eNTRaDaS PaRa La HiSTeRia

martes, 12 de enero de 2016

The Rubinoos - 45 (2014). Entrevista a Jon Rubin y Tommy Dunbar

Son la mejor banda de pop en activo del mundo. Así de claro. Coetáneos de Elvis Costello, son considerados unos de los padres del género Power-Pop, etiqueta que en nuestra opinión les queda cortísima, ya que combinan armonías vocales de otro mundo con melodías memorables, pero "rockeando" duro a la vez. Por algo los Hellacopters incluían su "Rock'n'Roll Is Dead" en sus conciertos. ¿Otros hits? "I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend", "I Think We're Alone Now", "Hurts Too Much", "Arcade Queen", "Leave My Heart Alone", "Amnesia"... mejor paramos ¡que nos da algo!

Fundados a principios de los 70, The Rubinoos celebraron 45 años de carrera, que se dice pronto, en 2014 con la edición de un nuevo disco de estudio, "45", repleto de buenas canciones como "Run Mascara Run".

45 (2014)

Tras media docena de visitas a Europa durante los últimos años, dejando perplejos a los fans del género y acumulando nuevos seguidores en cada gira, la banda consiguió el más difícil todavía durante su tour de 2014: que todo el mundo estuviera de acuerdo en que había sido LA MEJOR GIRA de todas. Pasan los años pero The Rubinoos siguen empeñados en saltarse cualquier lógica y realizar shows más energéticos, más divertidos y más salvajes a medida que avanza el tiempo. Os diría que es imposible superar la gira anterior pero es más que probable que al acabar la próxima tenga que meterme la lengua en el...

Jon Rubin canta igual (¡o mejor!) que hace 45 años, Tommy Dunbar es de largo el mejor guitarrista en su estilo que hayas visto jamás y las armonías a cuatro voces cuando se junta la nota alta de Al Chan son IMPECABLES y te ponen los pelos de punta. ¡Ah! Y el groove de su baterista, también original, ¡Donn Spindt!
Si a todo esto le sumas la garantía de que van a tocar sólo lo mejor (¡que es mucho!) de sus 45 años de carrera, estás ante la apuesta más segura que puedas hacer si te gusta el pop hecho con garra y clase ¡a partes iguales!


Miércoles 13, BARCELONA (La 2 de Apolo)
Viernes 15, VALENCIA (El Loco)
Sábado 16, Matinal All-Ages en Valencia (El Loco)
Sábado 16, MURCIA (12 y Medio)
Domingo 17, CASTELLON (Four Seasons)
Miércoles 20, ZARAGOZA (Lata de Bombillas)
Jueves 21, BILBAO (Kafe Antzokia)
Viernes 22, SANTANDER (Espacio Santander)
Sábado 23, MADRID (Moby Dick)


In this latest album, “45” you surprise us with a different 60’s Pop style, mixed with sounds like psychedelia and classic rock & roll, and a little touch of Punk.... A fantastic mix of styles that results in the powerful sound of your music. It seems The Rubinoos is inspired by the sounds of the old times in their themes, what can you tell us about it?

TOMMY: Well, thank you! We are of course influenced by the music we grew up with, and even some that happened before we were born. Personally, when I’m listening to music, it’s usually a very “all over the map” thing. I like my iPod to be in shuffle, so I hear The Hollies, followed by Duke Ellington, followed by The Sex Pistols, followed by some 60s Italian pop. So it’s the same in writing, I just try to find things that interest me. We’ve been told it’s a bad career move, and that we should concentrate on being a “power pop” band, like it was a brand of cornflakes or something. We just always gravitate to doing whatever we think is fun, or sometimes just funny. I mean, you can’t be inspired by eating the same sandwich for every meal, right?

JON: Thanks for the compliment. I grew up listening to Pop Radio and when I was 14 I started listening to oldies. I think the biggest inspiration for me to get involved with music was novelty/comedy records like “Purple People Eater”, “They’re Coming to Take Me Away” and albums by Tom Lehrer. Later I was listening to all kinds of music from every genre. Tommy and I would spend hours spinning records and studying the different styles. I think this exposure to so many different genres has given The Rubinoos a bit of an eclectic style even though we are essentially a pop group. I hope that 45 reflects our sense diversity but also is cohesive.

