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"Runners rocked to their beat"

Monday, November 16, 2009 12:52 PM EST

RockStellar kept the energy high while performing at the ING NYC Marathon on November 1, and will perform again for the Queens community during some upcoming shows.

Three years ago, drummer and singer Jimmy “F” Hobbs, a resident of Park Slope, put an ad up on Craigslist looking for band members. Guitarist Phil Reeves, who lives in Manhattan, responded.

The band played together for a while with a different bass guitarist. However, the most recent addition has been Long Island City resident Steven Egar, a bassist who also does vocals. Hobbs found him because he knew someone who was college friends with Egar’s uncle.

According to the band’s web site, RockStellar’s music is a “mix of old school rock style, boundary-busting songwriting, and musicianship found lacking in today’s popular bands.”

Reeves explained that the band has a classic rock flavor, but that they bring in other elements that are mixed into the sound they create. Other genres that can be heard in their music are swing, blues, reggae and funk. The band members also come together to write their own original music.

RockStellar performs mainly in the five boroughs and on Long Island. They have already recorded one rough demo and are now working on material for a second recording.

The band recently showed off their sound when they played during the NYC Marathon as runners made their way through Long Island City. Last year, RockStellar made their marathon debut when they performed during an early leg of the Marathon in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn.

Reeves had a friend who ran in the Marathon, so he reached out to someone about having the band be one of the acts to perform along the route. It was decided their music would be good for the runners, which is how RockStellar got involved.

Because of the long distance of the Marathon, Reeves said that it is important to have ways of energizing the participants. As the runners passed RockStellar, many gave a thumbs up or showed other forms of acknowledgement. That, along with seeing members of the community dancing to the music, was the best part for the band.

The immediate goals of RockStellar are to settle into the local scene, build a following and have a good time while doing it.

RockStellar has two upcoming performances in Queens. They will be at Traditions Pub, located at 84-28 164th Street in Jamaica, on Saturday, December 12 at 10 p.m.

At 9 p.m. on Saturday, December 19, they will perform at WunderBar, which is located at 37-10 11th Street in Long Island City.

For more information on RockStellar, including a complete list of upcoming performances, visit - Queens Courier

"Racing to a steady beat in Queens"

Hundreds of Queens residents gathered early Sunday morning in Long Island City to cheer runners taking part in this year's New York City Marathon.

Children bundled up in jackets and scarves, excited dogs tugged at their leashes and enthusiastic residents lined the streets at 48th Avenue and Vernon Boulevard to boost the runners' spirits as they panted through the 14-mile mark of the race.

Young residents, swathed in bright orange plastic rain coats, brought color to the grey day as they waited to hand out water to the passing marathoners.

And local band Rockstellar added music to the festive atmosphere.

"It's a lot of fun," said the band's drummer, who calls himself Jimmy F., adding that, “We were worried about playing so early, waking up the neighbors, playing rock ‘n’ roll.”

But no one seemed to mind. A few oldies, some Bowie and some Doors by Rockstellar warmed up the audience and entertained them as the runners sprinted across the Pulaski Bridge into L.I.C. and continued onward to Manhattan.

Rockstellar was one of the 100 bands that played along the route of the marathon.

“A few years ago, we were handing out water on the streets,” said band member Phil Reeves, “and we heard music — from a band down the street. That’s when I found out about bands playing on the route!”

This is the group's second year performing for the marathon. “We were the first band that played as the runners came over the Verrazano Bridge,” said Reeves, referring to last year's performance in Brooklyn.

While the band enjoys playing the marathon gig, bassist Steven Edgar said he’s not sure people actually listen to the music while they watch the runners.

“The marathon is a lot of fun,” said Edgar, “but asa band, no one pays attention.”

This year people did pay attention, though, and the musicians were surrounded by cheering residents.

“I love the band,” Pat Irwin, a resident of L.I.C., said as he swiped a freshly baked corn muffins off a plate that was making the rounds. “It just feels like it adds to the fun and spirit.”

As the motorcycles heralding the first runners roared onto 47th Avenue, the cheers got louder, the band rocked on, sticking to what it knows best — classic rock.

“For years, I had friends who would come from out of state to run, so it was always a big deal,” recalls Reeves. “We would go for a big dinner, or we would have an after-marathon party.”

The band's Sunday performance also held special meaning for Edgar, as his teenage sons, who are too young to watch their father’s band perform in bars, saw the group play for the first time. “My wife is my biggest fan,” Edgar said. “My kids don't have i-Pods. They grew up listening to me play all the time at home. My son says, ‘I hate that song by that lady, who always sings about her poker face.’”

Playing music at the marathon is a ton of fun, say the band members, but what about running it? “Every time, I see it, I think 'Yes, I have to do that,'” said Reeves, adding that he has never followed through. “It's a very grueling experience. I have a lot of respect for anyone who finishes the race.”

As each batch of runners passed Vernon Boulevard on Sunday, the crowd's cheers grew louder and then faded as the runners drifted from sight. But the music continued, a steady beat to accompany them as they pounded closer to the finish line to cap off their 26.2-mile endeavor.

Rockstellar's next gig is on November 21st at Fat Baby, on the Lower East Side. The group will play at Traditions Pub in Jamaica Hills on Dec. 12and at WunderBar in L.I.C. on Dec. 19.

by Smriti Rao, qboro Contrubtor

- Queens Chronicle


The RockStellar Debut (self-titled) is on sale at shows and at the RockStellar website (



Hailing from the US at large, RockStellar came together like everyone comes!! Phil's blues licks hardened over years of working in blues and rock bands in Washington, DC. And, Jimmy F. coordinated his singing and drumming over years of experimenting in rap/rock, grunge and cover bands in Oklahoma! From the nearby state of Kansas, Mr. Edgar is the newest member and is thrilled to be holding down the low end.

Now rocking the bars and clubs of New York's Tri-State area, RockStellar surpasses all expectations at every show! The music rocks in a stellar way. The T-shirts fly off the rack, and the self-titled RockStellar CD plays, sells, and streams everywhere. There is no other band like this one, and a ROCKSTELLAR show is not to be missed!!