I first learned about Crobot in September through my wife, who is attending this year’s ShipRocked Cruise, where Crobot is one of the performing bands. She very excitedly forwarded me the link to the band’s video for “No Where to Hide” and informed me that this was the band to watch for. I clicked the link and as the music proceeded, I glanced at my wife and just mouthed out “Wow!”. Mixing in powerful vocals and groove-centric rhythm, “No Where to Hide” immediately grabbed my attention and had me seeking out more songs. It wasn’t long after that night we heard the same tune being belted out on Sirius/XM’s Octane channel. Again, I turned to my wife and just mouthed out “Wow!”.
Oddly enough, the exclamation of “Wow!” has been reiterated on more than one occasion as we spoke with friends that have either seen Crobot live or sampled some of their music. I don’t think that the short reply was one of surprise, rather, an immediate reaction to how the band’s music made them feel. “Wow!” – like watching the Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks display for the first time, or seeing a fighter land a crushing knockout blow. The music is impact, full of soul and jolts your insides with electricity. Crobot’s “No Where to Hide” is not a one-hit wonder or $15 song, though. Seemingly every track on the quartet’s first release “Something Supernatural” resonates with energy and heart. Power titles like “Skull of Geronimo” mix an in your face metal chorus with extreme funk during the verses. While more subtle, infectious tunes like “La Mano de Lucifer” drag your mind into stoner rock territory, until Brandon Yeagley unleashes a skull splitting vocal assault in the chorus.
On November 7th, Crobot made their way to the Local 662 in St. Petersburg, FL, and I was fortunate to grab some of their time before their performance. I initially didn’t know what to expect, as I first ran into Brandon and Jake Figueroa outside of the venue’s entrance. A little bit of small talk at first, the typical hokey “welcome to Florida” speak. But as we were joined by Chris Bishop and Paul Figueroa, the conversation transitioned very rapidly. I remember the first question Paul asked me was “Have you ever played Dungeons and Dragons?”. A short discussion on role playing games quickly dissolved into laughter, and with that, familiarity was set and the interview began.
Eric Schmitt: How did everything come together for the release of “Something Supernatural” and the tour announcement with Volbeat and Anthrax?
Brandon Yeagley: Well, we recorded in November to December of 2013. Feels really good to have it all out there, walk into a record store and see your record on the shelf. It’s pretty awesome. The Anthrax and Volbeat thing we’ve sort of been hearing about for a little while, and that finally solidified too. It’s going to be a great tour for us.
Chris Bishop: It all just sort of happened by chance, too. Announcing the Volbeat tour and our album release. We didn’t plan that – it just turned out that both were on the same day.
ES: A lot of people are currently looking for the lyrics to the songs on “Something Supernatural.” Listening to them (the songs), you can hear that a lot of them seem to tell their own story. Where did the inspiration come from?
BY: In general, it’s a lot of Sci-Fi and Horror flicks growing up as a kid. Listening to Ozzy and Rainbow, Dio, we were fans that grabbed on to that “mystique”. I’m a product of my environment when it comes to that. I look to guys like Neil Fallon of Clutch, probably the best storyteller of our time, I think, as a lyricist. I really take from what he does and put my own spin on that.
ES: So what’s your favorite horror flick?
BY: Army of Darkness. That was always my favorite.
Jake Figueroa: Attack of the Killer Tomatoes.
ES: Ooh! Going old school, there!
CB: I’d say the Notebook. (Laughter)
Paul Figueroa: I’ve gotta go with Aliens. I was really little when I saw it – I saw it before I saw the original Alien. And I saw it on laserdisc, actually. That’s how long ago I saw Aliens. That scared the crap out of me!
ES: Describe the process the band went through when putting together a song like “La Mano de Lucifer”. That’s pretty intricate both lyrically and musically.
CB: There was a lot of different riffs going into that (song). It started with the verse/groove riff going on and we were sitting in Brandon’s kitchen playing acoustics and we came up with the turn-arounds and transitions. Jumping from 3 to 4, our sort of “War Pigs” intro and bridge we wanted to throw in there. We started jamming it and it went from there.
JF: I think it was originally an 8 or 9 minute song. It had 2 bridges, 2 choruses –
CB: If you think that (the song on the album) was progressive, you should have heard the version before!
JF: It was all over the place, like Mars Volta shit.
PF: With crappier drumming. (Laughter)
ES: What do you guys consider the best part and worst part of touring?
JF: Probably waking up after getting drunk.
BY: That’s the worst, no matter what.
JF: For me, that’s the best and the worst! (Laughter) Some mornings it’s the best.
