Robin Gottfried Band —19 June 2019 on Rocket Shop Radio Hour
On Wednesday, June 20, Robin Gottfried Band sauntered into the station to hand deliver their soulful music. Like a couple on their 40th anniversary, Robin Gottfried Band delivers an invigorating mix of passion and experience to create a brand of rock music that is both toe-tapping and poetic. Inspiration and influence comes from bands and artists like Paul Simon, The Eagles, Jony Mitchel, Sting, Bruce Hornsby, The Grateful Dead, Steely Dan, and Little Feet. The band specializes in a unique style of music which prioritizes originality and experimentation. Or as frontman and namesake Robin Gottfried calls it: “We’re a musician’s musician’s band.”
The band consists of Robin Gottfried on guitars and vocals, John Hasenfus on bass and vocals, and Ian Koeller on drums. The band began with Robin and Ian, whose relationship spans many years. Robin and Ian met each other through a wedding band unfortunately titled Good Question.
“Who’s playing tonight?”
“Do you know who’s playing tonight?”
“Seriously, though who’s playing tonight?”
Safe to say, many conversations about this band turned into aggravating Eric and Costello skits. Whether that had anything to do with their demise is unconfirmed. When the band did dissolve, Robin went searching for new opportunities. Little did he know that the son of one band member would eventually become the percussive backbone to his band. Having spent many nights listening to his father play with Robin, Ian had a natural ear for Robin’s play style. So when the time came to select a drummer, Ian made perfect sense.
The search for a third man was less clear.
Robin wanted a keyboardist and pianist with vocal chops. John wanted a new gig. Both sides turned to Craigslist, and both stumbled upon each other. John reached out to Robin and noted explicitly that he did not play piano. Somewhat expectedly, Robin passed on John…at first. Robin eventually found himself in need of a bassist, and again he turned to Craigslist. John responded again, and received a warmer welcome this time.
Now, as a trio, the band began navigating the Burlington club scene.
Each member brings something special to the band. Robin, lead songwriter and muse, brings decades of musical experience. Cultivated in New York City and nurtured in Vermont, Robin has both experience and perspective, demonstrated handily by his 9 albums. Robin has so many original songs that “the titles all get blurred together.”
Ian can drum up a laundry list of experiences as well. From playing in 7 different bands to subbing on Broadway, Ian keeps himself busy. And all that business is what allows Ian to call himself a professional musician. Ian has turned his ceaseless banging into sustainable career. A career which has led him to play for Demi Lovato and for the Lion King on Broadway.
John has a history of playing in cover bands, and Robin Gottfried Band marks a jump into more original music. And originality is somewhat of an understatement. John handles Robin’s quirky phrasing as a consummate professional. Whether playing upright lines on his electric bass, or smoothing over a wacky 5/4 or 15/7 time signature.
For their Rocket Shop performance, Robin Gottfried Band performed four original songs: “The Love I Have For You,” “The Fading of Winter,” “Here She Comes,” and “Wild Card.” Inspiration for their songs comes from strange places, says Robin. Sometimes it’s his wife crossing a street in New York, as is the case in the song “Here She Comes.” Other times it’s an email inbox titled “Quarantine.”
New songs are always on the horizon for Robin Gottried Band, and a new album is in the works. Check out their website and Facebook page for more information and updates, including future live performances. Robin Gottfried Band will be playing Red Square in Burlington on Sunday, July 7, from 7-11 PM. On July 13, from 9-12 PM, they will be found performing at Sweet Melissa’s in Montpelier. And on July 20 from 5-8 PM the band will play at On Tap in Essex Junction. Even more dates can be found on their website!
Text by Luke Vidic
Photo by James Lockridge.