Flobots

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Flobots
FlobotsLiveTucson08.jpg
Flobots at KFMA Day in Tucson, Arizona on May 16, 2008.
Background information
Origin Denver, Colorado, USA
Genres Alternative hip hop, alternative rock
Years active 2005-present
Labels Universal Republic, Island Def Jam
Associated acts The King Blues, Bop Skizzum
Website www.flobots.com
Members James "Jonny 5" Laurie
Stephen "Brer Rabbit" Brackett
Kenny "KennyO" Ortiz
Past members Andy "Rok" Guerrero
Joe Ferrone
Mackenzie Gault
Jesse Walker

The Flobots are a hip hop and rock band from Denver, Colorado, formed in 2005 by Jamie Laurie. The band's origins date back 5 years earlier to a similar project by Laurie. Flobots found mainstream success with their major label debut Fight with Tools (2007), featuring the single "Handlebars", which became a popular hit on Modern Rock radio in April 2008. The band has released 4 studio albums and 1 EP, with their latest Noenemies being released in May 2017.

Origins (2000-2005)[edit]

The origins of the Flobots project started in 2000, when Jamie "Jonny 5" Laurie teamed with producer Farhad Ebrahimi, a.k.a. Yahktoe. Together they released Onomatopoeia in 2001, and the title track ended up in a compilation by the MIT Songwriting Club at Yahktoe's alma mater. The title track featured guitar player David Gralow, cello player Terrence Favors, and bass player Jaymz Haynes.

Platypus and Fight with Tools (2005–2008)[edit]

Flobots in 2009.

After the release of Onomatopoeia, the project went on a hiatus. In 2005, Laurie reformed the project under the name The Flobots. Joining Laurie was MC/vocalist Stephen "Brer Rabbit" Brackett, bassist Jesse Walker, guitarist Andy Guerrero, trumpet player Joe Ferrone, Viola player Mackenzie Gault, and drummer Kenny Ortiz. Guerrero and Ferrone were previously in the band Bop Skizzum together. With a revamped lineup, Flobots released their debut EP under the new name Flobots Present...Platypus, which went on to sell more than 3,000 copies over the next two years.

After the release of Platypus, Flobots began work on their next album. After a year of writing and producing, the Flobots released their proper debut album Fight with Tools and sold out their CD release show at the Gothic Theatre in Englewood, Colorado. A Denver Post survey of music critics ranked Flobots the 51st best independent band in all of Colorado in late 2007.[1]

Flobots entered a contest held by Denver radio station 93.3 (KTCL), called Hometown for the Holidays, which allowed fans to vote for their favorite songs from 35 local bands. Flobots subsequently won both the radio portion of the contest as well as the live performance award. As a result, the station put "Handlebars" into full rotation at the end of January due to the immense popularity of the song during the contest.[2]

In February 2008, Flobots held a show at the Gothic Theatre in Englewood called "The Heart Attack" featuring local bands The Hot IQs and Paper Bird. It was after this show that the group was approached by and subsequently signed to Universal Republic on a two CD major label deal.[3] On March 31, the band announced that they would be playing Tucson, Arizona's major alternative rock festival, KFMA Day, with Metallica, Apocalyptica, Chiodos, and Scars on Broadway on May 16.[4] Flobots were also part of the sixteenth annual KROQ Weenie Roast on May 17, along with Atreyu, Bad Religion, Flogging Molly, Metallica, The Offspring, Pennywise, The Raconteurs, Rise Against, Scars on Broadway and Seether. On July 20, 2008, Flobots played at the Mile High Music Festival in Commerce City, Colorado with headliners Dave Matthews Band and John Mayer. On July 26, 2008, Flobots played 93.3's Big Gig at Coors Amphitheater in Greenwood Village, Colorado with Offspring. On September 1, 2008 they performed at Bumbershoot Music and Arts Festival in Seattle, Washington.

The single "Handlebars" became popular on alternative rock radio in April 2008 and peaked at No. 3 on Billboard's Modern Rock Tracks chart.[5] Fight With Tools peaked at #15 on the Billboard charts, the band's highest charting album to date.

They made their television debut on Last Call with Carson Daly on May 20, 2008.[6] Also on May 20, Flobots spent two hours with Dr. Drew and Stryker answering sex questions on Loveline [7] and re-released their album Fight With Tools to a wider audience after their newfound success. Flobots also appeared on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno on June 5, 2008 with their song "Handlebars".[8] They performed their second single "Rise" on Late Night with Conan O'Brien on October 13, 2008.

