Summertime Groove: A Trip To ‘Fat City’ With Crobot Frontman Brandon Yeagley

By Andrew Bansal


Pottsville, Pennsylvania hard rockers Crobot have taken the music world by storm in the last two years, since the release of their debut full-length ‘Something Supernatural’ and all the subsequent touring they’ve done on their own as well as with the likes of Motörhead, Anthrax and Saxon, making appearances on numerous high-profile European festivals in the process. People that attended the Motörboat 2015 cruise will most likely never forget Crobot’s antics as they gave the audience some great memories and made an everlasting impact. With groovy tunes and magnetic live performances, Crobot have mastered the recipe for continuous growth and success as a band, and they’re only going higher from here. Their second album ‘Welcome To Fat City’ is slated for release on September 23rd 2016 via Wind-up Records in the U.S. and Nuclear Blast in Europe, and soon, they’ll be busy serenading every town they set foot in. Metal Assault recently spoke to frontman Brandon Yeagley (vocals, harmonica) to discuss the album, the band’s new touring vehicle, lyrical themes, comic book projects, low-quality fast food, and more. Enjoy the chat below and get your groove on with some brand new Crobot tunes.

How are you doing, Brandon? What are you up to right now?

Just hanging out in the van, got a backseat view of the deserts of Texas. We’re on our way to Lubbock for a show tonight, rounding out these last couple of headlining dates with The Virginmarys and Aeges, and getting ready and excited for the Sevendust tour in a couple of days!

Right, how’s the headline run been going? I’m sure it’s pretty hot out there in Texas and that whole area right now.

Yeah, it’s pretty hot! But we’re soaking up the A/C. This is the first tour we’ve had in our school bus that we bought and it couldn’t take the Alabama heat, so it’s getting worked on right now and we had to rent a van. But the silver lining is we’re in the A/C, in one of the record-breaking heat waves ever in the U.S. (laughs)

Tell me about that school bus. I don’t think any other band is doing that. How did you come up with that idea?

You know, we have a friend’s band and we had a connection through which we could get one of those buses for $2000 bucks and it only had 78,000 miles on it or something like that. So, we thought it was time to upgrade, get out of the van and give this a shot! We’ve been doing some modifications to it. As soon as it’s done being worked on in Alabama, we’ll swing back and pick it up, and hopefully it should be ready to go and ready to live in again (laughs).

Awesome, man. So, I’d say over the last couple of years I’ve listened to Crobot’s music more in the summer time, and I think it’s good summer time music. It just has that groove. Do you agree with that?

Yeah, absolutely! If you can roll the top down and drive 80 miles per hour with the pedal to the metal, it’s definitely a good way to listen to it. Like you said, it’s probably got something to do with the funkiness and the groove, and it’s a little less dreary and more upbeat sometimes, in certain instances. But in the same breath, I think the latest record is sort of darker and heavier at times too. So, there might be some winter blues tracks in there somewhere (laughs).

Talking about that next record, ‘Welcome To Fat City’, first of all it’s a hilarious title and you’ve put out a couple of entertaining videos lately. What’s the idea behind the title and the whole lyrical theme of the album?

I think ‘Welcome To Fat City’ was the first song we wrote for the latest album and it sort of set the precedent for the sound of the record and then the lyrical theme. It always seems this way, but ‘Something Supernatural’ was a portrait of what I was into at the time. I’m always into the Native American mythology and culture, so that always finds its way into what I do, and same with the sci-fi aspect of things. But with the latest record, I was really into Hunter S. Thompson at the time we wrote ‘Welcome To Fat City’. I heard a story about when he ran for sheriff of Aspen, he wanted to rename Aspen ‘Fat City’ because it would keep people that smoke fat cigars out of the city and all the greed and corruption would then therefore cease to exist as well. So I thought that’s a pretty cool concept, but how about I take that, whip it on its head and make this planet where all the scumbags of the universe can go to and be themselves without any repercussions of any kind? So ironically, the planet is called ‘Fat City’ and I think it really set the theme for the record. I was able to take it more into outer space and really delve into the characters that had already been created in ‘Something Supernatural’, sort of take it into the otherworldly aspect of the Crobot universe.

That’s pretty interesting. On the top it seems like a comedic thing but it has more of a serious meaning behind it, so that’s kind of a cool contrast.

