Born in Laguna Beach, California, in 1978 and raised in the nearby predominantly Chicano town called San Juan Capistrano, Gabe Rosales has forged a remarkable path in both the music industry and activist community.
He was influenced to pursue his music and artistic exploration at a young age by his parents who played Latino Folklórico on nylon string guitars when he was a child. By the mid-1980's Gabe drew inspiration from MTV music videos and programs ranging from "Head Bangers Ball" to "Yo MTV Raps." As an only child he started recording his own creative vocal performances in the form of raps and radio shows on his family's tape recorder to entertain himself at the age of 6 and 7.
At age 10 Rosales developed a taste for the macabre when he asked his mother to start reading him the literary genius of Edgar Allen Poe at his bedtime. The graphic brutality depicted in stories like "The Tell Tale Heart" and the unique stanzas in poems like "The Raven" began molding the thoughts of this impressionable mind. These literary inspirations aided Gabe's vocabulary in developing his own writing style as well as it fueled a growing fascination with the occult, supernatural and darker aspects of life. He spent much of his free time in elementary school writing, completing 40-page dissertations when he was only in 4th grade.
Gabe's family split in 1986 and in 1990 at the age of 12 he moved with his mother to the city of Santa Cruz, Northern California, where she was completing a Masters program at University of California, Santa Cruz. He became heavily involved in theater productions being cast in lead roles through the majority of his junior high schooling. He took the position of the lead singer of a death metal band at age 14 using his writing as the catalyst for aggressive lyrics. It was this experience that called for him to pick up the bass guitar to complete the band. Within six months Gabe was gigging and performing bass solos in front of Junior High and High Schools in Santa Cruz. Along with this new found love, Gabe began lifting weights and training regularly along with experimenting in his first form of meditation.
In his budding adolescence Gabe's relationship with his mother grew turbulent and he returned back to Southern California to live with his father in Laguna Beach. At age 15 Gabe found himself practicing bass guitar rigorously 12-16 hours a day for months during the summer. With sporadic bass lessons and 5 years of "formal" self teaching, he increased his musical tastes from his old love of death metal, bands like Deicide and Suffocation, to a diversity of artists such as Stevie Ray Vaughn, Weather Report and Bela Fleck and the Flecktones. This helped to hone his skills in a wide arena of music from the "out" jazz of Art Tatum and Coltrane to the repetitive groove oriented funk and R&B of Cameo and Zap. Eventually these long hours of diligence would prepare him for the myriad of top name music artists he would soon work with.
During his high school career the young Chicano's talents flourished. From being the first freshman in Laguna Beach High School's history to have the lead role in an award winning comedy production, to gigging regularly at high school functions, the young artist developed a strong sense of self and a warped sense of humor. By his senior year he had taken part in numerous award-winning theater productions, played in 7 different bands and thrived in an advanced placement art class where he began receiving college credit for his art. With his assorted art pieces being showcased at the local college, Gabe had a plethora of options to pursue for his future career. Music began playing a more prominent part as he began seriously studying theory on his own from university tonal harmony text books and the time he spent drawing eventually got taken up by rigorous rehearsal schedules and instrument practicing.
When he turned 17 he crossed paths with session, touring, and production legend, Paul Pesco. Paul took Gabe under his wing and began showing him "the ropes" of the music industry as well as introducing him to a book that would send him on a path deeper into eastern thought, the Zen Guitar book. This also sparked in him an interest in quantum physics and the limits of perceived reality included in the human experience. This new found interest made its way into his poetry-turned-hip hop lyrics making a full circle from the raps he used to write when he was a youth.
Just a year after graduating high school Gabe landed a voice on guitar hero George Lynch's eclectic 1999 release, "Smoke This". A three month tour followed the release. With new endorsements with ESP guitars, Dean Markley strings and Hughes and Kettner bass amplification systems, Gabe began living his dream at age 19, a few years younger than George Lynch's son.
After the chaotic lifestyle of the hard rocking 1999 US tour which included excessive alcohol consumption, Rosales returned home where his closest friends recognized and worried about his destructive indulgent lifestyle. Gabe went on a spiritual search and attended a 10-day Buddhist Vipassana meditation course in the mountains of California where he took a mandatory oath of complete silence for the courses entirety of 10 days. This experience changed his views on his existence drastically. A deeper sense of understanding about his connection to the universe bioloigically, chemically and atomically vanquished the young artist. An inner peace enveloped Gabe's life and it reflected in how he interacted with society when he returned.