Flobots performing at National Conference for Media Reform in 2013.

Survival Story and The Circle in the Square (2009–2014)[edit]

On February 17, 2009, the Flobots announced in a MySpace blog entry that they were "working really hard on their next album and plan to have it completed soon."[9]

In September 2009, the band finished recording their second album. The band announced on YouTube that the album was to be titled Survival Story. The album was released on March 16, 2010.[10] The key single from that album is the song "White Flag Warrior", featuringTim McIlrath of Rise Against. The album was produced by Mario Caldato, Jr., best known for his work with The Beastie Boys.[11]

In December 2010, the band parted ways with Universal Republic Records.[12] Brer Rabbit mentioned that the split was a mutual decision between the band and the label.[13]

In the summer of 2011, lead guitarist Andy "Rok" Guerrero left the group due to "creative differences" and to focus on his previous project, Bop Skizzum. On September 17, 2011 while performing at the Gallogly Events Center, UCCS, Colorado Springs, the Flobots announced that "they will be releasing an album in 2012 so they might as well name it Stop The Apocalypse." They also performed a brand new song off the album titled The Circle in the Square. It was revealed via their official website on June 15, 2012, that the album would not be titled Stop the Apocalypse, but will be called The Circle in the Square and will be released on August 28, 2012.[14] On June 20, the band posted a video for the title song The Circle in the Square on their YouTube channel. On August 28, 2012, their album The Circle in the Square was released.[15]

In 2013 and 2014, The Flobots performed a free concert for high school students in Jefferson County, Colorado for the annual A Day Without Hate rally. [16] In an interview with Standley Lake High School's news magazine The Lake, Jamie Laurie mentioned how he believed A Day Without Hate was "really inspiring." [17]

On May 7, 2013, the band released video for a previously unreleased song called "Rockmine."[18]

An audience member raises a fist in the air in solidarity at a show in Telluride, CO at Fly Me to the Moon Saloon

No Enemies (2015-present)[edit]

In 2015 it was announced that they were working on a new music project called No Enemies, which will focus on issues such as climate change and immigration reform. The band raised funds via Kickstarter to record two albums.[19]

"How can weget people to come together for a cause through song? That influenced the whole methodology of the song-building, period. That’s the philosophy of pretty much the last three years of the band. That’s the reason why we looked in a very real way at how we bring music back to protest culture. How do we establish and build a culture that communicates emotions, that uses our emotional state as a basis for power? How do we have nonviolent representations of our strength? One of those ways is by having 500 voices be on the same breath. That was the anchor for both our album and our activist work over the last few years. We started from the streets and used the songs in a community environment; then we took them to the studio.

— Stephen "Brer Rabbit" Brackett, [20]

On November 8, 2016, Flobots have released a new track from the upcoming album on their official SoundCloud, "Rattle the Cage". The song was premiered early than planned in response to the 2016 US Presidential election, with the band saying "Wounds are raw. The pain is real. We wanted to share something a little earlier than planned. This is a song for all of us".[21]

On January 20, 2017, they released another new song, the politically charged "Pray", released on the same day as the Inauguration of Donald Trump.[22]

In March 2017, Flobots teamed up with Wonderbound to create a "Hip-hop ballet" set to Flobots music.[23]

Flobots performing live in Lawrence, KS in June 2017

On May 5, 2017, "No Enemies" was officially released.[24] The album was influenced by the works of Vincent Harding, who was a mentor to the band. The group describes the album as "a body of protest songs that speak to the urgency of the current moment."[25] The band intends to release a follow up album soon afterwards, with new songs already debuted live.

Webcomics[edit]

Rise of the Flobots[edit]

The webcomic series created by D.J. Coffman (13) Rise of the Flobots: Architects of Change launched June 9, 2008 at "flobots.net", and features stories inspired by fans and the music of the Flobots along with a science fiction twist.

Band members[edit]

Discography[edit]

Studio albums
Extended plays

Singles[edit]

Year Title Peak positions Album
US
[30]
US
Pop

[30]
US
Mod

[30]
US
DS

[30]
CAN
[31]
UK
[32]
NZ
[33]
2008 "Handlebars" 37 34 3 20 63 14 26 Fight with Tools
"Rise" 33
2010 "White Flag Warrior"
(ft. Tim McIlrath from Rise Against)[34]
22 Survival Story
2012 "The Circle in the Square" The Circle in the Square
2016 "Rattle the Cage" Noenemies
"—" denotes releases that did not chart or have yet to chart.

