...Fusing the sounds of roots blues, soul, & reggae, a mixture arises bred of iron and clay:
...Roman Alexander & The Robbery
...From touring up and down California & Florida, to releasing their debut album in 2009, the past two years for the boys can be described as nothing short of famine & feast. Despite constant set backs, due to shifting band members, these these relentless few have continued marching forward receiving monthly press, selling over 4,000 albums, & headlining shows at the House of Blues.;
…Roman’s soulful sting, Ryan’s slap on bass, bluesy guitar licks from Matty, jazzy keys from Chady, & funky drummer Shane Fitzgibbon make the band complete. This full sounding 5 piece, now home from
their 15 shows a month schedule, are currently writing and recording the next stage of their musical progression, “Songs for the Ride Home”.
…Roman Alexander and The Robbery urge you to stay a while and listen.
Roman Alexander - Lead Vocals, Rhythm Guitar
Ryan Reno - Bass
Matt McDavid - Lead Guitar, Backup Vocals
Shane Fitzgibbon - Drums, Backup Vocals
Chad Stanner - keyboards, Backup Vocals
Roman Alexander and The Robbery - July, 2009
-I Love Music
-With Friends Like These
-Don't Need No
-In Your Light
-Love The Fight
-C'est La Vie
Roman Alexander and The Robbery - The real "Making of the Band" band
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Roman Alexander and The Robbery have had one hell of a ride. Literally. BE ADVISED: This is one...
Roman Alexander and The Robbery have had one hell of a ride. Literally.
BE ADVISED: This is one band that I would recommend seeing live before hitting up their myspace page. The tracks and recordings on the site just don't do the band's sound any justice. Read on, and then get your ass to Big's Bar in Fullerton (645 S State College Blvd Ste I, Fullerton, CA) on Wednesday night (yes, Los Angeles peeps, this means you have to travel to the other side of that orange curtain). If anything, go for the cheap drinks. But trust me, there will be more to enjoy than just cheap booze,
The story behind the making of this band of robbers is just as interesting as their sound - a menagerie riddled with reggae soul (oddly enough, half of the members don't even care for reggae), contemporary-adult guitar chords (think John Mayer and Blind Melon) and spiritual, blues-esque progressions. Transplant another member from Florida, let him learn how to play a little harmonica, add it to the mix and your got yourself Roman Alexander and The Robbery. These guys have gone through the bullshit, trials and tribulations that bands that have been together for YEARS go through in a matter of MONTHS. But, alas, the cancerous elements have since left the band and the current line up is solid and ready to jam on it!
You don't have to take my word for it; just go to Big's, have a beer and take a listen for yourself. Roman Alexander, lead vocalist and leader of the pack, will shake and soothe you within the same song with his voice while Jeff Carruth and Matt Mc David display their skills on the drums and guitar. Be sure to look out for the bass player, Ryan Reno, texting and taking breaks during intros and solos...ever the professional.
They really kill it on stage when they start to play them moody blues, though. If you dig any of the Blind Melon B-sides or rarities, shit, even if you dig any of their mainstream stuff, you will enjoy listening to these guys live. Perfect booze tunes. In fact, since I can't pin point a genre to classify these guys in, I created a new one: Booze Tunes.
Listen to the Band: Roman Alexander and the Robbery
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There are no simple answers for why some bands work and some don't. But if you look at the basic c...
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.
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.
OCW: What's the best thing that has happened to the band so far? What's the worst?
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.
Fullerton's Roman Alexander & the Robbery Break and Enter the Local Scene
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On the surface, it’s tough to understand what makes Roman Alexander and the Robbery work. Planted in...On the surface, it’s tough to understand what makes Roman Alexander and the Robbery work. Planted in a landscape overgrown with snotty “scene kids,” a vaguely ’90s brand of relaxed rock dipped in hippie eclecticism seems unlikely to survive at all. Yet they’re never hurting for gigs. On any given night, they could be playing a backyard party in Yorba Linda or a beer festival in Big Bear, with several local residencies in between.
Their Fullerton rehearsal space fits their music perfectly. Run your hands over the paint-stripped wall where a solo recording booth once stood, or gaze at a corner slathered with posters of everyone from Al Green to Jamiroquai to Led Zeppelin, but try to not bump into the back table sagging under blank CD-Rs. Once you’ve tripped over all the music gear piled on the floor, you see a map of California hanging by the door, covered in tiny dots.
“I want to hit everywhere in California,” says Roman Alexander, the band’s afro-sporting lead singer. “All the small places on the map . . . If we can get a certain percentage of the population out here, then our CDs could really get out to a lot of people.”
