About half way through Day Two of Rock On The Range this year, I was sitting in the media tent making sure I was done with my interviews when a band walked in with a case of beer. They started handing them to people and it was obvious that they had had several themselves. They were laughing and talking to everyone in the room and I started to pay attention to see what they would do next. Somehow, in all the craziness that ensued, I ended up joining the party and getting in some press photos with them, which, I know didn’t please the publication but we laughed and did it anyway. I finally asked someone who the band was and was told Crobot. I knew the name from the list of bands playing but from the name, was not expecting the group of guys in front of me. I spoke with the singer Brandon and drummer Paul for about a minute and a half but due to time constraints I couldn’t really get too much information about them.
That night at the hotel, I googled them. They had just released their video “Nowhere to Hide” from their self titled EP so that was what came up first. I was blown away! I was bummed that I hadn’t been able to see their set and vowed to see them again as soon as possible. About a week later, I checked their tour schedule and saw that they would be playing The Shelter in Detroit opening for 10 Years. I put it on my calendar and reached out to the band to see if I could get a proper interview.
After almost three months it was time finally for me to get some Crobot in my life! I was excited for the interview as I was curious about the formation of the band. I also wanted to get their feelings about touring the country and playing the festival circuit. I met up with the band around 6:00 PM and was greeted with hugs and smiles as if we had been friends for years. We went into a back room so we could hear and I quickly remembered why I love these guys so much.
Singer Brandon Yeagley and guitarist Chris Bishop formed Crobot in 2011 but brothers Jake and Paul Figueroa joined in late 2012. They told me that once they decided to move forward, they jammed for upwards of 10 hours a day. I told them that I heard somewhere that their sound was as if Led Zeppelin and Rival Sons had a baby and asked if that was accurate. They said that yes to a point it is but that they don’t see themselves as vintage, referring to Rival Sons but feel as if they have a more modern sound. I asked how long they had been on the road and they said that it had only been a few days but that 10 Years has welcomed them with open arms.
Rock On The Range was not their first festival experience as they also played SummerFest this year as well as Uproar last year. I reminded Jake that he asked me to photo bomb a press photo with them but that I was confused as to how it’s a photo bomb if you are asked. He simply laughed and said “if the photographer doesn’t know it’s happening then it’s still a photo bomb!”
I then asked about the album, slated to be released in late October. It was produced by the Machine, who has worked with an array of artists such as Clutch, King Crimson, and even Fall Out Boy and Gym Class Heroes. They laughed when discussing making the video for "Nowhere to Hide". Their label, Wind Up Records, sent them several ideas and nothing seemed to stand out to them. They said that nothing seemed to fit their style and sound. Finally they were handed a stack of rejected ideas and were told that they probably wouldn't find anything in there that they would like and lo and behold, they came across an idea about turning into zombies. They looked at each other and said "This is PERFECT!" Recently, they signed with Nuclear Blast and will be bringing their brand of power driven rock to Europe in September.
After our interview was done, my photographer Marc Nader did a shoot at the top floor of St. Andrews. I had a few hours before the show was to start and was delighted when the guys asked me to hang out with them and grab some dinner. I knew that I would be in for a crazy night so I immediately said yes! We grabbed some pizza slices from Niki's and walked back to St Andrews in the rain. As we were walking, Paul asked me if we should cut down any of the alleys for a shortcut and I couldn't even help the laughter that escaped and asked him "Is this your first time in Detroit?" He laughed and said yes and I told him that we should stick to the main streets. We got back to the venue as Illumira was beginning their set.
Waterford based band Saint Ridley played next and then it was time for what I had waited for since May. I had hyped this band up so much in my head leading up to this show that I could barely wait to see what was in store. To say I was mind blown would be an understatement! From the minute they began their set with the song "Legend of the Spaceborne Killer" this band projected so much raw energy that you couldn't look away or keep from dancing along right with them . It's rare when you see a band where every member has such a presence that you are worried that you will miss something by looking away! I only knew four out of the eight songs in the set but I was highly entertained and impressed for its entirety. You could see some fans in the audience singing along to the songs they knew like "Nowhere to Hide" and "The Skull of Geronimo" and when I looked up at the security guard standing next to me who was bobbing his head along with the music, I knew that Crobot had put their mark on Detroit.
After their set, the band headed back to their merch table to sign autographs and take pictures. I saw that not only do they have their EP on vinyl as well as some kick ass shirts, but Crobot has their very own brand of hot sauce. As the night went on, I think Bishop may have depleted their supply as he kept doing shots of it but I thought that it was one of the best merch ideas ever and the fans seem to think so too as I saw several sales.
It was a Sunday night and I had to get up early for work Monday morning but it was so hard to make myself leave and say goodbye to these amazingly talented but more important, genuinely nice guys. They welcomed me into their circle and you could tell that it wasn't because I was Media, it wasn't because I was a fan, they are just nice people and want to have fun with whoever is around. I had the best time at a show that I have had in a really long time so it was completely worth the hour drive in the hailstorm as I have been actually trying to find a close show to go to again soon. If you have not yet checked them out, please watch the video and then head over to iTunes to purchase their EP. For more tour dates, please visit www.crobotband.com and www.facebook.com/crobotband