Appearances in compilations[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Laurie, Brackett and Ortiz are listed as members of the band on the band's latest release, with Gault listed as a "special guest". Promotional photos have included only Laurie, Brackett and Ortiz. However, Mackenzie Gault and Jesse Walker have previously been listed as members of the band. The band frequently plays with touring members with Laurie, Brackett and Ortiz the only consistent members.[26]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "2007 Underground Music Showcase – The Denver Post". Retrieved June 14, 2017. 
  2. ^ "Denverpost.com, Flobots hammer home message". Denver Post. February 15, 2008. 
  3. ^ "Denverpost.com, Flobots take giant step with label deal". Denver Post. March 27, 2008. 
  4. ^ "The History of KFMADAY". KFMA, Tucson, AZ, USA. Retrieved August 29, 2012. 
  5. ^ "Artist Chart History - The Flobots". Billboard. Retrieved August 29, 2012. 
  6. ^ "Flobots Indeed Kill It on Carson Daly". 
  7. ^ "Loveline Show, 2008-05-20 (Flobots)". 
  8. ^ "IMDB site with info on June 5 episode of Jay Leno". IMDB. IMDB. 6/5. Retrieved August 24, 2008.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  9. ^ "Note from the 303". MySpace.com Blogs. Retrieved February 22, 2009. 
  10. ^ "FLOB BLOG No. 3 12.2.09 album update". Flobots. Retrieved December 1, 2009. 
  11. ^ Herrera, Dave (March 12, 2010). "An exclusive in-depth Q&A with Jonny 5 of Flobots". Retrieved June 14, 2017. 
  12. ^ "News: Flobots and Universal Republic part ways". The Know. December 9, 2010. Retrieved June 14, 2017. 
  13. ^ Herrera, Dave (December 10, 2010). "Flobots no longer on Universal Records". Retrieved June 14, 2017. 
  14. ^ "Flobots.com, Upcoming Album". 
  15. ^ "Album Launch Day". Retrieved September 27, 2012. [permanent dead link]
  16. ^ "Day Without Hate Rally". daywithouthate.org. Retrieved June 14, 2017. 
  17. ^ "The Lake - April 2013". Retrieved June 14, 2017. 
  18. ^ Leah Bluntschli (May 6, 2013). "Flobots - Rockmine (OFFICIAL MUSIC VIDEO)". Retrieved June 14, 2017 – via YouTube. 
  19. ^ "Flobots' TWO NEW ALBUMS for 2016 "NOENEMIES"". Kickstarter. Retrieved June 14, 2017. 
  20. ^ Callwood, Brett (April 10, 2017). "Three Albums Later, the Flobots Have Perfected Protest Songwriting". Retrieved June 14, 2017. 
  21. ^ "Flobots release new song "Rattle the Cage" in response to the presidential election - Denverite". November 9, 2016. Retrieved June 14, 2017. 
  22. ^ Press, The Associated. "Flobots all over town during DNC – The Denver Post". Retrieved June 14, 2017. 
  23. ^ "Wonderbound teams with Flobots for hip-hop ballet “Divisions”". The Know. March 23, 2017. Retrieved June 14, 2017. 
  24. ^ Desk, BWW News. "Hip Hop Band Flobots New Album NOENEMIES Out Now". Retrieved June 14, 2017. 
  25. ^ "NOENEMIES, by Flobots". Flobots. Retrieved June 14, 2017. 
  26. ^ "NOENEMIES, by Flobots". Flobots. Retrieved June 14, 2017. 
  27. ^ @L0neW0lfMcQuade, Josh McQuade. "Review: Flobots draw large crowd to Bottleneck". Retrieved June 14, 2017. 
  28. ^ "Album Info - Fight with Tools - Flobots". Billboard. Retrieved August 29, 2012. 
  29. ^ "Official Album Chart for the week ending September 13, 2008". ChartsPlus. Milton Keynes: IQ Ware Ltd (368): 5–8. 
  30. ^ a b c d "Flobots Artist Chart History: Singles". Billboard charts. Retrieved July 19, 2008. 
  31. ^ "Flobots Canadian Hot 100". Billboard charts. Archived from the original on April 9, 2009. Retrieved July 19, 2008. 
  32. ^ "The Official UK Singles Chart for the week ending August 16, 2008". ChartsPlus. Milton Keynes: IQ Ware Ltd (364): 1–4. 
  33. ^ "New Zealand Singles Chart". charts.org.nz. Archived from the original on December 19, 2008. Retrieved August 9, 2008. 
  34. ^ "FMQB.com". Retrieved June 14, 2017. 

External links[edit]