CB: We just keep the party going.
JF: Others it just sucks.
CB: The shitters sometimes suck.
ES: Is that from a shit or piss perspective?
CB: Shit – I can piss anywhere. Well, I can actually shit anywhere now. I’ve shit in some of the sketchiest places known to man cuz I can shit fast. That’s the talent I’ve got.
PF: You do have a talent for that!
ES: So it’s like a Shit n’ Run?
CB: I build it up to where it’s explosive, then I’m out! (Laughter)
PF: In fact, when anybody shits within 5 minutes, it’s called a “Bishop”.
CB: Yep, I’ve got my own shit.
JF: It’s like Superman goes into a phone booth, drops a hot deuce, then comes right out. He walks in there as Superman, shits, and Clark Kent comes walking out. (Laughter)
PF: The worst part for me is when the tour ends. It’s just like “boo!”. At least that’s how I feel. The best part of the tour? I guess when it starts then. I love it!
BY: The best part is definitely sweating and shaking our dicks every night. Worst part, definitely running out of weed.
ES: If Crobot were given a live action TV show, similar to the Scooby Doo cartoon premise, who would you want to play you and why?
CB: Phil Anselmo would play me. Just because we look alike when I shave my head.
JF: I was thinking about this the other day, something similar. I would go with John Leguizamo.
BY: I’m gonna say Rick James. Maybe the dead version. Zombie Rick James. Yeah! Imagine what he’d have to say? AAAAAHHHHH! (Laughter)
JF: (to Paul) You should totally have Daphne from Scooby Doo play you!
PF: Was she the lesbian chick with the glasses?
ES: I think that was Velma.
JF: That’s who I meant! Velma!
PF: Yeah, we’ll go with that. Cartoon Velma in human form.
ES: What are you guys looking forward to with upcoming shows like Kink Festival in Orlando and ShipRocked?
JF: Things like Kink Fest I always look forward to because there’s always a little tent where you can get some free booze and everyone pretty much runs around like a madman.
CB: Meaning Jake usually runs around like a madman. (Laughter)
JF: That’s an odd setting where nobody really complains about it, so I like that.
CB: Definitely ShipRocked is going to be awesome. We have a bunch of other stuff coming up that we can’t announce yet, but ShipRocked is definitely going to be awesome. I went to the Bahamas once when I was like 10 years old, that was the last time I was there. I got all my money stolen on the fucking ship. Well, here’s the story – I went with my friend and his grandmother and she had all the cash together. When she was in the casino, she apparently left her purse and when she came back all of her money was stolen. Maybe she gambled it away, I don’t know.
PF: I’m definitely looking forward to that Volbeat/ Anthrax tour. Those will be the biggest venues we’ve ever played at. I don’t think there’s anything I’m not looking forward to. We just have lots of awesomeness going on.
BY: Yeah, what he said. Tomorrow is going to be awesome!
PF: Actually, tomorrow is going to be awesome. The day after, not so much – we have to drive home.
There is a stark contrast between the personalities of Crobot when they hit the stage from when we were conducting the interview. The shit talk (literally) is gone; replaced by four musicians who love to perform. The set list for the performance mirrors the tracks on “Something Supernatural” and the opener, “Legend of the Space Born Killer” immediately injected a tremendous amount of energy to the crowd of the Local 662. Many of these patrons had not heard or seen Crobot perform live before, but were on their feet grooving along. The front of the stage was inhabited by fans of the band who were not averse to reciting the lyrics and getting down with the constant movement of Chris, Brandon and Jake.
By the time the band had reached their radio hit “No Where to Hide,” the crowd was frenzied by the performance. Musically, vocally and physically, you can’t helped but get caught up in the performance. Crobot seemingly telepathically transmits their passion for the music to its audience, and I have to say, it’s easy to start shouting lyrics, stomping feet and throwing your hands in the air during a chorus. It’s as if we were attending a roadside tent revival, and for that night our God was a dirty funk quartet delivering one of the sickest musical performances ever witnessed. Song after song, beat after beat, lyric after lyric, the crowd remained energized and wanting more.
After their performance, the band exited the stage and headed directly towards their merchandise table. They greeted fans both old an new with the same playfulness exhibited during the performance, taking time to speak and take pictures with everyone. It’s very easy to fall in love with the music and the personalities of the bands’ members, two characteristics that will undoubtedly push Crobot quickly towards success. I honestly left the Local 662 that night feeling like I had just spoke to and witnessed greatness in the making. I can only imagine that this was the feeling people got after interviewing the likes of Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin early in their careers.