This past year marked 45 years since The Rubinoos began as a band. What is the difference between the music of The Rubinoos today and your music 45 years ago?

TOMMY: Well, 45 years ago, we started as an oldies (50s) band, but that only lasted a few months. Compared to our first few albums, we definitely have fewer songs about “sneaking in your window so your parents don’t know I’m here!” That would be downright creepy. Of course, that might make a good rock opera, like the Spinal Tap idea of “Saucy Jack, you’re a naughty one!” about Jack The Ripper. Or maybe not.

JON: I think everyone is a better musician and Tommy is a better songwriter. I actually enjoy playing with the guys more than ever. It is my favorite thing to do. I had a lot of angst when we first started and it was difficult to be in the moment.

I think is obvious, but why have you titled "45" to your last album? What inspires you when to make your songs?

TOMMY: Well, we just felt that it was a landmark for us, 45 years as a band, but also that our favorite music delivery system is still the 45 RPM record! Not to sound like some kind of hipster, but we really did grow up on vinyl, and it still feels like a different experience to me. There’s nothing quite like being hypnotized by watching that record label go around and around.

JON: Anything that makes us laugh is really inspiring. Since I couldn’t believe we had been together 45 years (actually I can’t count that high) I decided the title referred to 45s (as in vinyl 7” records) and that each song was represented a different era of 45s. I thought it was a good explanation at the time

What do we will see and enjoy in your live concerts for this “45 Tour” around Spain?

TOMMY: Well, it’ll be the 4 of us, just doing what we do. We try to vary the songs though, so it’s not always the same. There are a handful of songs that (much to our surprise) were requested a lot the last couple of times we toured. So we’ve scraped the rust and dust off of a few of those, which has been fun.

JON: I just hope people enjoy the show as much as we enjoy performing for them. We will try to cover the different eras of the band with some extra attention to the first three albums (we have a 3 LP vinyl set of the first 3 albums that just came out).

Do you have any surprise or any alternative plans to this new year 2016? Can you anticipate anything to us?
TOMMY: We are working on recording an a cappella version of Frank Zappa’s “We’re Only In It For The Money” LP. Jon and I used to listen and sing along to that album every day after school when we were kids. So it’s something we’ve always wanted to do. I arranged the first side for a choir a few years ago, and now we want to record that, plus the rest of the album.

JON: Al Chan will be doing a naked love dance while reciting the lyrics to the entire Ten Years After catalogue…  I am not going to give away any secrets you will just have to come to the show to find out.

Do you think the digital world will end with music as we know it today? What do you think is the future of music?

TOMMY: I’m not sure I exactly understand the question, but as far as the future of music......I think there is just as much talent out there as there ever was, and people will find ways to express themselves no matter what happens. I think there are ebbs and flows of inspiration that come along, I’m not sure why, societal, technological, or a combination. But I think kids want to make music and they will! Last time we played Spain we did an all kids show in Valencia and we met several kids who were just starting to learn their instruments. I could see that same spark of excitement that we had when we were that age. So I’m not worried.....they will surprise us!

JON: In a way it already has ended music as I knew it growing up. I can only hope that there will be a way to manage digital distribution so artists can make a living again. If that doesn’t happen playing music will become more and more a hobby, like doing yoga.

What is your best memory about music?

TOMMY: Mostly music has been about playing with my friends, and I get to do that in The Rubinoos. No doubt the fact that we are all friends is why we’re still a band. My best memories about playing are with these guys. If you mean best memory of hearing music, well, I remember when I was 7 years old in bed with chicken pox (virus and high fever) and I heard The Beatles on the radio. I was already a music fan, knew every song on the radio, but I thought I had never heard anything like “I Want To Hold Your Hand”. I asked my mom to buy me the record, and she brought home the picture sleeve 45. I looked at the picture and was convinced that Ringo must be the lead singer! Anyway, that’s just one memory, I could write a book!

