Getting to know Rob Drabkin: Summer shows, Colorado’s music scene, and more [Artist Interview]

CYM: Originally growing up on classic rock and metal, you soon found a love for horns and jazz. What would you say contributed to this change in taste? How important is it to you for an artist to indulge in different genres?

Getting into jazz was not easy!  I just didn’t feel cool being into jazz during the heavy 90’s grunge era. I enrolled in my school jazz band because I had to get an art credit and there was room for an electric guitarist in the rhythm section.  I remember playing “You Can Call Me Al” and “My Girl” at the first recital.  It was a big change, but I had fun. That’s why I stuck with it.  My love for jazz started there.

CYM: As a native of the ever-changing Colorado music scene, how do you feel your sound fits into the current musical landscape?

I was joking the other day that someone should start an EDM – Bluegrass project to take on Colorado.  Both of those genres are hugely popular in Colorado, but people in Colorado will gravitate to good music of any genre.  It’s one of the reasons I find myself staying here as opposed to moving elsewhere.  I can play songs with vastly different energies, moods and tempos and there is an audience for it in Colorado.   

CYM: During your birthday party this year, your mother and sister were passing out baked goods to the crowd at the Bluebird. Sounds pretty awesome! Has your family always been very supportive of your choice to be a musician?

They’re incredible supportive!  Mom and dad are both musicians themselves.  Dad is a long time jazz saxophone player who taught at Berkley in the late 60’s and mom is a piano and voice teacher.  They love that I’ve been able to do it full time.

CYM: How did you come to meet and create the lineup for your current band?

Appaloosa Grill is where we met.  Bijoux Barbosa was a bassist recommended to me for a live show.  Bijoux and I did one show together and he thought Brian McRae on drums and suggested Eric Moon on piano could be good fits.  The three of them played a weekly show at Appaloosa where the music was completely improvised.  One musician would start a groove, the others would catch on and you’d a see a song born right there on stage. These guys could play anything and there was already chemistry built in on stage. 

CYM: What shows you are most looking forward to this coming year?

Obviously Denver Duluxe Festival this past Saturday was great!  I’m very excited about playing at TEDxMileHigh at Ellie Caulkins Opera House July 8th and I just found out we’re on board the Velorama festival w/ Death Cab for Cutie, Wilco, and Tennis.  I’m psyched as it gets for this summer!

Keep an eye on Rob Drabkin all year long. His outlets can be found below!

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