From 2000 to 2005, the Southern California native landed other high profile gigs and tours in the Los Angeles music scene through networking and word of mouth. These performances ranged from hard rock bands like Lynch Mob, pop megastars Jennifer Lopez and Christina Milian, to fusion legends such as Prashant Aswani and Joey Heredia, Gabe graced stages from country to country, continent to continent.
Even with his growing resume and promising future, alcohol and drug consumption crept back into Gabe's life which led him on a deathly destructive path. From drug dealing and preventable health issues due to excessive alcohol consumption, this volatile Mexican found himself incarcerated several times and in 2007 he was finally convicted on multiple crimes and was facing substantial jail time. The sentence was reduced from years to months when he took a plea as both offenses were "wobblers" in California. This was the first real experience Gabe had navigating through the United States justice system as a criminal. For these months behind bars he observed the sub culture of jail life and drew from it inspiration for his future work. The different phases of emotions fed concepts and stories about doing time which he in turn focused back into his craft. Rosales wrote sheet music, lyrics and vigorously worked out to pass the time productively. He sympathized with the trials and tribulations of the dominant Mexican race in the facility, made some close friends and was asked to hold a position in the gang with which he was affiliated. At this time in California a gang war broke out in the streets which was mirrored in all correctional facilities. Gabe was faced with the choice of participating in the rioting which would guarantee an extended sentence or stepping down and facing the possibility of deadly consequences as a disgrace to his gang. The facility was immediately put on emergency lockdown a week before he was released which resulted in the longest lockdown in Orange County jail history. He was pepper sprayed and kept confined to his cube for days but soon he was released with no extension.
This experience drastically altered Gabe's view on society and the law. He became inspired to aim his efforts towards helping the local community and bringing awareness to various injustices. There arose a new meaning to his life and the appeal of playing with commercial pop acts contributing to shallow consumerist culture seemed frivolous and almost a crime in itself. Gabe's addictive personality proved that there was no room for any more substances in his life. His first hand experience of the level of addicts detoxing in jail reinforced his drive to rise above all substances. He took a vow of complete sobriety in early 2007 and has maintained it since. This sober road gave him the strength to start secular recovery groups online and locally.
In 2010 a thirst for knowledge and growth fueled Gabe's return back to school for a formal education majoring in first anthropology and philosophy then criminology; his new inspirations included new friend Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine with a B.A. in Political Science from Harvard and Bad Religion's front man Greg Graffin with a Phd in Evolutionary Biology. Inspired by conscious Hip Hop artists Gabe wanted to bring his lyricism, knowledge, public speaking, and legitimacy as a scholar to a whole new level.
At age 29 and two years into his sobriety he harnessed his skills to release his first explosive album entitled "Vital Nonsense" that encompassed all the styles of music that he had grown to love. This album release served as the foundation for his band "VNON" that is comprised of high profile professional musicians who have dedicated their talents to raise money for children's charities and humanitarian issues. (Vital Nonsense can be downloaded FREE on the music page of this site)
Throughout his academic career Rosales raised tens of thousands of dollars for various children's charities with his band VNON as well as traveled Uganda Africa with various nonprofits to do humanitarian work in rural hospitals and primary schools. He worked with the US State department on cultural exchanges and donated his time and resources to community causes throughout Los Angeles, Long Beach and Orange County.
Working as a solo artist, musician, dedicated teacher, activist, and leader, Gabe proudly accepted the honor of passing on his knowledge beyond music once he reestablished himself working with many different youth advocacy orgs. With his new sober drive and years of teaching experience as well as earning street credit along the way, Rosales began focusing on reaching at-risk youth through music and education. Using a zen based philosophy, he cultivated mindfulness, technique and heart in all his endeavors.