After nine months together, his band are on track for their goal, and with it comes a fan base filled with everyone from leather-clad Hessians to sorority chicks.
Built on an irie foundation of snappy rim shots, the soulful shards of Ben Harper, introverted acoustic music and bayou blues, the Robbery’s sound disarms rigid genre purists one song at a time. “Maybe you like reggae more than they like singer/songwriter slow stuff, or maybe you like that more than blues or soul,” says guitarist Matt McDavid. “We play it all, so you’re gonna like at least half the songs.”
The band originally sprang from Alexander’s brief acoustic solo career in 2005, a somber effort that failed to express his outgoing personality. To vanquish his boredom, he sought help from longtime friend and bassist Ryan Reno. The two started putting together a band and, after a string of fleeting partnerships, found a kindred spirit in drummer Jeff Carruth, a native Floridian.
The first incarnation of the band hastily jumped into recording tracks, capping the lineup with a friend of Carruth’s from Florida on guitar. A few gigs later, they planned their first tour of the Sunshine State, loading up a rusty 1973 RV, cheaply purchased from Alexander’s dad, with hopes of making a splash in the South. They didn’t realize then that their first true test as a band would come in the form of multiple engine failures. “So [the RV] breaks down three times before we even get out of Orange County, and the whole way to Florida, it broke down about 13 times,” Carruth says.
Armed with four wrenches, a handful of sockets and some chance encounters with charitable, semi-toothless Floridian auto mechanics, the band made it through the tour. Carruth stayed behind briefly, but his guitarist friend parted ways with the band once the tour ended.
In 2008, McDavid responded to a Craigslist ad seeking a lead guitarist. Despite his uncertain future with the band, Carruth flew back to California and instantly hit it off with McDavid in practice. Camaraderie has come in handy over the past several months. This was especially true during a recent stint at Big’s Bar and Grill in Fullerton, where the notorious hard-rock crowds aren’t typically kind to singer/songwriter types.
“That first day we played Big’s, I walked in and it was like a bunch of thugs and bikers,” Alexander says. “We were like, ‘Dude, no one’s gonna like it.’”
But the Big’s crowd didn’t hate it—they loved it. Eventually, rough bar crowds came to see them each Wednesday night for months.
Since ending their Big’s residency, the Robbery have focused on releasing their self-titled debut, slated for sometime this spring.In the meantime, they’re content stacking up local gigs and handing out free demos (more than 8,000 to date), a move Alexander hopes will continue to get them local buzz.
“It’s worked out for us,” he says. “That’s why we have so many shows. The message is spreading, and we’ve sent out a lot of seeds, and now we get to see if these seeds are growing.”
[CD Review] Roman Alexander and the Robbery (Self-released)
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Paired against the reckless wiles of vintage hipster mimicry, Fullerton’s Roman Alexander and the Ro...Paired against the reckless wiles of vintage hipster mimicry, Fullerton’s Roman Alexander and the Robbery seem tame at first listen. But beneath their R&B-tinged stabs at rock, reggae and blues lie a ferocious honesty and unpretentiousness that spill out of nearly every song on their self-titled debut. From the fabric of their tender, Ben Harper-esque aesthetic to their few-frills recording, the band make no attempts to hide behind engineering boards or hazy special effects. Alexander wails out the chorus to “I Love Music” with such earnest oomph you actually believe that these sentiments got them where they are today: constant gigs, a growing fan base and a sturdy record.
Following their front man through the thickness of urban soul on songs such as “Enmity” to the down-home, back-porch boot-stomping of “44,” the Robbery—a seasoned structure of bass, drums and guitar—have the ability to switch styles and speeds on a dime. Their slow material can sound somewhat repetitive, but at the heart of each song lies a distinct message, often obsessing on love and the life choices we make every day. Among the album’s standout tracks are the revolutionary reggae tones of “Don’t Need No” and the infectious, funky-hook working inside the chorus of “Running Away.”
Even if a few of their songs may not be exactly what you’re looking for (or may be a bit too subdued), Roman Alexander and the Robbery have at least a little something for everyone. Before long, you’ll start to appreciate their enthusiastic genre-hopping. After all, they wouldn’t want to rob anyone of a good time.
Roman Alexander and the Robbery
Watch The Video at the Link Below...
