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New EP Blindsight 2020 Out now!

Blindsight 2020 Cover

Screen cap of Blindsight 2020 on Apple MusicI’m really excited to announce that my new EP Blindsight 2020 is out right now! It’s a 5-song collection of studio tracks that I recorded over the last few years and it features a lot of songwriting and production that I’m really proud of.

In fact, that’s why I decided to release the EP in the first place. I was really happy with my arrangements on the songs “I’m Just Here for the Swag” and “Somewhere Else,” the pandemic-inspired Beach Boys sendup of “Catching Rays on the Fire Escape” captured 2020 really well, and I really like of “Booze Women, and Movies” and “I’m as Broke as Kansas” both for what they say and how they say it.

It’s my first studio release since A/B came out just over 4 years ago, in November 2016. In 2018 I recorded the live concert album Rob P. Rocks a Jazz Club which had a lot of new songs on it, but since I was focusing on getting them in shape for the live album I didn’t do as much studio recording. My goal for 2021 is to get back in the studio so I wanted to motivate myself to push ahead with new music and not “save” these favorite songs for a later release. Without these gems to fall back on I’m hoping to force myself to innovate!

Or maybe realize the pandemic has killed my artistic drive. We’ll see! [shrugging emoji]

Cover Tuesday’s Greatest Hits Vol. 2!

Cover Tuesday has been going strong every week on Twitch(Tuesday, 8:15 PM Eastern U.S.) and it’s been a ton of fun putting the setlists together and doing as many of your requests as I can! I posted the first selection of favorite covers back on May 13, and below are some faves from the next 11 shows!

The spotify playlist is currently (as of this writing on 6 August, 2020) is up to 224 songs, which means I’m averaging 12 songs a week. The Ridiculous Dozen!

I had to make two substitutions in the playlist: In Week 2 I had to substitute a different Mighty Lemon Drops song because “Inside Out” wasn’t available, and Little Richard’s “Scuba Party” from Catalina Caper, which I performed on June 30, was nowhere to be found so I swapped in “It Ain’t What You Do.”

So here are some recent favorites:

Wannabe by the Spice Girls

In cranking out this girl power anthem I somehow took a few detours through Howard Jones and Young MC, but it worked, trust me!

I Love It by Icona Pop

“I crashed my car into the bridge, I don’t care” seems to sum up Summer 2020 in the U.S. so I have deemed this song my summer anthem!

Ace of Spades by Motörhead, a la Johnny Cash

“Ace of Spades” was a request and in order both oblige and save my voice (singing like Lemmy hurts!) I reimagined this song as a Johnny Cash cover. Though it was born out of necessity it’s now the only way I can hear the song!

Tom Sawyer by Rush

Another song by request! This one came from a college friend via facebook and I did the best I could, even though I’ve always said I thought Rush used “too many notes.”

Trooper by Iron Maiden

Sometimes requests seem more like dares, like when my friend Jonathan requested the lyrically overflowing Hardware Store by Weird Al. Though the “heavy” and the “metal” were missing I think it still turned out OK and I should at least get an A for effort.

I Love Your Smile by Shanice

I love when a request is a song I somehow missed the first time around, and this early 90s R&B earworm was really fun to do. Even though it was stuck in my head for the whole dang week. It’s just too peppy and poppy!

Baba O’Riley by The Who

Tried to pull off an acoustic version of one of the best rock anthems ever and thanks to the Loopback plugin in MainStage I think I ended up with a decent rendition 🙂

All 50 States Day 30: New Jersey!

All 50 States Day 30:

New Jersey!

Jersey is so close I can see it from my roof! I can take public transit there for gigs and recreation! And back when I had a car I would hit “one-nighters” in Jersey in exciting places like the basement of a barbecue restaurant and the corner of a bar and grill! There were also some fun weekend rooms like Catch a Rising Star in Princeton and Uncle Vinnie’s on the Jersey Shore.

