HomeInterviewsCrobot's Brandon Yeagley on Motherbrain, Fatherhood, Soundgarden, & Dio

Crobot’s Brandon Yeagley on Motherbrain, Fatherhood, Soundgarden, & Dio

Photo Credit: Justin Borucki

The most inspiring bands to root for are those who exert every single ounce of passion, energy, grit, and unrelenting determination, straight from the core of their soul, to pursue their love of artistry. And the multi-talented virtuosos who exude kindness, class, and possess an openhearted spirit tend to have the strongest impact and the most unique stories to tell, and no band personifies this notion more so than Crobot.

On August 23, Crobot released their monumental, career-defining fourth LP Motherbrain via Mascot Records. The story behind this album evokes the triumphant, yet cautionary tales ingrained into the fabric of the music business, one in which the willpower of Crobot was tested to its utmost limits for reasons beyond their control, and how these guys truly faced their toughest uphill battle yet; navigating through the collapse of their previous record label and starting over from scratch.

When the music industry tried to reach its most cutthroat point and halt their hard-fought momentum and the years’ worth of blood, sweat, and tears, which they earned every single step of the way, Crobot dug a little deeper, pushed a little harder, and louder than ever, they pulled together and said, “Yeah, you can’t keep me down.”

As bandmates and most importantly, as brothers, their uncompromising spirit and renewed level of focus, resiliency, and commitment to one another ultimately resulted in the best record of their career. By embracing the darkest side of their sound; Crobot sharpened the soul-driven aesthetic of their funk-laden grooves with an onslaught of piercing, awe-inspiring vocals; bone-chilling, downtuned guitar riffs; and an arsenal of unforgiving, rhythmic breakdowns infused with grunge-inspired heaviness.

Crobot collaborated with a new producer, Corey Lowery (Seether, Dark New Day), whose relentless work ethic inspired the group to embrace its personal convictions, harness their willpower to survive, and maximize the sonic versatility of their otherworldly musicianship. Make no mistake, Motherbrain is a game-changing, genre-defying statement for a band who’s hellbent to take the world by storm and define the next decade of rock music as one of its crucial driving forces.

I’ve had the pleasure to cover Crobot multiple times over the past five-years and observe their journey closely from a first-hand perspective. In fact, I recently had the opportunity to speak with vocalist Brandon Yeagley about all aspects behind the scenes of Motherbrain, his new journey as a first-time father, and raising money for cancer research at Crobot’s upcoming tribute show on September 7 called, “Long Live Rock N’ Roll – A Benefit for Lung Cancer Research! Dio Tribute Show.” Allow me to attest, there isn’t a better group of guys to root for in the entire music industry and may the world musically feel the “Burn” of their “Gasoline.”

First off, it’s been a while since we last spoke and I just wanted to say congrats on the birth of your daughter and becoming a first-time dad! 

Aww, thank you, man! Thank you!

So going off that point since we last saw each other, two things have happened, fatherhood and Motherbrain (Laughs).

(Laughs) I love it! I love it (Laughs)! Yep, for sure. It’s the coolest adventure that I ever signed up for. She changes every day and it’s amazing. I’ve got a new perspective on life and a whole new motivation, that’s for sure.

Approaching some of the lyrics for Motherbrain, I know you try to not get too personal with your lyrics but with this newfound perspective on life, did any of that fatherly wisdom translate into the lyrics?

On the whole, it’s certainly changed my perspective on life and how I think about everything. So yes, for the way I approach everything that I do now. Specifically, I don’t think any of the songs that made the record were specific to fatherhood but there were a few songs that were very tongue-and-cheek that didn’t make the record, which might pop up at some point. We did have one song that was called “Me and Your Mother,” and it was a very George Clinton, funkadelic way of me explaining how the planets and stars aligned for her to be born (Laughs).

Crobot Motherbrain

The Crobot Nebula aligned (Laughs).

That’s right (Laughs)! Yep, the beards were all aligned.

The video for “Low Life” was a friends and family event and your daughter even makes a cameo. You guys filmed near home in Pottsville. What was that experience like of making this video and being surrounded by the people who’ve been behind you since day one?

