Interview: Crobot

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It blows your mind when people you know go on to huge things.

Chris Bishop and Brandon Yeagley walked into The Wonder Bar in Asbury Park, New Jersey two years ago, to perform at Pop-Break.com’s first ever “Shipwrecked at the Shore Music Showcase.” The two bearded musicians walked in from the subzero temperatures, having piled in their van and driven from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania to be the opening band in a city they’d played before.

In front of 10 people, that’s including the bartenders, Crobot hopped on stage. For many bands, they would’ve been deflated and mailed in their performance. I mean what were these guys to make, $20 a most? But as soon as they were introduced, Crobot launched into a face-melting, forty-five minute set and when they finished they were completely drenched in sweat and everyone in the audience, became fans and the legend of Crobot spread like wildfire.

Soon the band began opening up for nationally renowned hard rock outfits like Buckcherry and Clutch and then it happened — the band was signed to Wind-Up Records, the last premiere rock ‘n’ roll label out there. So, in two years the boys in Crobot went from a bunch of Pennsy dudes wandering into a bar in Asbury to a full-fledged, label-signed rock ‘n’ roll band that is ready for universal dominance.

We’ll say it, their success is well-deserved. First, the guys are probably some of the most down to earth dudes you’ll meet. Handing these guys a measly few bucks you would’ve thought you gave them a million, so humble, so cool, especially when you’re knocking back a few at the bar with them. Then there’s the talent factor, they are amazing. Pure rock ‘n’ roll fury mixed with such a deep, funky groove. It’s the stuff of pure rock ecstasy that is missing from so many bands today. Crobot is the real deal.

So, Pop-Break.com caught up with Crobot’s Chris Bishop to talk about signing to Wind-Up, their love of hot sauce the smell of leather and their very unique tattoos.

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Pop-Break: Let’s start with the obvious question — Wind-up Records! Tell us about how you guys were signed to one of last, true blue, honest to God rock ’n’ roll labels out there?

Chris Bishop: It was crazy how it all came about. They stumbled on our video for “Spaceborne” and fell in love with it. They caught us in a period where Jake and Paul Figueroa (thick leather brick) joined the band. We just lied and told them we were ready to showcase. Two weeks later we played for them and the rest is history! They have been the best label to us that we could ask for… the horror stories about labels (at least for us) are not true.

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PB: How has being a part of this label changed not only you guys as a band from an economic and touring standpoint, but as a human beings? How has this label signing altered your lives and your personalities and views on all things?

CB: Well the biggest difference for us is now we have the funds for touring because of tour support. Before it would be hard to take on opening slots on tours for small amounts of money just because it is very expensive on the road. Also it makes us accessible to producers like Machine, photographers like Travis Shinn, and people that we would’ve never been able to afford before.

And we wake up every morning and basically piss excellence. Unless you do too, we won’t acknowledge you. I mean I don’t even talk to my family anymore because they are losers. We only associate with foreign models… dudes… dude foreign models.

PB: You’re working with famed produced MACHINE who has produced hit records from bands that are close to your heart like Clutch to more poppy bands like Gym Class Heroes. Talk about what he has brought to the table as your producer and how is he molding this new album you’re crafting.

CB: Machine was the dream producer for us. He understands that Crobot is more than just a hard rock band. We have many elements of funk and groove that a lot of other rock bands don’t have. He really captured that in recording with the use of some percussion over dubs i.e. tambourine, bells, and even claps. And he tempo mapped our songs and really studied us and made slight tempo changes. He feels that we throw. Most producers would put us on a standard click and make everything sterile. His energy, feel, direction, and enthusiasm was perfect for this record. We love you Machine! Kisses!!!

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PB: The new record! The Legend of The Space Born Killer was absolutely amazing and such a fantastic, fantastic release. The title track is still in heavy rotation on my playlists. Talk about what new sonic and lyrical adventures you’ll be taking us on with this new record that’ll be dropping in 2014.

CB: Thanks man! We actually re-recorded “The Legend of the Spaceborne Killer” and it will be on the upcoming album release. Over the years, it has morphed into a different song. Machine captured it properly! You can expect everything from wizards, the devil, cosmic adventures, and Native American rituals on the new album. Sonically it is a punch to your ear drums by a big mean man. The perfect mix of Sabbath and James Brown.

PB: You guys performed with a lot of big time acts since we first met like Buckcherry and Clutch to name a few. Which of these “seasoned vets” that you performed with departed the most wisdom upon you (if any)? And which guys were just the coolest dudes to hang with.

