In 1993, the Los Angeles underground magazine of record, the L.A. Weekly, named David Rotter “Best Unsigned Rock Guitarist in L.A. County.” His piano playing and on-the-spot classical composition abilities have been compared to Mozart. He plays improvisationally in nearly all genres of music and never repeats himself. He has been called a genius.
David was first inspired by his mother Cassie, who believed passionately in creative freedom above all else, and gave David and his twin brother Danny love, encouragement, praise, and an unusual amount of freedom. Early on, both twins demonstrated a gift for music. Danny's drum skills would come to be likened to Keith Moon. David began playing both piano and guitar, influenced by a handful of musicians: his older brother Russ, a world-class composer; his older brother Richard, a highly successful classically trained violinist; blues legend and childhood friend Hollywood Fats; and David’s strongest influence of all, Jimi Hendrix.
The boundary-pushing freedom in Hendrix’s music spoke to David, and he became deeply absorbed in all sounds Hendrix. This sonic immersion became the closest thing that David had to formal musical training – along with his mother’s encouraging him to practice piano and guitar blindfolded and play “feel for feel,” rather than “note for note.” David’s musical talent would eventually bring him to share the stage with some well-known acts: opening for Fleetwood Mac, playing guitar, piano and bass for Big Joe Turner, playing with Jimmy Van Zandt. But David’s first taste of musical success was with the psychedelic rock band Black Patti.
Black Patti at Raji's, Hollywood, 1988: David Rotter, Danny Rotter, JJ Holiday, Stephen Greene
Founded in 1984 by David, Danny, and slide guitar virtuoso J.J. Holiday, Black Patti received major label attention soon after their first few shows. David became known around the Los Angeles music scene as a high level guitarist and keyboardist.
But unknown to most, back in his Hollywood apartment late at night, David was composing classical piano pieces with shocking sensitivity, fluidity and beauty – a feral strain of classical music that was spontaneous, freeform, improvised, and from the heart. Often blending David’s own original compositions, on-the-spot variations of pieces by other composers, and other styles of music – rock, blues jazz, space music, ragtime – each performance was a direct reflection of the boundless freedom and love that he had experienced during his upbringing.
Back in David’s public rock-and-roll life, Black Patti was moving forward, and after a couple years winning critical acclaim and the respect of local musicians, they put on a showcase performance for the major labels. Two major labels immediately expressed interest and began talks with the band, but in the weeks that followed, the band broke up before ink could ever be put to paper.
David and Danny played together in several other bands: Mrs. Hippie, The Rotters, the Hot Rodders, the Rotter Twins, and a Hendrix tribute band called Purple Blaze.
David eventually moved to the small town of Klamath Falls, Oregon in 2010. On December 18, 2012, David began recording videos of his in-home performances and started uploading them to YouTube. Within a year, he had recorded and posted over a hundred videos, with no shortage of ideas for more. A web site soon developed where David could keep the Hendrix torch uncompromisingly ablaze and continue reserving a place in music history for his one-of-a-kind classical piano compositions.