JON: I have so many great memories it’s really impossible to pick one. I think the most I ever laughed was recording the horn section on Bubble Gum Music. I was playing trombone and Tommy was playing trumpet after each take we would laugh so hard that we fell on the floor and started crying. I’m not kidding. That went on for about an hour.

What do you think about the current economic and social situation in Spain, Europe and in the world in general?

TOMMY: Wow, I wouldn’t even feel qualified to comment on the European situation. I can tell you that I think the U.S. is going through a pretty ugly fear inspired period. Kind of like the McCarthy era with, “who can we blame?”, which religion, which ethnic group? The economy was tanked by Wall Street and the banks, but let’s blame it on the Mexicans. Or, as a friend of mine put it, “It’s the bus boys’ fault!”

JON: That’s a pretty heavy question for a music interview but I’ll try to answer. I think the Spanish economy is a victim of the German banks, Wall Street and their plutocratic owners. I think the governments of Europe and the EU are conspiring to create a system, like the US, where people lose their social safety net, wages are cut and benefits are eliminated. I believe what the plutocrats really want is to switch to a system of pure capitalism for the middle, working class and poor and socialism for the rich.

Run Mascara Run (2015)


Could you tell us about...

... A book?:

TOMMY: I am now reading a book about recent discoveries on the plasticity of the brain. Other than that, my first book was Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss. I have a letter from Dr. Seuss because I invited him, The Beatles, and Rolf Harris to attend my carnival. Only Dr. Seuss replied!

JON: I love The Omnivores Dilemma by Michael Pollan. I never knew a book about food could be so interesting. I also love a Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson

... A movie?:

TOMMY: I really liked Close Encounters Of The Third Kind. That’s how I hope it will go when we finally make first contact. I also liked the movie Contact a lot.

JON: I think Stanley Kubrick’s “Dr. Strangelove” is probably very appropriate again. I also recommend Polanski’s “Chinatown” if you haven’t seen it.

... A song?:

TOMMY: My favorite song for the last few years has been “Il Cielo in Una Stanza” by Mina, the great Italian singer from the 60s. It was written by Gino Paolo, and I like his version too. Mina’s is the one though. I don’t know why, I just kind of went psycho for the melody when I heard it. Something about those records they made in Italy in the 60s that are like nothing else.....don’t get me started!

JON: If you haven’t heard it listen to David Ruffin’s version of the Jackson 5 hit “I Want You Back.”  Wow!

... An album?:

TOMMY: I dragged out several Chet Atkins albums recently and put them into heavy rotation....man, that guy could play the guitar!

JON: I love The Sonics first two albums on Etiquette Here Are The Sonics and Boom. I also love Psycotic Pineapple’s Where’s The Party on Pynotic. It’s hard to argue with Frank Sinatra’s The Capital Years 3 disc set.

... A group or soloist?:

TOMMY: Jon turned me on to the group Los Zafiros from Cuba in the 60s. That’s a great vocal group, if you haven’t heard them, check them out! Kind of like a Cuban version of The Platters, but man, their lead singer is something else!

JON: I love so many groups but I think The Temptations need more attention. I think Sam Cooke is amazing, Little Richard, Marvin Gaye, Dusty Springfield, Elvis Costello, Lou Christie, Curtis Mayfield the list is endless.

... A hobby?

TOMMY: I guess my main hobby these days is playing the sax and trumpet. I’ve been really getting into listening to horn bands, like Louis Jordan and playing along with Little Richard and Gary U.S. Bonds....

JON: I personally liked Martial Arts a lot but I am too old now and can’t take the punishment. So, what I recommend for people of any age is to take up a musical instrument. I took up trombone years ago and recently have picked up the clarinet. It’s like learning a new language. It is fun and good for your brain. Find friends who play and you can play together. There’s very little that’s better than that.

Thank you very much and best wishes from Spain,
TOMMY: Thank You! Can’t wait to be back in Spain!

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