CB: We have been very lucky to tour with some awesome bands and awesome guys on top of it. We learned the most on the Clutch and The Sword tour. Everyone from their crew to the guys in the band taught us a lot about touring at that level. It was a complete honor to be on that tour and given the chance to be associated with those bands, who are some of our all time favorites. At the end of the tour our favorite quote came from Neil from Clutch “You know when you guys started the tour you were green… Now you are more of a blue.”

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PB: Obviously, I am a huge Crobot fan, but for those reading this for the first time, give the people, in your own words what the Crobot sound is. Also, can you do the same for the Crobot live experience?

CB: I think our favorite description we have gotten is “It sounds like Black Sabbath fucked Soundgarden with a Red Hot Chili Peppers condom.”

Our live show is a very energetic, raw, real experience. Loud and full of feeling, with Brandon stealing every James Brown move he can, Jake headbanging and cutting a rug like a sexy jellyfish, Paul samurai smashing the skins and symbols looking like Dave Grohl, and Bishop (myself) throwing guitars and almost awkwardly falling and knocking over mics while slamming into speakers for the perfect fuzzy feedback experience.

PB: You guys love hot sauce and rumor has it you’re creating your very own brand. Can you talk about what this sauce is made of and for hot sauce aficionados out there, how does it stand out from all the others you can find on the shelf.

CB: We love hot sauce. Half of our band is Puerto Rican, I’m from TN, and Brandon has the taste buds of the devil, so naturally it works out to have our own sauce. It came about as a joke in a meeting with our label. Next thing we know we have our own hot sauce with a ridiculous label on it. The sauce is a habanero and carrot sauce, great on eggs, or anything really… We have a couple shots we do with it at the shows with fans too. Really good man! We will have more of a garlic picante sauce coming soon.

PB: I was watching one of your promo videos and you guys mentioned how you actually spray the venue you’re performing at with a leather scented air fresher to help set the mood for your audience. So…why leather?

CB: As awesome as that would be, that is a bold face lie. Most clubs have such a wonderful rock club smell that nothing will cover it up. But we do have leather scented air fresheners! Mainly because leather is badass as shit. Three out of four members of Crobot usually have some form of leather on.

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PB: When you guys got signed, you all got tattoos of each other’s faces on your bodies. How did this pact come about and do you have any regrets having one of your band mate’s faces on your body?

CB: The tattoos were something that we always said we were gonna do if we signed a big record deal… Sort of thinking it wouldn’t happen. But it did so we had to do it! Any regrets? There is nothing better than in the morning when you are sitting on the toilet, looking down at your drummer on your thigh giving a nice big grin. Starts the day off right. Or when we have sex with our girlfriends… Nothing better than sharing that with one of your dear bandmates… It’s like a forever threesome.

PB: Once the record is released, what are the touring plans for Crobot in 2014?

CB: Touring is gonna be grueling. Stay tuned for announcements coming soon. We are currently on the road with Truckfighters and are playing Rock on the Range in May.

Upcoming Crobot Tour Dates:

TOUR DATES:

Mar 27 Austin TX Empire Control Room

Mar 28 Corpus Christi TX Zeros Hardrock Club

Apr 28 Atlanta GA The Masquerade With Kyng and Kill Devil Hill

Apr 29 Wilmington NC Ziggy’s By The Sea With Kyng and Kill Devil Hill

May 2 Winston-Salem, NC Ziggy’s With Kill Devil Hill

May 6 New York NY Marlin Room @ Webster Hall With Kyng and Kill Devil Hill

May 7 Springfield VA Empire With Kyng and Kill Devil Hill

May 9 Syracuse NY Lost Horizon With Kill Devil Hill

May 10 Lancaster PA Chameleon Club With Kill Devil Hill

May 11 Worcester MA The Palladium (upstairs) With Kyng and Kill Devil Hill

May 15 Flint MI The Machine Shop With Kyng and Kill Devil Hill

May 17 Columbus OH Rock on the Range

May 20 Joliet IL Mojoes With Kyng and Kill Devil Hill

May 21 St. Louis MO The Firebird With Kyng and Kill Devil Hill

May 25 Lubbock TX Lonestar Amphitheater FMX Big Purple Party

Bill Bodkin is the gray bearded owner, editor-in-chief and co-founder of Pop Break. Most importantly, he is lucky husband, and proud father to a beautiful daughter named Sophie. He can be seen regularly on the site reviewing The Walking Dead, Doctor Who, and is the host of the site's podcast, The BreakCast. He is a graduate of Rutgers University with a degree in Journalism & English. Follow him on Twitter: @BodkinWrites

2 COMMENTS

  1. CROBOT is the REAL DEAL!! They are the reincarnation of Grand Funk!! I partied with them at Levels in State College at The Clutch show – we talked about life, the weight distribution of SG’s, and knocked back a few shots. They are the kind of band that so deserve it all, but when they get it won’t change one bit!!!!

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