Frobeck is rising star at Concert Under the Stars
For the Nevada Appeal
Frobeck returns to Carson City July 13 for A Concert Under the Stars, a fundraiser for The Greenhouse Project which headlines Grammy award-winner Booker T. Jones & Friends. Local band The Mighty Surf Lords kick off the evening.
Frobeck, an eight member, funk-rock band is lead by Kris Dilbeck and Spencer Burrows, who first met as students at Sonoma State University and reconnected at Berklee College of Music. This past year has seen Frobeck opening for many of their heroes, including WAR, Sons of Champlin and Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars, comprised of six musicians who fled Sierra Leone escaping civil war and formed a band while living in New Guinea.
“We have been playing really great shows and working our way to the top and sharing the stage with people who are our legends,” said Burrows. “We’re looking forward to playing in Carson City and opening for Booker T.”
Under the management of John Toomey, tour manager for Journey, Frobeck’s name recognition is growing. Toomey’s philosophy of playing well-chosen venues rather than a shotgunned approach focusing on volume is paying off.
“This has been a very busy time and we’ve been fine-tuning everything, having more rehearsals and Spencer and I write together at least once a week, which gives us time to just hang out,” Dilbeck said. “Fortunately we love each other so it works.”
This camaraderie and connection, and hearing wild stories about how a musician’s life can look, has inspired Frobeck to stay true to the music, and away from distractions.
“My first day in class (at Berklee) my teacher said, ‘there are three things you need to know about being musicians,’ and he wrote on the board,” Burrows said. “One, wear seatbelts; two, if you’re gonna do drugs, do half of what everybody else is doing – and I thought, ‘well I don’t do drugs, but if I did that would be great advice,’ and three, don’t share needles, $100 bills and know this is the reality of musicianship.’
“Kris and I are very clean people, one of our horn players is a Harvard graduate, we’re all very educated and we are focused on the music, which isn’t as exciting a story, but the story for me is watching people’s faces, knowing I made them happy and that the music is so much bigger than all this other stuff.”
“I think it speaks to the maturity level of the band and there’s no weak link, we have great family support and management,” Dilbeck said. “We surround ourselves with people who take the music seriously.”
While they have been influenced by all kinds of music, including the psychodelic stuff of the ’60s, and since all of this as Burrows said “has gone into our ears,” he adds this influence combined with Frobeck’s writing and musicianship brings a clarity, power and brightness to the music and the performance.
As their popularity has grown, Burrows and Dilbeck see the gap between them and their heroes narrowing. However, this doesn’t mean there aren’t challenges.
“When you have eight band members, scheduling can be interesting, but (Toomey) schedules our shows months in advance so that is a huge help,” Dilbeck said. “All of this has been like watching the stars align, our management team has grown and it comes down to making time for everything we need to do (to succeed).
“I can see where we’re going now … you would think it gets easier, but it doesn’t and what you see is why there are very few bands who make it to the top; because it takes a huge commitment.”
For Burrows, surrendering to the process has been most difficult.
“Not too long ago, we handled everything from booking dates to distributing flyers to setting up equipment – we did everything,” he said. “I always try to be in control and manage it, but now we’re surrounded by people who do that for us and we’re responsible for being the artist.
“There have been a couple of shows where we didn’t even have to set up and letting go of all that makes me anxious, sometimes, even though I know this is totally the right time to let go and our writing shows it – we have space to be more creative.”
“Our management team has made it easy,” Dilbeck said. “All we have to do is be on the bus.”
They still make time to run their School of Rock-style summer camp, open to all ages from 6 to 60, though they have had to bring in former students on occasion to take over teaching.
“We feel good that they are able to take over when we can’t be here,” Burrows said. “Actually we have a bunch of kids arriving in waves shortly.”
The event takes place 5-8 p.m. in the parking lot adjacent to Adele’s Restaurant in Carson City. Adele’s will host a backyard barbecue featuring High Sierra Brewing Co. beer and a no-host bar will be available. A live auction will also take place and this year, Planters on Parade – flower boxes painted by local dignitaries – will be sold.
Tickets for A Concert Under the Stars cost $37 for general admission and $52 for VIP seats, available at breweryarts.org or by calling 775-883-1976. Veranda seating tickets cost $75, available at Adele’s Restaurant, 1112 N. Carson St., Carson City. For more information about the Greenhouse Project or to make donations for the auction, call Karen Abowd at 775-232-8626.