The Rosenbergs

The Rosenbergs



Search the Internet for info on The Rosenbergs and you’ll come across hundreds of articles summarizing a history of bold career moves, the most famous being their rejecting an offer to appear on the much-hyped (and now defunct) Farmclub television show. They then teamed up with Robert Fripp’s label, DGM, to pave the way for artists everywhere to start taking back ownership of their masters. A few months later, while the rest of the music industry was waging war against Napster, The Rosenbergs took another controversial step by teaming with the infamous file-sharing service for tour sponsorship and a "buy one, get one free" promotion for their sophomore release Mission: You. That one pissed off a retailer or two. Over the years, the plucky DIY New York-based band has endured management, label and lineup changes, and self-financed tours on both sides of the Atlantic.
"I think some folks view us as troublemakers," muses David Fagin, the group’s chief songwriter and lead vocalist. "But believe it or not, we’re just a nice bunch of guys who love to make music…but don’t piss us off," he laughs. "We’re really not into all the hoopla."
All of which begs the question: How have The Rosenbergs managed to survive in an industry where it’s almost impossible to cash in without selling out? The answer can be found on their Force MP debut Department Store Girl, an invigorating album of irresistibly catchy guitar pop bright enough to part the clouds. Bursting with hummable hooks, terrific melodies and sharp wordplay, delivered by Fagin’s intoxicatingly tuneful voice, the album is everything you’d expect from the band Entertainment Weekly once praised for its "infectious songs and head-bobbing choruses."
"People that have never heard the band expect us to be some kind of political group, like U2 or Midnight Oil," says the vocalist. "Then they listen to our songs, which are basically boy-laments-girl pop tunes and they’re like, ‘huh?’ But that’s what we do."
And they do it well. Fagin leaves the leftist rants against cultural imperialism to his contemporaries; he’s more interested in tackling the politics of love with musical valentines ("Birds of a Feather") and mea culpas ("Blue Skies"). In between, he struggles with stagnation ("Holding Pattern") and imagines a world where Don Johnson and Philip Michael Thomas make the streets safe and look good while doing so ("Crockett & Tubbs"). In the title track, Fagin pays tribute to fabulous retail chicks everywhere. "They’re the ones who are trying to be famous from a department store," he chuckles. "You know the type—they think they’re the J.Lo of J.C. Penney. When they go out on Friday night, they think ‘Access Hollywood’ is following them around. They’re cute."
Department Store Girl is the result of a new collaboration with their current label Force MP Entertainment. "We’re pretty lucky," says Fagin. "We actually have an A&R guy who likes music." The record is the follow-up to 2001’s critically acclaimed Mission: You, which drew rave reviews from The Los Angeles Times, New York Times, The Hollywood Reporter, Q Magazine, Spin, NME, and many more. Songs off the album have been prominently featured in a host of television shows on FOX, CBS, NBC, WB, MTV, ESPN, the Howard Stern show, as well as in numerous retail stores and on airlines throughout the country. The band toured endlessly in support, sharing stages with everyone from No Doubt and Stone Temple Pilots to Duncan Sheik and the Strokes. It’s been an eventful couple of years for the lads: They appeared on The Stern Show with rock legend Gene Simmons of Kiss, got shot at by a freeway sniper while en route to a gig in Washington, and found themselves on the wrong end of several shotguns when 50 Utah State Troopers barnstormed their motel to bust up the stolen car ring hiding in the room next door. "All in a day’s work," says Fagin.
Considering everything The Rosenbergs have been through, it’s remarkable that Department Store Girl has the sound of a band having fun. "I’m frequently reminded of how great it is to make music," says Fagin, who in his spare time works for The Muppets during the "Sesame Street" season. "We were in the early stages of mixing in St. Louis and one of the engineers brought his kids and their friends into the studio. They had such a blast. It reminded me of the first time I set foot in a recording studio at 17 and saw the lights and the board and the instruments. Once you re-visit it as a starry-eyed kid, you realize how lucky you are to make music. There are times when it gets to you, but what can you do? You’re fed up with the business, but then another melody comes to you and you automatically pick up the guitar. We’ll keep doing this because we have to." He pauses and adds, "My parents always told me to have something to fall back on. My grandmother still yells at me, ‘Go back to school! You’re so talented, you could be a chef!’ I tell her I’m thinking about it and will get back to her."


Department Store Girl (2004)
Mission: You (2001)
Ameripop (1999)

Set List

Although The Rosenbergs change their set list based on the performance here are just a few of the tracks that you'll probably hear at a show.

Soaked In Polyester
Sucking On A Plum
Department Store Girl
Blue Skies
Birds Of A Feather
Nighttime Lover
Paper And Plastic
Bullet Proof Vest
Holding Pattern
Unperfect Love
In Pursuit