New Rome Quartet's Old-School Steez Will Get You Laid
Santa Ana-based New Rome Quartet's brand of "acid porno jazz"—as produced by bassist Francis Cronin, sampler Dan Lapham, guitarist Todd Murdoch and drummer Stephen Monroe—translates into an instrumental blend of soul, funk and jazz that makes audiences want to drink a fifth of whiskey, take off their clothes and shake their asses (not necessarily in that order). The band talk about their name, what their genre means and just how sexy their music is.
OC Weekly: What was wrong with the old Rome quartet?
Francis Cronin: My nickname is the New Rome Emperor, for my Caligula-like tendencies and because Rome is where the heart is. The decadence of Orange County is definitely the new Rome.
Please explain what "acid porno jazz" means.
It is psychedelic soul music that is hopefully mind-expanding and sexy at the same time.
Speaking of acid porno jazz . . . have you ever had sex to your music? If so, how was it? Do you recommend it? If not, why not?
Yes, I have, and I highly recommend it. It's even better with a smoke machine and lasers in the room. If you can't get freaky with our stuff on, there is no help for you.
Is the snazzy attire part of the show, or do you always look good?
I never liked seeing bands in their street clothes unless those clothes are badass. It's entertainment and fantasy, not watching someone mow the lawn. . . . A little effort, please.
How are four white guys so fu-fu-funky?
There is definitely a stigma for white dudes "trying" to be funky. We just don't care what anybody thinks anymore. I come from a punk-rock background, and it's very frowned-upon in that community, but we're having fun amusing ourselves and others. We're just exploring music we always liked, and if that's funky, so be it. Like Picasso said, "Good taste is the enemy of creativity."
How in the hell did you get to be such a good bassist? Were you a nerd in high school or something?
I appreciate the compliment. Maybe it's because I'm really feeling it that it comes across that way. I'm still a nerd. I love the bass in all its forms, and it's something I never get sick of doing. I've been lucky enough to travel the world playing my instrument, and I get pure joy out of a well-executed bass line.
Do you guarantee people will get laid at one of your shows?
Yes, you have my personal guarantee that anyone who attends a New Rome Quartet show will get laid, or your money back! Usually the problem is people having too much sex at our shows and not showing up for work the next day. Sexy music is sometimes a burden on the economy.
This column appeared in print as "The Sublime and Sexy New Rome Quartet."
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