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Dramatic Development!

A few years ago I took some time off to write a musical—a fully-fledged, 2-act, 20-song musical—and this year, after a really fun and productive read-through, a theater company in the Tampa, FL area has expressed interest in putting it on their 2020 schedule! I’m beyond excited for what the future of this musical will be, and even at this early-middle stage the project already has an interesting history.

It started with a sketch I wrote for my 2001 album Keep Your Jazz Hand Strong in which a shady boyband manager (played by the wonderfully talented Michael Bernard) informs a member of one of his boybands that he’d been traded. The boyband-as-baseball team premise included talk of cutting payroll, a farm system of up-and-coming younger bands, and a career arc for performers similar to the career spans of athletes. In the sketch I chose Tampa as the location for the young band because at the time Orlando seemed to be where the major league boybands were coming from (Backstreet Boys, NSYNC, O-Town). Tampa felt like the right market for a feeder team. Plus it’s an inherently funny-sounding name. “Tampa.”

For years the idea of expanding the sketch into a film script rolled around in the back of my head. The idea of a veteran performer forced to take a big step back in his career plus the hilarious shadiness of a boyband manager unabashedly treating pop music like one big grift were waiting to be explored and played with. I thought it could be a really fun movie with lots of music, like the Blues Brothers or Tapeheads. But a movie with a lot of music is—duh—a musical! So I decided to just do that.

After submitting to several festivals and theater companies—and not hearing back from most of them—I began to pursue other projects and career paths. I wasn’t completely discouraged though, I still believed it was a really solid script with good music that would make for a fun show. The project wasn’t lost, it was just hibernating. The work that went into it would still be worth it if and when the time came for it to hit the stage.

And that time might be next year, in 2020, and the place will be, oddly enough, Tampa, Florida! And the way my musical that is set in Tampa found it’s way to a theater company in Tampa is a bit of a story in itself.

My older sister moved to the Tampa area about two years ago and just this past year started playing oboe in a few local bands and orchestra pits (we’re a musical family :P). While playing in the pit for Ragtime she told the musical director about my musical; the fact that it was set in Tampa (and that he was familiar with my Pachelbel Rant) intrigued him enough to take a look at the script.

Me and my sister Debra, whose drive made the read through happen!

My sister suggested we try a read through should I visit the Tampa area, and that read through happened just this past Monday at the offices of Not Your Normal Entertainment. Joseph Scarbrough, the head of NYNE, brought together a lovely group of actors who brought life to the script while I played demos of the songs from my laptop. The jokes landed, the story flowed, and hearing people who live and work in Tampa react to the song “What’s in Tampa?” was a double bonus!

Me with the wonderful actors who participated in the read through, and Joe Scarbrough of NYNE (back row, far right)

I am thrilled by the opportunity to debut this project on the stage. I’ll update here and on my social media, and follow NYNE on social media too, they do amazing work!

New Site Design!

We finally pulled the trigger and pushed our site redesign live! There are still some bugs to work out, some of our “load more posts” buttons don’t seem to be working, but a lot of the new pages are here and ready to go. And if you’re looking for an older post that you can’t find, fear not! It’s sill in our database, we just need to get all the links and buttons pointing to the right things.

Give us a few days to get things running smoothly, and after that if there are posts or things you’re looking for that you can’t find or access, let us know and we’ll do our best to track it down.

Thanks for stopping by and enjoy the new site!

$8 Album Sale at Bandcamp!

To celebrate the release of the newly-remastered American Cheese, my studio album from 1998, all of my albums will be only $8 over at bandcamp! And yes, that includes my brand new live album Rob P. Rocks a Jazz Club! The offer is for a limited time so act quickly!

American Cheese is my second studio album and the first one I produced and recorded in my own studio, which at the time was anchored by an ADAT tape machine synched to a Mac Classic computer running 16 channels of MIDI instruments. Though it’s a little rough around the edges I think the songwriting and arranging holds up, and it will always have a special place in my heart because it’s the first big project I produced and recorded on my own, which started me on a wonderful artistic journey of producing and arranging music.

