Robbie and the Robots

Robbie and the Robots

BandAlternativeRock

The lighter side of the dark side.

Biography

By HAP MANSFIELD
Scene Editor-Newstreamz

With a brand new music video and an upcoming new CD, Robbie and the Robots are going places again.

The award winning band has had several different “robots” through the years and has faced some down time. However, there’s only one Robbie, and that’s Robbie Doyen, the band’s founder and songwriter. Robbie and the Robots will play their original blend of pop, punk and surf Friday night at Triple Crown, 206 North Edward Gary.

Doyen has been called a lot of interesting things in the press he’s received since the band’s first incarnation in 2002. Examples of epithets describing him run along the lines of “doped-up Richard Simmons” and “idiot savant hobo rock star.” While Doyen’s music is whimsical and clever, there’s more to him, and the band, than just quick wit and a sprightly stage presence.

Doyen writes a snappy pop tune and just happens to see the world through an eccentrically creative filter. That filter often gets mistaken as mere comedic talent, but don’t you believe it. Despite the amusing lyrics and fun stage persona, the music is solid, the tunes are catchy, the musicians are proficient and, like most good jokes, there’s a deeply serious side to the humor.

“Basically Robbie and the Robots is a singer-songwriter band,” Doyen said. “I just don’t write very traditional singer-songwriter songs. It’s kind of like Nine Inch Nails or Weezer or Dinosaur Jr. They’re all ‘bands’ that revolve around one songwriter. But I’m also the booking agent, and the manager and the secretary and the treasurer and whatever else, so I think the guys appreciate all the work outside of playing music that I put into the band. Lately, though, we’ve been jamming a lot at practice, and if a song came out of that we’d probably do a group writing credit.”

Named in honor of Doyen’s fondness for Issac Asimov books, Robbie and the Robots have gone through some personnel changes through the years with Doyen remaining the epicenter and songwriter of the group.

“The current lineup is me, James Thompson on lead guitar, Josh Mouton on bass and Tim Lormor on Drums,” Doyen said. “Having the flexibility to change my band members out but still keep the same name is the only way I’ve been able to keep my band going so long. And each new member always contributes something fresh and exciting to the music, so despite all of the band member flux we’ve still been able to grow musically. And the guys in the band right now are fantastic. One of the best pieces of advice I ever got was from a producer named Jim Volentine who said, ‘You’re only as good as the worst member of your band,’ so I always make sure I’m surrounded by very talented musicians.”

A native Texan, Doyen was born in Corpus Christi, raised in Boerne and graduated from Texas State with a degree in English and psychology. In a typical Doyen twist, the sensitive singer-songwriter also has a black belt in kung fu and teaches it at a local martial arts school. His musical interests started, like most musicians, in his teen years.

“I got my first guitar when I was 16,” Doyen said. “It was a cheap classical guitar and I nearly broke the neck off of it playing Metallica riffs. I immediately started writing songs. That’s why I wanted a guitar. I’ve always loved writing.”

His musical influences come from a kaleidoscope of sources, which may explain Doyen’s peculiar lyrical slant. Bands he is currently listening to include Oklahoma’s psychedelic Flaming Lips and alt-county standards, Wilco.

“I’ve really been getting into the Mountain Goats lately,” he said. “Ween and They Might Be Giants are always fun. I also take a lot of inspiration from the country performers I listened to as a kid, like Willie Nelson and Dolly Parton. Local Artists like Scott Biram and Terri Hendrix influence me a lot, too. I love they way they have run their careers.”

In the past, Robbie and the Robots have had unusual set-ups for their live shows like the gigs they played with a tent, a fake campfire and a giant moon and stars hung in the background. Still, there are gaps in the “robotic” catalog in which the band seems to disappear and then emerge out of nowhere and start working again, sort of like the mysterious chocolate factory of Willie Wonka. Part of this stems from hard times that have inspired and paralyzed Doyen’s work.

“Unfortunately for me, one of the main things that inspires me to create is tragedy,” he said. “But I’ve got such a bizarre viewpoint on the world that my observations are commonly interpreted as dark comedy. I get especially aroused creatively by complicated situations.”

One only has to hear his song “Small Town Psycho Crazy Girlfriend Blues” to be convinced of his sincerity on that point.

