The Full Story
Drawing on the rich tradition of the Texas blues with a heavy dose of classic rock and dripping with attitude, ROXY ROCA is a high-octane rock band on a mission to prove rock n’ roll ain’t dead. Four core members make up the band with electrifying front man Taye Cannon on vocals, Athens, Greece’s own guitar-hero Babis ‘BB’ Tyropolous on six-string, Quinn Walls on the low end and backing vocals, and drummer Ryan Greenblatt holding it down on drums. Taking a page from the notebooks of legends like ZZ Top, Rolling Stones, Freddie King, Aerosmith, AC/DC and Led Zeppelin, ROXY ROCA sets the stage ablaze with well crafted songs and a powerhouse presence that commands an audience. The band originally formed in Austin, TX as a soul/funk outfit, but as the phoenix rises from the ashes anew and more powerful, so does ROXY ROCA emerging from the pandemic with new life and a new sound. Their upcoming album Greasy breaks new ground for the band as they made the conscious decision to ditch green eyed soul for the primal rhythms of rock n’ roll.
“The pandemic was very difficult and even detrimental to our careers in many ways, but one of the positives to come out of it was that it gave us an opportunity to make some big changes. The pandemic ended up being a great ‘reset button’ for us, and we’re better for it,” said Greenblatt.
Greasy was recorded at Edgewater Studios in Houston in July of 2022. After writing almost 20 potential new songs for the album, the team at Edgewater and the band settled on the nine best and most stylistically cohesive songs to complete their new blues rock-driven record, and the resulting album is nothing short of top notch. While the band is no longer aiming for James Brown, the DNA makeup of ROXY ROCA is steeped in heavy grooves and R&B, and this album serves as a natural bridge between their previous sound and where they’re headed on future albums. Much like their aforementioned music idols, ROXY ROCA’s brand of rock n’ roll has some boogie in it, and that’s just the way they like it.
Accompanying the band on the album, as well as live, is Adam Pryor on keys. Even at the tender age of 23, Adam is a stand-out phenom who has shared the stage with legends such as Buddy Guy. It was Walls who brought Adam into the fold, and he shines throughout the record. As the story goes, without even a single rehearsal with the band, he was able to nail all of his parts on the album in a single two-hour session. And that’s on a true B3 and Fender Rhodes– no keyboard plugins here.
“ROXY ROCA’s theme since the beginning has been love, perseverance, and higher-self remembrance,” said Cannon. “This album continues with that vibration and a whole lot of attitude. As a band, we take on the troubles of humanity while offering a silver lining wrapped in a rock and roll state of mind.”
It was 2010 when lead singer Taye Cannon had a chance encounter with a guitar playing acquaintance, and the two discussed Cannon’s vision to bring a James Brown-like show to Austin. They linked up with a mutual friend and bassist and began writing songs with a full horn section in mind. The first show was an official ACL afterparty at the North Door, and the band has basically hit the ground running ever since. The band’s moniker, ROXY ROCA, was inspired by Lenny Kravitz’s late mother, actress Roxie Roker, best known for her role as Helen Willis on the 1975 sitcom “The Jeffersons,” one of Cannon’s childhood favorites.
“In terms of equality, that show had an effect on me,” said Cannon. “The relationship between Helen (Roker) and Tom Willis (Franklin Cover) really stuck with me. I loved how they let all the name calling and ridicule just roll off their backs in the name of love. Later in middle school, I was really into what Lenny was preaching, ‘Let Love Rule,’ only to find out that Roxie was his mother… and there she was again. When it came time to pick a name for the band we were looking for something that just sounded like a soul band. Somebody in the room said ‘Roxie Roker’ and all those memories came back. I knew that was it. We decided to make it a play on her name, and ROXY ROCA was born. Now, like Kravitz we do what we do in the name of love.”
Over the years, ROXY ROCA steadily rose through the ranks in Austin and beyond. They have been regulars at some of the city’s most iconic venues including Antone’s, The Continental Club, The Parish and Hotel Vegas, with two long-running residencies at various points – first at the now shuttered Blackheart on Rainey street and later at C Boy’s Heart & Soul. In 2013 ROXY ROCA ventured out of Austin to play their first major festival: Bayfest in Mobile, Alabama. The following day, to the chagrin of many, it was the upstart soul band out of Austin that had made the headlines on AL.Com and the Mobile Press Register. Equipped with a can’t-miss, leave-it-all-on-the-stage live show, ROXY ROCA was able to parlay the success of Bayfest and the video release for their track “Try My Love” into more touring opportunities and opening slots for high-profile acts such as the legendary B.B. King, Tom Jones, St. Paul and the Broken Bones, Trombone Shorty, Bob Schneider, a two night stint as the backing band for blues legend Bobby Rush, Black Pumas, Lee Fields, Delbert McClinton, Blues Traveler and many others. Clearly, industry standouts love the band. In 2015 ROXY ROCA played roughly 230 shows, and from that point until the pandemic it was common for the band to eclipse the 150 show mark each year spending months on the road. In the midst of near constant domestic touring, in both 2017 and 2018 ROXY ROCA had the privilege to travel to Japan to play a series of concerts.
“The people were amazing, gracious and warm,” said Greenblatt of their Japan tours. “We played with local bands at every show and got to hang out with them afterward. We made real connections.”
While the new album is a stark departure from their previous work, there were signs ROXY ROCA could drift more into rock territory. In 2016 the band recorded its second full length album with notable rock producer Chris “Frenchie” Smith (...And You Will Know Us by the trail of Dead, the Toadies, Jet, Built to Spill) at The Bubble Studio. Through their work with Smith, the band’s heavier influences began to come through and their sound started to evolve from funk and soul to hard hitting, authentic rock n’ roll.
Toward the end of 2019 ROXY ROCA had made the decision to pause touring in order to write a new album with the goal of recording and touring to support the album the following year. But, like the rest of the music industry and the world at large, the Covid-19 pandemic had other plans. It changed their trajectory and put the band on a new path leading them to this moment on the precipice of the second act for ROXY ROCA. And the future looks bright – real bright.
“My favorites! An explosive take no prisoners, soul and roll, high energy, Detroit meets Texas style rumble!” said Kevn Kinney of Drivin’ N Cryin’. GRAMMY-winning blues legend Bobby Rush said “See this band and you’ll be hooked forever!”