Chicago, Ill. (WCIA)
We’re excited to have ROOKIE join us live from The City Center!
Here’s more from ROOKIE:
ROOKIE is six matching jumpsuit-clad, shaggy-haired friends from Chicago who play rock-n-roll that’s more at home next to their parents’ battered LPs than on their friends’ streaming playlists. ROOKIE’s modern take on timeless American rock-n-roll pulls from all corners of the sonic map; it’s familiar but fresh, lived-in but blown-out. It’s the ‘70s/’80s pop-rock sheen of recent tour-mates Cheap Trick; 3-minute precision songwriting of Big Star; loose Neil Young Americana; and the hazey, psych-flavored boogie of The Allman Brothers Band and Thin Lizzy. Though barely able to comfortably fit on most stages, once they’re plugged in and smooshed together, it’s a potent blend of power chords, blistering leads, and performance prowess beyond their years. Like local peers Twin Peaks, Whitney, and Post Animal, ROOKIE emerged from an idealistic grassroots, Midwestern, youth community-centric, DIY scene. House shows and divey all-ages venues were the preeminent performance spaces and rock-n-roll was once again king. There is an all-inclusive and carefree essence surrounding the band, as well as their audience, reminiscent of the wide-eyed drive and sense of purpose of an underdog sports team or—more appropriately, given their coveralls—a Formula 1 pit crew.
Having cut their teeth around the Chicago scene performing in acts such as Yoko and the Oh No’s and Gal Gun, guitarist/vocalist Max Loebman, guitarist Dimitri Panoutsos, guitarist Christopher Devlin, drummer/vocalist Joe Bordenaro, bassist Kevin Decker, and keys player Justin Bell joined forces to form ROOKIE in 2017. With no singular songwriter at the helm, ROOKIE’s aesthetic is anchored by the contributions of each of its members, a testament to their status as veteran musicians in Chicago’s increasingly influential indie rock ecosystem.
Following the premiere of the band’s debut single, “One Way Ticket,” by VICE’s Noisey in 2018, ROOKIE took to Treehouse Studios in Chicago to record “I Can’t Have You But I Want You,” a power-pop anthem that represents the band’s penchant for infectious hooks and made-for-radio vocal harmonies. After the release of these singles, the band began work on their much-anticipated debut LP, which was tracked and mixed at Treehouse Studios as well as a home-recording rig under the direction of guitarist Chris Devlin. Much of the album was recorded live to tape, capturing the band’s ability to deliver performances that are both inspired and precise. From swirls of guitar feedback and an air raid siren to down tempo tracks, the record promises an eclectic mix of moods and genres, ranging from roots-rock on the pedal-steel laden “Sunglasses” to the James Gang-meets-Chicago (the band featuring Terry Kath and, subconsciously or not, ROOKIE’s hometown) instrumental of “Introduction II,” which blasts off Side B of the album. While the six-piece invokes homage throughout their debut, it manages to be ambitious in its own right, offering listeners a contemporary spin on a classic aesthetic that would have sounded right at home during the heyday of AM radio.
After over a year of steadily building their fanbase through raucous — and often sold-out — performances at some of Chicago’s premier rock clubs supporting nationally-known acts like Twin Peaks and King Tuff, explosive house shows and appearances at local festivals like Goose Island’s Block Party (where the band was slotted as direct support for Jenny Lewis), ROOKIE released a cover of Tears for Fears’ “Head Over Heels” on Bloodshot Records’ 25th Anniversary compilation, Too Late To Pray: Defiant Chicago Roots. In addition to ROOKIE’s contribution, the collection featured an impressive range of acts with ties to Chicago to celebrate the stalwart indie label’s silver anniversary, including Brendan Kelly and The Wandering Birds, Kelly Hogan, Robbie Fulks, Jon Langford’s Hillbilly Lovechild, The Handsome Family, and others. To celebrate the compilation’s release, ROOKIE headlined a sold-out show at Workshop 4200, where Chicago’s only vinyl pressing plant, Smashed Plastic, is located. Since its release, Too Late To Pray has received mentions from Greg Kot of The Chicago Tribune, No Depression, and Rocking Magpie.
ROOKIE’s debut LP will be released March 13, 2020 via Bloodshot Records. Tour dates across the US to support the record will include appearances at South by Southwest in Austin, TX, Treefort Music Fest in Boise, ID, and Shaky Knees in Atlanta, GA.
Max Loebman – guitars/vocals
Joe Bordenaro – drums/vocals
Dimitri Panoutsos – guitars
Chris Devlin – guitars/vocals
Kevin Decker – bass
Justin Bell – keys
March 2020 Tour Dates:
March 10 – Indianapolis, IN @ Hi-Fi $
March 11 – Lexington, KY @ The Burl $
March 12 – Pittsburgh, PA @ Mr. Smalls $
March 13 – Chicago, IL @ Empty Bottle !
March 14 – Grand Rapids, MI @ Elevation $
March 17 – Austin, TX @ SXSW
March 18 – Austin, TX @ SXSW
March 19 – Austin, TX @ SXSW
March 31 – Iowa City, IA @ Gabe’s
$ – supporting Twin Peaks
! – with Tobacco City and Girl K
Rookie Social Media
Bloodshot Records Social Media