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Interview Crobot (Alcatraz 2019)

A few hours after they opened up Alcatraz Festival‘s first day on the main stage, I had the opportunity to chat with Brandon Yeagley and Chris Bishop from Crobot. With their show being the very first of the day and the entire show being under constant attack from the ever so rainy clouds, it was too tempting not to start off with the cliché weather topic.

GRIMM: What a day, huh? It was raining just about the entire show, wasn’t it?

Brandon: I think so.

GRIMM: Only somewhere near the end I kind of cleared up, but then you started that cover of Toto and then it started again and all I could think was “well, they sure blessed it”

Brandon: *laughing* Yeah, we did a raindance.

GRIMM: So, opening for Alcatraz this year; how did it feel to be the first band?

Chris: Well, we’ve never played that early before in our lives. So we didn’t think anyone was gonna be there, but there was quite a lot of people. So that was really cool. Especially since it was piss pouring rain, but everyone was still there, singing the words and shit, really cool.

Brandon: I mean, I’ve never seen that many people troop it through the rain like that. Dancing, still with smiles on their faces.

GRIMM: Is it any different dealing with the rain during shows or doesn’t make that make much of a difference for you?

Chris: Well, for me, I uhm-

GRIMM: Your glasses flew off, I recall seeing that happen.

*laughing*

Chris: Yeah, that happened… Yeah I have to put my pedal board back by my amp, so that makes it a little tough to be able to hit my pedals and then sing, so I’m constantly running back and forth and with a wet stage there’s a couple times where you get that feeling in your stomach like you’re gonna die. Yeah I got that a couple of times.

GRIMM: Speaking of the rain, was that Toto (Africa) cover planned specifically because of the weather forecast, or just a coincidence?

Chris: We’ve been doing it the whole tour. *Brandon laughs*. It’s great because people think- Well, two things happened… Some people think that we’re gonna continue the song and they just really pissed off about it, and then there’s people that get really pissed off that we don’t play the song. So we’re pissing everybody off at some point.

GRIMM: What are your plans for the rest of the day?

Brandon: We’re gonna hang out and see some bands, I don’t know specifically who. But that’s the cool thing about festivals. It’s that sometimes it’s a band you’ve never heard of or something I wouldn’t normally go check out, but the festival setting lets you see all different kinds of bands.

Chris: Yeah, it’s cool. We saw some girl that looked like juggalos (juggalettes). We just came back from the Rock Tribune tent. They were practicing their skit backstage and we were like “What is going on?”. There’s a guy in suspenders with his titties out. *both laughing*

Brandon: It was interesting.

GRIMM: When you go to see bands, do you usually check them out from side stage or do you mingle with the crowd, so to speak?

Brandon: I always like to go to the Front of House, because that’s the best spot you’re gonna hear, well, hopefully.

Chris: Yeah, I guess it just depends. Usually with the bigger people you want to see from side stage, you can’t get up there. They won’t let us lowlives up there. So…

Brandon: That one time we tried to see Stevie Wonder and they kicked us out…

Chris: He can’t even see Stevie Wonder.

*Laughter escalates*

Brandon: Well, uhh- that’s the interview, guys!

GRIMM: Usually between shows, is there any kind of special music you listen to, or is it just whatever’s on the radio?

Brandon: Complete silence.

GRIMM: Between shows no music at all?

Chris: What do we listen to, Jay (tour manager)? WWF theme songs, podcasts, Glassjaw, Thrice, The Offspring, anything that we’re not sick of. Because it’s really easy to get sick of your favorite bands if you just blast them all the time.

GRIMM: How about your own songs?

Chris: We haven’t. Not on this tour *Jay Interrupts: I skip*

*laughing*

Chris: When they come on, Jay skips them.

GRIMM: Do you have any music you listen to for special occasions like showering, toilet, sleeping or whatnot? Any music quirks, so to speak?

Chris: When I’m really drunk I like to listen to 90’s and 2000’s hip-hop and R&B. That’s fun.

Brandon: We go down these nu-metal rabbit holes every now-and-again.

Chris: Oh yeah, like L.D. 50 by Mudvayne, Spineshank, all the best nu-metal.

GRIMM: Yeah, Mudvayne, I remember putting on the one hour loop of the Dig song, but just a loop of the beginning

Chris: Have you seen the world’s most brutal scream? Yeah that’s my favorite one.

*Jay mentions a one hour loop of “gimme me some reggae“*

GRIMM: When it comes to your favorite songs to play or songs to cover, which ones are your favorites?

Chris: We’re getting ready to do a whole tribute set to Dio. So, all Dio all day. When you came in, that’s what we were doing. We were listening to these songs to make sure they aren’t too hard. *laughing* We’re picking the easiest ones.

GRIMM: Are there any difficult ones you want to try to master?

Chris: If we had the time, there are… Like, Gates of Babylon, I would love to do that justice-

Brandon: Stargazer

Chris: Yeah, Stargazer. Which, we could probably pull off Stargazer, but…

GRIMM: What’s the bottleneck?

Chris: Unless you’re really familiar with the song… It’s structurally a lot, and we’re already throwing Dan a lot of songs he’s not super familiar with. And it’s a big drum song, for sure…. I just don’t think Dan is good enough.

*laughing and provocative sounds are made, Brandon slams the table rhythmically as he impersonates the dramatic music from Young Frankenstein*

Chris: Just kidding.

GRIMM: Speaking of trying to cover another band’s songs. For other (starting) musicians, are there any songs you’d recommend from them to start with when it comes to your music?

