Mizzou, it is the state’s major university and I love cheering them on. I think you’ll find that most everyone that lives in the state is a Missouri Tiger fan even if they didn’t go to school there. When Mizzou does well, as they did in getting to the SEC Championship last year, everyone goes absolutely nuts.
As for Retro Brand, I absolutely love the softness and fit. I’m very particular about these things when it comes to my tees, and Retro Brand fits the bill. And the retro look is an added bonus.
Andy: Well we consider it a bonus to have you as one of our fans Michael, and thanks for taking a little time with us today.
If you’re ever in the St. Louis area, we highly recommend you check out the St. Louis Gatekeepers. You can also find them on the road in Chicago & Seattle this October. Check their remaining 2014 Schedule HERE.