Justin Bank/The Royal Electric
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Justin Bank/The Royal Electric

Berkeley, CA | Established. Jan 01, 1995

Berkeley, CA
Established on Jan, 1995
Band Americana Rock


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Still working on that hot first release.



Justin Bank might pose a bit of a conundrum for music writers who like to put singer-songwriters and their bands in neat “categories" or genres.

There are a few descriptive phrases, however, that definitely fit the bill when it comes to this seasoned musician: He's a gifted singer, songwriter and guitarist with a quirky-yet-infective sense of humor; and his updated-Dylanesque-Americana, roots-rock-flavored music has a broad variety of influences, but they all feel like, well, home.

That's because his lyrics tell stories of people you know, places you've been and situations you've likely witnessed — with a lyrical flow and feel that will remind you of a Willie Nelson story-song, but featuring a decidedly "Americana” thread running throughout.

And if you're like most fans of good Southern rock and classic country and perhaps grew up on the likes of Johnny Cash, Townes Van Zandt, Hank Williams Sr., Creedence Clearwater Revival, Nelson and many others, you will likely be drawn in by the sounds of Bank's music, with its energetic, vintage-rock, back-to-basics feel. These tunes will inspire you and make you want to dance, take a train and soak in the scenery, or drive down that country highway just a little faster —with the top down and the stereo blaring.

It's that kind of movement and inspiration that has taken Bank and his former band mates in such groups as Arkansas-born SFZ, Free Love Virgins and the Royal Electric, as well as Colorado's The Beauregards to stages such across the country.

A 2007 Rotary International scholarship and ensuing tour throughout Eastern France was the catalyst that drove Bank to begin playing around Central Arkansas' live music venues in earnest after a multiple year hiatus from the music business. Since moving to Northern California in 2012 he is now expanding out from his Southern home to build a fan base throughout the Pacific Northwest with his ever increasing band of experienced and talented musicians.


Bank grew up with a variety of musical influences, starting with the family record collection but taking a different turn when at a young age his father took him to a record store in the late '70s and let him select any album the then-6-year-old boy wanted. His first choice? KISS. "Due primarily to the image of the band’s groupies dressed up with KISS make-up and Kabuki style dominatrix attire," Bank recalls. "I picked up their album Love Gun and for some reason my father thought it was age appropriate! … I have no idea what he was thinking."

As a teenager his uncle gave him the sage advice to learn the guitar "because girls love guitars," Bank listened was seduced by the sounds of bluegrass, classic and psychedelic rock. A multi year study of the likes of the Rolling Stones, Beatles, The Who, Led Zeppelin and R.E.M. followed suit, all of which Bank identifies as "huge role models especially when it came to learning how to play the guitar."

The heavy hitters on his personal play list in the last several years have been such artists as George Harrison (his favorite Beatle), Tom Waits, Graham Parsons, Richard Thompson and, of course, Bob Dylan — all of whom have had a major impression on not just his songwriting but on his outlook on life, Bank says.

The Arkansas native who says he fashions his songwriting after the straightforward approaches of Dylan, Johnny Cash and Hank Williams Sr. has an impressive vocal range, and many of the songs he performs showcase that strength, such as his original "Smooth Sounds" with its rolling beat and vintage-rock guitar riffs, and Bank's cover of Donovan's deep cut "To Sing For You."

Audience members will also enjoy other great originals such as "Won't You Come Around (WYCA)" which features the introspective modern-poetry lyrical style of, say, John Prine and a gritty Americana/roots-rock sound not unlike that of 60’s songwriters like Townes Van Zandt and Graham Parsons.

Band Members