Hot Robots
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Hot Robots

Denver, Colorado, United States

Denver, Colorado, United States
Band Alternative Rock




"Hot Robots heat up the Larimer Lounge this weekend"

Hot Robots, which is preparing to release its new album, All Alone Together, this week, comprises members of a number of well-regarded Denver acts past and present, such as the Christines, the LaDonnas, the Inactivists and Local 33. You can hear the quintet's collective love of power pop and guitar-driven '80s new wave in its music. But instead of sounding like they're hopping on the same bandwagon that brought acts like the Sweet and Cheap Trick back into mass consciousness, Hot Robots' songs crackle with genuine passion and conviction. We sat down with the band at Jimmy Leo's house to discuss the personal roots of its music.

Westword: As people who have been involved in music for two decades or more, why did you want to do what is essentially a pop band?

Eric Lowe: I told a friend, "I think the last band I'm ever going to be in has to be a pop-rock band." It took Nick White of the Christines to convince me to come to Jimmy's house. I saw his collection of music and said, "Are you serious?"

Jimmy Leo: After playing in bands of different styles and all that kind of stuff, I wanted to get back to what turned me on about music in the first place. I had a Dazed and Confused moment when I was a little kid, riding in the back of this '76 Malibu with my best friend's older brother and his friends, driving along listening to classic rock. Then the radio station said, "We're going to play a block of new-wave music." At the time, Cheap Trick, the Cars, Tom Petty, the Knack, Elvis Costello — all that stuff — was considered to be related. These guys were like, "Oh, my God, this sucks." I felt alive, and I felt like that was first time I'd listened to something that had really kind of turned me on. I'd listened to music before, but that's what really turned the light on for me and turned me into a music geek, and I started collecting records

EL: That's the thing — '80s music was different then. I like classic rock, but the '80s, for me, was Plimsouls, Psychedelic Furs, the Church, early R.E.M. They were on the edge, playing something different that was catchy.

JL: I've been in different kinds of bands, but all celebrating the beginning of rock and roll and trying to imagine what it would be like to start from the beginning. But when it came down to trying to do the last band I ever wanted to play in, it was like paying respect to my youth — not trying to be a cover band, but a band that has all these influences. We're playing the kind of music we want to hear. The only way to play music with any authenticity is to play the music that you believe in.

By Tom Murphy Tuesday, May 29 2012 - Denver Westword

"Hot Robots @ Old Curtis St. Bar"

Hot Robots emerged from hibernation Friday night with their familiar brand of hard driving rock ‘n’ roll and a couple of new faces — drummer Dan Gilbertson (Gilbertson’s former bands include the LaDonnas and the Geds) and guitar player Paul Childs, whose addition reunites him with fellow guitarist Eric Lowe of Local 33.

Hot Robots’ frontman, Jimmy Leo, said he felt good about the chemistry of the band, and it translated to a solid set on the stage at the Old Curtis Street Bar, where the group’s latest incarnation performed publicly for the first time. Emerging from months of studio work and ongoing efforts to release a new CD, Leo was hoping each of the band members, old and new, would bring their own musical souls to bear.

“I don’t want (Paul and Dan) to feel like hired guns just playing how they think we want them to play,” Leo said. “I want them to feel like they’re part of the band… because they are.”

Drummer Dan Gilbertson talked about his hesitancy in bringing a raw, punk style of drumming to the band. “I even suggested that maybe I wasn’t right for the band and that maybe they should look for someone who was a better fit. But (guitarist) Eric (Lowe) said that’s why it’s a good fit — because my style is a bit more raw.”

Whatever the concerns may have been going in, the audience certainly seemed to enjoy what they heard. The band is heading back to continue work on an album they hope to release later this year. In the meantime, keep an eye out for the next appearance around town. You won’t be disappointed. – Mark Osler - Denver Post/Reverb

"'Built to Tilt' Album Review"

Power pop, by its nature, is a regressive genre, and Hot Robots is no different. The only thing that's in doubt is exactly which decade the band has so gleefully embraced. Built to Tilt, the Robots' full-length debut, re-creates every hook ever beaten to death by Cheap Trick, the Plimsouls and latter-day Guided by Voices — that is, some of the genre's greatest practitioners of the '70s, '80s and '90s. And therein lies the disc's beauty: True to the soul of power pop and unconcerned with anything else, Tilt speaks its own language, kisses its own cousins and gives its own secret handshake. Call it one-dimensional or even derivative; those who love power pop's big riffs, sweet harmonies and rock action will simply shrug and call it the real thing. -- Jason Heller -

"Localized: Hot Robots (CD Review)"

Just like drinking beer and making out in the back seat, guitar pop boasts the sort of perennial popularity that’s made it a staple of being young, rowdy, and full of life. There’s a good chance that your parents were getting drunk and groping to the same rock albums that might be your soundtrack to this summer's debauchery. Had Hot Robots (playing tonight at the Hi-Dive) been around back then, Built To Tilt could have been a favorite of past generations' late-night celebrations.

This local band, however, doesn’t overdo things on its debut, but it still careens through enough power-pop checkpoints to almost guarantee Built To Tilt becomes a record geek’s fantasy: Big Star, Buzzcocks, Stiff Little Fingers, and The Who all play prominently into Hot Robots’ sound. The act’s traditional, if punky, streak doesn’t translate to rock conservatism, though. Built To Tilt has everything that’s eternally young and exciting about the genre, from the buzzing guitars and gooey backing vocals of the hookiest of British '77-era punk acts to the rough-around-the-edges charms that gave every band from Big Star to The Replacements its bite.