Chris: Burn is really easy. One of our new songs… They’re all pretty easy on guitar. *laughing* That’s just sort of, what I think really cool, when I was little I always liked the easiest stuff from, like, AC/DC… And that’s what I’d jam to in my room, so hopefully there’s kids that do that with us too.

GRIMM: So, stuff that’s structurally more easy to follow?

Chris: Yeah, pop-structured and pentatonic blues based stuff is always the meat and potatoes, you know? So that’s definitely us.

GRIMM: Anything you’re looking forward to do in the upcoming future, besides the Dio stuff?

Brandon: Playing shows.

GRIMM: Any specific ones in mind?

Brandon: We’re doing Taste of Madison in Madison Wisconsin in The States.

Chris: We’ve got a really cool Halloween show.

Brandon: Yeah, with the Metal Allegiance. I think they’re doing Black SabbathBlack Sabbath in it’s entirety. So that’s gonna be pretty cool.

Chris: We should do a couple of Dio songs.

GRIMM: “Just a couple, and then half an hour later…”

Chris: That would be great, we should just do a whole fucking Dio set.

Brandon: Heaven and Hell in its entirety.

Chris: *making guitar noises* Man of the Silver Mountain, that’s a good one.

GRIMM: Where do you guys usually hang out after shows? Do you stay in the dressing room or go to the different stages?

Chris: Oh, wherever. Depends on the dressing room, I guess.

*laughing*

Brandon: If it exists or not.

Chris: Yeah, if it exists, then we’ll be there to fill our drinks at the very least. But we always like to hang out with the crowd or fans, because for bands like us… We’ve grown in small clubs where it’s just your friends, so a lot of those friends are still here. And it’s cool to go out and see people you haven’t seen in a long time. Not necessarily here. I don’t know anyone in the crowd. But more like in the UK and The States.

GRIMM: Do you often get recognised off-stage?

Brandon: If I wear my sparkles.

Chris: I only got recognised, like, legitimately, one time.

GRIMM: Did you happen to be swinging a guitar around your neck?

*laughter*

Chris: No, no. This was in the town where I live, which is nowhere… middle of nowhere. Went to this shop and this guy was like, the guy working there goes: “You look… You look like that guy from Crobot!” and I said: “Yeah, I am that guy from Crobot.” And he lost his shit and went: “What?! Get out of here! No way!” It was fucking weird, man. It made me feel all sorts of sorry. I was like “Man, I’m sorry you’re so excited about me.” I took a picture, made me sign a dollar bill. And he had to have a whole wall of celebrities and I hope to God he put me on the wall. *laughter*

GRIMM: The move you did when you jumped onto Chris’s back, has that often gone wrong?

Brandon: Yeah, no it often goes wrong. And I would say; the rain made me think a little bit more about it today. I didn’t know if I was gonna try it. It was slippy out there.

Chris: Yeah, it’s been going wrong more so lately. But I don’t know why, what happened. But it used to never go wrong.

Brandon: Today I was consciously thinking: “I’m not going to put my thumbs into Bishop‘s jowls today.” *laughing*

Chris: Yeah, he does this thing… Like, a lot of times he’ll grab my neck and his thumbs will go right underneath my jaw and they feel like they touch my brain. And it’s sooo painful! But it only happens every once in a while.

Brandon: The first time we ever tried it, I fell right on my face.

Chris: There’s a video, you wanna see it?

GRIMM: Sure… And how do you usually recover from that?

Brandon: Depends on how much alcohol is in the system.

GRIMM: Just get back up and hope the guitar isn’t broken?

Brandon: Well he’s usually pretty good. He maintains his balance. Me, I kinda eat shit every time.

*video is shown*

GRIMM: So I guess after that you talked about it more and coordinate it a bit better?

Chris: Yeah. And it worked out ever since, but the first time; it was scary.

Brandon: Yeah we set the bar really low. As long as it doesn’t go that bad every night, we’re going to be alright.

GRIMM: How much of the shows is rehearsed? Is it just to music or also stuff like moves/choreography?

Chris: Sometimes you fall into things and continue to do that. But there’ll always be something different. It’s never scripted.

Brandon: And we’ve been playing different lengths of sets this entire tour, and we’ve kind had to mold what songs we play around how much time we have, so… This set we played today was most of our heaviest stuff.

GRIMM: It was a good wake-up call. Maybe that’s why there were so many people. They couldn’t sleep anymore.

Brandon: *laughing* Thankfully.

GRIMM: So for “planned things”, it’s mostly just the jacket then?

Brandon: Well, that jacket, actually… I don’t know if I’ve worn it at all this tour. I think it’s been mostly- I have this vest, it’s got like a shattered mirror look to it. It’s all bedazzled. It’s like Rob Halford and Michael Jackson had a lovechild.

GRIMM: A bastard child. It was forbidden, but it happened

*laughter*

Chris: I’m not sure Rob Halford would be into that. Michael Jackson is a liiiitle weird.

GRIMM: Yeah… Before the show I read that Crobot was supposed to be a bit more glamorous in terms of appearance so I had expected all of you to wear something shiny, but then I saw only Brandon doing that and I was like “oh”.

Chris: Yeah, he’s the fancy one. Just surrounded by a couple of bald guys. *laughing* I’m down to wear a wig, whatever, you know. We’ll just go straight up Steel Panther with it.

GRIMM: Alright, that about wraps up my questions. Anything you’d still like to add?

Chris: August 23rd, Motherbrain comes out. Like it on Facebook and Instagram, and buy it-

Brandon: Please buy it.

Chris: And come to our shows.



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Timothy Janssen

Business and marketing by education, metalhead at heart.


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