“But I’ve also learned that when there’s too much tragedy it can be almost impossible to get inspired,” Doyen continued. “For a while, so many awful things happened in a row that I could hardly pull myself out of my depressio

Lyrics

Drug Free Sabbath

Written By: Robbie Doyen

I’m so ready. You’re so ready. We’re so ready we’re painting the town red. I’m so ready. You’re so ready. Up against the wall we’re painting the town red.
And I’d like to drink a margarita and lay down with a pretty seniorita, and I wish that I could do this all the time. And I know that the tunes that I be groovin’ are causing your booty to be movin’ and I wish that I could do this all the time.
Yea, but Monday Tuesday and Wednesday I go to work, I’ve got bills to pay. And Thursday Friday Saturday I am all fucked up in a serious way. But Sunday comes and I’m so bored because I don’t smoke crack on the day of the Lord. I don’t smoke crack on the day of the Lord. I don’t smoke crack on the day of the Lord. Man, I don’t smoke crack on the day of the Lord.
Too much boozin’ and too much usin’. That’s okay because I’m painting the town red. Too much boozin’ and all kinds of usin’. Easy to explain because I’m painting the town red.
And I’d like to stay up until the morning then lay down and pass out in a corner, and I wish that I could do this all the time. And I know that I’m gonna be hung over so I’ll just stay asleep until tomorrow, and I wish that I could do this all the time.
Yea, but Monday Tuesday and Wednesday I go to work, I’ve got bills to pay. And Thursday Friday Saturday I am all fucked up in a serious way. But Sunday comes and I’m so bored because I don’t smoke crack on the day of the Lord. I don’t smoke crack on the day of the Lord. I don’t smoke crack on the day of the Lord. I don’t smoke crack on the day of the Lord.
And I’d like to drink a margarita and lay down with a pretty seniorita, and I wish that I could do this all the time. And I know that I’m gonna be hung over so I will just stay asleep until tomorrow, and I wish that I could do this all the time.
Yea, but Monday Tuesday and Wednesday I go to work, I’ve got bills to pay. And Thursday Friday Saturday I am all fucked up in a serious way. But Sunday comes and I’m so bored because I don’t smoke crack on the day of the Lord.

Small Town Psycho Crazy Girlfriend Blues

Written By: Robbie Doyen

Well my girl went away and that is making me glad, but I’m not getting laid and that is making me sad. She’s always on the hustle and causing some trouble. She’s not very strong, but her mouth is a muscle.
I’ve got the small town psycho crazy girlfriend blues.
She cleaned up my room and she washed all my clothes and she bought me nice things and she nibbled my toes. But she is always stressin’ even when we’re caressin’. She wrecks all her cars, but she can’t learn her lesson.
I’ve got the small town psycho crazy girlfriend blues.
Well I knew it was bad, but I wasn’t prepared. And now that knife in her hand is really makin’ me scared. My baby can’t resist all of the burdens she carries. Right after we fight she always wants to get married.
I’ve got the small town psycho crazy girlfriend blues.
Well my girl went away and that is making me glad, but I’m not getting laid and that is making me sad. She’s always on the hustle and causing some trouble. She’s not very strong, but her mouth is a muscle.
I’ve got the small town psycho crazy girlfriend blues.

Naked

Written By: Robbie Doyen

Ninety miles an hour standing up on the highway. No one really caring whether or not we die today. Driving through a lawn, doing doughnuts in their yard. Man I really hope that we don’t see a cop car.
We are young and having fun. Yea we’re young and we’re dumb and we’re young and having fun and we are naked with the top down. Driving all around town. Too high to ever bring down. We’re naked with the top down.
Yea the color of our skin is the color that we’re swimming in. The water’s mighty cold from the moment that you enter it. I cannot figure out why my will is so strong. It’s probably because I hit the gravity bong.
We are young and having fun. Yea we’re young and we’re dumb and we’re young and having fun and we are naked with the top down. Driving all around town. Too high to ever bring down. We’re naked with the top down.
Drugs are better than people. Yea, drugs are better than people. Take a pill take a hit take a puff take a sip. Drugs are better then people, when you are young and having fun. Well we’re young and we’re dumb and we’re young and full of cum, and we are naked with the top down. Driving all around town. Too high to ever bring down. We’re naked with the top down. Yea, naked with the top down. Driving all around town. Too high to ever bring down. We’re naked with the top down.

Heresy B.C.

Written By: Robbie Doyen

The first ever caveman who learned how to build his own fire decided to show his clan. So he banged a mammoth tusk against the skulls of the sacrificed men who gave their lives to the gods of his land.
And in the simple words of his people he tried to convey, "I bring this gift to you, with the hope that our lives will improve."

Once everyone gathered he laid down his sticks and dried leaves, and he stayed at his work for a while. It started to smoke then suddenly up sprang a flame, and he raised his head and he smiled. And in the simple words of his people he tried to convey, "I bring this gift to you with the hope that our lives will improve."

