Richmond, Virginia, USA

ROMA blends punk rock with folk, americana, rockabilly, and Romani based movements and scales. Lyrically the band implores more grandiose themes and metaphors to both mask and explore more personal material. The band feels just as at home in an acoustic setting as they do in a gritty whiskey club.


Like their home of Richmond, VA, Roma’s sound is rife with the rich history and complexity only found in one of America‘s oldest cities. Here, Patrick Henry gave his “Give me Liberty or give me death speech” and indeed Roma typifies these sentiments with songs that remind us of a life free from control, exemplifying themes like wanderlust and even lawlessness. Living in a city that was twice destroyed by fire, the spirit of Richmond burns within Roma, fueling their passionate, straight ahead rock n roll.

Named after the Romani people of Europe, Roma was formed in 2009 when the brothers Charlie and Ben Padgett (rhythm guitar, vocals and drums, vocals respectively) joined with Matt Hansen (lead guitar, keys, backing vocals) and Chris Wilkerson (electric bass, backing vocals). Two months later the band debuted their hard-edged, eastern European infused punk rock sound to witnesses at The Camel, one of Richmond’s premier and most active venues. Impressively, Roma was already playing with big acts like Los Angeles’ Gliss and Pittsburgh’s The Takeover UK at their very first show. Their second show perpetuated this burgeoning popularity by seeing Roma play with Ohio’s Like Bells. In the few years since the inception of the band, Roma would build their fan base and acclaim through constant hard work and exceptional drive.

This is evidenced by Roma almost constant gigging at practically every venue within the city alongside other popular bands and artists such as Bay of Pigs, The Milkstains, Canary oh Canary, Secret Agent T and Paul Ivey. In May of 2010 Roma played at the revered Alley Katz venue, becoming one of the last bands to join the roster of punk legends who had played there before its closing the next month. Just recently Roma headlined at Strange Matter, formerly the Nanci Raygun, another landmark of punk music in a city that was once considered to be the genre’s hub. One of Roma’s greatest shows to date was given at The National on July 1, 2011, a stop for some of the biggest names in music today. There they played in front of 400+ fans with some of the biggest names from the local scene, People’s Blues of Richmond, Black Girls, and Baby Help me Forget.

At the end of 2010 Roma began work to independently release their first studio album, Ursa Minor. This fourteen-track compendium of drinking stories, carnivals, and narratives of the American ideal was recorded at Snake Oil recordings by Dan Deckleman, who has recorded other bands like Adam West, Angus Khan and Horsehead. Roma aptly returned to The Camel in January 2011, a year that would see rapid growth from the band, to unveil their efforts at an epic CD release party. Roma filled the house with over 200 of their enthusiastic fans, and as the DVD of the night’s show portrays, a mass of listeners went crazy for the new album in an all out frenzy of musical energy. Since then, the album has been played extensively by radio DJ’s Michael Miracle, Fontaine, and Mike Rutz on WRIR 97.3, and has had the song “Send My Love” featured in Style Magazine’s “That One Song” column which regularly features the very cream of local talent.

Roma has also been invited to play out of state several times, traveling to Huntington, WV and dipping into North Carolina for international shows. In July of 2011 Roma embarked on their first tour traveling up and down the east coast to bring their trademark sound to the nation at large. Stopping first at in Charleston, WV, Roma played at the Empty Glass, a venue that played perfect host to Roma’s raw whiskey drenched persona There they played for a packed house of well over one hundred guests with fellow performers Qiet. Next they played in Pittsburgh, bringing their Gypsy Rock to another city with a deep underground scene before finally traveling to Brooklyn, one of the biggest outlets of exciting new music in the country. With Electric Viva, a band that had traveled to Richmond prior that year, and Not Waving But Drowning Roma put on an excellent show at the Branded Saloon in Prospect Heights.

Roma is currently submitting their music to major record labels like Epitaph/Anti, Alternative Tentacles, Dischord Records and Fat Possum, showing that they‘re ready for the world to hear their intense brand of power-folk and hip iconoclast rock. Roma already has solid plans to record a sophomore effort with work already progressing nicely. Some of this material has already been unveiled at recent shows so you can probably look forward to it sometime in early 2012! If you are interested in contacting the band, or for booking/press related inquiries, please contact

(Bio by Timothy Doerr)


The Words We Spoke

Written By: Ben Padgett/ROMA

i woke up with a pain in my head that nearly split me in half,
and all the dreams that had done me in seemed to be in the distant past,
but in them i found a group that was to change the world's face,
and all of everything and everyone surreal i know were oblivious in their ways,
all the words we spoke that we soon wrote were moans of the angel's sleep, no one shapes us but ourselves don't you wash the dirt off of our feet,
we will stand along side you and together restore the virginity of our raped land,
and with no ounce of lust the vile we'll thrust into this clean union hand in hand,

we may scream and plea to give up, for the world will bring us down, atlas himself could bare the weight, of the burden that hangs around, you know that somewhere maybe crouched on top was the symbol of wicked ways,
it bore the sign of saint lucien and took a toll on his face,

i shook off the dream and readied myself to see a man down at the saint mary's, we met at birth though he won't know me and i'm aware of the stigma this carries, he looked at me and gave a scowl that came straight from his bones, oh and he muttered something so i drew nearer, he said let's finish the gospel's notes,


Songs like 'Cigarettes, Knife and a Cellular Phone" and "Send My Love" receive regular radio play on Richmond Virginia's WRIR (97.3FM).

Set List

Holy Man
Open Elevator
Stop and Smell the Roses
Send My Love
Cigarettes, Knife and a Cellular Phone
It Ain't So Bad the Wandering
Carnival of Earthly Delight
The Words We Spoke
Jockey Full of Bourbon
Wandering Son