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Frobeck gets groove on at Brewery Arts Center

by Karel Ancona-Henry
For the Nevada Appeal

Frobeck brings their distinctive sound to Brewery Arts Center at 7:30 p.m. Friday.

With influences that range from Tower of Power and Sons of Champlin to Stevie Wonder, getting your groove on will definitely be in order.

This North Bay band, formed in 2005, grew out of a friendship between singer/songwriters Spencer Burrows and Kris Dilbeck, who first met at Sonoma State University and again later at Berklee College of Music.

“It was a random meeting. We’d known each other (in passing), and I ran into Spencer on the street,” Dilbeck said.

Burrows, who has always been on the entertainment/musician side of the aisle, was working on a project and Dilbeck came in to assist on the production side. Starting their own band was a natural progression.

Their abilities, combined with the addition of bassist Steve Froberg, drummer John Lazarus and Callie Watts on rhythm guitar and background vocals has given Frobeck a solid, well-rounded foundation from which to create.

The addition of an “earth-shaking” horn section with Cayce Carnahan on trumpet, Alex Scammon on baritone sax and Alex Garcia on tenor sax is sure to satisfy.

“We filtered through some great musicians who had other commitments – family and things – and had a great backbone with Kris and I,” Burrows said. “We finally got a solid core and we’ve now expanded to incorporate horns. All of this has just added to the sound.

“I think with our third album, we’ve finally reached that point where our sound is definitive and pretty set.”

“Yeah it’s stinky funk mixed with rock-star hair,” Dilbeck said.

Their formal training combined with natural ability and passion for the craft of creating good music, has grown Frobeck’s loyal fan base and has also defined them in many ways as a musicians’ band. In 2008, Frobeck won a North Bay Music Award for Best Rock Group and also won first place at the Mystic Theater Battle of the Bands in Petaluma.

“Frobeck works because we have shared influences as well as our individual influences,” Dilbeck said. “When we’re performing it’s a good time because we feel so comfortable together and we try to keep open space for improvising.”

Writing their own material, keeping it real and honest and not selling out to commercial interests have given the band freedom to create music with a positive message, that also rocks the house.

Dilbeck recalls Frobeck’s one attempt to “write a more radio-friendly” (read commercial) song.

“We worked on this thing and all went home feeling really bad,” he said. “We totally scratched it, but it’s a reminder to stay true to what we do best.

“Our music gets people up and dancing,” Dilbeck said. “But it is Spencer’s lyrics that communicate a positive message. And it’s great to have a really good buddy to write with.”

“You know, we’re really not a jam band, but we jam,” Burrows said. “And as songwriters and musicians we hopefully will change the world.”

Frobeck is managed by John Toomey, Journey’s road manager. On hiatus this year, Journey retained Toomey for the next tour season, but in the meantime, Toomey was looking for groups that could use his expertise.

“I’ve been in this business a long time and seen acts come and go,” Toomey said. “I was looking for a group to manage, saw these kids play and knew they’re the real deal.

“They just have it going on in every area, and they’re genuinely nice, humble, incredibly talented guys.”

In the interest of changing at least a small corner of the world and giving back, they teach music to children aged 6 to 60.

During the summer, they host a School of Rock-style camp, which gives an outlet for kids to gather and play together.

“A kid can have an interest in music, but not have others to play with,” Dilbeck said. “This program brings kids together, forms bands and they get a taste of real performance.”

Many of the school’s alumni bands, with members now in their 20s, return each year to play.

“The older ones still come back and they will always remember the experience.”

Tickets for Frobeck cost $12.50 for general admission and $10 for BAC members, students and seniors, available at breweryarts.org or at the door, or call BAC at 775-883-1976. For more information about the band visit frobeck.com.

WHAT: FrobeckWHEN: 7:30 p.m. Friday

WHERE: Brewery Arts Center, 449 W. King St.

TICKETS: Breweryarts.org, at the door, or call (775) 883-1976.