I also have a life-long family connection to New Jersey, my aunt, who came over from the Ottoman Empire with my grandmother in the 1920s, lived in Weehawken, just across the river from Manhattan. Back in the early 60s when my dad was getting his masters degree at Montclair Teacher’s College he and my mom lived in Weehawken. She commuted to an office job in Manhattan and my dad worked on his masters and also studied acting with the renowned Bobby Lewis.

The family visited New York at least once when I was a kid, about 5 years old, and I got dragged along to Broadway shows and sight seeing in Manhattan. I visited again with my dad around 1989 or 1990 and we stayed with my aunt and cousins in Weehawken, near the park named after Alexander Hamilton, on a bluff with an amazing view of the Manhattan skyline.

I’ve also played some college shows in New Jersey (of course), in including the Stevens Institute in Hoboken, Farleigh Dickenson, College of New Jersey, and more

  • Over the Rainbow in Weehawken! 2009
  • Selfie in the ’Hawk, 2009
  • Skyline from the ’Hawk, 2009
  • One nighter in central Jersey, 2006
  • Stevens Institute in Hoboken, 2006
  • What exit? Jersey Turnpike, 2006
  • Polaroid of NYC skyline from Jersey, 2009?
  • Stevens Institute in Hoboken, Empire State Bldg behind, 2006
NJMap

All 50 States Day 17: Kentucky!

All 50 States Day 17:

Kentucky!

My most recent run-in with Kentucky was in the middle of a crazy trek across the eastern midsection of the country back in 2010, when I went from a gig at U.S.C. in Columbia, SC, hit Asheville, NC the next night, stopped in Nashville for a set the following night at Zanies, and then dropped in to Louisville for a night before a heading to a couple of college gigs in Illinois. Nicholas Anthony, with whom I had recently worked in Vegas, was living in Louisville at the time and we met up, hung out, did sets at the Comedy Caravan, and hit an art show and a bar.

My favorite show ever in Kentucky was a few years before that in Louisville opening for Carlin at the Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts in 2007. It was the 3rd in a series of 3 consecutive shows that took us from Erie, PA to Columbia, MO, to Louisville.

My first experience with Kentucky was during my first ever road gig: in 5th grade traveling to Nashville for a competition with the Waukegan Grade School Orchestra. We even stopped at Mammoth Cave for a tour before hitting Nash Vegas and coming home with a gold medal.

I’ve played several colleges in the state but just about all of the college shows I did in Kentucky were in the first years of my college touring career, from about 1995-2000. I therefore don’t have precise records of when and where the shows were (all my old contracts and physical calendars are in storage, I think), I doubt I have any pictures.

Off the top of my head I can remember names like Berea College, and names that sound familiar when looking at a list of Kentucky colleges include Centre College, maybe Morehead Sate? I know for sure that on Jan 16, 2001 I did two college shows in Louisville, an evening show at Bellarmine College and a noon show at the University of Louisville. I distinctly remember the U of L show being a typical noon show with a loud, inattentive audience in a large student union open area. That show specifically got mentioned in my Life as a Comic episode on noontime college shows cuz I blew some of the money I made on that show on upgrading a rental car in LA to a convertible Trans Am. Thanks U of L for being a terrible audience, cuz that was a sweet ride!

  1. Me on stage at the Comedy Caravan, 2010
  2. Louisville bar, 2010
  3. State line on I-65, 2010
  4. a few frames later, mile 0 on I-65. Check out that rolling shutter!
KYMap

All 50 States Day 8: Delaware!

All 50 States Day 8:

Delaware!

Well, I knew that eventually there was going to be a state I didn’t have a personal picture of. I’ve been to Delaware, I swear! I can still write about it, but I won’t have much to put on instagram <frowny face>.

Keep in mind my rules for counting a state: I’ve had to have performed in the state or spent at least a night there. With Delaware, anyone who’s driven from New York City to mid-Atlantic region cities like Baltimore or DC has driven through the tiny northern tip of the state near Wilmington, but that doesn’t count!

