By Shana Baker
Sifting through my CDs the other day, I came across a bright orange sleeve. It’s a sampler of new songs given to me this past February at the Millennium Music Conference. Feeling like I just found an old friend, I popped it into my stereo. As the music and the harmonies poured out of the speakers I noticed some print inside the sleeve and began to read…We are… Strength in numbers, We are… Strong, We are… Misunderstood, We are… Artists, We are… Brothers, We are… Friends, We are… Happy, We are… Haunted, We are… Circular, We are… Tied, We are… Americans, We are… Worldly, We are… Free, We are… Grounded, We are… Nervous, We are… Confident, We are… Loud, We are… Sensual, We are… Inspired, We are… Improvised, We are… Time, We are… Labeled, We are… Live, We are… ROTOGLOW!
Yes that they are… The one, the only… ROTOGLOW. This brotherhood of a band is crazy, fun loving and full of great songs. Their live show pulls in everyone from the crowd. From the old to the young, Andrew Hellier (Lead vocal/guitar), Coronado Bokoles (Bass/vocals), John Kenney (Lead guitar/vocals) and Dave Cannon (Drums) get all of us shimmying and shaking to their rockin’ sound. The lyrics combined with three part harmonies cry out like an anthem. Encouraging each of us to tap into understanding our “rascally” selves.
What is it that puts these guys out on a line of their own? Maybe it is a combination of thirst for music and the love of audience attention. Each of the members of Rotoglow have been involved in the music scene in one form or another for years. Well seasoned, they pulled together to produce high energy charged rock songs. This isn’t hard rock and it’s not really soft either… It’s in line with the rock music put out in the late 50’s and 60’s. This is not your mommy and daddy’s music. This is the music of the millennium generation. Their influences range from Motown, Ray Charles, Beatles, and Social Distortion. Producing songs like “Get a Grip”, Andrew cries out “It’s a new face…That make us all feel so damn shing dang doogally… and it all comes down to this - get a grip you gotta get down with this…”
Many times over the last year and a half I have had the opportunity to hang out with the guys of Rotoglow. Very accustom I have grown to their RV, gorgeous smiles and wit. They are just a blast to be around, even in their grumpiest state. Their casa is your casa is the feeling they put out. This is not contrived, but genuine. This band has played hundreds of shows including Warp Tour and more recently HFStival 2002. They have won multiple battle of the bands competitions by winning over the crowd, not populating it. They are one of us. When they are on stage they pull us in to be apart of it, not witness it.
Their self titled CD has sold over 2000 copies. Many are waiting with anticipation for the follow up. This past May at the HFStival, I had the chance to hang out with Rotoglow in the Unsung Hero RV… In the back, all piled on the bed we had a chance to chat…
Shana: How was it playing out there today?
Rotoglow: It was HOT, Incredible, a Blast!
Andrew: Nice to play on PA that is tailored for what you do. Band guy dream.
Shana: How is the new CD coming along?
Shana: Any ETA for your fans on its release?
Rotoglow: Still up in the air…
Shana: Have you had any HFS moments or is it still too early?
Andrew: We had two shows where we weren’t in the same band together. We came out today and had the show we have been waiting to play. Where we all clicked, really clicked. Some days you just have trouble stepping up to the plate, but today it we did and I just love my buddies!
(Lots of awwwws and high fives)
Dave: We drove around the parking lot handing out CDs this morning. How many did we give away?
Andrew: We gave a way about 300 CDs in the parking lot. Everyone was flocking around the RV.
Shana: Flashing people again?
Andrew: No, not me. I was asleep. (Lots of laughter)
Shana: That is a good thing or you might not have made it today…
John: They had us lined us up against the outside of the RV. With a dog going over us…
Andrew: I shook hands with the cop and he told us to get on out of here. It was hilarious now, wasn’t then… but while they had us with our hands over our heads up against the RV, I looked down and there was a roach on the ground. I looked up and the cop and said that is not mine. (laughter)
Shana: You should entertain the idea of using a photo of all of you lined up outside the RV for a CD or poster… By the way what is up with your posters? Where did you get the lady?
Andrew: John went and got this cool book, what was it World War II pictures?
John: It is an American pop art book of thirties and forties advertisements. I thought it would be cool to do something different, something colorful and neat. So we started to go poster to poster, a different one for each show. The poster of the lady kind of stuck, but we will be switching that one out soon. She was originally saying sign up for the draft and we just cleared that out and put in Rotoglow.
Shana: It’s a great idea, very original.
Andrew: What we are trying to do is develop Rotoglow fans as family members. And we are going to try to develop Rotoglow as a group where people can get involved. We are going to keep all of this catalogued as Rotoglow Memorabilia, kind of like keep it rock n’ roll Phish style.
Andrew: Keep it personal…
Shana: You will and have started to reach many people without someone else having control.
Andrew: That’s the whole point. We can make things happen on our own that way. We can avoid having somebody coming in and mold us. We want to mold ourselves, that’s why we are Rotoglow. We’re artists, we aren’t trying to fit into some pop formula, we are just trying to write music and hope that people like it. That’s it. So we figure that is the only way to do it, to keep it our own, give it to the fans. Let the fans make us not the other way around.
Shana: You will have more longevity that way…
Andrew: Well we would rather be around for a long time then hit fast and disappear.
Andrew: We like being completely broke… (laughter) Who’s got money for parking?
Check them out @ www.rotoglow.com