Hey Roxy Rollers! Greetings from the open road. We just wrapped a great stint out in the western US and as we head to Jackson Mississippi we wanted to share a great interview that our very own drummer, Ryan Greenblatt aka RGB aka Da Funky Drummer aka Blatt aka Blatthew aka Blattadactyl aka Blattimus-Maximus, did with The Taos News.
Check out the article by click here or read the transcript below.
Thanks for keeping up with us! Come back for all things Roxy Roca.
Article By Ariana Kramer
Roxy Roca brings southern soul to Taos
On Tuesday (Sept. 13), Roxy Roca performs from 7-10 p.m. at Taos Mesa Brewing, 20 ABC Mesa Road, off U.S. 64 west. Cover charge is $5.
The name Roxy Roca comes from a grade school crush lead singer Taye Cannon had on African-American actress Roxie Albertha Roker. Roker played Helen Willis in the television sitcom “The Jeffersons.” In the show, Willis was married to a white man; they were the first interracial couple to be depicted on regular prime-time television. Her character – and the show – made a deep impression on Cannon, who grew up in Alabama, Tennessee and Mississippi.
“I remember thinking she was such a classy lady and thought it was so cool that she was married to one of the only white guys on the show,” Cannon wrote in a blog on Roxy Roca’s website. “I always thought it was so admirable how The Willises just let all the name calling and ridicule roll off their backs. They saw no color; they saw each other for who they were, and that was that. I later found out that the character was loosely based on the actress’s real life marriage and experiences…. I am very proud that my parents raised me in a household where racism was not tolerated, in a part of the country where color lines run deep. It is just something I have always been passionate about. That’s right – my first lesson in civil rights came through the television and Roxie Roker led the revolution.”
Roxie Roker is also the mother of musician Lenny Kravitz. Roker died in 1995. In order to honor her memory, Cannon named his band after her.
The band Roxy Roca is Taye Cannon (vocals), Erik Muench (bass, backing vocals), Babis Tyropolous (guitar), Austin Johanning (trumpet), P. Michael Hayes (trombone) and Ryan Greenblatt (drums, backing vocals). For their Taos show, Tyropolous will be replaced by Gem Martin on guitar.
Drummer Greenblatt said the band started out wanting to mimic the sounds of 1960s and 70s soul artists, using very specific equipment and trying not to sound “too modern.” Nowadays, Greenblatt said the band has loosened up the reins, and is keeping one foot in the past and one foot in the present, asking, “What would James Brown be doing if he was 28 now?”
The band has three recordings under their belt, and another in progress. “Basement Tapes Vol. 1” was recorded in 2014, and is only available for purchase at shows. Their Stag Records debut “Ain’t Nothin’ Fancy,” was released in February 2015 on vinyl, CD and download. It was recorded in the style of yesteryear’s music – live and straight to tape – at EAR Studio with producer Lars Goransson. The project took four days to complete. “Live at the Music Club” is the band’s newest album/CD/DVD package. Filmed by The Good Music Club in front of a packed-in audience at The Spider House Ballroom in Austin, Texas, it is available as a CD/DVD set or on 180-gram audiophile-quality white vinyl.
This past year, Roxy Roca has been busy recording some brand new tracks slated for release sometime in 2017.
“This new record was really collaborative,” said Greenblatt. “We wrote most of the songs in the couple of weeks leading up to recording.… The whole band would get together in my living room. The horn guys would have their instruments, and maybe the guitar players would have their guitars, but no amps, and I would have some brushes, maybe a snare drum. We would really pare down, put down our ideas, vocal melodies, make a little demo of that, go home for the night, listen back. And, then the next day we would go to a real studio space, with drums and everything set up to be loud and we’d work through the tune, and we did that back and forth for two weeks. It was really fruitful.”
By the end of their songwriting process, Roxy Roca had written 20 songs out of which they selected 12 for their new album.
Roxy Roca spends close to eight months of the year out on the road. When they are at home, they play at some of Austin’s most prominent clubs: The Continental Club, The Perish, Hotel Vegas.
Greenblatt said the band has a few messages they try to get across in their music. “One of the main ones, and it’s a song we do every once in a while, is ‘Happiness is a Choice.’ … Things might be tough but you’re not alone, and we can get through this,” he said.
Another is, “there’s only one race – the human race. Get rid of hate. We have a song called ‘Better Way.’ Taye kind of talks to the audience – if we band together and believe the truth that there is no race or division we can make a better world.”