Oh man, it was great. We all wanted to take full advantage of making a video so close to home. This is the first one that we’ve done so close to home besides the very first “Legend of the Spaceborne Killer” video, which has kind of been buried. I definitely wanted to make sure that my daughter was in there in some way, shape, or form.

When David Brodsky (“Low Life” director) brought up the idea of the video and he told me, “We have this idea that you’re going to be this snake oil salesman. You know what you’re doing is wrong and you’re going to be an asshole throughout the entire video.” I said, “Well, what if I steal candy from a baby? That’s like the worst thing anybody could ever do, but I’m going to take it a step further and I’m going to steal candy from my own baby (Laughs).” And they were like, “We love it! We love it!”

My dad actually plays the “Devil.” Bishop’s wife is also in the video and so is her uncle. My niece and nephew are in the video too. There was a lot of family and a lot of friends and like you said, people who have been with us since day one. It felt really good to come full-circle and invite everyone to be a part of it too.

You also kept it in the family for “Keep Me Down.” Your dad was in that video too and played the boxer?

Yeah! The wizard puts a spell on me and turns me into an older me, which is actually my dad. My nephew is in that one as well and he plays the wizard, he’s one of my other nephews. We also made that one very close to home and we figured, why not have everyone be a part of it?

I love that. You know, just before this, I followed the “Wizard6671” account (Laughs).

(Laughs) Yeah, we’ve been slacking on that a little bit, but I think there was some gold moments in there.

Coming up with the comedy angle and self-deprecation of it all, that looked like it had to be a lot of fun.

Oh yeah, you know, Bishop kind of turned his wife loose and she just came up with all of these different insults. You know, the cool thing about it, we actually had to do that ourselves and there actually weren’t a lot of mean tweets about us out there. You know us, like with the “Not For Sale” video and the misheard lyric, we kind of like to beat everyone to the punch. I think it’s more so for our own artistic ego to be like, “You know what? If anyone is going to make fun of us, we might as well be the first ones to do it, so we’ll be numb to it by that point (Laughs).”

(Laughs) For sure, and during the video, I also love the scene where you do the Mortal Kombat style, Liu Kang sidekick. 

(Laughs) Oh yeah! Oh yeah!

Bishop helped you do the sidekick and the green screen appeared? Am I right?

(Laughs) Yeah man! Bishop was wearing the green man suit and there was a little bit of comic relief there where he is purposely revealed in the green man costume. Somebody asked me too, they were like, “You know, there’s a part of the video where it cuts, and you could actually see the green man?” And I was like, “Yeah, that’s part of the comic relief.” We never take ourselves too seriously. Anytime we could throw a little joke in there, we will (Laughs).

During our last interview, you mentioned how you wanted to capture the heaviest and funkiest dynamics of your sound with this album. Harkening back to the pre-production stages and before you went into the studio with Corey Lowery, could you take me through those early songwriting sessions and the initial vibes that you felt as the demos came together?

It kind of molded itself into being this heavier record. We threw “Alfa Dawg” on there because it’s one of our favorite songs and it’s my personal favorite song that we’ve ever done. I think it’s the funkiest track that we’ve ever written. We were a little worried at some point because the rest of the record is so different. And we’ll always be funky in some way, shape, or form, but the music sounded so heavy and very grungy. We really embraced the ‘90s grunge era and influences within us.

And I know you and I have talked about Soundgarden for so long because we’re both such huge fans. And we really wanted to pay homage to Chris and his passing. It really hit home and he is someone that has influenced everything that I do. We really wanted to bring that into this record and even down to the album artwork that Bishop did. He really wanted to give it that ‘90s grunge feel, like a Melvins-style look to the cover.

And having somebody like Corey, man, that’s his bread and butter. He has such a melodic way of thinking about song structures and he really pushed things to the next level for us. During pre-production, we did things a little bit differently this time around because we had so much material going into this record. All of the songs kind of fell in line by themselves, and Corey was a huge help with that. At that point, we wrote so many songs and so many different styles of songs that touched on all ends of the spectrum. Like I said, we had some super funky songs that didn’t end up making the record, but it just wasn’t that kind of record for us once the music started to show itself.

We often say, no band really says, “Oh well, you know, I just wish that we hadn’t had made that really heavy record (Laughs)?” It seemed like a good problem to have.

