Rob Castle had no choice but to go big, especially after he decided he’d never go home. The heavily-tatted, 31 year-old rocker from Southampton, England is following his musical dreams into oblivion in the hope that things may not always work out perfect, but maybe even better than expected.
For his band Big Rig Dollhouse, that’s certainly been the case. His career Stateside started through a long distance relationship with an American girl that turned into a permanent living situation for the singer/guitarist. When the relationship ended he decided to stay on this side of the pond, visa’s be damned.
“I was in a band in England and I ended up coming over here back and forth and ended up saying ‘Fuck it I’m staying’ whether it’s the proper way or not,” Castle recalls.
He’d had a fine life as a musician back in England, but by the time he decided to settle in the U.S. he was ready to give up music, focusing on his self-made business making leather crafts for rockstars like Ozzy, Billy Idol among them. It’s a world he incredibly managed to fall into through his various connections in the music business. “It was fight or flight because staying here I could either be a construction worker or try to put my artistic stuff to some use,” he says.
It wasn’t until he moved from Hollywood to OC hippie haven Sunset Beach that the members of his current band wandered into his life and inspired him to sing and play again.
After a little over a year together, BRD’s dyed-in-the-wool ‘70s rock has busted through the boredom of dozens of local bars and clubs from LA to OC. It was in the city of Westminster that Castle and his crew (guitarist Jarett Glodt, drummer Brian Dropkin and bassist Ty Tryon) shacked up in house together. They wrote songs and booked 125 shows in the last year to help them make a name for themselves in the rock scene.
“We’ve only just now got a record together. I guess we sorta forgot about that” Castle says. He’s referring to their recently released EP titled The Moon produced by Cameron Webb, Motorhead’s long time man behind the boards.
Their rock-n-roll sound is not out to reinvent the wheel. But its heaviness and brash bravado has been able to steamroll their way into positive opportunities.
Producer Webb was one of the first people in OC to realize the band’s potential. Castle met him while visiting his pal and fellow Englishman Lemmy at Webb’s Maple Sound Studios in Santa Ana prior to the rocker’s death.
“I would speak to Lem briefly in the studio but what I was always in awe of what Cameron could do,” Castle says. “He was just able to bring something out in someone that made them believe in themselves more than they already did.”
Together the band and Webb cranked out songs for the band’s debut EP that run the gamut from catchy rollickers like “Hell to Me” to the EP’s somber title track, “The Moon”, which Castle says was inspired by being away from home. Though it seems out of character for a wild riff rock band to name their album after their slowest song, it’s a style choice that rings true to the band.
“Everything will become apparent when we release the rest of the record,” Castle says referring to an impending LP release. “There’s a certain aspect of mysticism we like to keep that keeps everyone on their toes.”
With a swath of shows, new music and record label interest on the horizon, it seems like Castle’s decision to go big with the band is getting more real every time they hit the stage.
“We do wanna be the best rock n roll band and be like an atom bomb waiting to go off. For my sakes too, I’m in a position where I can’t go home, so I do wanna make a big explosion and I wanna be able to bring it on home.”
Big Rig Dollhouse perform at The Regal Inn, 6763 E. Carson St., Lakewood, (562) 425-9038, Fri. Feb. 9, 7 p.m. No cover. 21+
Nate Jackson is the gatekeeper to your dreams of local dive bar stardom. If he writes about you, expect your band to be offered at least one more drink ticket than the rest of the bands on the bill. Get his attention with some groovy tunes and he might just do it. Then, boy will you feel special.