2005_05_arts_robbershighst.jpgRobbers on High Street finally released their full length album, Tree City, this year. It's getting them more comparisons to Spoon than their EP Fine Lines did, but as far as comparisons go that's not a bad one. The bands classic lo-fi sound and their songwriting make up ten-fold for any lack of "hooks". This, in our opinion, makes their sound a more timeless one.
This Brooklyn band works it all out in songs ranging from rock balladry to melodic rock, with perspective driven lyrics of everyday nuances as sung in the voice of restless youth. Come check them out Friday night at Webster Hall (details after the interview).

Let's get this out of the way, where did your band name originate?
It came from a lyric to an old song of ours. I wasn't such a fan of the song so we nixed it. I wasn't such a fan of the name either. It's a mouthful, and you have to repeat it a couple of times for people. But I guess that's also the cool thing about it. What sold me was that it sounded like it could be a GBV title.

What is your first concious memory of New York?
I have trouble deciphering early childhood memories from memories of early childhood photos. My friend Robby and his family were friends with Bernie Getz. He lived in their building on 14th Street. We used to wrestle with him. Supposedly he showed Robby's older brother his gun. My Dad knew he was crazy even before he went on his subway vigilante rampage. He thought the guy who ran the newsstand on the corner was a Nazi so he burned down his stand. I remember reading an interview with him a couple of years ago when he was seriously considering running for Mayor. He was very adamant about having vegetarian lunches in public schools. What a nut!

What is your favorite/least favorite memory involving New York?
My least favorite memory may be getting denied entrance to see Joe Strummer at Irving Plaza on my birthday because I bought a doctored scalped ticket. I did get to see him before he died though. I loved the blackout. That was such an amazing experience. I was in Harlem and had to make my way back to Brooklyn. That was some Warriors shit! Walking through the city like that and seeing the population not freaking out and actually enjoying this weird pause in the constant whir and hum of New York was incredible.
We stopped in Central Park, bought a tepid $12 six-pack of Corona, ended up on a roof top and saw Drew Barrymore. I slept on my friend's couch on Avenue C and walked across the Williamsburg bridge the next morning. When I got home my roommate Greg and my friend Pete were in the backyard with a frying pan full of bacon and eggs on the grill. I was like, "I think the gas works fellas."

What is your favorite/least favorite thing about playing shows in New York?
I used to go to the Subway Bar in Brooklyn a lot. Not so much anymore. It's a great place. Two dollar PBR's, pool table and it's always dead in there. It's safe to venture out Sunday night through Wednesday night. If you don't live in New York you go out Thursday, Friday or Saturday night. And if you're a member of the HiFi Social Club (like some of my good friends are) you go out everynight.

What is your favorite/least favorite thing about playing shows in New York? Is there a difference between shows in Manhattan and Brooklyn?
I like getting to play for my friends, and friends of friends. Sometimes the guest list problem can stress me out, but then again I'm easily stressed out. We just sold out the Mercury Lounge for the first time not too long ago, but I've still yet to get a free drink there! Brooklyn is much more laid back. There's no dude-bros introducing themselves and bragging about their sweet record label internship and can I get a free CD, man? It's more just regular concert goers and much less guest listed industry types. Southpaw is great. They are incredibly band friendly and they have a skateboarding dog!

Do you think your New York connection shows in your music? If so, how?
Maybe in the sort of economic efficiency of the song arrangements. It's not the kind of town that breeds jam bands, who's got the time to do that? Most bands play in hourly rehearsal places or cramped monthlies. I think most of the New York influence is in the lyrics. New York is great people watching. I don't see how you can be involved in crafting anything creative and not be influenced by your surroundings.

Now it's time for some fill-in-the-blank action

You know you've made it when...
You've got Morrissey on speed dial.

It'll be time to pack up the gear for good when...
I write and sing a song about Burger King in a Burger King commercial.

I'll never forget the first time I...
Palmed a boob.

I'll never forget the first time [insert other band members name here]...
Steve asked a member of the Bravery to borrow his eyeliner.

Let's have some fun with word association. Give us your immediate feelings on the following (if you've got no discernable feelings, make something up that won't embarrass you in the morning)

Yankees - millionaires
Mets - cocaine
Britney - preggers
Bridge & Tunnel - preggers and cocaine
The Darkness - those teeth!
Times Square - R.I.P.
Bloomberg/Smoking Ban/Noise Laws - Bernie Getz for Mayor!

Questions inspired by movies...

If you will, a brief justification of the ontological necessity of modern man's existential dilemma (in less than 10 words). (Reality Bites)
Invective Violent Femmes lyrics sung to celebrity kleptomaniacs.

What came first, the music or the misery? (High Fidelity)
Oh, I dunno...the misery?

A few quickies on the music tip

Who would be in your ultimate music supergroup, your all-star Olympic team of rock?
Sadly, I've already compiled this band in my mind. Bonham -drums, Macartney - bass, Joey Santiago - git (and maybe get Mick Jones or Tom Verlaine too), Nicky Hopkins - keys, Colin Blunstone - sing.

If you released a 7" What would you put on the cover?
We did, with two different covers. One birds and one bees.

What was the first/last album you bought on the day it was released?
I swear when albums come out I'm the last one to know. I've never bought an album on the release date, and if I did, I didn't know.

And finally...If Josh Schwartz, creator of the OC, asked your band to perform on his TV show (as Modest Mouse, the Killers and the Walkmen recently have) would you?
I am hopelessly addicted to the OC. I can safely say the boys in the band would not be into it, and I'm not sure if I would be either. They recently played a song of ours in the background during a whip cream licking Spring Break in Miami Beach scene. I haven't seen it yet cause we've been on tour. I'm afraid of having my reality breach the boundaries of fantasy. The OC is escapism for me. Teenage problems ultimately solved by rich white parents. If I saw myself in my unreality it would ruin it for me. And I just have to see how Kirsten is going to cope with her blossoming alcoholism.

2005_05_artsrobbershighstcd.jpgRobbers on High Street are currently touring with Hot Hot Heat and play Webster Hall this Friday night at 7:30pm
You can buy their album here, and listen to some songs at their website