Denver roots rock group to headline Schmiggity’s Friday
If You Go...
What: Rob Drabkin Band
When: 10 p.m., Friday, Aug. 28
Where: Schmiggity's 821 Lincoln Ave.
Steamboat Springs — Singer songwriter Rob Drabkin has always been a musician at heart.
Drawn to music from an early age, he decided to fully pursue his musical ambitions when he was 23 and hasn’t looked back since.
With a ’70s-style afro that is as noticeable as his enticing grin, Denver native Drabkin’s driving folk rock-inspired tunes have landed him on national tours and sets at the Red Rocks Amphitheater.
This weekend Drabkin and his band will be in Steamboat Springs performing a free show at Schmiggity’s at 10 p.m. Friday.
Drabkin tours the country with band members Brian McRae on drums, Mario Pagliarulo on bass and Adam Revel on keys, delivering a spontaneous mix of folk rock originals and captivating improv. The group has shared the stage with acts such as the John Butler Trio, Trevor Hall and Big Head Todd and The Monsters.
Currently, Drabkin and his band have produced several projects over the years. In 2012, they released their first live album, “Live At The Bluebird Theater 1.19.12” and realized a new set of originals and a cover of the Paul Simon album, “Graceland.” Then in 2014, the group released “Little Steps” and more recently released the music video for “Stay (The Morning Light Fades)” in May and the music video for “Down to Fate” two weeks ago.
Earlier this week, Explore Steamboat had the chance to catch up with Drabkin about his recent endeavors and the upcoming show in Steamboat.
Explore Steamboat: You’ve been on the music scene for about four or five years now. Can you remember that milestone of your first gig and what made you want to be a full-time musician?
Rob Drabkin: I do have all kinds of little milestone moments. In 2007, I had my first gig, and it was a solo acoustic gig in Denver at this private event where this guy had me perform to his girlfriend as he proposed. She ended up saying “no.” Before I did this full time, I always had another job or obligation that took away from my music career, and I didn’t want that anymore. As soon as I started to feel that weight, I knew I wanted to spend my time elsewhere. I got my degree in biochemistry, molecular biology and Spanish at Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas, but college is about finding what you are passionate about, and I knew I was good at science and enjoyed doing it but I loved music too much and really wanted to sing. I never sang a note until I was 23. It was a huge transition. I was always playing guitar on the side but I couldn’t keep it on the side anymore.
ES: What keeps you inspired or motivated?
RD: I love everything about it, I really do. It doesn’t matter if a crowd is small or huge. When I am up there playing music, there is nothing that could make me happier. Every time I play I feel the most alive and happiest to the max. It’s very rare that something makes it discouraging.
ES: In getting your start with Denver’s music scene, how did that help spur your music career?
RD: I got my career by rolling through open mic nights as much as I could. I went so religiously it was a great way to try out new songs and replug back into the music community there. I did it every night of the week and sometimes twice in one day with an earlier open mic and one later on. There was one night I was playing at what was the D Note — it’s no longer in existence — the owner of the club walked by and heard me doing a Beatles cover song and asked me to do a wine tasting event shortly after. There are a lot of hard doors to open at first with open mic nights but it opened up a lot of doors.
ES: That music video with 75-year-old Wayne Cunningham is amazing. How did you meet him and how did his journey finding the time capsule become the subject of the “Down to Fate” music video?
RD: We released that video two weeks ago, and the director and I went through a dozen ideas, rejecting one after another then we got hooked on this idea of a traveling, time capsule story with a sense of discovery at the end. The feel of the first verse is somewhat dark but then it builds into happiness and joyfulness. We wanted something that showed that progression and thought the idea of using an old man would tie the video together. The song’s main chorus is, “I’ve seen good times turn into bad times” and so on. It’s more believable from somebody wise and with experience. We needed someone with a gigantic smile who could go from melancholy to uninhibited joy.
ES: What was the transition like when you went from a solo act to performing with a band?
RD: It’s still a transition. I went from playing demos in the basement to performing with them. It’s more of a collaborative process now, and it’s really developed into a project with a lot of chemistry and collaboration in it. It’s cool to see the progression of the band. We have songs on the new album that people have never heard before. We have another studio project in the works for 2016, and that’s definitely more of a live thing reflecting the shows we play — no night is the same for us.
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