Absolutely, that’s a great problem to have. Focusing on “Alfa Dawg” for a quick second, there’s a part where you sing, “This one ain’t going to keep on barking, someday he’s going to bite” over this interlude where the bass and guitar notes ring. How did you come up with that vocal melody over such a feel-good, funky part?

When we brought that song into the studio, not a lot changed. That was all kinds of spur of the moment and I want to try and refrain using from the word “organically,” but it kind of happened in a broom. I think that’s Crobot in true form right there. You know, of course, it would be a song about a dog catcher who tried to catch a dog and the dog turns into a man or shapeshifter of some kind.

It was us tapping into our George Clinton and Frank Zappa influences and all the weird stuff that people might not necessarily see on the surface with us, but that’s definitely where our roots run deep. I think it was cool to take a little bit of a break from the realness and reality aspect, lyrically and thematically of the album. It was cool to be like, “You know what, we’re still here and we still don’t take ourselves too seriously so here’s a song about shapeshifting wereman.”

That should be a shirt, “Shapeshifting wereman (Laughs).”

(Laughs) Yes!

You mentioned the Soundgarden influence before. On a song like “Gasoline,” the intensity within the musical delivery and the way your pushing your voice with those piercing screams; could you take me through the genesis of that track, the lyrics in the chorus, and just your overall mindset as that song came together?

I want to say that we wrote that song about a couple of weeks before we went into the studio. We were looking at the clock and were like, “Oh man, we’ve only got two-weeks.” We’re always trying to better ourselves and trying to come up with better ideas. For that song, we wanted to pay attention to being a little more melodic and a little more digestible in a way that we could spread the net and gain some new fans who may not have heard the band before.

And “Gasoline” was one of those tracks that we wrote with the mindset of, “Could we see this song being a single? Could we see this song as one being on the radio while still maintaining that Crobot identity and while still digging into our influences such as Soundgarden?” And you know what, ironically enough, I feel like there’s a bit of Sevendust in that track and that was something that happened on our own. And working with Corey Lowery (Corey’s brother is Clint Lowery, lead guitarist of Sevendust), he pushed the envelope a little bit further in terms of those influences.

And there were actually two different versions of that song, and we made the best of it. It took Corey’s ears to be like, “No, you have a great idea for the chorus in this one and you have a great idea for the chorus in that one, so let’s combine the two ideas and make it into what it is now.” And that song was a “Hail Mary” so to speak. It’s a deep track in terms of where it is chronologically but it’s the banger, and I actually almost said “burner,” which actually be more fitting (Laughs).

Going off what you mentioned about Corey Lowery, he’s such a versatile musician and a pivotal part of the Atlanta metal scene. Could you talk about his level of focus, his rigorous work ethic, and his overall approach in the studio?

Oh man, that guy is the hardest working guy that we’ve ever had the pleasure of working with. Just to see his work ethic, it really pushed us to become a better band and definitely motivated us. Listen to this, this is the most rock ‘n’ roll thing that you might ever hear, we woke up probably around 6 o’clock every morning and we were in the studio by 7 or 8 o’clock most mornings, and we were just ready to go. Most nights, we’d usually quit around 7, 8, or 9 o’clock at night, but some nights, we went fairly late. The work ethic in that guy, he didn’t leave the studio desk.

We talked about it pretty often during the recording process and we would ask each other, “Did you guys see Corey leave and go to the bathroom?”

No, no, now that you mention it, I don’t think I’ve ever seen Corey leave and go to the bathroom.

“Have you ever seen Corey eat?”

No, no, I don’t think I’ve ever seen Corey eat either.

It was this whole eureka moment for all of us. This guy is just so into it that he loses all sense of bodily functions and keeping himself alive (Laughs). It was ridiculous, the guy worked his ass off throughout the entire process and not just the recording process, but throughout the mixing process and even now, he’s campaigning so hard for the band and our record, and he’s making phone calls and just trying his damndest to take us to the next level. We cannot thank him enough for everything that he’s done. He has forever changed the work ethic for the Crobot camp.

He really seems like someone who has firmly established himself as the unofficial fifth member of Crobot. You could sense that level of camaraderie between you guys, going back to the making of this album and what we’ve seen from the whole process so far.