And now, for the first time EVAH! it’s available on something other than the original CD you had to buy from me in person or through my website. It’s over at bandcamp, a very artist-friendly music site, and for a mere $8 you can download the album in any format you want, from mp3 or m4a to fancy audiophile formats like Flac, Apple lossless, or something called “Ogg Vorbis” (that’s a Ferengi name, isn’t it?)

Also newly available on bandcamp—and also only 8 bucks—are the full versions of Living it Down and Songs From The Second Floor! Up until today I only had a couple of tracks of each on bandcamp but now you can get the complete albums!

My most recent studio albums are also $8 for a limited time, Keep Your Jazz Hand Strong from 2013 and A/B from 2016.

That’s a lot of comedy music, and if you buy it you’re not only supporting me as an artist and getting some great music for your collection, you’re ensuring that you’ll always be able to hear your tunes whenever you like. Streaming services will come and go, streaming agreements and licensing will change, and heck, American Cheese and Don’t Crowd the Plow (also remastered) aren’t even available on any streaming service so bandcamp is the only way to get ’em!

So take advantage of this sale and tell your comedy music-loving friends!

Pre-orders are LIVE! Release: January 22!!

My new live album, Rob P. Rocks A Jazz Club, recorded in front of a packed house in a beautiful venue in Brooklyn, NY, will be hitting e-tailers and streaming services on Tuesday, January 22, 2019!

Working on this album was really fun and rewarding, from the energy of the live show to the process of fine tuning the audio in post production, I really enjoyed digging in and working to capture and convey the energy and fun of the live show. There are 21 tracks and 15 songs, 12 of which are making their album debut. The three that overlap from my last studio album A/B include 2 “deep tracks” that didn’t get much attention at the time but grew into being staples of my live show.

I’m really happy with the variety of the songs too, from the spoken word/storytelling of the opening track “Devil Dealing” to a couple of tunes that feature musical compositions that I’m really proud of. There are pop tunes, country tunes, and some funky R&Bish tunes, including an old school rap breakdown in the song “I’m Just Here For The Swag” that I was sure I was going to blow live and have to play twice, but I spit it cleanly!

I’ll update this post with purchasing and streaming links as they become available. Can’t wait for you to hear it!

Update: Jan 11, 2019

Pre-orders JUST WENT LIVE!! If you pre-order on iTunes you’ll be able to download the track “Driving With Grandpa” right away, and will get the whole album on the release day Tuesday, Jan. 22.

Why pre-order? It’s a big help to me in promoting the album because all of the sales from the pre-sale period get reported on the day of the release, so it can help boost the album ranking, which helps more people find it. And you’ll be able to enjoy a brand new funny song while you wait!

Rockin’ Hill Valley!

Back in Time—Lost Hits of the 80s Vol. 2 is out! The charity album is a collection of 15 tunes from contemporary artists that were created to sound like they’re from that wonderful decade of the 80s, with all proceeds going to the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s research.

Back in Time—Lost Hits of the 80s Vol. 2 hit the digital shelves yesterday and it is name your price! All of artists donated their songs, time, and talent to the project to maximize the benefit for the MJFF. The result is an amazing collection of songs with influences that run the spectrum of 80s music. You’ll hear strains of The Police, The Alarm, The Cars, Madness, Depeche Mode, and many others in the 15 tracks assembled here.

Give it a listen and grab yourself a copy. You’ll be getting some fun tunes and and you’ll be helping a great cause!

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Got Some Dope New Promo Shots!

Thanks to the very talented Jon Taylor I have some great new press and promo shots to share! We did some charactery portraits, some actory portraits, and some shots with the guitar and I love ’em all!

I’m sure my fellow performers know how tricky it can be to get a good headshot or promo shot—one that captures your personality and conveys something about your work. I think Jon really captured some great moments and looks. Look for the new pics in a new show flyer, poster, or real estate bench ad soon!

Thank you Jon Taylor Photo!

Music Fest Season Starts When WE Say it Does!

If you love music but not the idea of standing outside all day with sweaty idiots, then we’ve got the place for you! New York’s hottest new music festival is Spring Festerella, presented by the Odd Rock Comedy Hour!

It’s only 85 minutes, a measly $10 ($7 if you buy advance tickets here with the code ORCHVIP), and it’s in Astoria so you can go home afterward and not sleep in a tent! It’s compact, streamlined, and filled with more awesome-per-dollar than any other music festival your bloggersnob friends have told you about.