Roman Alexander and the Robbery
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With a sound as original as its name, it’s no surprise this local band was nominated for ‘Best B...With a sound as
original as its name, it’s
no surprise this local
band was nominated
for ‘Best Blues’
at the 2010 Orange
County Music Awards
The OC has long been the initial stomping grounds of great musicians, at least in recent rock history. Heck, even Leo Fender himself father of the electric guitar lived his whole life in Fullerton. So the band Roman Alexander and the Robbery is no different when it comes to a
group of talented young individuals putting it all on the line and taking their shot at the music industry. As well they should. Evolutionary in style and genre, their music comes smoothly at you with a bluesy soul-and-funk feel that resonates somewhere way down deep.
“I don’t believe in styles anymore,” lead singer Roman Alexander says. “I think people just want to hear music that’ll make them feel something.” Well, whether his band can be categorized as a particular style or not (and it probably can’t be pigeonholed), there is one type of music everybody likes: the good kind. For Roman Alexander and the Robbery, that means a soulful voice over folky chord with a rhythmic backbone, raw leads and a smooth finish. Just the thing you weren’t expecting on a Saturday night in a microcosm like the OC. Unless, of
course, you were in the know.
You can thank us later, after you’ve caught one of their shows live. Of course they’re in demand they tour all over California, playing 15 venues a month. And their self-released album, “Roman Alexander and The Robbery,” is available on iTunes and Amazon.com. Somehow,
some way, get yourselves in front of these guys before they hit the big time.
Meet the Band:
Lead singer Roman Alexander is
inspired by the idea of affecting people by the lyrics
he writes. Growing up, his father introduced him to
classic rock and great artists like Marvin Gaye, Bob
Marley and Curtis Mayfield. Coupled with his mother’s
love for great soul music from artists like Al Green, and
bands like Earth, Wind and Fire, Alexander developed
his own creative sense of music. “It’s a hard living, but
as long as I have a guitar in my hands, there’s always
new songs to sing and new people to play them for,”
Alexander says. “This is how we get by.”
Guitarist Matt McDavid will tell you his
family is a machine run by music, and his life has
always had a soundtrack. It’s obvious he has total
faith in the others as musicians. “We do a lot of
impromptu jams live, where we just pick a note and
see where it takes us,” he says. “It’s inspiring every
time one of those jams goes well.”
Percussionist Scott Gronsky
started playing music by ear when he was 9 years
old, and never stopped. He feels “like a gladiator”
when he plays music live. Ultimately, he’d like to travel
the world expressing his creative side by pushing the
boundaries of music. “It’s like I’m adding color to a
Keyboardist Chad Stanner grew up
amid musical instruments all around the house and
loves the fact that he makes music almost every night
of the week. “My goal is to basically travel the world as
a musician,” he says.
Bassist Ryan Reno is the snarky one of
the bunch (a trait he admits “doesn’t translate well in
e-mails or texts), and has been playing since he was
11 years old. His inspiration is seeing the bands he
loves play, “unless they’re terrible live.” What does he
love most about the work he does? “Free food and
drinks,” he says, mulling it over. “And I’m kinda serious
Best Reason To Keep Coming Back to Downtown Fullerton
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The past five years have seen a detonation of liquor licenses in downtown Fullerton, and with the ur...The past five years have seen a detonation of liquor licenses in downtown Fullerton, and with the urination, vomiting, fights and other alcohol-related niceties has come a similar proliferation of venues offering live music. On just about every night of the week, you can hear live, local bands at 10 venues downtown or on the periphery. And while there are a lot of bands who . . . well, the less said about them the better, there are certified diamonds in the rough. Count Roman Alexander and the Robbery as one of the brightest. Led by the charismatic and soulfully tuned voice of Alexander, the outfit play some 12 shows per month from San Diego to Sonoma, but their home base is downtown. The five-person ensemble emphasize original songs that are equal parts funk, reggae, blues and rock. They've sold 4,000 copies of their eponymous first CD, and they are busy working on their second, Songs for the Ride Home, which will be released early next year. But though the band have played more than 350 shows in and around Southern California, locals may be running out of chances to see them on a regular basis. Since 2008, they have opened up for Steel Pulse, the Dirty Heads and the Wailers and headlined at the House of Blues in August; the band are now secure enough with their large, local fan base they're planning tours to Florida, Washington and Tennessee.
Roman Alexander & The Robbery stealing more widespread attention
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Music has always been a huge part of Roman Alexander’s life, and from the earliest age — the local m...Music has always been a huge part of Roman Alexander’s life, and from the earliest age — the local musician recalls endless singalongs in the car while roaming all over North and South America with his missionary parents.
He’s come a long way since entertaining relatives on their travels. With his band, the Robbery, Alexander has built a solid following in Orange County and is beginning to branching out into the Los Angeles and San Diego music scenes. Just last month, the band took second place in the San Diego County Fair’s annual Musicpalooza contest, winning $2,500.