Gabe has been affiliated with the international Hip Hop organization known as the Universal Zulu Nation since 2009 and earned title of the Southwest Regional Manager. He has moved forward with the Zulu Union when the collective splintered in early 2016 as he is still a loyal member of his West Coast Zulu chapter the Calafia Zulus. He joined the indigenous people's rights movement Guerrilla Republik and earned the title of "right hand" of the West Coast in 2010 as well as he is a founding member of the science education secular artist collective, Grand Unified. In 2013 Gabe became affiliated with the American Indian Movement when he worked through the production for an award winning documentary on Native American genocide entitled Shadow Nation. The documentary included a double album release with the band Shadowtrain on Ratpak records.
Rosales has built a successful and informative secular sober community online, has earned a SMART Recovery facilitation certification and is a fervent promoter of the Straight Edge (SXE) lifestyle. He is also working towards getting a California state substance abuse counseling certification through California Association of Alcohol and Drug Educators (CAADE) and has been a guest speaker at Intensive Outpatient Treatment facilities around Orange County.
He was a member of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society and was recognized on the Dean's Honor list for academic achievement at both Saddleback Community College where he earned an Associates Degree in Liberal Studies 2010 - 2015, and University of California, Irvine (UCI) where he received a Bachelor of Arts in the top 5 nationally ranked Criminology Law and Society programs 2015 - 2017. At UCI Gabe was a founding member of the undergraduate Student's For Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP), was UCI's Blum Center for Poverty Alleviation Co-Director of Communications as a Student Ambassador and was a recipient of the Fudge Family Scholarship.
He worked on the Clemency Project 2014 law team to petition for non violent drug offender's release from life sentences in prison in 2016 and during his academic career he began work with Los Angeles Regional Entry Partnership (LAARP), Underground Scholars Initiative, Just Leadership USA (JLUSA) as an emerging leader, Law Enforcement Action Partnership (LEAP), and Drug Policy Alliance (DPA). In 2017 he was selected by the Center for Juvenile and Criminal Justice partnered with the MILPA Collective, for the Next Generation Fellowship conference on policy reform in Sacramento. In early 2018 Gabe joined the amazing non-profit Jail Guitar Doors as a facilitating lead artist helping rehabilitate inmates in Richard J. Donovan (RJD) state prison through positive musical expression. This led Gabe to further his activism in criminal justice reform at (RJD) as he began collaborating with long-term inmates on broader solutions to systemic issues. Gabe is currently a working musician, teacher, sober advocate and is a criminology research assistant for academics at UCI.
"I have toured on a private plane over Europe. I have done drugs in a room by myself for days. I have cleaned toilets and been pepper sprayed in jail during the worse race riots in OC jail history. I have meditated in silence 16 hours a day for weeks in the mountains of California. I have been cornered on the streets of Los Angeles by thousands of riot police with the Occupy LA movement. I have marched with the American Indian Movement to the Jumping Bull house for the first official Leonard Peltier day in South Dakota. I have been lucky enough to see my writing published. I have had the honor of working with the BEST musicians on the planet. The meaning of life is to give life meaning, so use your time wisely. I am just getting started." - Gabe Rosales
Jimi E and the Moral Groove (winner of the 2008 “best R&B” act in Orange County for the O.C. Music Awards)
Prashant Aswani Trio
Joey Heredia (Tribal Tech)
Listen (winner of the 2006 “best hard rock” band in Orange County for the O.C. Music Awards)
Paul Pesco ( Hall and Oates, Mary J Blige, Madonna )
Sen Dog (Cypress Hill)
Nicole Scherzinger (Pussycat Dolls)
Tilo (Methods Of Mayhem)
Nick Hernandez (Common Sense)
Bert Baker (Pharcyde, Chase Allen)
Stephen Perkins (Jane's Addiction)
Peter Michael Escovedo (Justin Timberlake, Mariah Carey)
Darrel Diaz (Herbie Hancock and the Headhunters)
Robin Davey's Blues Mob (5 Time British Blues Award Winner)
Andy Summers (The Police)
Jose Pasillas II (Incubus)
Jason Freese (Greenday)
Jara Harris (Slapbak)
Eye of the Nine
Lynch Mob US tour 1998-1999
Tim James Columbia Road Show 1999
Jennifer Lopez European Promo Tour 2000
Christina Milian Japan Promo Tour 2003
Sheena Easton Malaysia Tour 2005
Shadownation Documentary Filming Native Reservation Trip 2013
Dean Markley Strings
Seymour Duncan Pickups
Tone Tubby Amplification