Yeah, it’s crazy too because a lot of people were like, “It’s really cool to see you guys make a record with one of your buddies.” And it’s like, “Well, we actually didn’t know Corey too well before this.” We’ve known of him and we have tons of mutual friends. Plus, we’ve toured with Clint from Sevendust so many times. We definitely had a lot of mutual friends that would vouch for his work ethic and what he would bring to the table, so it just made a lot of sense. We have a lot of respect for him as a musician and as a person.

It’s just one of those things where you get into the room with somebody that understands the band and totally gets all of the things that you’re trying to bring to the table. And at the same time, someone that pays attention to what makes us unique but also in return, making us more digestible and able to present ourselves in a way where someone who may not have heard of us before, it will capture them. The songs are more memorable and catchy because of that.

In terms of Corey’s coaching and you two collaborating on recording your vocals, what was the most pivotal piece of advice or idea that he suggested to you, something new about his approach that will stay with you moving forward whether it’s in the studio or live?

It was the questions he would ask us. It was one of those things that might feel like a loaded question when he would initially ask it. He would turn to me and say, “What you did right there, what you’re singing about? Explain it to me.” And I would go ahead and explain it to him. He would respond back and say, “Well, is that the best thing that could go there?” I was like, “Oh shit. I mean, I don’t know.” You start to question every part and every word.

And we did, we questioned every melody, every lyric, every chorus, and we questioned everything about what I did and what everyone in the band did. That microscope changed things forever and I think that’s something going into the next record and into the writing sessions for the next record, we’ll approach it like that. We’re going to pay attention to everything, in a micromanaging way, and we’re going to ask those questions.

I could’ve simply said, “Yeah, I think that is the best thing there.” But it forced us to try other things, to think outside the box, and not get too married to certain ideas. When you’re in the demo process, it’s just so easy to get married to something that you’ve heard so many times in a certain way. It’s like, you put the blinders on towards anything else because you’re so set in hearing things a certain way.

Brandon Yeagley Crobot
Photo Credit: Justin Borucki

But when somebody like Corey asks you, “I don’t know, is that the best thing that could be there? You think there’s a better melody or a word that could fit there?” It’s like, “Well, shit! Maybe there is!” And having him there every step of the way to help define what the best things were for those parts, it was worth its weight and gold.

And you’re working with someone who just wants to harness and maximize every dynamic that you’re capable of creating; the versatility of your sound. 

Yeah, and what better guy to do that with than Corey? I really, really wanted to pay attention to the melodies this time around and make some of the catchiest choruses that I possibly could. I wanted to bring a little bit more realness to the songs and the themes. And not just sing about wizards, dungeons, and dragons, which I love. You know that, we’re both comic book guys at heart.

It’s a little more digestible for somebody who isn’t into that when you bring a bit more realness into it. That’s what I wanted to focus on for this record cycle and Corey knocked it out of the park in terms of helping to push me in that direction. The ideas that we came up with together, we made a record that we’re all super proud of.

And personally, I think this is exactly what we needed and exactly when we needed it. We’ve been off for quite a few years and we’ve been a bit dormant, so we needed to come back with some heavy hands and swing with some heavy punches. I think everything has become better in the Crobot world because of it.

We’re playing a bunch of these new songs live because we just don’t think it’s the best set without these songs in there. We think these are the best songs that we’ve ever written and if it were up to us, we would play the entire record live. But we know there’s fans who want to hear some other songs and not everyone has heard the new album. The live set has benefited tremendously because we think these are the best songs that we’ve ever written.

I’m not just saying this, I completely agree. You guys faced some real hurdles the last go-around and to respond with such a focus and insane level of energy, the musicianship in Crobot is unparalleled. I’ve had a solid week to really dig into this album and listen to it every day, and the pacing, dynamics, and dramatic effect of it all, it touches upon everything that you would possibly want from an album. You have songs like “Stoning The Devil,” which I think speaks to the Crobot mythos, but you also have a song like “Blackout” that speaks to the heavier, grungier sound that you pursued.

