If you're not familiar with Bart Robley than let us give you an intro you won't soon forget. Or we should say, he will introduce himself in the form of The Ruins.
Known as a drummer and music teacher, Robley has obviously performed with bands in the past, but it's taken until know for him to release an album of his own design and it comes at us as a full-length hard rock and classic metal album complete with killer riffs and memorable guitar solos, loads of vocal attitude and stylish songwriting that leaves a mark.
The songs on this album are infectious and the guitar work is outstanding as is the drumming and vocals alike, but these tracks have such an edgy catchiness to them that it becomes almost addictive after a few of them.
You get those classic blues rock songs that boast that character, that fresh and gritty feel, and just awesome guitars that breed such a blissful rock soundscape.
The tracks are hard hitting and pack quite a punch but also have these hooks both musically and vocally that get stuck in your head for days on end.
The Ruins is Robley's baby and everything was written by himself and it all comes through with such gusto and heart its crazy.
With the release of such a bountiful rock record, we wanted to talk to Bart about The Ruins project and see where this all came from and what may be next from the artist.
Here's what happened.
RAG: Okay so let's start with the Scavenger album. This record had a killer hard rock feel to it and some outstanding guitar work as well! Where did this album come from?
About three years ago I went through a rough patch in life and I made the decision that it was time to make some major changes. Everything from quitting drinking to the people I gave my time to, the things I saw as most important in life just weren’t. My wife and I sold our house and bought a new house. As most artist I found solace in creating and or writing music.
I’m so glad you noticed and mentioned the guitar work. The majority of the guitar work is Blackthorn. However he and I called on the most talented musicians we know to help create this record. The guitar solo on the opening song is Stevie D from Buckcherry. He also co-produced and played all the acoustic guitars, bass guitar and hand percussion on the song Fade Away. It was a real pleasure working with him. The acoustic guitar on Blood is David Kurtz from The Sam Morrison Band and the solo’s on Razors Edge and Sins of the father are my dear friend Justin Juknelis. I also had Mikey decker play a solo on
drop The Rock. These guys are awesome players.
RAG: So how did this all begin for you guys?
Once I started making changes in my life I started reaching out to old friends who I hadn’t seen in a while. I got in touch with a former band mate Blackthorne and we went to coffee. We got to talking about life and some of the stuff we had been through and discovered that we had gone through (or put ourselves through) some of the same situations. I told him that we had bought a new house and I was building a recording studio.
He told me that when the studio was up and running he had some songs he had been working on and he would like me to record live drums on them. I had about 10 songs worth of lyrics and asked him if he would look at them for me. I had given a few of them too Sam (Bart is the full time drummer for The Sam Morrison Band) but he felt they weren’t right for the upcoming Sam Morrison Band album “Unfinished Business” that was also released this year. One song in particular, Blood, I had given to Sam and I felt really strongly about. Since Sam didn’t want to record it I sent it to Blackthorn he loved it. So that’s how it
RAG: Who is in all your headphones right now?
I’ve been listening to the new Ray Wylie Hubbard record “Too.” Amazing record!
RAG: What inspires you to write a song?
I believe inspiration is everywhere, not only as a writer but as a musician in general. Just last week I was on tour with Sam and we were playing in Fredericksburg Texas. I went for a walk through the town and I sat down on a bench in front of this old church. A band was playing an old Willie Nelson tune a few blocks over and it was extremely picturesque. Well guess what? I got a song out of it. We’ll see where it goes.
In the case of the Scavenger album these songs came from a dark place. As I mentioned when I wrote these songs I was in a very rough part of my life. What I’ve learned is when we go through hard time that’s when we grow the most as people. We become more aware, more in tune with ourselves mentally, emotionally and spiritually. As an artist these are nuggets of gold.
RAG: I'm hearing some great styles on this song. Who are some of all your biggest musical influences?
I listen to everything from metal to country to gospel. Probably my biggest musical influence would be Led Zeppelin. This record reminds me a lot of Physical Graffiti. Not that it sounds like it necessarily it just covers a lot of ground stylistically and sonically.
RAG: What are you all doing when you're NOT working on music?
Fortunately for me I’ve been able to make a living as a musician for over 20 years now. I’m on the road with The Sam Morrison Band regularly. I’m also extremely involved in music education. I have over 50 students I see on a weekly basis. I teach students on line nation and or worldwide. I have a 3 camera set on in my studio so the student can see me head on, from above or loot at my feet. I feel it’s better than in person lessons because of the convenience and because it’s like looking under a microscope. I have 4 books / study guides and 3 DVD’s published on Centerstream / Hal Leonard publishing. I’m a founding member of Drummers Education Connection. We stream live every Tuesday to our private Facebook page and you our YouTube channel. We cover everything from interviewing drummers
to being a better drum teacher. I also do session work and I’m a music columnist.
As a side note if anyone is interested in studying with me or If you need some drum tracks please don’t hesitate to reach out, from anywhere in the world.
RAG: Would you say live performances are a big part of what you guys do?
Actually that’s the next step. Now that the record is done and out we’re going to be hand picking musicians to take these songs to a live audience.
RAG: This album feels like a big undertaking, is there any advice you'd give to other up and coming bands out there?
My advice is this. You can do anything if you set your mind to it. Follow your heart, blow some love into it and make it happen. See every obstacle as a trial and don’t let setbacks stop you. If you want to go somewhere and there’s no road to get you there...make a road!
RAG: What can your fans expect from you in the near future?
As we speak I’m working an alternative acoustic mix of “Fade Away” so that will be out in the next month or so. As soon as the band is rehearsed we’ll make show / tour announcements. I’ll be on the road with The Sam Morrison Band as usual and again if anyone is interested in studying with me, taking one of my coaching courses or needs drum tracks please reach out.
RAG: Before we go, what would you like to say to fans of the music?
I’d like to say thanks to everyone who has listened to the record and started following us. I truly appreciate all the kind words. To the fans of my drumming I greatly appreciate it. There are so many fantastic players out there who are my drumming hero’s and when someone reaches out and wants a lesson or buys a record (yes people still buy their music from time to time) a concert ticket or a book it’s fantastic. When someone has a kind word to say after a show it’s still a thrill after all these years. Thank you Rag for the opportunity to promote The Ruins album Scavenger.