Hiya Chris, thanks for joining us in the virtual RGM lounge today, grab a brew and take a seat.

What made you decide that music is a thing for you?

For as long as I can remember I have been enamored with music. I am completely and utterly obsessed with almost every aspect of the trade. The ability to express myself through music came naturally but embarking on a career journey was something that was decided after the band was formed. I knew it had to be done. 

Introduce us to you all and your musical history.

We all come from a very different background. I myself, began playing drums in school band when I was 9. I think that was fourth grade. By the time I was 13 I was playing in bands with friends and also covering for my dad’s jazz band that played standards from the 30s, 40s, and 50s.

I would end up on drums, bass or guitar and it was always a lot of fun. I grew up listening to that stuff with my grandparents who also played a big role in shaping my appreciation for all kinds of music. Along with playing in so many groups after forming CRB, going back and revisiting my roots definitely plays a part in what comes next. 

The members of the band are 
Chris Ruben – Vocals/Guitar
Brendan Allan – Bass
Eugene Iovine- Keyboards/Synthesizer
Russ Benjamin – Drums
Frank Iovine- Keyboards/Synthesizer/Saxophone
Nick Marino – Guitar

What’s the live music scene like on Long Island right now? Anyone we should be looking out for (Bar you of course)

There are so many incredible and talented bands, artists and everything that could surround those two where we come from. The last 10/15 years has seen an enormous uptick in quality bands and producers as well as the types of productions that are taking place. I would have to say of the many bands to keep your eyes out for some would be Aqua Cherry, Monkeybite, The Big Happy, MJT, Big Rick Energy, Drop The 4, Dysfunktone, Mr. Rooster, Johnny In The Basement and there really are so many more and all of whom are incredibly talented, and some truly great friends. 

I’ve seen a lot of people struggling for support recently online. Whats your view on the industry?

I mean the way I have always seen is, you do the work and try to share it in a thoughtful way. Finances are definitely something that play a big part in the ability to propel a project forward and have more eyes gloss over it but without some level of endorsement or skin in the game, it’s hard to reach people’s interests and even then you have to understand everyone is different.

If you’re making music that is true to yourself and nobody connects with it, you might be weird. Which is ok but it’s all about relation and connection when people are going to give their support. The industry, like all industries, is not perfect but for an artist like me there are more tools and resources available to help myself and grow then there ever have been so it’s really all what you make it. You take what you can get and keep moving forward. The art should not be made based on the level of support it gets. 

Where do you feel you currently sit within the music industry?

I feel like we are those guys on the outside of the gate, hugging a fence that’s guarded by big dudes in suits with earpieces and sunglasses. On the inside of that fence is a beautiful yard and a wonderful party where all of the music industry is celebrating its existence and we can barely get a glimpse. 

Tell us Two truths and a lie about you.

We eat pizza after every show.

Two of us have been arrested handcuffed to a table together and one of us farted for more then 10 seconds during that incident. 

There is a gravy we make in a 7.5 gallon cauldron in the middle of a field twice a year. 

Do you ever worry about people taking things the wrong way or cancel culture? Discuss….

Our message as a band has always been simple; we are struggling deeply inside and out and all we ever want or give is love. We have been truly beaten down by life’s merciless lashings and that kind of a beating all the time results in a type of understanding that rests in a compassionate and loving place so when the songs are about love lost, making changes, or coming from a care free place, any offense taken is sadly of no concern. We don’t owe anybody anything. 

Do you sign up to any conspiracy theories? If not why not?

I sign up for anything that says please help me I am a poor musician. 

What was your best experience on stage?

There’s a lot of really great times that are very hard to pinpoint because there’s a sense of turning off the mind and tuning out everything around me and just letting loose when we play and the response that comes from the crowd often dictates where the shows going but as a performer you can’t rely on that but when it’s happening you can feel it all around you. Our latest shows out in Montauk at the festival 5/16/2024-5/19/2024. We really have not played better. 

What was your worst experience on stage?

The first formation of the bands first show could easily be a top contender. We played only for our bass players parents. The location was essentially crawling with nightlife but the establishment we were playing was so dead you could whisper. Paired with being some of our worst playing, it was probably the worst feeling I’ve ever had. There have been other catastrophes but that was a major learning experience that will be hard to parallel. 

Tell us something about you / each member that you think people would be surprised about.

Nicks hair isn’t really straight. Russ hates cheese. Brendan has a beautiful baby. Frank and Eugene are actually twin brothers from the future. I am actually not named Tortellina Cortez contrary to what I tell people at every live show. 

What are the next steps you plan to take as a band to reach the next level?

I think the biggest thing is traveling more and visiting other music markets. A band is reliant on being able to get around and playing music regionally is our next step. We have made some serious headway as a band in our local market and while we will always be developing our sound and growing, taking the show on the road is what we need to do. 

I hear you have new music, what can you tell us about it.

What we can say is we will be releasing a single every month up until our album drops in September, starting with “PARASITE” on May 24th. 

What was the recording process like?

We actually recorded the record somewhat separately and together. Initially we recorded demos and brought them into the studio to record over. One thing we like to do is record the drums last which in my opinion, helps make the whole thing feel more together. We spent November 2022-April of 2024 recording and all mixing was done side by side as the songs were finished. A true labor of love. 

What was the biggest learning curve in writing the new tunes?

It wasn’t so much of a learning curve as really diving into the process and getting more involved in the production end of things. A lot more time was spent shaping the sound and creating the arrangements this time around because we learned so much from doing our first album. That was where the learning curve was truly arrangement and production. 

Would you change anything now it’s finished?

I am honestly so grateful that this record took the amount of time it did because I wouldn’t change a thing about it. So much credit is due to Anthony Lopardo and Ray Marte from Westfall Recording Company whose patience and expertise helped us craft what I can confidently say is our best work yet. 

Is there anything else you would like to share with the world?

We hope to visit you all some day. 


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