'Started writing songs around 1980, often coming out of jam-sessions with
friend, Mike Christensen, with whom Robb later formed the alt-everything
band: tribe. While attending DePaul University in Chicago (pursuing a
PhD in Philosophy), and armed with a Tascam Portastudio 4-track cassette
recorder, Andrew began recording with Mike, often sending the tapes to
WNUR (Northwestern University). tribe's song "Drift" became
the theme song for the station, and the tune "Death Valley Days"
won the band free recording time with the legendary Mike Rasfeld at his
Acme Recording Studio in Chicago. The result of these sessions was tribe's
"Primordial Bop" LP in 1987, which got them critical acclaim,
airplay on WXRT-Chicago, and placed them at the center of Chicago's Wicker
Park alternative music scene. More on tribe>>>
the breakup of tribe in 1990, Andrew released the minimalist sound-diary,
"as-if". In '91 he joined with guitarist Eric Markowitz &
keyboard whiz Jeff Kowalkowski to form andrew & the tree. The band
added Chicago poet & musician JJ Tindall on drums, releasing 3 albums
between '92-'98. More on andrew
& the tree>>>
2000 saw Robb releasing his second solo work: "Burning Bush".
The shows promoting the album prompted the collaboration between Andrew
and the current tree members, Mark Fornek & Sam Bradshaw. In the interim
period (2001 to 2006), Robb recorded a third solo recording: the
Long Haul, to be released in late 2007.
Besides his own work, AJ Robb has recorded/produced and played on recordings
by Dave Hawkins (Hawk), and Nashville-based songsmith, Doug Hoekstra.
"Sparky", as he's called, it's all about the playing, and Mark
has played live & recorded with a long list of R&B notables over
the years, including an extended touring stint with Chess Records legend
Jimmy Rogers. Here's a list:
a band member Mark's been w/ Jimmy Rogers, Dave Specter (Delmark rec.
artist), Bucket #6 (Doug Hoekstra), Rhythm Rockets, Bill Lupkin &
Chicago Blues Coalition, Nick Moss & The FlipTops,The Big Sweaty Men
& The Mighty Blue Kings.
He's recorded w/ Dave, Bucket, Rockets, Bill L, Nick, Doug Hoekstra, Jack
McDuff, Steve Freund, Floyd McDaniel, Eric Alexander,, Kim Wilson, Robert
Mazurek, Ken Saydak and dozens of other wonderful blues & jazz musicians.
I've appeared on stage as a backing band member or a guest w/ Johnny Adams,
Jonnie Johnson, Von Freeman, John Brumbach, Ken Saydak, Buddy Guy, Koko
Taylor, Robert Lockwood, Mighty Joe Young, Magic Slim, Pinetop Perkins,
Kid Ramos, Ronnie Earl, etc.
Says Mark: "Though the majority of my playing experience is in blues/jazz/r&b,
I've always loved pop and experimental music. the tree is the intersection
of all of these"
For more on Mark's influences, playing in the Chicago Blues scene, check
out this Interview w/Sparky Fornek>>>
has been Mr. Bradshaw's pleasure to have been sideman for Eric Markowitz,
composer Jeff Kowalkowski, Doug Hoekstra, and, for a short stint in remote
antiquity, the Civic Orchestra of Chicago.
plays the Upright Bass with authority, along with his fretless Fender
a FREE Mp3 download of Track #1 from the tree's new album "Tip of
the Iceberg", titled "A Slippering Glimpster Feeling",
(...this song is influenced by the Stax sound, Brian Wilson, John Lennon,
"My artistic influences are diverse, and this is directly reflected
in my songwriting and playing styles"
general, I'm drawn to rebels and my first heroes were, and still
combining original aesthetic vision with Courage & a sense of
Andrew is drawn to the stylistic "fe" players:
It's not the "what" w/Keith, but the "how".
'Fave bits: leads from "Tumblin Dice" & "Under
'Same for Steve Cropper: seemingly simple chops, that ooze soul
and feeling, always "in the song".
"Brian Wilson for musical imagination. I love his breaks especially"-