Volume 92, Issue 65

Friday, January 22, 1999


The Concrete Beat

Articulating one's own space

Western grad robbing the spotlight

Rainy Day bound for glory

Sociopath star of new comedy

Dubbing new electronic barriers

Redman da man for Def Jam

Celebrity sightings


Western grad robbing the spotlight

©Gazette File Photo

TOUCH MY CUP AND I'LL KILL YOU. Robbie Roth, fellow Western graduate, plays Call The Office with his band tonight.

By Greg Hubert

Gazette Staff

Making it in the music business is not an easy task. It requires talent and a whole lot of luck. One person who characterizes this is singer/songwriter Robbie Roth.

This former Western student not only has a single receiving a lot of attention from college and mainstream radio, but recently had his single played on an ABC prime time television show.

How did this all fall into place? It began with Roth's Western education and went on from there. "After graduating from Western a few years back, I started writing and I put a band together and about a year ago we were signed to a record contract with a few different companies. Attack Records was the first recording company, then EMI/Page got involved to do the distribution and we signed a publishing deal with Alliance," Roth says.

Roth's first album was recorded shortly afterwards and the first single, titled Tied to the Tracks, was picked up by radio stations. "We spent about four months at Phase One, which is a big studio in Toronto. The album came out in June, the first single is getting a lot of play around Canada. I think it's being played on CHRW [94.7 FM] and a lot of major radio around the country."

Roth's good fortune continued after the release of his first single. "It was picked up by ABC and used for one of their television shows called Cupid [aired on Jan. 7]. So that was sort of a big thing. It's put a new spin on things in terms of a media hook." Roth is understandably happy about having his song heard by at least a couple of million people at one time, as itcould lead him to cracking the American market.

Roth has also played various kinds of shows. "We've toured across Canada, we've done a lot of the necessary television appearances like Breakfast Television, on CityTV. In Toronto, there's a big New Year's party at Harbour Front called First Night which we played this year, as well as the Toronto Street Festival over the summer."

Roth's influences are varied, ranging from early '60s clean-cut pop bands to the '80s rock groupies. "My music falls under the pop/rock categorization. It's got little bits of the Band, the Beatles, that sort of element, along with the Beach Boys and a little bit of harmony and stuff. I was influenced by the Beatles, Bruce Springsteen, Brian Wilson, a lot of singer/songwriters."

Roth admits to indulging in his music while at Western, instead of focusing on his academics. "I should have been at class, but I was sitting at home starting to write and get into it. When I graduated I started to get more heavily influenced by music and started to write more as a career. I got signed about a year and a half after that."

Roth brings with him a talented band who have helped to garner this success. "It can be quite a big band, but basically it's a core of four guys. We got a few players from Gypsy Soul for the horn section and we do a lot of shows with Kim Deschamps from Blue Rodeo who plays the pedal-steel guitar. He does about a show a month playing with the band and that's very exciting. They're a great band, very tight."

Roth's future seems quite bright. If his luck keeps up, many more people will see or hear this talented newcomer. Hopefully his music will act like Cupid to others and his infectious blend of pop music will affect even more people.

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