By Logan Langlois
NASHVILLE, TN — Comic-Cons and the blues aren’t a combination most people would typically expect to see, but their marriage makes perfect sense in the world of local Nashville musician Ping Rose, who performed a short set for a cheering midday crowd during the second day of Nashville’s most recent Comic Con. Being a self-described “giant nerd,” Ping naturally jumped at the chance to perform at the convention that combined many of his long-favorite interests. To him, it all amounts to wonderfully crafted and passionate art that works to further inspire him to continue creating a multitude of different outlets.
“That is the inspiration. That’s what gets me to keep doing it. There’s the musician part of it where it’s work, but the part that makes me keep enjoying it, that keeps me creative and fresh about it, is specifically that kind of thing,” he said.
Rose has long been someone who openly embraces various genres at once, his only requirement being that they all express a deep and powerful emotion or artistic expression. His philosophy regarding art is reflected in his career, as his musical journey began with him learning how to shred metal licks before ever venturing into the territory he’s locally renowned for now. It would be in his adult years his style would begin to lean more into his Memphis-born blues and jazz influence, and he would gain the attention of heavy hitters such as Haystak, Jelly Roll, and become lead house guitarist of The Corey Mac Show.
His current band, Ping Rose and the Anti-Heroes are a rock, blues, and jazz-influenced outfit that play as the backing band at the venue Black Rabbit as well as performs and releases their own music.
Rose has kept in touch with the harder roots that inspired him to pursue music in the first place, maintaining a place as the bassist of Memphis hardcore band Seize and Desist. After moving to Nashville, he would meet Jason Marsden, co-organizer, actor, and YouTuber who would later ask Rose to play the 2023 Nashville Comic Con.
While not playing his music in front of an excited crowd on top of the main stage of the convention, Rose spent his time walking between the different vendors and checking out all the unique merchandise they had for sale. Some of the vendors whom he had the most interest in were third-party comic owners and artists promoting their self-made works as well as personal renditions of art inspired by other media, one booth he mentioned by name being local Nashville artist I Can Draw.
“Back when we were younger, this stuff was few and far between, especially the anime side of it,” said Rose in a quiet hallway behind Comic Con. “But now there’s no shortage of this merch, so when you see some original stuff it’s like ‘Okay cool. I’m gonna have to dig in my wallet!’”
Rose’s favorite of all time is the comic Samuel, which was adapted into a TV show last year. Besides that, Rose habitually purchases new issues of Flash whenever they’re released, having just bought a whole box. He also expressed a special love for old school ‘retro’ anime such as Cowboy Bebop and FLCL, both for their breathtaking visuals and storytelling as well as their expertly crafted soundtracks. For anyone who wants to see Rose live, his trio Ping Rose and the Anti-Heroes play at Black Rabbit every Friday, and Bowies every Sunday. Ping Rose is available to follow on all social media platforms under @pingroseplays, as well as his website www.pingroseplays.com.