DIY Spotlight: Tino Gross

Tino Gross not only fronts Detroit blues-rockers the Howling Diablos and his own solo projects, he also runs Funky D Records with his wife, Linda Lexy. The very definition of a DIY musician, Gross never stops. The Motor City work ethic runs through his veins.

“I grew up in Northwest Detroit, where public schools offered music lessons,” Gross says. “The traveling instructor would go around asking if anyone wanted to play an instrument. My hand shot up, so I volunteered to learn drums. My parents had gotten divorced when I was 7, so I was feeling spiritually lost. I discovered an alternate world existing on our big hi-fi radio, and became obsessed with music.”

Gross works with his “wife, best friend and partner” Linda Lexy, a renowned DJ, podcaster and all-round music expert, with Funky D Records. 

“I had been producing records for Fat Possum Records in Mississippi, and also done some things for Alive!/Bomp,” he says. “I had a huge body of work that people needed to hear. Lexy suggested we start a record label, so our daughter, Melanie, and I, designed a logo, using our dog Nigel’s head. The releases have all been well received. Lexy brings skills at promotion, booking live Funky D Events, den mother, A&R person, or whatever needs to get done.”

“The biggest nod of approval came from producer Don Was, who played bass on three of our releases,” Gross says. “Don is brutally honest, and while listening to a playback, he remarked, ‘It shouldn’t sound this GOOD, but it does!’”

Lexy adds in conclusion: “To me, DIY means trusting ourselves, our instincts and what we feel, what we connect to most and want to represent us as artists and music lovers. It’s what motivates us to stay the course and not compromise our integrity when it comes to what we are presenting to the world with what we release on Funky D and all of our promo to support it... We are the epitome of DIY. Detroit It Yourself.”

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