After struggling to play losers in Hollywood, Alejandro Rose-Garcia created his own best role in Austin.

Shakey Graves photo

“This is not going to happen anymore; I’m not going to be a prostitute in Los Angeles.” This resolution went through Alejandro Rose-Garcia’s mind when he decided to move back to Austin, Texas and become Americana artist Shakey Graves, who plays Gasa Gasa tonight. Because of his time in Hollywood, Rose-Garcia’s face might be familiar after his appearances on Dallas and Friday Night Lights among other television shows

Earlier in his career, Rose-Garcia’s focus was on acting, but “being an actor is like being a professional gambler,” he says. “The odds are against you, but you’re always convincing yourself that the next audition could be it.” And life as an aspiring actor can be demeaning. “You have to go out for a bunch of really awful roles.  Awful stuff: ‘hunky douchebag,’ ‘crackhead douchebag,’ ‘douchebag douchebag.’  A lot of my music was actually written in 2009 when I began to wonder why I was trying so hard to play a rapist on CBS.”

Music was an important aspect of Rose-Garcia’s life, even if it was something pursued between auditions. In 2006 and 2007, he was certain that his talents would shine through and his career would take off. But after playing empty Chinese restaurants with no changes in sight, Rose-Garcia decided that returning to his home in Austin, Texas was his next step.
Beginning at Austin’s famed Hole in the Wall as Shakey Graves, he set goals for himself. 

“I would think to myself, ‘I’m going to beat this room,” he says. “There’s this one room in town, and I’m going to play there until I fill it up.’” This worked well as Rose-Garcia worked and drew larger crowds to each performance while mastering the art of showmanship. His reputation grew to a point that Austin declared February 9, 2012 to be Shakey Graves Day.  

Rose-Garcia says that he uses his music as a way to consider who he is as a person and what direction he’s headed in without being overly self-indulgent. He expresses his own struggles and experiences and hopes to find a common ground between himself and his listeners in the process. “A lot of humanity goes through the same problems and people have the same story,” he says.