Don’t believe me? Check out these acts:

  • The Reformed Whores They’ve been on IFC, SiriusXM, opened for Les Claypool and the Reverend Horton Heat, and have rocked the Edinburgh Fringe!
  • Carla Ulbrich A comedy songwriter and professional smart aleck who’s been played on the Dr. Demento Show, SiriusXM, and NPR!
  • Charles McBee a hilarious standup comedian who has appeared on Gotham Comedy Live!
  • Tim Ellis comedian/musician whose album and webseries Casual Pimpin’ are packed with hilarity and smooth grooves!
  • Shane Morrison comedic songwriter who has been featured in the New York Funny Songs Festival!
  • Hosted by Rob Paravonian, me, and I’ve also done stuff and been on things!

So there you have it. April 21st, 2018, is the official start of your summer festival season! Come on out and party with us!

Celebrate St. Pat’s w/ the >SHAM< Rock Comedy Hour!

When your monthly variety show falls on St. Patrick’s Day you gotta do something special, but instead of appropriating (and/or mocking) Irish culture we’ll be celebrating fake bands in The Sham Rock Comedy Hour!

That’s right! We’ll be celebrating all of your favorite sham bands from movies and TV! I’ll be covering some of the best examples of real music from fake bands, and we’ll also have a fake band trivia game (prize to be determined but it’ll probably be dope). Plus comedian Boris Khaykin, the dope and dirty rhymes of LaDynasty, and more!

So get yer butts down to the March edition of The Odd Sham Rock Comedy Hour! Advance tickets are only $7 when you buy at QED’s website with the code “ORCHVIP”

The Missile-Toad Holiday Special ’17!

The Odd Rock Comedy Hour is putting on an odd rock holiday show! Comedy music superduo Sam & Bill, Killy Dwyer, Lauren Hope Krass and me, Rob P., will bring to the stage twisted musical holiday cheer in the form of top-notch comedy, music, standup, sketch, and candy! And if you get your tickets in advance and use code ORCHVIP, you can get in for just $7!

It all takes place on Saturday, Dec. 16th at 7:30 pm at Q.E.D. in lovely Astoria, Queens. The Odd Rock Comedy Hour will help make your season hilarious.

The Odd Rock Comedy Hour
Missile-Toad Holiday Special!
Sat. Dec. 16, 7:30 pm
Q.E.D.
27-16 23rd Ave, Astoria (N Train to Ditmars)
With Sam & Bill, Killy Dwyer, Lauren Hope Krass, and more!

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The Odd Rock Comedy Hour! Coming Nov 18!

The Odd Rock Comedy Hour, my new monthly comedy/music/variety show, launches Saturday, Nov 18 at Q.E.D.! After a great 3-year run of my monthly show Don’t Feed the Musicians! I’m ready to kick off a new show that will feature the best of what you’ve come to love from the old show along with some new twists and turns.

One of the reasons for the name change is that I wanted the name to clearly convey that the show was a fun collection of comedy, music, and something a little off the beaten path. Also, the name Don’t Feed the Musicians! is kind of bossy when you think about it.

The new name is inspired by a very quirky rock club in Milwaukee where my old band The Steppingstones played our first gig: The Odd Rock Cafe. The venue was a converted Victorian house in an industrial section of the city and all of the interesting 80s acts played there: The Jesus Lizard, Gwar, G. G. Allin, Social Distortion, and many more. We opened for a Milwaukee-based psychedelic jangle-pop band The Petals and we were so amped to be playing our first gig we blew through our entire set in about 30 minutes.

We came off the stage to some confused looks from members of the Petals.“You’re done?” The asked if we wanted to play a few more and we had to respond, “we don’t know any more.” We should have pulled the line Bob Newhart used after his first nightclub gig earned him calls for an encore. He came back out on stage and said “Okay, which one do you want to hear again?”

So there you have it: somewhere between quirky music with a D.I.Y. aesthetic and Bob Newhart lies The Odd Rock Comedy Hour. Coming to Q.E.D. on the 3rd Saturday of every month at 7:30 pm. Come join the fun!

© Paravonian