Even at Hot Robots’ loudest, “Travel” and “Break,” the group's wall of sharp, metallic guitar isn’t there to tear your head off, but get you up on your feet and dancing. A couple ballads, “Virginia” and “True,” give a breather amid the barrage of teenage kicks, but otherwise the disc is a feast of over-amplified guitars and soulful vocals that carries the weight of guitar-pop history without being burdened by it in the slightest. -- Matt Schild May 31, 2009

Decider Grade: A-,28560/ - The Onion A.V. Club

"Hot Robots at the Hi-Dive"

Lots of bands try to do exactly what Hot Robots already do extremely well — that is, write solid, hooky, intelligent pop music. On stage, the group may look like an average bar band, with good equipment but perhaps weighed down by pedestrian musical inclinations. As it turns out, though, the Robots aren't lacking anything when it comes to writing or execution. Remember in Valley Girl, when Randy (Nicolas Cage) goes to see the Plimsouls and rocks out to an actual band, one that has soul and verve instead of one of those tepid, movie-only creations? Hot Robots (due at the hi-dive on Wednesday, November 5) are like that, in that it's easy to get excited about them and there's no acting involved. -- Tom Murphy -

"Hot Robots Sunday, July 20, 2008 Larimer Lounge, Denver"

Hot Robots are a four-piece ensemble with the usual instrumental arrangement for rock and roll. They could rightly be called a power pop band since they had some killer hooks and melodies, but rocked like Bruce Springsteen’s mightiest moments. Their singer had a powerful, forceful voice and presence, and all the players were obviously skilled and had mastered these songs without working them to death.

They kept joking around in Liverpudlian accents to break the awkward moments and they brought good spirit to the show. A song that I think was called “A Different Atmosphere” was one of the strongest of their performance, and it reminded me ever so slightly of late-era Replacements, specifically 'Pleased to Meet Me' when that band had shed some of its shambolic vibe in favor of impassioned, yet well-crafted, guitar pop. These guys had a great deal of charisma and their songcraft was superb. -- Tom Murphy

Critic's Notebook
Personal Bias: I’d been meaning to check out Hot Robots for months and finally got to.
Random Detail: Jimmy from Hot Robots has a Hiwatt amp. -

"Live Review: Hot Robots @ Meadowlark"

“It’s a bitter pill with a sweet candy coating.”

That’s how Hot Robots lead singer and guitar player Jimmy Leo describes the heart-on-their-their-sleeves-style “power pop” rock ‘n’ roll the band brought to the cave-like Meadowlark on Saturday. Bandmates appearing under the names Jimmy Image (Jimmy Leo), Eric Eiffel (Eric Lowe), Johnny Moses (no nickname) and G. Gordon Gordon (Jon Baron) are close friends and veterans of other local bands.

Hot Robots recently released their first album, “Built to Tilt,” a “grip it and rip it” project that was tracked live and overdubbed. They are currently working on a second album and expect to release that late summer/early fall 2009.

Saturday’s performance focused on the future, with eight of the 10 songs in the set expected to appear on the band’s upcoming album. (Two songs from “Built to Tilt” filled out the set.) Influenced by bands such as the Who, Cheap Trick, Teenage Fanclub, Guided By Voices, the Replacements and the Clash, Hot Robots are beginning to find their own sound. Delivering a high-energy show, with guitar-driven music, the band gels both musically and personally.

Jimmy Leo penned most of the songs performed Saturday with a couple of compositions by lead guitarist Eric Lowe filling out the set list. Leo’s contributions take life head on in an angry, irony-free style, while Lowe’s equally rockin’ songs tend to be a bit more reflective. Either way, the band’s audience got 10 songs straight from the gut from this band of buddies. -- Mark Osler

Mark Osler is a Denver freelance photographer and regular Reverb contributor. -


Still working on that hot first release.



Inspired by their mutual admiration for The Who, Guided By Voices, Cheap Trick, The Clash, Big Star, The Replacements, and Teenage Fanclub among others, vocalist/guitarist Jimmy Image (James Leo) and guitarist/vocalist Eric Loud (Eric Lowe) formed Hot Robots in November 2007.

A conversation over drinks about Sci-Fi cult films, THX-1138, Bladerunner, and Cherry 2000 provided the name for the band, as well as its purpose. With Pop Art in mind, their logo would feature a bar code (a likely state provided tattoo). And if the world would act as robots, then their music would be the music of defiance, in other words, heart-on-your-sleeve rock & roll. The world, they believe, needs three-minute songs with loud guitars. Plugging in for the unplugged, so to speak. This would also offer proof that drinking encourages abstract thought.

Veterans of the Denver music scene and friends and neighbors for many years, Leo and Lowe made their Denver debut as Hot Robots in January 2008. A year later, the group self-released an album, Built To Tilt, to positive local reviews. However, after enduring a number of line-up changes since the band’s inception, Leo and Lowe would refocus and regroup in 2010 adding Paul Childs (guitar), drummer Danimal (Dan Gilbertson), and bassist Max Summer (Matt Sumner) essentially rebooting and starting over.

This restart would in turn yield, All Alone Together, an album whose songs were recorded by the band in their rehearsal space, and are essentially about being a Hot Robot.

In tribute of the finest traditions of Rock, Hot Robots combine the rough & tumble energy of Garage, the melodies and hooks of Power Pop, and the defiance & rebellion of Punk to deliver impassioned songs from the working class. Hot Robots aren’t reinventing the wheel… Hot Robots are putting the wheel to work. Weren’t the guitar, bass, and drums invented for this very reason?

– Chazz Obbligato, 2012

Band Members