The band has been recognized at home as well, taking home the OC Music Award for best blues at the annual ceremony this past March. Roman Alexander & the Robbery also headlines Saturday night at House of Blues Anaheim, along with Audible Mainframe, Pilot Touhill and more.
When his family finally settled in O.C. in 1996, Alexander enrolled in Valencia High School in Placentia. It was there, during a talent show in his senior year, that he discovered he could actually sing.
“I killed it,” he says. “Not even my friends knew I could sing at the time. I didn’t even know I could really sing. For some reason I just thought everyone could sing, so I didn’t think it was a big deal.”
Alexander began working on his craft by providing backing vocals on his friends’ hip-hop recordings. Quickly becoming more serious about music, he decided he wanted to be an R&B singer, but found that most people would promise him things — jam sessions, gigs, connections, studio time — then never deliver. Constantly waiting on others made him restless, so he taught himself how to play guitar.
When he wasn’t making music, Alexander was working as a mixed martial arts trainer with dreams of one day becoming a professional fighter. But in 2005 he suffered a seizure; doctors revealed that he needed brain surgery for an anteriovenous malformation.
“They told me I couldn’t fight anymore,” he says. “I had to give up everything at that point because that was my job — that was my life. I even lost my driver’s license for six months. After the surgery I had to learn to play the guitar all over again. To this day I still don’t feel like my hands are as good as they used to be.
“But now I feel like that was the best thing that ever happened to me. It was God’s way of slapping me in the face and telling me, ‘Look, you’re not supposed to be a fighter.’”
Without employment or means to travel, Alexander turned to music to keep sane during his recovery. His dad helped him build an in-home studio, where numerous 2 a.m. recording sessions led to the completion of his first solo album, The Thief to the Right, which he says featured a very “Elliott Smith and Jason Mraz style.”
Shortly after that, Alexander asked his friend, bassist Ryan Reno, to jam with him. At the time Reno was committed to another band, but one day called Alexander to say that band had broken up. “He was, like, happy about it,” Alexander says. “It was kind of weird. But he said, ‘I’m ready to put all of my eggs in one basket.’”
The duo began writing more bluesy rock songs and playing under just Alexander’s name. They went through a cycle of musicians but finally found Florida-based drummer Jeff Carruth and lead guitarist Matt McDavid, who completed the lineup in 2008.
In its first year of serious gigging, Roman Alexander & the Robbery booked two month-long residencies at the same time and were playing an average of three times a week. Alexander says the band wasn’t worried about over-saturation at the time — its focus was on honing a live show and building a solid fan base. Plus, during all of that madness, the group was able to release its first 12-song self-titled album in July 2009, from which a couple of the tracks, including “I Love Music,” garnered radio play on KROQ’s Locals Only showcase.
The band then brought on keyboardist Chad Stanner to add a new element to its sound. Earlier this year, Carruth had to return to Florida so the band has replaced him with percussionist Scott Gronsky.
Alexander doesn’t consider his band a “true blues band,” but says the group draws inspiration from just about every genre, incorporating it all into one sound. “I grew up on classic rock and salsa,” he says. “We have a bassist that grew up on punk rock and metal, our keyboardist grew up on jazz and our guitarist grew up on reggae, blues and jam bands.
“We tried to sit down and figure out what kind of band we were going to be, but all of that goes right out the window when you actually start playing. We’re comfortable with doing what we do. I think one of the reasons people are drawn to us is because, regardless of the style, there’s a spirit that comes through the music — and we all just like to have fun, especially when we’re playing live.”
After a whirlwind couple of years with a couple hundred gigs under its belt, Roman Alexander & the Robbery are about to take a bit of a break — minus a few scattered shows — to work on another album. Alexander says the songs he’s already inked carry many of the same “battling my demons” themes as before. He finds it odd when fans find some of his lyrics positive and happy.
“It’s funny because I don’t write happy songs,” he says. “It’s about heartbreak — sad songs that come from someone who has coped with this or that and has an understanding of problems that people go through. It’s a lot about personal demons — it’s always one of my fears that people think I’m judging when it’s not that at all. I’m basically talking to myself.”
Set List Originals:
-I Love Music
-With Friends Like These
-Don't Need No
-In Your Light
-Love The Fight
-C'est La Vie
Set List Unreleased:
-Me & Lady Luck
-What We Share
-Hate & Heritage
-Workin' For The Enemy
-Way Back Home
-The Beast We Love
Set List Covers:
-What I Got (Sublime)
-7 Days (Jamiroquai)