"This is forbidden! Only the fingers of the God of the Sky can create this wonder! This man must die!"

So they drug him away and they tore him apart. They cut open his chest and pulled out his heart. Some watched in horror, but some watched with pride. His fire untended a strong gust of wind blew ejecting a spark that shot through the dark. It started a fire that burned through the pines. Beholding the fury the blaze had become they cried out for mercy as they turned to run. They prayed to the forest and cursed at the sun.

The screams of his people and the towering orange of the flames could be heard and seen for miles.

The remaining survivors all learned how to build their own fires, and it keeps them safe and warm. And now there are teachers who show this skill to the young and explain its function and form. At the beginning of every lesson they always sing the same prayer: "I bring this gift to you with the hope that our lives will improve."

Already Down

Written By: Robbie Doyen

I was on my way up, but you were already down with news of dying. Stuck at a payphone in the bad part of town—Wild eyes prying. Waiting for you… to stop crying.
But I don’t mind at all. I don’t mind. I don’t mind. I don’t mind at all. I don’t mind at all.
He picked the worst time he could possibly have to be so drastic. A boy in a coffin who’s shaped like a man—sudden and tragic. I cringed when his skin… felt like plastic.
But I don’t mind at all. I don’t mind. I don’t mind. I don’t mind at all. I don’t mind at all.
You were on your way up, but she was already down close to dying. Stuck on the highway trying to get back to town—to say goodbye. I could not believe… you weren’t crying.
But I don’t mind at all. I don’t mind. I don’t mind. I don’t mind at all. I don’t mind at all.

Einstein's Magic Eight Ball Brain

Written By: Robbie Doyen

Maybe this is just the way it’s gonna be for me; I should get used to it. My life’s a mess. So many perfect opportunities turn into something I regret and I wish I could forget. I have this feeling things will turn out great, but how long can I wait and how much longer will it take? If things always get worse before they get better maybe I should write a letter to everyone I hate. It’s hard to build immunity to suffocating every time you breathe.
Maybe you are cool and I am fine and everything is perfect and I should just shut up. Far away in a distant galaxy there’s another Earth and a different me and he is happy and things are looking up. There might even be an alternate reality in which my parents never met or never had a second date. They’ve got ol’ Einstein’s brain in a jar down at the university and if I shook it maybe it would tell my fate. It’s hard to build immunity to suffocating every time you breathe.
And I confess I am a mess. I must admit I wanna quit. But I keep on going—firm and strong. Hope you’ll remember me when I am gone.
Maybe this is just the way it’s gonna be for me; I should get used to it.

Hey Hey

Written By: Robbie Doyen

An old man uses a stick to draw a picture in the sand. Helps him believe he is still a vital hard working man. Hey Robbie tomorrow’s gonna be your big payday! I was just kidding there. Gave you some hope and now I’m taking it away. Hey Hey.
Why don’t you try losing so much and see how well you behave? Are you out there making your own life, or are you becoming its slave? We all know that Superman is gonna find a way to finally win unless that kryptonite grabs hold and takes away the best of him. Hey Hey.
I guess that’s how it’s gotta be. I won’t see you and you won’t see me. It doesn’t feel natural to say, “We might be better off that way.”
You’ve got a grocery list, a to-do list and a five year plan. When someone tells a joke you never laugh and you sit down on your hands. We should have a contest to see how long it takes to dig the deepest grave, and all the winners get to drink pina coladas in the shade. Hey Hey.
Why don’t you try losing so much and see how well you behave? Are you out there making your own life, or are you becoming its slave? We should have a garage sale to sell all of the trophies that you’ve won, because all that matters in the end are the deeds that you have done. Hey Hey.
I guess that’s how it’s gotta be. I won’t see you and you won’t see me. It doesn’t feel natural to say, “We might be better off that way.”
Hey Hey.