Well, seriously man, thank you! I’m glad that you got to hear it and that you feel that way because that’s exactly what we wanted to accomplish. We knew we had to put one of those staple tracks in there, “Stoning The Devil” on one side with the heavy riffiness that what we’re all about, and “Alfa Dog” on the other side with the funky grooviness that we’re all about. The rest of it, we just felt that we evolved as songwriters and tried to make the best songs that we possibly could.

Those songs naturally made their way to the forefront of what eventually would be on the record. We left out some really, really good songs as well. I know we teased a new song live a few years back, and that one just got pushed out because there were so many good songs and we felt like it didn’t fit the album as a whole. We pushed the envelope and Corey certainly aided us in doing that. It was a really, really good collaboration between us.

And “Blackout” was actually a song that we wrote with him and it was cool to even take things to that level in the studio too. You show up and you think you have everything in the bag. All of a sudden, Corey brings us this idea and he’s like, “What do you think of this?” And it was exactly the sound of what we were going for. And of course, we put it through the Crobot filter. Bishop did his own thing with it, I did my own thing, and Dan did his own thing. It fit so well, and that song showed how we were all on the same page and we all understood what this record was about.

And even in terms of the song “Blackout,” “Motherbrain” is a lyric in the song and I really pushed for that to be a part of the song because we wrote it with Corey. That kind of sums up the entire album in one song, the collaboration with Corey and the sound of that song. The lyric, “Motherbrain,” itself becoming the album title just made a lot of sense.

Musically speaking, “Blackout” is like the back cover of a book in terms of summarizing the album.

Yeah! Absolutely, Absolutely.

We briefly touched on “Stoning The Devil.” From a vocal range standpoint, that song specifically feels like one where you and Corey were trying to push your range and grit to the highest level, especially in the second half where the intensity goes up so high.

I knew coming into this record that I might be hurting after I finished cutting the vocal tracks. I really wanted to add grit to my voice and put the emotion before the technique. I feel like on the past two records, it was the other way around and there was a lot of vocal Olympics. For this record, I wanted to make these songs the absolute best they could be and incorporating that extra grit added more to the dynamics of the album.

That was one of the first songs, if not, the first song that we wrote for the new record. It kept coming back in a big bad way and we were like, “This one has to be on the record.” And that song was the big homage to Chris Cornell and some of those heavy Soundgarden breakdowns where he just let loose this gut-wrenching roar. I really wanted to try my hand at that, and it wasn’t forced in that song. It just happened like that and like I said, that song kept coming back to us as one that we had to put on the record.

For sure, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with ever channeling the energy of someone who you inspired you. I hear that “Mailman,” “Limo Wreck,” and “Searching With My Good Eye Closed” vibe with the vocal color and sonic intensity.

Absolutely, absolutely. We’re not afraid to ever wear our influences on our sleeves ever, ever. With the passing of Chris, it was a moment where you realized that somebody who influenced you so much, what you have is what you get now. I mean, that’s it. Apart from some unreleased material that they will hopefully release, there won’t be any new Chris Cornell songs. At first, it made me extremely sad and then I went through this phase where I was like, “You know what, I’m going to wear that influence on my sleeve as much as I can.”

If somebody, I don’t know if any 14 or 15-year-old kids are listening to Crobot but if they do and they hear me say that, I hope it makes them go back and listen to Soundgarden. We’ll never be a band that says, “Oh, let’s try to shy away from talking about what influenced us.” We take into consideration that there are some people might not know who Soundgarden is, as much of a blasphemy as that may seem to all of us. There are kids who are just discovering music for the first time, and haven’t heard Soundgarden, The Melvins, and Faith No More, or anything that’s on the obscure side of things. We’ll be the first to say, “This influenced us,” and we’re not afraid to hide that. Absolutely, I channeled Chris Cornell on this last record and “Stoning The Devil” was one of the biggest moments for that.

It comes back to the evolution of music and tracing down the family lineage and you’re keeping the legacy going. What you’re doing is preserving history and having integrity and pure respect for those who you helped develop your own voice.

Yeah, and I don’t think it’s anything to be ashamed of or something to try to hide. I never felt that way. Some bands try to keep their muses under wraps, and I don’t because it is something to talk about. Anytime I could talk more about Soundgarden, Chris Cornell, Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, Aerosmith, The Black Crowes, or the Funkadelics, I’m all for it. We’re just music fans at heart and we bring that into the writing sessions. We’re like, “Oh, what if we did a Soundgarden breakdown for the bridge or what if we did this weird, crazy George Clinton thing that sounds like Frank Zappa singing?” There are things that we pay attention too.

