Robert’s career in music began at the tender age of 7. At that time, he was beating on every surface he could find. And it wasn’t before long that his parents realized that the only way they could get him to stop beating on the tables, was to buy him a drum set. At the age of 8, Robert finally got his first kit, a 5 piece, silver Pearl, just like his idol at the time, Peter Criss of Kiss. Robert performed at birthday parties and various functions in his band, “Black Diamond”. And it was in Black Diamond that Robert got his first taste of success, they won first place at the school talent show. Robert was voted ‘most talented’ in the school yearbook. But it was also in that year, the 8th grade, that Robert began harboring ambitions to write as well as sing. “During our rehearsal breaks, one of the guitar players would show me rhythms. The first song I learned was ‘Train kept a rollin’. Once I picked up the guitar there was no turning back for me”.
Robert found playing guitar quite satisfying. He would play guitar for eight hours a day, until the skin on his fingers would fall off. But it wasn’t before long, that Robert ran into a problem. “As a guitar player, I found it increasingly necessary for me to sing, as I couldn’t find any singers at my school. At first, I would sing just to fill in the gap, I had a terrible voice. But eventually, my voice started getting good, so I said, ok, i’ll be a singer too!” So it was by necessity that Robert became a singer.
As the years passed, Robert played in several bands. Most notably, Enforcer, who in the mid to late 80’s tore up the regional club circuit with such favorites as “The Draft” and “Cheater”. In the early 90’s as the musical landscape began to change, Robert re-assessed his position in the music industry. “I realized that making a living as a working musician was going to be very tough. Especially if I wanted to sustain a long term career. It was about this time that I became interested in recording and producing other acts”.
But it was something else all together that Robert became interested in….The world of Video Production and Photography. “Video Production turned my entire world upside down”, says Robert. “Here I was, a working musician for the better part of my life. I never thought about anything other than performing and recording my music, and I had finally put together my home studio. But now I have this video thing going, and it was all that I could think about”.
Robert started his Production company at this time, RV Productions. Originally, it was supposed to be for Recording, Video and Photography. But the Video production side of the business quickly began to take over. “I was at the right place at the right time with the video.” Just as the digital video revolution was beginning, Robert positioned his company as the leader in digital video production, web video streaming and DVD production. Robert equally loved photography, but states that because of his strength in video editing, the video was closer to his heart. “I love editing music videos. I believe that it is my early experience as a drummer, that enable me to tap into the pocket of any rhythm, whether it is music, or someone speaking, and that gives me the edge as an editor. The bottom line for me is that the experience I gained performing, writing and producing music is what enabled me to make my company what it is today, that’s what gave me the foundation with which I could build on”.
As RV Video grew, Robert found less and less time to devote to his music. “I always practiced and kept my chops up and even managed to find the time to c0-write, record and produce “Straight Thru Your Heart’ with a band I joined called Regime, but even that was more of a part time situation…It took us a long time to get the album done and then touring was cutting into my work schedule, so we finally disbanded.
In 2001 Robert produced a music based television show for the WB network. This production motivated Robert even more to get back to his music. “Most of the artists in the show were only mediocre talents. But the fact that they were dedicating themselves, and getting out there and doing it….it just made me more motivated to get my music going again”.
With RV Video very much self contained, Robert doesn’t have to be worried about the day to day operations of the company. “I can concentrate on my music, and get company updates whenever I need them. This affords me the opportunity to spend time with my family, and to create my music.
2002 marked the full time return of Robert into the music business. That year was spent writing and recording his latest effort. With his latest cd “Out Of The Shadows” released in January 2003, Robert returned with positive reviews and a new outlook for his musical future. “With my new label ‘RV Records’, I will be totally self contained. All I have to do now, is make the kind of music I want to make, without any outside interference. And since I make the kinds of records that I like to listen to, releasing future cd’s on my own label makes plenty of sense”. When asked about the exposure that a bigger label can provide, Robert responds, “I always have the option of licensing my product. If a bigger label comes along and wants to partner up on any particular cd, I don’t have any objections to that. But that marriage is better left to after the product is completed”.
With the critically acclaimed “Out Of The Shadows” cd and tour behind him, Robert immediately began writing for his next release. But this time, Robert took a different approach. He decided to write everything on Acoustic Guitar while on vacation in Lake Tahoe. “My first guitar was an acoustic, and I played for the first year on it….playing acoustic is very natural for me. Oddly, I never wrote on acoustic”. Robert feels that he has come full circle with his playing and now focuses on the writing and melody of the songs. “The problem with Heavy Metal and Hard Rock, is that the songs exist for the purpose of showcasing the players talent. Like me, I’ve always considered myself a guitarist first, so my songs exist so I can shred in the middle of the song. One reviewer said Shadows felt like one long guitar solo…..well, that’s exactly what I intended it to be. When I started writing this cd on acoustic, I found that without the metal guitars and pounding drums, that my writing style wasn’t going to cut it, and I wanted to evolve so that my songs were not ‘riff based’, as they would be if it were a metal cd I was writing”.
Thus, the beginning of Acoustic Journey was born. And quite a journey it has been. Along with the evolution of Robert’s writing, the evolution of the vocals was necessary as well. “I realized that as the writing changed, my vocals had to change as well. I had to really think about melody and how the vocals carried the song…..being a shredding, heavy metal lead guitarist, I never cared about those elements before”. Needless to say, Robert is proud of his growth both as a singer and songwriter.
Acoustic Journey boasts a singing style not heard from Robert previously. The vocals are the forefront of the music and does not take a backseat to the guitar. Moreover, there is a wider range of octaves and tones in the vocals. As for the guitar, Robert excels on the Acoustic and exhibits a masterful skill that appeases many styles. But don’t count out the metal just yet. As Robert states, he managed to squeeze a few metal solos into Acoustic Journey. But for the most part, it is a cd full of songs that, hopefully, the listener will remember after hearing them.
“Music has been the inspiration for everything I do in my life. Whether it is spending time with my wife, my kids, producing a music video, or shooting Fashion Photography, I’m thankful for the gift of music that has been instilled within me”.