If you could take a blender and put a blender in it then turn it on, that awful sound would be almost the exact opposite of how Roly-Bots sound.


Jared Wright bristles when a cub reporter, a brown haired, freckle-faced 20-something with mix-matched eyes like an Alaskan husky and Kathleen Turner's gravely voice, asks about his "dancing". He isn't mad, just shaken. It's been a while since this happened.

For as long as they've been a band, Roly-Bots have held these regular monthly press conferences, which have turned, in recent years, into a fairly informal chat with six or seven writers and sundry other members of the media--photographers, TV news, talk show hosts, etc. Once in a while, the guys even cook to show their appreciation. It's an embraced part of their routine, an opportunity to reconnect with the people who have done so much to spread the word, to connect them with the world around them.

But, as happens, the young woman who asked about the dancing is new. She didn't know any better.

His bandmate and childhood friend Justin Smith speaks up because Jared can't. Calmly, politely, flatly, he says, "That isn't dancing. He can't help that. What he does. It just happens."

Justin and Jared met as mere infants, both suffering from unique auto-nervous maladies and seemingly sentenced from birth to spend their nights and days in countless children's hospitals. Though too young to speak, they formed a fast friendship, communicating in series of uttered noises and the rhythmic banging of their plastic toys.

"It was their friendship that healed them," Josh Smith says. As Justin's oldest brother, he often wondered to himself "Why? Why do I have to have the brother with the weird twitching, head-bobbing thing?" It was, therefore, with understandable joy that he watched his younger sibling learn to control the tempestuous shaking fits that had plagued his first years.

Initially, the doctors didn't know how it happened--and frankly, they remain somewhat confused to this day--but their best guess is that in those early, non-verbal days, Jared and Justin learned to focus on expressing their thoughts to one another through music, albeit primitive and from most accounts, fairly derivative, uninspiring radio pop material (though certainly better than most 2-year-olds). In time, it was as if their relative illnesses had been thoroughly defeated. Or at least, when they weren't making music.

The unfortunate side effect of that vigilant focus is that when they "get lost", say, in the throes of a song, the jerky-smooth, bouncy, awkward movements return. Most audience members--just like the young reporter--mistake it for dancing. They are, after all, both white. No one expects much in the way of style or precision. The fact that they are so unabashed on stage provokes their massive fan base to make their "dancing" a frequent topic of conversation.

However, between the fits of syncopated neural rage and the constant ribbing about their "moves", the two (joined by reluctant older brother Josh, who had already lost any chance he had at a normal life when people realized he and Justin were related, and who had conceded that he was defected by association, in practice if not in absolute medical truth, so he might as well join them since it was illegal to beat them) went years without playing together.

"It was just easier than facing all those questions," Jared says.

But in the end, the pull of music--the shear and absolute love of making big ol' melody sandwiches on toasted rhythm bread--was too much to ignore.

One night, while Jared was working as a designated driver who arrives on a folding moped that fits in the client's trunk (the now-defunct Bearded Biking DUI-Prevention Service), he was called out to pick up--of course, as the universe would have it--his old buddy Justin, who had fallen into a cycle of daily hangovers and nightly binges, mixing apple schnapps with cold medicine ("the good stuff" he still calls it, nostalgically). Despite paying over the phone with a pre-paid credit card, Justin didn't actually own a car at the time and so Jared had nothing to drive him in. Instead, they rode the small motorbike together 15 miles back to the abandoned motel that Justin and Josh had claimed as their own.

"It was like old times," Justin recalls.

"It was kinda like that scene in 'Dumb and Dumber', actually," Jared interjects.

In retrospect, and with all due respect, Jared, it was actually more like the hand of divine providence, a wonderful blunder of blind fate.

That night, well into the light-orange break of dawn, Roly-Bots was born, brought screaming into the world by the forceps of sound. They made something good for the first time. For the first time, it was a therapeutic balm for all, not just their crazy-twitching selves. While the guys refuse to label themselves, critics (some really good ones who didn't want to be quoted because they felt that attaching their well-known names would taint the essence of the music, overshadow the importance of the band's work) say Roly-Bots music is whatever genre is most like having the


The As-Yet-Unreleased Series of Masterpieces

Set List

Epistle, Towns, Die Destruction Die, Reds, and 14 different ways to cover Queen's "We Will Rock You" without ever using those words exactly.