Also, there’s a lot of things that are just genuine Crobot moments and they just happen with all of us being in the same room, or all of us individually putting our effort into the songwriting process. We’re all just a collective of influences or what else would we be?

That’s the beauty of continuing to grow as a band. And with Motherbrain being your fourth album, I truly feel this is the most confident Crobot has ever sounded. This album possesses the most resilient, take the world by storm attitude that you could’ve possibly had, especially after some of the hurdles over the past few years. 

Wow, thank you, man! We want to keep doing this and we want to make sure that we keep playing shows and have enough people who come out and care enough about the record to buy it. That’s all we can hope for. I’m just happy to be continuing to play. As you know, we put everything that we have and every ounce of our being that we are into everything that we do. The fact that one day we couldn’t do it, it scared the hell out of us. I know it scares the hell out of me. So forever and always, we will try to do anything and everything that we possibly can to maintain our path and continue to play.

You guys signed with Mascot Records. Looking at their roster, they have Joe Bonamassa, Gov’t Mule, and Kenny Wayne Shepherd, and these artists have all experienced long term, sustained success in the industry. How did it feel to team up with a European label and how has the process been collaborating with them for the first time on this album?

Mascot has been absolutely great. Like you said, their roster speaks volumes as to what kind of label they are. They really take care of their artists. Joe Bonamassa has been with Mascot for a longtime, I don’t know if it was from the beginning but it’s pretty damn close to the beginning. The fact that he blew up and stuck with them, it just shows what kind of label they are, especially for him to do that. It’s such a cool thing that they have such an eclectic roster. And even on the other side, they have bands signed like 10 Years and Black Stone Cherry, and some other bands along those lines.

It’s cool to be a part of something that really caters to being unique but keeps a firm grip on taking it to the next level. They’ve certainly done that so far and this is our first record with them. Some things remain to be seen. As of now, it’s been a great process and a great working relationship with them.

One of the cool things about the last tour, we went to Holland and met the Deutsch and U.K. teams, and it showed us even more about the cool relationships that we’ll have over the next few years while working with these people. They’re super cool and they definitely understand who we are as a band. They are doing everything in their power to make sure that we reach the next level and that’s all we can hope for with a new label.

We’ve had some hardships in terms of the labels, which made us sort of, “once bitten, twice shy.” And Wind-up was great to us and it wasn’t really anything in their realm that they could control. With the state of the industry today, it makes it so much harder for labels to stay afloat and we got caught in the undertow of that. Wind-up ended up having to go under, and once Concord purchased them, we were kind of thrown to Razor & Tie and they really didn’t know what to do with us, nor did they have any plans set in stone for us.

It was a rough adventure in terms of the labels and it’s really cool to finally feel like we’re safe (Laughs). These guys know what they’re doing and it’s a worldwide thing. Like you said, Mascot is a European label, which certainly helps with the overseas side of things. And when we worked with Nuclear Blast in the past, we had a great experience with them, and they were such a great label to us as well. And like I said, Mascot has been really great to work with and I don’t know of another label that we could’ve went with that would have paid as much attention to us. And one that will try to help us get to the next level.

Photo Credit: Justin Borucki

One of the most unique stories about Motherbrain, you guys recorded in Atlanta and actually stayed with a few fans during that time frame. They were willing to house you guys and that ultimately helped you record with Corey.

Absolutely, we had Matt Thomas and Fran Thomas and we stayed with them. If it weren’t for them, we wouldn’t have been able to make the record. I’ll be honest, the budget was not there to afford housing. The fact that they did that, it’s a testament to the fact that we have the best fans ever. For somebody to be willing to house three or four stinky dudes for a month while we come in at random times during the day, and they give us keys to the place and trust us enough to stay with them, we will hold that key and not trash the place (Laughs).

You know us, we’re pretty much boy scouts when it comes to this whole rock ‘n’ roll thing (Laughs). For sure, it’s just amazing that such giving people are in our lives and help us every step of the way. It’s such a cliché thing to say but when we say that our fans are the real reason that keep us going, it’s absolutely true. That’s one example of someone going way above and beyond just being a fan of the band. We’ve developed these personal relationships with people and it’s our family, these guys are our family.

