Inside D.C. entertainment

Danny Ross brings his 'Occupy DC: The Laid Off Tour' to D.C.

November 4, 2011 - 07:00 AM
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Danny Ross (Danny Ross)

Danny Ross was laid off in mid-October from his job as operations coordinator at the office of Rep. Jerrold Nadler. Ross landed that gig after graduating from Cornell University in 2006 and led a double life after that, performing in local venues in New York City by night. He released Danny Ross Presents One Way, his debut LP, in 2009.

Ironically, Nadler's district comprises Zuccotti Park, site of the original Occupy Wall Street protest. “What they’re discussing now on Occupy Wall Street [and] what happened to me is representative of what’s happening on a much larger scale,” says the 27-year-old, who lives in Brooklyn. “I’m not the only person who feels like what’s going on right now is not fair and not right.” The Long Island native and government major, talks of the income inequality gap currently facing America. In 2007, the top 1 percent of earners garnered 23.5 percent of the nation’s income, roughly the same percentage as it was on the eve of the Great Depression.

After he lost his job, Ross decided to go on tour from New York City to Boston and end here, in the nation’s capital. Tonight, he brings his "Occupy D.C. – The Laid Off Tour" to Iota. As an artist, Ross uses the outlet as a way to articulate the current struggle. “It just so happens that the feelings are all too real to me now cause I just got laid off,” he says. The album he’s currently working on for Ammal Records, an independent label started by Danny Goldberg, is a take on the monotony of our everyday. It talks about “what it feels like to go through the 9 to 5, what it feels like to try and savor your humanity while going through the daily grind…we’re all struggling to survive,” he says. “Even before the 2008 recession…the cards had been stacked against most of us for a really long time.” In order to compete in the current economy, a college degree from an Ivy League university, which racks up student loans in the six-figures, is no longer enough, he says.

He’s in the process of applying for jobs, though he’s not sure where he’ll end up. His current performing résumé boasts a 9-piece band — drums, bass, guitar, piano, trumpet, tenor and bari sax. Ross says he's heavily influenced by '60s rock music with horn sections and that his live show will be a mix of folk music, soulful lyrics and rock inspired by '50’s and '60s R&B. He does not, however, view this as a pathway to joining the 1 percent. “Rags-to-riches stories," Ross writes in an email, "have gone the way of the cassette tape.”

Danny Ross "Always On My Way" from 'Stock Footage Pictures on Vimeo.

Danny Ross's Laid Off Tour comes to Iota, Friday, Nov. 4. 8:30 p.m. $12.

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