I know of at least two college shows I’ve done in Delaware, the University of Delaware in March of 2001 and a small college called Goldy Beacom College in Wilmington in January of 2003. For the latter show I remember going out to a local bar & grill after the show and seeing an acoustic duo cover band and it was the fist time I think I heard the Jimmy Eat World song “The Middle” all the way through. During the second chorus I joked with the people at my table that if it strictly followed the rules of a pop song it would go to the bridge. It did. During the bridge I said the next rule of pop songwriting is breaking it down for the third verse, and sure enough the song breaks down for the third verse.

I’m not saying this is a bad thing! Standard song structures become standard because they work!

Also, I was reminded by my note in the google map of past gigs I put together (check it out here) that the show at Goldey Beacom didn’t have a sound system, I had to play completely acoustic in a multifunction room. the fun of putting this project together is all the little details!

DelawareMap

Live Stream March 17 8:15 pm! Eastern US

Hey everyone!

Since all of my shows are on hold and most of us are stuck at home I decided to try to put on a live stream show! Tonight, March 17, at 8:15 pm eastern US time (5:15 West Coast US, 00:15 GMT) I’m gonna log on to my brand new twitch channel and play a bunch of Monkees covers!

It’s an experiment! If it works I’ll try to do more of this kind of thing. Join me! We’ll have some fun and play some tunes!

 

Watch live video from RobPRocks on www.twitch.tv

New Online Shop!

Announcing the brand new RobPRocks.com Online Shop!

Our site is now encrypted with an SSL certificate (notice the little lock icon in the address bar) and we’re celebrating our grand opening with a sale and an opening week coupon good for another 20% off! Plus, this is the only place online where the new USB Digital Box set is available!

Also available are limited quantities of Rob’s out-of-print back catalog titles like American Cheese, with classics like Yuppie Camper, He’s Got Coke, and the first audio-only version of Pachelbel, and Don’t Crowd the Plow, Rob’s first CD released all the way back in 1995, with tunes like The Harley Song, I Just Wanna Be Friends, Econobox, and more.

And since we’ll be fulfilling all of the orders right here from Rob P HQ you can even request signed copies of your order! Just put your request in the “Order Notes” on the checkout page and Rob will sign it before we ship it!

Sale prices are good through Nov. 30, 2019, and if you order before Nov. 9 you can use the coupon code 1st1shere to get 20% off your entire order! Introductory shipping prices are a low flat rate of $3 for US addresses and $7 flat rate for shipping outside the US through Nov. 30, 2019 so order today!

5 Years at Q.E.D.!

It’s hard to believe my monthly show at Q.E.D. is about to celebrate its 5 year anniversary! We launched as Don’t Feed the Musicians!, a title I coughed up when putting the first show together, and I renamed the show The Odd Rock Comedy Hour in 2017. That’s 60 installments of comedy, music, variety, video and more! And I only missed one show!

To celebrate we’re… well, just gonna keep doing our thing. Our November show will be Saturday, Nov. 16 at 7:30 and we’ll kick out the jams like we always do. Q.E.D. however, is celebrating their 5 year anniversary (we started the month they opened!) on Nov 4. at 7pm! I’ll be there telling a joke first told at the Odd Rock, along with tons of other comedians, writers, storytellers and more who have performed at Q.E.D. over the years.

Check out the gallery to see some of the people who’ve Oddly Rocked with us over the years!

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!

This Comedian Made a Fake Commercial Every Week For a Year and No One Really Gave Two S**ts

Comedian/musician Rob Paravonian has to fight through algorithms, pitches for ad buys, and an inundation of competing clickbait just to reach the thousands of fans he’s already made. Such is the current state of social media driving online “content.”

Paravonian is best known for his viral Pachelbel Rant video that made the rounds in the early days of YouTube and which has over 13 million views. He has just completed his year-long 52 Sellout project wherein he wrote, shot, edited, created music for, and posted a new commercial spoof each week. Though the series garnered a small following of devoted fans, it never really took off like his earlier viral hits. None of the videos broke through the Reddit/blogger/aggregator echo barrier and the two highest-viewed videos were reposts of existing commercials for which Paravonian created contrasting music for comedic effect.

