It’s 17:00, people donned in black are already lining up to get into Glasgow’s O2 ABC in a couple of hours to watch Zakk Wylde and his band of brothers deliver riff after riff. However, I was lucky enough to be led past them and up to where the action will take place tonight as opening band Crobot were gearing up for their sound check. Just before he was needed, I was introduced to the frontman Brandon Yeagley, as large as life off stage as he is on stage and a grin never far away. I was lucky to spend some time with him as Crobot are set to embark on their second journey tour of the UK, this time as guests of Black Label Society.
First of all, welcome back to Glasgow, although it’s a bit less sunny than last time. Could you describe your music for those who haven’t heard of you before?
Sure! We like the riffs, we like the groove. We like to call ourselves “dirty groove rock”…in three words [laughs].
My favourite. So who would you say your influences are?
All of us as a collective are really into Sabbath and Zeppelin, of course. I mean, any band who says they’re not influenced by those two are probably lying [laughs]. We love especially the funky side of those bands like “In a Light” by Zeppelin or some obscurities from Sabbath. We like the funk, we’re very into James Brown and Funkadelic, sort of like a hodge podge of that between Sabbath and Zeppelin. We like to keep it groovy.
What does the name “Crobot” mean? Or rather, where did it come from?
Well, it’s “Toborc” backwards [laughs]. No, actually, we got the name from just sitting around and coming up with a band name is the hardest fucking thing to do because you gotta love it; it’s something you’re stuck with. So we were sitting around and nothing was really coming to mind or not loving anything we were coming up with. We talked to our buddy, Cousin Dave, who is no relation to anyone in the band [laughs]. We just call him “Cousin Dave”, but we love Crowbar [Brandon happens to be wearing a Crowbar beanie] and Bishop (lead guitarist Chris Bishop) does a lot of robotic effects with the guitar so our buddy Dave was like “how about Crobot?”
And how did the band first get together?
Bishop and I were in a band previously together just like a cover/original band that we were doing and I was only in the band for like a month. I was just actually playing bass and once that band ended we were like “we really enjoy working with each other and we like the same music” and thankfully, Bishop…took a chance on me, he’d never really heard me sing before. So we started jamming and we eventually got the Figueroa brothers in the band and to finish the finalised upgrade to the line-up and it’s just been snowballing from there. It’s brought us here, which is a crazy thing, man!
Your debut album, Something Supernatural received a lot of praise on its release, ending up on a lot of “Best of 2014” lists with some big names. That must have been special.
Yeah, absolutely! The fact that we finally got the record out was special to us. We’ve been seemingly working a long time on it and it was December, November of 2013 we actually recorded it. So once it came out, we were like [sigh of relief] “Finally! Fuckin’ a!” But to be amongst those names is just crazy. It’s a crazy thing to us because honestly, we write for selfish reasons, we love Crobot! We love doing the crunchy riffs and the grooviness, we breathe this shit. And the fact that other people like it, or love it, just blows our minds every night, seeing more and more people here but to be on a list of “Best of 2014” is just huge for us. We can’t thank everybody enough for giving us the chance, really.
You’re about to embark on a lengthy tour with tonight’s headliners, Black Label Society, starting here. Have you been on such a long tour before?
We played a couple of shows with Black Label but we never really ventured out with the guys other than a couple of one-offs. We were here; I guess it was September with the Virginmarys. We played the downstairs room.
Yeah, I was at the barrier for that one!
Tonight we’re up in the big room so that’s gonna be cool. And Glasgow’s fucking…you guys are awesome!
Thank you very much!
Yeah, honestly, the last time we were here, it was my favourite place in the world we had been so far.
Yeah, that was the second-last night and there was only four dates on that tour.
Yeah, there was a little bit of debauchery afterwards. I was introduced to Buckfast [laughs].
You know, I’ve never tried the stuff, myself.
It’s amazing, I love it! [laughs]
And when the tour is finished, what’s next on the horizon?
After we get back to the States, I think we’ll be off for like a week and then we’ll be heading out on a headlining run into the Volbeat & Anthrax tour in the States.
Nice! I saw you were doing that and I must admit, I was pretty envious.
This is your second time in the UK. The first a few months ago with the Virginmarys. Should we expect you back here for a headline tour?
Hopefully! Most definitely. Any excuse to come back is a good one to us!
Well, I’ll definitely be there in that case! Should we expect a follow-up to Something Supernatural any time soon?
We continue to work on music every time we’re home. We were home in January for about three weeks and we wrote another four or five songs. We’re always working, we’re always writing towards the next album. We’re always looking ahead. So hopefully by the end of the year, we’ll get in the studio, nothing will be released this year, for sure but next year, definitely something will be out there.