Interview ROBERT JON
RTJ: Hello ROBERT, thank you for giving us this interview for Road to Jacksonville webzine dedicated to southern rock, First, I'd like to come back to your start, can you remain us where you come from ?
ROBERT JON: Of course, I am from Southern California, born and raised. The Band is based in Orange County, CA.
RTJ : Was your family a musical one ? Who where the main artists you listened to ?
ROBERT JON: My father was a huge inspiration for me, he played guitar and sang as I grew up, we would listen to old gospel records and oldies radio, anything from Oak Ridge Boys to Otis Redding.
RTJ : Which instrument do you begin to play ? And which tunes ?
ROBERT JON: I started playing the piano when I was about 8 years old and stuck with it for awhile until I picked up percussion and drums at about 11 years old and then moved to guitar in Junior High and stuck with that to this day. I learned songs when I started like Blowin’ in the wind by Bob Dylan and old Merle Haggard tunes.
RTJ : How did you start to play in a band, was it in the high school ?
ROBERT JON: It was in High School, a group of my friends would come over to my house and play in my bedroom on Friday’s after school. That was the first version of a band that I was in, and years progressed the bands would change and you’d play different genre’s as well.
RTJ: Have you some recordings from this time ? What did you play live ?
ROBERT JON: I don’t think I have any recordings from my first band, it was before you had phones that could record anything anywhere you were, at the time. But the memories I have from that era still stick with me. We played a few birthday parties but that was about it.
RTJ : For our readers, can you remain us how ROBERT JOHN and The Wreck was set up and introduce us to the members of the group who are accompanying you???
ROBERT JON: We started in 2011, I had been playing music under my own name Robert Jon Band, for a few years prior, and the guys in the band at the time, I felt were giving more of there time and effort including writing songs together. So, I wanted it to feel more of a band dynamic. So we decided to form Robert Jon & the Wreck. The members are as follows Andrew Espantman on Drums, Steve Maggiora on Keys, Henry James on Lead Guitar, Warren Murrel on Bass and myself on Lead Vocals.
RTJ: Can you tell us more about your last record released in 2020 Last Light on The Highway? How and where was it recorded?
ROBERT JON: We recorded Last Light on the Highway in Burbank, CA at our good friend and co-producer Jeff Frickman’s home studio, Sonic Groove Studios. We had worked with Jeff on the previous two records and it was a no brainer to work with him again. We focused a lot more on the songs themselves and the writing of them for this record. We are very proud of the end product and very thankful of the response and love we received since the release. We were also very honored to have good friends of ours be apart of it as well with Horns from 504 Horns from New Orleans, LA, Live Strings from Gabe and Gideon Klein at Shuffle Brothers Studios in Gallatin, TN and additional background vocals from the fabulous Mahalia Barnes, Jade MacRae, & Juanita Tippins at Apple Street Studios in Australia.
RTJ: I really like “Do you Remember” which has its harmonized guitars, can you tell us more about this song?
ROBERT JON: “Do You Remember” is a song about remembering the past and how was to be a kid without any responsibilities, as we are getting older with more and more responsibilities it was flashback to remembering the days when we didn’t have many. The harmonized guitar lines in that song and most of our is always a nod to the past classic and southern rock legends that we listen to and Henry James is always there with exactly the right licks and lines to throw in any song to make the song even more impactful.
RTJ: Your album is superb, what is the title that you would listen to someone who does not know your music first?
ROBERT JON: I’d say out first single off the record and the first song on the record really showcases who we are and what we can do. Oh Miss Carolina is just a solid straight forward song with a soaring guitar solo along with a vocal driven chorus that makes the song stand up with all the greats.
RTJ : Is there a difference between the European audience and the American one ?
ROBERT JON: I’d say yes, European Audiences have been very accepting of us, and always there to have a good time and experience the night with us, which we can’t thank enough. Without fans we can’t keep doing what we love. That being said we have had amazing shows here all across America, and as we continue to grow here in the states we’ve seen more and more audiences here react in the same way. I think it was Europe that we experienced that energy first so it always holds a strong place in our hearts.
RTJ: Do you think you will be able to come back to Europe to play for your fans?
ROBERT JON: Yes, we will be back no matter what. We can’t wait around as long as we have anymore. We hope to be back in September!
RTJ : Question for the guitarist : at the moment what is your preferred gear in studio and on stage ?
ROBERT JON: From Henry James:
Guitars - Epiphone Firebird (2020) and Gibson SGs.
Amps - Blackstar Studio 10, Music Man 110RD 50, Divided by 13
Pedals - Wampler Plexidrive, Basic Audio Scarab Fuzz, Fulltone Clyde Wah & Dejavibe 3
Strings - Dunlop 10-46 or JHS Boomers 11-50 (for open tuning)
Slide - Rockslide Small Brass
Picks - Dunlop Flow .73mm
RTJ : What are your projects for the future, CD, DVD to be released, acoustic project ?
ROBERT JON: We have a new studio record on the horizon that we are excited to release and also planning on a live record next year, and maybe some surprises along the way that I can’t talk about just yet. But we are excited for whats to come in the future.
RTJ : Last and traditional question, if you have to stay on a desert island, what are the five records that you would take with you ?
ROBERT JON: That’s always a tough question, but right now it would be
- “Keep it Loose, Keep it Tight” by Amos Lee,
- “Heartbreaker” by Ryan Adams,
- “Damn the Torpedos” by Tom Petty,
-“Seven Turns” by Allman Brothers, and
- “Croweology” by The Black Crowes