Definitely. I’m actually working on a comic right now and the first issue is looking like it’ll be out around the end of October. It’s going to follow the lyrics and stories along the lines of ‘Something Supernatural’ and then eventually I’ll catch up to the issues and it’ll lead to the stories behind ‘Welcome To The Fat City’ and its lyrics. So it’s definitely something I’m trying to take to the furthest avenues and ways to really get those stories out there. I like to write, I like to create these exaggerated stories and these characters. It really helps me pull feelings, ideas and emotions out of myself rather than singing love songs. So, I think this is always going to play a part is whatever we do.

Very cool, man. Over the last year or so, whenever I saw the band live you guys did play a couple of tracks that will be on this new album, specially the title track. Did that help you in terms of actually recording this album this year, having already gotten used to playing it so often?

Yeah, definitely. We’re one of those bands that whenever we write something we like to test the waters in the live setting and see how it goes and what the crowd reaction is. It was cool to be able to do that with some of these tracks, specially the title song, like you said. We’ve been playing that for a good while, and being the first track we wrote and finished for the next batch of songs, we’ve been pretty much playing it since we thought it was a finished product. So, it has been a year but some of the tracks that we wrote right before going into the studio, like ‘Moment Of Truth’ and ‘Blood Of The Snow’, were, I don’t want to say happy accidents because we were in that writing process, but we didn’t really get the chance to test those ones out in the live setting. So, in these headlining gigs it’s been really cool to play those songs. So, it’s been a little bit of both worlds and it’s been good to be able to take both processes and apply it to this record.

You guys have had the same lineup of members for four years now and you’ve done so many shows together. That must be a good feeling to gel as a band and do everything together. It looks to me like this is a very stable band.

Yeah, I think first and foremost we just have fun. We don’t like to overthink things too much, we don’t like to step out of our elements. We’re just ourselves out here and it’s really transparent. You see a band that looks like it’s going through the motions, we’ve all seen so much of that, and too much of that to be quite honest, and too much of the cookie-cutter ways of going about the format too. So, we just approach doing things based on what we want to listen to and what we want to see. We’re fans of music and that’s the essence of what it boils down to. It just really shows in what we do. We’re really passionate about staying on the road, and anything that has to do with Crobot we try to stretch it in any way we can to make it better.

The other thing I read about the band is, you guys were part of the ‘Feed The Beat’ program at one point with Taco Bell a couple of years ago. What exactly did they do for you? I’m just curious because bands could use that kind of help with free food!

Absolutely, anything free certainly helps. We still have those receipts (laughs). Us ordering Taco Bell was pretty comical. But yeah, they gave us like $500 worth of gift cards and sent us on our way. I think they expected it to last us a long longer than it did, but three weeks later we were out of gift cards (laughs). So, it was pretty cool, and Taco Bell is some of the best stoner food you can get.

I think they’ve kind of ramped up their game too. It’s better than it used to be. The restaurants are cleaner and the food is cheaper.

Yeah, and the Triple Crunch Wrap they’ve got going on now looks pretty enticing. I haven’t tried that one yet myself. My usual go-to is the Crunch Wrap, so I’ve got to go there and try one of those (laughs). But now we’re in Texas in the land of Tex-Mex, so I’d feel that it would be a little bit of blasphemy if I were to go to Taco Bell at this point. I’ll wait till I get to the Mid-West (laughs).

On tour, it’s nearly impossible to avoid that kind of dirty fast food, right?

Yeah, it’s tough to find a decent salad anymore, that’s for sure!

Alright, so other than this next run of Sevendust dates and the album release, what else do you guys have coming up?

We’re pretty much going to rinse and repeat the whole cycle. We have this headlining run we’re just finishing up, then we’ll be touring with Sevendust and we’re going to be doing another short headlining run in between the first and the second leg of the Sevendust tours, and that’ll pretty much lead us into touring with Volbeat overseas from October until December. We’ll take Christmas and the holidays off and then start everything back over again in January. So, it’ll probably be another good solid two years of touring, which we’re OK with.

Crobot links: website | facebook | twitter | instagram

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Crobot tour dates with Sevendust and Wilson (second leg):
09/09/2016 – Wichita, KS @ Cotillion ^
09/13/2016 – Grand Rapids, MI @ The Intersection ^
09/14/2016 – Flint, MI @ Machine Shop ^
09/15/2016 – Cleveland, OH @ House Of Blues
09/20/2016 – Raleigh, NC @ Lincoln Theater
09/21/2016 – Charlotte, NC @ Amos
09/23/2016 – Tyler, TX @ Clicks
09/25/2016 – New Orleans, LA @ House Of Blues
09/27/2016 – Chattanooga, TN @ Track 29
09/28/2016 – St. Louis, MO @ Pops
09/30/2016 – Green Bay, WI @ The Sandlot
^ = w/ Twelve Foot Ninja