Lipstick

Written By: Robbie Doyen

Hush little baby please don’t say a word. Life is not nearly as sad as you’ve heard. Your mother’s in town and your father is missing again. You haven’t seen him in you don’t know when. And you miss your baby and you miss your dad, and you miss the best lover that you ever had.
Quiet now baby please don’t say a word. I promise things won’t always be so absurd. Your mother is crying and your father’s been drinking again. You haven’t slept since you don’t know when. And you miss your baby and you miss your dad, and you miss the best lover that you ever had.
When I put my hand in you did it make you feel dirty? You’ve got your leather on, and you’re ready to play. Well I know the truth about your father. He was very bad. He was very bad. And I’ll lie to you if it’ll make you feel better—tell you everything will be okay.
I see your lipstick on my mirror and it reminds me of how you would never kiss me because it made you feel scared. And it serves as a reminder of the way that I felt like you were never quite with me. You just needed someone there.
Well I did a little more. Couldn’t make you feel happy. You’re hand is full of pills because you want me to stay. Well I know that I could have treated you better. But I never meant for you to feel that way.
I see your lipstick on my mirror and it reminds me of how you would never kiss me because it made you feel scared. And it serves as a reminder of the way that I felt like you were never quite with me. You just needed someone there.
And I feel justified in hating you because you lied to me. Yea you lied to me. And I feel justified in hating you because you lied to me. Yea you lied to me. And I feel justified in hating you because you lied to me. Yea you lied to me.
I see your lipstick on my mirror and it reminds me of how you would never kiss me because it made you feel scared. And it serves as a reminder of the way that I felt like you were never quite with me. You just needed someone there.

I'm the One

Written By: Robbie Doyen

I don’t tie my shoes every time I put em’ on and that makes you confused. You can’t decipher right from wrong. Well that’s okay with me. We don’t always have to agree. Yea it’s okay with me because it doesn’t matter anyway.
And everyone was gonna have some fun. I said I’d meet you there but I missed you. Everything’s a game. The whole world’s a pain, cuz all it wants to do is fist you.
And I’m the one. I’m the one, my father’s son—my mother’s son. I’m the one. I’m the one, my father’s son—my mother’s son.
I am so obsessed with trying not to waste my time, and that makes me depressed. I think that I would rather die. But I’ll do all I can to try and see what I can be, and I’m a lucky man, cuz I know someone believes in me.
Everyone I know finds a way to leave. I’m always in a state of starting over. And all of my shame is like Texas rain. It’s always in a state of blowing over.
And I’m the one. I’m the one, my father’s son—my mother’s son. I’m the one. I’m the one, my father’s son—my mother’s son.
Sometimes rebellion is nothing more than self inflicted torture. I keep finding ways to hurt myself over and over and over. Been falling prey to the way I play because drugs and lust destroy brain cells. Covered all my things in Vaseline so I could slide em’ in real well.
And I’m the one. I’m the one, my father’s son—my mother’s son. I’m the one. I’m the one, my father’s son—my mother’s son. I’m the one. I’m the one, my father’s son—my mother’s son. I’m the one. I’m the one, my father’s son—my mother’s son.
I don’t tie my shoes every time I put em’ on.

Discography

New EP set to come out soon produced by David Eaton(Dynamite Hack, Polyphonic Spree) featuring guest violin performance on the songs Heresy B.C. and Already Down by Brady Black of the Randy Rogers Band.

SMTX 78666. Released 2007. A compilation of San Marcos Bands produced by Robbie Doyen. Proceeds donated to research on Fibromyalgia. $1,900 so far. Features Robbie and the Robots song "Up in the Scene" exclusive to the compilation.

Todaysterday. Released 2005. Naked featured on freemusicianslist.com podcast. Drug Free Sabbath and Small Town Psycho Crazy Girlfriend Blues featured on show Hillers. Music video made for I'm the One.

Block Head. Released 2003. Personal acoustic recordings by Robbie Doyen.

Set List

ORIGINALS:

Hey Hey
The Drinkin’ Sawng
I’m the One
Already Down
Lipstick
Symbiosis
Jammin’ to my Radio
Radioactive
Pedal on the Floor
Small Town Psycho Crazy Girlfriend Blues
Drug Free Sabbath
Helmet
Heresy B.C.
Naked
Porn
Einstein’s Magic Eight Ball Brain
Waltz in G Major
The Saline King
COVERS:

Addicted to Love-Robert Palmer
Yoshimi-The Flaming Lips
Fight Test-The Flaming Lips
Feeling Yourself Disintegrate-The Flaming Lips
Do You Realize?-The Flaming Lips
Waiting for Superman-Flaming Lips
Stegosaurus- Our Dinosaur Friends
Black-Pearl Jam
Wishlist-Pearl Jam
On the Road Again- Willie Nelson
Sad Songs and Waltzes-Willie Nelson
My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys-Willie Nelson
Always on my Mind- Willie Nelson
The Highwayman-Jimmy Webb
Blue Eyes Cryin’ in the Rain-Willie Nelson
This Year-The Mountain Goats
The Best Ever Death Metal Band out of Denton-The Mountain Goats
Dance Music-The Mountain Goats
Cowboy Rides Away-George Straight
Amarillo by Mo