Blind Robins are a unique pickled fish bar snack common in many northern taverns. Fortunately, these are not The Blind Robins who will be rocking the stage at On the Waterfront and at Marys Place all weekend.
The rock/country/rock-a-billy band consists of four men who just really love to play music.
We want to share what we feel good about when were playing, said The Blind Robins Bob Vodick. We really want to get out there and share it and hope others catch on to it.
The Blind Robins became official in 2003. Michael Whyte (vocals/guitar), Dave Fleming (drummer) and Bob Vodick (bass/backup vocals) have known each other and have been playing together on and off for more than a decade.
Whyte was in another band at the time and decided he was tired of doing things for a specific market. He asked Fleming and Vodick to put a band together where they could do what they wanted to do.
Our band is like this weird combination of punk, country, folk and folk-rock, Whyte said. You know, anything we like.
Mike Burns (lead/slide guitar) joined about a year ago, and everything just kind of fell together.
Each member has his own specific talent and life, but they each also share one great adventure together.
We all are married, some of us have kids, and we all have day jobs, but everybody is just really into doing this, Whyte said. It seems a lot more of a natural thing to do. We have a clear focus of what we are doing.
Whyte writes all of the bands songs. His songs have appeared on the album Land of Opportunity by E.I.E.I.O. and in the film Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer.
Outside music, Whyte is married and has his own landscaping business. He attempted to direct an independent film, but it fell apart, and he decided to go back to music.
Fleming has sat behind the drums for many bands, including The Fossil Seekers, 5-Yard Load, Tools of Romance, Pine Cone and Angie Crown. He handles a lot of the day-to-day stuff for the bands record label, Rolling Blackout Records.
Burns came to The Blind Robins about a year ago with an extensive amount of musical influences. He is the youngest member of the band, and really loves old-school country guitar players.
One interesting note about Burns is he likes to change his guitar regularly. He has never taken the stage twice with the same one.
Hes just a great player, Whyte said. He really studies that stuff intensely.
Bob Vodick (bass/backup vocals) engineers and mixes The Blind Robins recordings. He has played with other bands, including Pine Cone, Aquavit and Tools of Romance. He has learned over the years how to record the music and use it here.
Just a working stiff like everybody else, Vodick said.
Aside from their notable show performances, The Blind Robins have released their first album, The Origin of the Wasteland, and are getting ready to release their second album, Panorama Valley, this winter.
Origin of the Wasteland was released in October 2004. The album received a generous amount of reviews from the Chicago Sun-Times, The Onion, WXRTs Sound Opinions and Denmarks Lowcut, DK.
The album launched The Blind Robins onto radio play lists throughout Europe, and landed their song Cry Wine the 11 spot on the Danish country charts.
The Blind Robins are very excited about their new release. Panorama Valley will have the same classic blend of rock, country and rock-a-billy, but will also have a splash of bluegrass and even gospel blues.
The tracks will feature Whytes creative lyric writing on topics including working class frustration and religious and political hypocrisy that are formatted into earthy, sardonic humor.
It is hoped the CD will be released in winter 2005 and available to purchase on www.amazon.com, www.CDbaby.com, www.towerrecords, and at local vendors.
With recording still in session, the Blind Robins are still looking forward to playing in Rockford.
We like playing in Rockford because we can, Vodick said. They like us and we like them.
The Blind Robins will take the City Stage at On the Waterfront at 5:30 p.m., Friday, Sept. 2. They will then perform two shows, with special guests The Old Scratch Revival Singers and local singer/songwriter Tom Yuccas, at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 4 at Marys Place, 602 N. Madison St.
More info: www.theblindrobins.com, www.oldscratchrevival.com, www.onthewaterfront.com, and www.marysplacebar.com.
From the Aug. 31-Sept. 6, 2005, issue