RISE, ROBOT, RISE!
If you haven’t heard of or seen The Robot Uprising you’ve been living under a rock. Fronted by Tony Cortez, The Mayor of Nardcore, the group is one of the best bands to emerge from the 805 in the last few years. Rooted in the soil of Oxnard, TRU exemplifies the music of the area: connections to the history, the sound and the DIY ethos that is Nardcore – and all punk. But with a twist: catchy, melodic tunes that would sound good on your local radio station or your Punk Rock song-list.
Tony: We strive to be melodic in our songwriting – but I don’t know if that’s a strength or weakness because it’s hard to get shows really. If we were a Hardcore Punk band, I could book us all day long…
Christöphë Crömëlin: We’re more Nardcore by association. (Laughter)
In addition to Cortez’s pedigree (he is an original member of ILL REPUTE) the band’s other members have backgrounds that give TRU a musical credibility few groups can equal. Guitarist Cliff Roman, who joined the group in late 2019, was an original member of The Weirdos, a seminal band from Punk’s first wave of the 1970’s. Christöphë Crömëlin is a veteran drummer of the 805 scene and a founding member of Fangboy and the Ghouls. Ja On Bass, formerly of Fuse, and guitarist Owen Arthur round out the band.
The group first formed in 2018 at a location rarely associated with Punk Rock.
Christöphë: Tony and I were at our original bassist’s (Eric Andres, who moved to Idaho) wedding, and we just decided to start jamming, and so we were originally a three-piece.
Tony: It was almost like the line-up we had – because we were going through different members and doing shows – cause you could do shows back then – it was almost like the warm-up for the line-up we have now. I fucking love this line-up right now. I hope we can just charge forward like this…
Cliff: Time to get neck tattoos! (Laughter)
Though the COVID quarantine sidelined the band, they played one of their first shows back at an event in Solvang over the summer of 2020. Even though all the members had been vaccinated, COVID had other plans.
Owen: In July we played a party and we all wound up being the original Delta breakthrough cases…
Ja: Everybody got COVID except for Chris…
Christöphë: I was protected by thousands of dollars of cymbals and drums…
ALL: “THANK YOU SOLVANG!”
After recovering, the group headed to Dave Grohl’s Studio 606 to start laying tracks for their new EP release, “Mixed Bag Of Bolts.”
Cliff: My nephew Oliver Roman (who mixed the EP) works at Studio 606 and I’ve recorded there in the past. I asked the guys if they’d be interested in recording there and I managed to book time and in one day we recorded three songs.
Tony: Our new EP is called “Mixed Bag Of Bolts” because it’s almost like three different style songs, but that’s because it’s hard to pigeonhole us.
Cliff: Tony wrote “Wasting Away” during the pandemic while we were all sheltering in place…
Tony: It’s actually about the pandemic. I wrote it at the height of the pandemic, and we all recorded our parts at home to work on it. But it was great to get to record it in a real studio.
Christöphë: At Dave Grohl’s studio he has that famous Neve board that was in Sound City Studios in the 70’s that like, Fleetwood Mac recorded with, Tom Petty recorded his first couple albums with. And now The Robot Uprising!
Ja: To add to its fame!
Christöphë: Yeah, it’s signed by like Stevie Nicks and Paul McCartney – all these huge names.
Tony: For some reason they didn’t ask us to sign it though. (Laughter)
Cliff: Wait, you guys didn’t sign it? (Laughter)
Completing the three-song EP are the tracks “Another Day” and “I Robot” which the band is planning to shoot a video for in the near future. The surge of the Delta variant and the band’s contraction of the plague has also meant a change in plans for playing live going forward.
Tony: We’re looking for outdoor shows right now because we take the COVID precautions very seriously. Hopefully when things go back to normal – if they ever go back to normal, we’ll start playing more shows.
Cliff: And if not, we’ll create them if we need to.
Which is exactly what TRU did in September. On a beautiful, sunny Southern California afternoon The Robot Uprising descended upon Point Mugu and played an impromptu and unpublicized show on the beach.
Owen: We brought my RV, got a generator and our equipment. We had time and wanted to do some outdoor stuff and it had been a while since we’d last played because of COVID…
Cliff: It was like a glam rehearsal – we just went there and jammed.
Tony: We weren’t sure how it was gonna turn out, but it sounded good, and it was really fun and we’re gonna do it again except this time we’re gonna tell people about it ‘cause that was just for us and a couple of close friends…
Christöphë: And some random guy on ‘shrooms who pulled off the PCH and watched us for a while. We were there for prolly 2 or 3 hours…
Tony: Bringing anarchy to life…
Ja: And THE MAN didn’t hassle us!
In addition to their latest EP, The Robot Uprising’s first album “The Uprising” is available to stream and purchase on all platforms. For more info follow them on Facebook and Instagram.