That’s an amazing story. One of the true benefits of social media and the web, especially with band and fan interaction, I believe fans now truly see how much of a team effort it takes to keep bands going and help them reach that next level. If it takes a team to win a championship, that same metaphor applies to making an album and touring.

Absolutely, absolutely. We’re just four people in the entire process and if it was just us, it wouldn’t get very far. There’s no way it possibly could. There’s just so much that goes into making a record, touring, and even the social media stuff. It’s just way too much for one person, let alone four people. You need a good team around you and one that cares enough to go above and beyond.

One of the silver linings of there being very little money in the industry anymore, it’s now filled with people who genuinely love music and genuinely have a passion to release new music and have a passion for continuing to make sure the music is put out there. We’ve been very fortunate to have a great team around us whether it’s our booking agent, record label, or fans. It stretches so far with so many people; I just couldn’t imagine us being able to do it if it weren’t for them.

I think that’s powerful and goes to show the family component of this band. And on the topic of family, you have a huge show coming up on September 7 called “Long Live Rock N’ Roll – A Benefit for Lung Cancer Research! Dio Tribute Show.” It’s tied to your personal family and you’ll be raising money for cancer research. Could you talk about this show and what it means to your family personally?

Yeah, my dad has been battling small cell lung cancer for over a year now. And small cell lung cancer is the most aggressive form of lung cancer, if not, one of the most aggressive forms of cancer in general. The fact that he is still here, and I am still able to spend time with him, he’s already beaten the odds.

This concert was something that we wanted to put together and we’re teaming up with “Cancer Sucks.” They’ve been kind enough to say, “Hey, listen, if you guys raise $5,000, we’ll match it and we’ll donate it to your local cancer research foundation.” It’s a huge thing.

My dad is such a huge Dio fan, and it’s where I get a lot of my music tastes and influences from. We really wanted to tip the hat to him by doing a whole set of Dio covers. And he’s just so excited about it and it’s really cool, it was a surprise for a little while but once he found about it, he had all of these ideas and he wants to help in any way he can. It’s just really cool to see him so excited about this.

It means a lot to be able to get up there and do this for him and not only for him, but for cancer research in general. I mean, this is the guy who bought me my first guitar and pushed me to stay on this track and continues to push me on this track of doing what I do. He’s been so supportive from the very beginning and if anything, we owe him a set of Dio covers (Laughs)!

Going back to what we talked about in the beginning, especially with you being a father now and to put this show together, it spotlights how music is such critical component of your life and family. It really encapsulates everything you hold most dearly.

Yes, absolutely. I come from a family of music fans and musicians so this is just something that we would do generally. When we see each other at get together’s, we play music. I’m going to have a bunch people from our musical past, our musical family, and our family. My uncle is going to come up and play some songs with us. It’s a family event in all ways, shapes, and forms.

Which songs are you most excited to sing or tackle?

Oh man, it was pretty hard to come up with a setlist because there are so many great songs like Rainbow’s “Man on the Silver Mountain.” That is one of my dad’s favorite songs of all-time and I’m just really excited to get up on stage and sing that one. My uncle will join us for that song, which is going to be very, very cool.

We’re also going to do some of the Dio Sabbath stuff, I think we’re going to play “Neon Knights” and “Children of the Sea.” Of course, we’re going to play the Dio classics like “Holy Diver” and “Rainbow In The Dark.” Those are the Dio staples.

It’s going to be cool to play some of the deep cuts too and cool for us as a band to learn those songs. Like I said, we wear our influences on our sleeves and I’m sure learning a bunch of Dio songs will make its way into the next songwriting process.

Crobot performs at The Asbury Lanes for their Motherbrain Record Release Party on Saturday August 25. Click here for tickets.

Anthony Toto
Anthony Totohttps://pathbrite.com/AnthonyMToto/profile
Anthony Toto is a senior writer and social media manager for The Pop Break. Works in the music industry and interviews prominent artists, bands, and musicians. Longtime guitarist, Rutgers Graduate, and wholeheartedly believes in the ethereal power of music.


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