During the work week, Florian Roth is a lawyer at Walder Wyss. At the weekend, he tours the suburbs as country singer Florian Fox. His loyal companion: a 1999 Chevrolet Suburban.
The black Suburban, the largest of all oversized Chevrolets, lets out a roar. Florian Roth switches off the ignition of the huge, powerful 2.5 ton monster and climbs out. “A museum piece”, he says, dressed in jeans and a denim shirt, with leather boots and a leather jacket. “All part of the show.”
How did someone like Roth, a corporate lawyer who is regarded as “quick, clever and very efficient” by his clients, end up with a museum exhibit like this that he uses for a show? Well, the story is quite a long one. It begins in Nashville, Tennessee, in the first year of the pandemic.
With nothing more than a suitcase in his hand, a telephone number in his pocket and a dream in his heart, he arrives in the southern states of the USA. His intention is not only to complete his LL.M. there but also to record an album with some of the greats on the music scene and thus finally to evolve into the country act Florian Fox. “Country is authentic music”, he says. “To perform it, you first have to understand the life and the culture that lies behind it.” Not an option if you never leave Switzerland.
He is a better lawyer, says Roth, because he is a musician.
So Florian Roth immerses himself completely in the culture of the capital city of country music: “a little openness, respect and friendliness, and magical things happen.” Suddenly, he is sharing a studio with former band members of Johnny Cash and Elvis Presley. Suddenly, he wins a Texas Sounds International Country Music Award. Suddenly, many people in Nashville know the “Swiss guy”, as they call him affectionately. “Nashville was a lesson in life”, says Roth looking back. And the final test was to embrace the humour of the southern states: he does not think twice about giving a song about tourist traps, of the sort he fell into himself, the title “Swiss Guy”.
A year later, Roth returns to Switzerland. In his bag: a CD by Florian Fox, hot off the presses.
Since then, he has spent his weekends asking line dancers, hillbillies and Johnny Cash fans: “Do you know where I am going to take you today?”. Everyone knows the answer: “To Nashville, Tennessee!” He is a better lawyer, says Roth, because he is a musician. And a better musician because he is a lawyer. But something was missing to complete the American feel of Florian Fox. Yes, a Suburban.
He gives a song about tourist traps the title “Swiss Guy”.
And so, a young corporate lawyer in Zurich is standing next to a vehicle that looks like something from a museum. He puts his guitar case in the boot, opens the huge door and turns the key in the ignition. And with a predictably comforting growl, the car sets off for the towns and cities of Switzerland. For suburbia.
has been working at Walder Wyss since 2018. The Job Fair, a “speed dating” event for lawyers, brought him to Höschgasse and a book from the library, “Schweizerisches Bundesstaatsrecht” by Zaccaria Giacometti, to his passion, public law. His free time is devoted to his alternative identity, the country musician Florian Fox, and his car, a Chevrolet Suburban.