When asked if he would have embarked on such an ambitious project if he knew the numbers would be so underwhelming Paravonian shot back “of course! I’m a comedian and a musician, what the ✄✄✄✄ else am I supposed to do?”

After his publicist convinced him to return to the table to complete the interview, Paravonian continued, “sorry. All of these media sites and reposters of comedy are only concerned with clicks and shares, and what’s actually being shared is secondary. It’s kind of frustrating.

“Not to mention that the algorithms are optimized for, well, bull✄✄✄t basically,” he adds, before veering off into a harangue about fake news being the fault of the people sharing it as much as the people making it.

“Back to the algorithms,” I intervene, “do you mean facebook?”

“They’re one example. They want to optimize the amount of clickable s✄✄t that you see, and they’d prefer it if that clickable s✄✄t was somehow still on their site so they can continue to feed you ads. And they actively suppress YouTube links which makes it really hard to get non-facebook-hosted videos to catch on.

“Which is maddening because I have a facebook page with nearly 5,000 ‘likes,’ which means nearly 5,000 people have taken the time to stop by my page and let me know they want to see my work and the links that I share. But every time I post a link facebook asks me if I want to ‘boost’ the post, meaning do I want to pay them money to reach the people that have already said they want to see my stuff? All the while they’re making money by feeding ads to the people that are looking at all the stuff I’ve already posted—with no cut of the ad money going to me, the person who’s creating the work that people are there to see.

“And YouTube? Hell, I have 26,000 subscribers and I’m lucky if I get 300 people to see a new video. No one really knows what metrics go into their recommendation algorithm, though a lot of people have guesses. Some say the biggest factor is watch time, some say it’s how many subscribers watch in the first day. If it’s watch time I’m screwed because all of these commercials are about 1-minute long. I think next year I’m gonna be one of those vloggers who just sits around overreacting to the normal world around me.”

“So, you’re going to be the next React To guy, or maybe the next Pewtie Poo?” I ask.

“Oh, god no. I’m kidding. I came up at a time when we were trying to make art. Not “Art” as a pretentious, museum kind of thing, but art as in something from your soul that has a point of view and tries to communicate to other people.”

“Is there room for ‘art’ in a world of content?” I ask.

“That’s a good f✄✄✄ing question, I’m not sure. If I were a Magic 8 Ball I’d say ‘outlook not good.’”

Despite his frustration with the current workings of the online mediaspace, when asked if he considers the project a failure Paravonian is quick to say no.

“It’s not a failure because I did some really good work. I pushed myself to try different things, I created work I never would have made otherwise, and I put a lot of good ‘content’” he says, with the most sardonic air quotes ever seen, “out into the world, and it’ll still be there tomorrow.”

To date the 52 videos in the series have over 123,000 views on YouTube, 90,000 coming from the two videos in which Paravonian changed the music of an existing commercial (The Amazon Lion Dog ad and the Bacardi house-on-a-truck ad). Another two videos were cross-posted on facebook where they received 3,900 additional views.

 

Pickup Truck Song—52SO Week 2

Bob Seger’s “Like a Rock” was the song of Chevy trucks for over a decade and they haven’t had an iconic tune since they stopped using it. Here’s my attempt at getting that great American pickup truck mojo back!

The video was fun to make, especially since I found some official Chevy B-roll footage at their press site (they shouldn’t mind, should they? I don’t say anything bad, and I’m fair-using by making a statement and using the footage in a transformative way. My legal department assures me that I’m in the clear).

Anyway, I noticed a lot of their B-roll is shot from a low angle, kind of emphasizing the point of my song that there’s an unconscious feeling of status when driving a pickup.  Maybe for the 2017 models they can introduce an Iron Throne options package 🙂

© Paravonian