February 12, 2009 | 9:36am
There are no simple answers for why some bands work and some don't. But if you look at the basic chemistry of a band like Roman Alexander and the Robbery, you'll notice that in addition to having good hair and good music, everyone seems to be having a good time. The idea for the group was first hatched by the band's 'fro-sporting front man, Roman Alexander in hopes of evading the fate of so many forgotten solo artists working the local circuit.
Now operating as a fully functional quartet these local lads have made it there business to play a show in every night club, restaurant, and back yard party they can squeeze into. From the outset, RAR has crafted a sound that combines the tenets of sweet soul, funk and reggae in a way that makes you want to laugh, cry, dance and drink...sometimes all at once (though I've heard that can get messy).
OC Weekly: Who's in the band and who does what?
Roman Alexander - Vocals, acoustic guitar, songwriting
Ryan Reno - Bass (that's it, just bass; guitar occasionally, but not often)
Matt McDavid - Electric guitar, acoustic guitar, backup vocals, song writing
Jeff Carruth - Drums, harmonica, backup vocals
OCW: What motivated you to start the band?
Roman Alexander: I started the "Roman Alexander and The Robbery" project, one member at a time, a while ago as a way to escape from a very breif and boring solo artist career. I wanted to start writing songs in a more fun and danceable genre and acoustic music is virtually genreless with out drums, bass and other rhythms. I had a very close friend of mine help me realize that although my music was good as a solo artist, it didn't really express my fun loving, excitable, and energetic attitude towards life. I needed a band to wake my songs up.
Ryan Reno: The desire to do something more with my life than sit in an office from 9-5. When I get to work I generally listen to "Working Class Hero" by John Lennon to remind me that I need to continue play and perform or become part of the working class. I have the utmost respect for those who can do that every day, but it's not for me. Jeff Carruth: I was out one night in Fullerton and heard Roman yelling "does anyone know a drummer?" I took down his number and had to call him constantly for two weeks! He was lagging big time. When we finally sat down to play, we played through one song, sat for a minute in silence, and I was like "Daaamn!". From then on we've been running full speed ahead.
OCW: Who are your biggest influences and why?
RA: Well, my influences are a mixture of older soul music I used to listen to as a kid, and modern day local artists that inspired me to be a songwriter. I couldnt really say that one genre specifically inspires me. I love literally ALL genres of music.There is a time, place and emotion for each. I dont believe in a perfect style or genre. Each has its weaknesses and its strengths.
I am also super influenced by films, photos, dreams, past experience, anything that can bring a tear to the eye, is worth writing a song about. RR: The rest of the guys probably won't believe me, but as of now [my band mates] are my biggest influences. I've never played with such an eclectic group of musicians. Growing up listening to punk and metal I never expected myself to end up in a band like this, but there is no other place I'd rather be. I am influenced by good music. I think the fact that we all listen to a wide variety of styles will contribute to keeping our music fresh and new. OCW: What's the best thing that has happened to the band so far? What's the worst?
Matt McDavid: My biggest influences right now are Stevie Ray Vaughn, and The John Butler Trio. Stevie, in my opinion is the most amazing blues guitar player of all time. The John Butler Trio is an amazing band out of Australia, who blends a lot of different styles to create one sound. That is exactly we we are doing so it is nice to know were not alone in this genre.
RA: The Best: Finding each other. We all fit so perfectly musically that it feels like we have been playing together forever. We're still working on fitting together as people but that will be a life long venture...
The Worst: We've had a lot of great things happen to us and I know when we hit the Worst thing... we will prevail.
MM: The best thing since I joined the band would have to be the musical chemistry that we have together taking shape in such a short amount of time. The worst would be, well its pretty much all good.
RR: Best- adding Matt. Since Matt joined the band in May of 2008 we've been on a nonstop mission to get our music to as many people as possible. Roman and I have been trying to cultivate this for a few years now and it has finally come to fruition.
Worst- Jeff... next question! just kidding of course. There hasn't really been anything big and bad enough for me to recall.
OCW: There are millions of bands and solo artists creating music now. Why
should people listen to you?
RA: Honestly, what separates us from the rest is our sincerity in being true to ourselves musically. First on our agenda is to make good, danceable, helpful, fun music. The fame, money, success is all just the bi-product of our hard work...
RR: It may sound cliche, but we play the music for ourselves. That simple fact is what will get people to listen. They will know this music is true and from the heart. If we were out here doing it solely to look cool or get girls, fame, or money then we'd be just like the millions of other bands/artists out there.
Roman Alexander and the Robber performs TONIGHT at:
213 Ocean Ave
Laguna Beach, CA 92651
No cover. 21+
Listen to the band here..