Enter the ‘Tones’

Being from Kentucky I have some roots back East. I’ve been wondering about the music back there and wanted to hear about something other than the country music of Nashville and the like. Enter ‘Robby and the Passing Tones.’ I recently had a chance to catch up with them and pick their brains a bit.

Q: How did you guys end up together? How did you meet? How long have you been a band together? What is the basic origin of the band?
A: Robby: Damn, this an interrogation, or an interview? I met Chris in December of ’85 when I was about 19 months old, Chris plays the drums. Chris and I have been causing a ruckus since about the ages 10 and 8, or somewhere around there. Thomas Boyd who occasionally plays bass has been a partner of mine for about 10 or so years now, I met him when he was a little tike, he just turned 21. The basic origin of the band is Soul and Rock and Roll.

Q: Where did the band name come from?
A: Robby: What? You don’t like it?

Q: What is your current status label- wise?
A: Robby: We are currently unsigned. However, I am not too concerned with the state of the industry, just the music.

Q: Aside from playing your instruments, talk about what else each member brings to the table in this band.
A: Chris brings love, timing, and logic. Thomas brings chops, taste, and the funk.
I love playing with these guys, and they are no slouches when it comes to conversation or hanging out. We share a lot of common interests, and I love spending time with them.

Q: You call your music “Psychedelic Blues.” Talk about what that means.
A. It has taken me a while to really develop a style I am super comfortable with and some how, it landed on blues. In addition to just being bluesy, I really enjoy trying to achieve an ambient, almost hypnotic sound. It is like a kind of music that captures your attention until you almost lose perspective, of your current state of being.

Q: Your website features the songs “Dig on change” and “Music critique.” What can you tell me about these two songs?
A: Robby: I can tell you that they both come from experience, and the heart. I leave it up to the listener to decide how it pertains to them individually.

Q: “Music critique” definitely has a garage feel to it. Is that intentional?
A: Robby: Say what Jason, you knockin’ my production skills? No, No, I am just messin. Truth be told, I do all the production, with some assistance from Chris and actor/director L.E. The songs that are currently on my website can be considered “rough drafts.” I am in the latter stages of production on a full length, which should take care of this so- called “garage sound,” Jason. However, I do like to keep it real, and raw.

Q: I can hear elements of many blues- type influences in your music. What are some of the bands that led you to the creation of your sound?

A: Robby: Anything and everything that actually has some soul, from Mississippi Fred McDowell, to the Beatles, to James Brown, Hip-Hop, Metal, Soul, Soul, and Soul.
A: Chris: I am really feeling soul, reggae, punk, and ska music right now, but my past musical influences are vast and keep on growing. I am also very interested in the hard-bop era, and earlier forms of rap and hip-hop. There have been various artists that have flipped me end-up and changed my whole musical outlook.

Q: Coming from Knoxville, Tennessee, would you say that the area and region has influenced your sound?
A: Robby: Sure. I believe everything around me influences my decision making.
A: Chris: Knoxville, not really. Tennessee, yes. Knowing that such great music has been recorded and produced here really does mean a lot to me. When I went to the Stax museum in Memphis, it really opened my eyes to some of the greatest soul music ever produced.

Q: There is something about your music that seems somewhat ‘detached.’ Talk about this a bit.
A: Robby: If by detached you mean, I don’t give a fuck, you are correct sir.
A: Chris: I am in my own world when certain music hits me. If it is detached, so be it.

Q: What do you think the future holds for your band? Touring? Recording?
A: Robby: I am not sure what the future holds. I am just happy to be alive, most of the time, and to have the ability to make music with good people.

Jason: Well said my man. Thanks for the conversation.
Robby and the Passing Tones are currently working on a record. When it is done, you can hear all about it here in the Coldiron Continuum.


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