THE MAN BEHIND UNIT A RECORDING & ARTS AND THE INTRINSIC DESERT ROCK BAND
By Robin Linn
ROBBIE WALDMAN is a native desert son, deeply entrenched in the art of desert rock, a genre that stretches far beyond geographical borders. He is founding member of the acid rock desert band Waxy and owner of Unit A Recording & Arts studio in Palm Springs. There he is currently working on his follow up record to his desert rock classic, Without Any Explanation Why, which features a revolving cast of cutting edge rock stars….a “must have” for any fan of desert (stoner) rock. Guest artists such as rock icons, John Garcia and Alfredo Hernandez (Kyuss) make this record one for the desert rock and roll hall of fame. Some of the most important music artists of our era of rock lent their creative genius to this iconic collection of classic psychedelic rock. Mario Lalli (Fatso Jetson), the Godfather of desert rock lays down a ripping, guttural bass line that fuels the fire of the track “Eleven”, which also features Eagles of Death Metal frontman, Jesse Hughes on Flute. Ed Mundel (from the seminal stoner rock band Monster Magnet, and his acid rock project Ultra Electric-Mega Galactic) brings his masterful guitar prowess to “White Walls” which also features the interstellar guitar work of Yawning Man guitarist, Gary Arce. Parosella bassist, Brandon Henderson, adds space noise to “I Could Always”. This gem was recorded at Robbie’s Unit A, and then mastered by stoner rock producer/engineer, Harper Hug at the prestigious Thunder Underground Recording Studio.
Waxy has had alternating members over the years that have brought the material into the live setting with fervent intensity. Bassist Damian Lautiero and drummer Landerra (Sean Carillo), keyboardist Jack Kohler, guitarist Ehren Groban, drummer Peter Leighton, and multi-instrumentalist, Mike Johnson, all have been key members of the group. Waxy has now enlisted Nigel Dettlebach (Slipping Into Darkness) for this leg of the journey. Within the framework of Waxy, Robbie has crafted a sound that is organic and pure. The psychedelic, hard rock compositions are raw, stark and forcible by nature. The rhythm section prepares a canvas for Robbie’s haunting vocals and poignant lyrics with dense, thick, rhythmic structures infused with dirty, superfluous guitar tones and pulsing grooves sending the listener into stoner rock delirium.
ROBBIE WALDMAN ON MAKING MUSIC IN THE DESERT…….
“Being raised in the desert was a nice experience. I have a wonderful family and the Desert is a fairly safe place although trouble can find you anywhere. I graduated from Cathedral City High School and immediately went to USC on a tennis scholarship. To be honest, I never thought I’d move back home after school because I really fell in love with LA, even with all its craziness and traffic. I was a music major at USC and nearing the end of school I had a bit of an identity crisis. I had gone to school every day of my life and played tennis every day of my life, and both were ending at the same time. I wasn’t good enough to make a living as a pro athlete and didn’t have plans to continue with my studies. What’s a guy to do? So I traded my tennis strings for guitar strings and dove into the whirlwind of the music industry. I interned at the now defunct Red Ant Records, A&M and Electra Records. Although I made some very good friends at those places who I’m still in touch with today, the business side of things didn’t really appeal to me. Slow Burn was on Red Ant during my time there and that really sparked something in me and reunited my long-time friendship with the great John Garcia. This was also the beginning of Queens of the Stone Age’s rise and that really brought me back to my roots. So, I decided to come home and open a recording studio……to be on the front lines of creativity! I also rediscovered my home town as an adult which was interesting. Ironically, the Desert is a real destination location for so many bands and artists alike. It’s close enough to major cities, has far fewer distractions, and offers a lot of fun things to do….especially if you’re just visiting. The Desert is an extremely spiritual place and if you’re sensitive enough, you can feel its pulse. That is what draws me here and what has kept me here.
I couldn’t be more proud to be from the Desert. The music that has come out from this part of the world has been and remains exceptional. The Desert seems to bring out soul and sincerity in our approach to songs and songwriting. Bands like Kyuss, Queens of the Stone Age, Unsound, Fatso Jetson, Across The River, Sean Wheeler, Green Eggs and Hammonds, Groovalopacus, The Whizards, Polyfemus, Sort of Cortet, and so many others have been huge influences on me. They all remain close to my heart as well as the hearts of people across the world. It’s actually really magical! All that sand is like musical fairy dust, spreading the love and joy of jamming and getting to know someone through their instrument. It’s a little hokey but then again, so am I!”
I have been taking in live Waxy sets since 2003 at various venues around the desert. With each passing year they have evolved and developed their sound to the point I NEVER miss a show if I can help it. Robbie’s creative vision for Waxy is realized with crystal clarity. They are part of a larger international music family who all create beautiful original art in one form or another, and who come together and support each other time and time again. Visit their website to hear for yourself!
UPCOMING WAXY SHOWS:
Saturday, May the 10th /Global Music Project SANDSTORM at the CIA in North Hollywood…House Of Broken Promises, Waxy, Nasty Habits, and Atala. 4 Amazing bands working together for a great cause.
Thursday, May 15th at Mario Lalli’s Thursday night music extravaganzas in LA at Cafe Nela.
Waxy’s official website:
Read the digital edition on my music blog, Robin Linn’s Desert Rhythms at: