Category Archives: “Rob Roper”

Coronavirus and Musicians

(This is an edited post from my website homepage March 29, 2020.)

Like all musicians, all my gigs have been cancelled due to measures taken to stop the spread of the Coronavirus. Not only can we no longer do what we love– play our music live for people– but it impacts us financially as well. I ask music fans who haven’t lost your jobs to support your favorite bands and solo artists by one or more of the following ways:

Buy records– CDs or vinyl.
Some people, myself included, like to have physical copies of our favorite albums. For one reason, listening to a record on a good home stereo provides superior fidelity. Secondly, many record have cool artwork and information on them. Thirdly, music that lives in the “cloud” can disappear anytime because you don’t own it. Nobody can take a record away from you.

Buy paid downloads.
Unfortunately we receive virtually no money when you listen to our music on streaming platforms such as Youtube, Spotify, Pandora, etc. So if that’s the main way you listen to music, please consider buying some paid downloads to help us out. Bandcamp allows you to pay more than the listed price for a download to support the artist. And Bandcamp is a great way to discover new artists!

Join the Artist Fan Clubs.
Many bands and solo artists have a fan club on platforms like Bandcamp and Patreon, where you can make a regular monthly contribution. Please consider this, at least until we can gig again.

Attend Ticketed Live Internet Shows

In many cases, the only way to hear artists live during the shutdown is by live internet shows. Organizations such as Side Door sell tickets to shows using the Zoom software. Please consider paying more than the listed ticket price to support the artist.

Other live video streaming platforms, such as Facebook Live and Google Youtube, don’t pay us for our performances. (But of course they keep all the money from advertisers.) For artists who stil use these artist-hostile platforms, most will provide a way to tip them. Please consider doing so.

How You Can Help Me:
If you want to support me during the shutdown, the best way is to go to my Rob Roper Bandcamp Site and my Total Flower Chaos Bandcamp Site and buy Downloads, CDs and Tshirts. On the Rob Roper Bandcamp Site you will also find the Misfit Club where you can make regular monthly contributions. Misfit Club members have exclusive access to live recordings and things not available to the general public.

With a little support from our fans, solo artists and bands be able to get through this. As of this writing there’s no light at the end of the tunnel, but hopefully the day isn’t too far away when we can all get back to doing what we love– playing live music for you. And you can get back to doing what you love– going out to hear live music.

–Rob September 5, 2020

2019 in Review

After restoring the blog, I see that the last post was the 2018 Year-ini-Review. So before posting new stuff, I thought it might be useful to post my 2019 Year-in-Review, even though it’s 8 months late.

My acoustic band, Scupanon, continued playing gigs in 2019, with Diamond Jim Hewitt replacing Paul Ermisch on violin. Janet Lipson continued with backing vocals, and Sam Caston re-joined on percussion on a few gigs. We played a total of 13 gigs, mainly at breweries, but also a very successful gig at Swallow Hill, the big folk music venue in Denver. 45 people paid an average of $10/ticket to see us play there. Videographer Dave Briggs filmed it and edited two song videos, so we finally have a couple of decent videos for promotional purposes.

Electric Poetry played two more gigs, then came to an end. The drummer, bass player and lead guitarist had moved on to a new band. That was just as well, because I wanted to form a new band– Total Flower Chaos– that would play all my songs, including (and especially) my political songs such as “Metadata” and “I Didn’t Believe,” as well as my rock instrumentals, that weren’t being played by Electric Poetry. Also, I was doing almost all the administrative and promotional work for Electric Poetry, and decided that, in my next band, I would make it a requirement that all band members contribute to that work. It’s too much, and not fair, for one person to do it all. I ran a Craigslist ad and recruited a new bass player, Ryan Watts, towards the end of the year.

I released two singles in 2019 for download and streaming, Voice of Doubt under the Total Flower Chaos bandname, and My Favorite Disguise, under my own name.

I resumed voice lessons after an 8-year layoff, this time going with Molly Zackary at Swallow Hill. I’m learning a lot and improving.

Playing the gigs with Scupanon and Electric Poetry resulted in an expansion of my fan base– a 15% increase in the email list. In addition, 13 CDs were sold at those gigs and 2 tshirts.

For the second year in a row, I met my goal of breaking even financially with music. Music income exceeded expenses by $189. And I also broke even in music gear sales and purchases for the second year in a row.

In September, one month after turning 65, I quit my day job, and resumed doing music full-time. Hopefully I will not have to take another day job for the rest of my life. The goal is for music income to continue covering music expenses, and Social Security and my retirement savings to pay my living expenses.

In summary, I feel like I succeeded in my mission of serving the misfits with my music in 2019. I made progress and am moving forward. I had high hopes for 2020– forming a new rock band and starting to play gigs by May, and continuing to play gigs with my acoustic band, but a little virus would wreck those plans. So I shifted gears and learned how to play solo internet shows, and decided to make my next big record instead.

Rob Roper September 5, 2020

New Song “Empty” with Revised Lyrics

In January I posted the lyrics to this song.  I wasn’t happy with some of them, and kept poking at it.  Here’s the new– and I think the final– version of the lyrics:

Copyright © 2018 by Rob Roper

A thousand friends
no one to talk to, so I
sit and stare
at a plastic rectangle, four by three

Everyone’s connected
Connected to no one, it’s a
the latest addiction


How can we feel so empty in
a city of a million people?
How can we pretend
nothing’s wrong?

Sit with me and talk for awhile
I want to see your smile
’cause all too soon this moment
will be gone

We started out, in a
garden of Eden, but now we live
most of our lives
under a ceiling

It all builds up, so we
look for ways to vent our rage, we roll
down the street, in a
climate-controlled, metal cage


A thousand friends
no one to talk to


Building a Community of Misfits

I sent this email to my fan list yesterday:

It was probably back in 2004 or 2005 that I started going to see the Denver band, The Railbenders.  I liked their electric guitar-based, old school style of country music, with original songs by bandleader Jim Dalton.  Soon after, Jim started a weekly series of acoustic music on Tuesday nights, which he named, oddly enough, Acoustic Tuesdays.  I began attending those on a regular basis, and got to know Jim as well as many of the hardcore Railbender fans.

By then, I was attending almost every Railbender gig not only for the music, but to hang out with the new friends I had made.  There was a sense of camaraderie among the core Railbender fans;  a sense of community.

Since then I have gone through various encarnations of my own bands.  However, I haven’t seen that same sense of community among fans developing when I play.  I want to change that.  I want to develop this community further, for both my acoustic band, Scupanon, and with Electric Poetry, my new electric band.  It struck me that I have friends from various sources who have never met.  They should.  I know they would like each other.  I would like to use my music as a way of bringing them together.

So from now on, I’m going to make a conscious effort to encourage my friends and fans to come to my shows not only for the music, but for the opportunity to hang out with friends, and make new friends.  Like I did with the Railbenders.  Ever since my friend Kurt Loken labeled me “the troubadour of the misfit” back in 2009, my mission has to create and perform music for misfits.  What better way to bring misfits together, than at my shows?

A community of misfits?  It seems like an oxymoron.  Afterall, misfits, by definition, don’t fit in.  But maybe it could be done, if the music served them.  What do you think?

The next gathering of the misfits will take place on February 8 at Herman’s Hideaway in Denver.  Electric Poetry is playing, along with 4 other bands.  Your new friends will be waiting there to meet you.

Your fellow misfit,


2017 Year-in-Review Addendum

I don’t only work on music during the year.  So here’s some other highlights of my 2017:

New great songwriter discovered in 2017:
Rachel Sermanni

Movies I enjoyed in 2017:
Eyes on the Prize:  America’s Civil Rights Years (documentary)
Maggie’s Plan
The Cotton Club
The Train
Merchant’s of Doubt (documentary)
A Most Wanted Man
The Wind that Shakes the Barley
Jimmy’s Hall
I am Sam
Muscle Shoals
The Lady in the Van
Steve Jobs:  The Man in the Machine (documentary)

Books I enjoyed in 2017:
Chrissie Hynde, Reckless: My Life as a Pretender
Johnny Marr, Set the Boy Free: The Autobiography
John Lydon, Anger is an Energy:  My Life Uncensored
Ryan White, Jimmy Buffett:  A Good Life all the Way
Willie Nelson, Willie:  An Autobiography
Edward Abbey, The Monkey Wrench Gang
James C. Cobb, The Most Southern Place on Earth: The Mississippi Delta and the Roots of Regional Identity
John Dittmer, Local People: The Struggle for Civil Rights in Mississippi
Charles Gati, Failed Illusions: Moscow, Washington, Budapest, and the 1956 Hungarian Revolt
Gary Webb, Dark Alliance: Movie Tie-In Edition: The CIA, the Contras, and the Cocaine Explosion
Fred Halstead, Out Now; A Participant’s Account of the American Movement Against the Vietnam War
Howard Weir III, A Paradise of Blood: The Creek War of 1813–14
James Howard Kunstler, The Geography of Nowhere: The Rise and Decline of America’s Man-Made Landscape
Andres Duany et al, Suburban Nation: The Rise of Sprawl and the Decline of the American Dream 

Also I made some new friends, rediscovered an old friend from college, and further developed my friendship with people I met in 2016 or earlier.  I didn’t realize what a good year it was until I typed this up!