Q&A with Robert Jon (& The Wreck) take the Southern rock sound from the east coast and make it their own.

"Music has always been at the forefront of world cultural issues and expression. It could possibly be the best non-aggressive way to express an opinion about any subject. We just want our music to relate with people. We want you to have a good time at live shows and let the music take you away when you need it."

Robert Jon & The Wreck:

Southern Blues Rock Roots

Reigning from Southern California, Robert Jon & The Wreck take the Southern rock sound from the east coast and make it their own. Since their inception in 2011, these native Californians; Robert Jon Burrison (lead vocals, guitar), Andrew Espantman (drums, background vocals), Henry James Schneekluth (lead guitar, background vocals), Warren Murrel (bass) and Jake Abernathie (keyboards) have been electrifying audiences all over the world with their soaring guitar leads, rich vocal harmonies, and memorable tunes. Simply put, it is difficult to ignore when these talented musicians take the stage. Little wonder they have made an impact on audiences across the world, where they’ve played a run of sold-out shows and proudly shared bills with talent the likes of Joe Bonamassa, Blackberry Smoke, Peter Frampton, Buddy Guy and Rival Sons. 2020’s ‘Last Light On The Highway’ garnered worldwide acclaim for the band and 2021’s ‘Shine A Light On Me Brother’ continued their upward trajectory, leading to a collaboration with Blues Rock Titan Joe Bonamassa’s Journeyman Records, which has paved the way for even more new and exciting music.

(Robert Jon & The Wreck / Photo © by Adam Kennedy)

Most recently they released ‘One Of A Kind,’ a dynamic, multi-faceted EP, featuring material produced by GRAMMY-Award winners Don Was (Bonnie Raitt, The Stones, John Mayer) and Dave Cobb (Chris Stapleton, Brandi Carlile, Blackberry Smoke, Rival Sons). In 2022, also saw the release of ‘Live At The Ancienne Belgique,’ their first official live concert film spanning the last decade of their exceptional career, which Music News called, “one of the best live albums I have heard in years." The Wreck are touring extensively across the world and recording even more new music to release to their rapidly growing fanbase. Band released a new single "Ballad Of A Broken Hearted Man" (2024)produced and recorded by Kevin Shirley at the Village Studios in Los Angeles CA. It was co-written with their good friend Ian Cullen.

Interview by Michael Limnios           Special Thanks: Robert Jon & Warren Murrel

How has the Blues and Rock Counterculture influenced your views of the world and the journeys you’ve taken?

Robert Jon: Growing up in Southern California, counterculture was a big part of my upbringing. In Orange County specifically, there is a legendary punk-rock and hardcore music scene that has always pushed and evolved the local music scene. I learned so much from those DIY punk day as a kid, it really gave me the drive for my continued career in music.

How do you describe your sound, music philosophy and songbook? Where does your creative drive come from?

Robert Jon: We don’t try to categorize ourselves to avoid being put in a box. We love that we are able to make music that has ties to other genres like rock, blues, country, or soul music and but still not fully be just one of those bands. We can have those influences but still retain an RJTW sound at the end of the day.

Our drive comes from our love of playing music. At this point, it’s really all we know how to do.

What moment changed your music life the most? 

Robert Jon: It’s so hard to pick one moment that has changed my life. We are so fortunate to be able to play music for a living, each year seems to just keep getting better. Music overall has changed my life every day and continues to evolve and push me as a person.

"I hope people continue to go to live shows and support live music. It’s an artform that I don’t think can ever be fully replaced. AI will probably get very good at creating similar things, but it will never fully replace the human element in music. I don’t think there’s any point in worrying about what the future holds. You just try to embrace whatever comes next, it’s kind of like playing a live show, there’s no stopping, you just gotta keep going." (Robert Jon & The Wreck / Photo © by Rob Bondurant)

What´s been the highlights in your life and career so far?

Robert Jon:recent highlight for us was being featured on Germany’s Rockpalast live music concert series. They recorded our set this summer at the Herzberg Festival in Germany. We’ve seen so many Rockpalast Concert series, it was an honor to be featured amongst their line up.

What do you miss most nowadays from the music of the past? What are your hopes and fears for the future of?

Robert Jon: miss the simplicity of music from the past. Now a days people have to try really hard to stick out or be unique. I miss the days of simple song writing, a few simple chords and the truth.

I hope people continue to go to live shows and support live music. It’s an artform that I don’t think can ever be fully replaced. AI will probably get very good at creating similar things, but it will never fully replace the human element in music. I don’t think there’s any point in worrying about what the future holds. You just try to embrace whatever comes next, it’s kind of like playing a live show, there’s no stopping, you just gotta keep going.

What were the reasons that made California -since 1960s- to be the center of Blues Rock researches and experiments?

Robert Jon: I think during the 60’s there was just a lot of experimentation that wasn’t happening anywhere else in the United States. It seemed to be a combination of a mixture of culture, drugs and sunshine. I think people for the first time were embracing who they were as people. Life in the US before the 60’s was very rigid, it was kind of like everyone let loose, and when that happens there is bound to be an amazing boom in creativity and expression.

What is the impact of music on the socio-cultural implications? 

Robert Jon: Music has always been at the forefront of world cultural issues and expression. It could possibly be the best non-aggressive way to express an opinion about any subject.

How do you want the music to affect people?

Robert Jon: We just want our music to relate with people. We want you to have a good time at live shows and let the music take you away when you need it.

"I miss the simplicity of music from the past. Now a days people have to try really hard to stick out or be unique. I miss the days of simple song writing, a few simple chords and the truth."

(Robert Jon & The Wreck / Photo © by Rob Blackham)

What are some of the most important lessons you have learned from your experience in the music paths?

Robert Jon: Being on the road and getting to travel the world playing music for fans is an incredible opportunity. The things I continue to learn are from the people who come to the show. Each audience, venue, city, and country have such unique vibes and cultures. Being exposed to these sorts of things make you a more understanding human. In the end you realize we are all on this planet together and we are not that different from each other. There is always something positive to learn on the road.

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