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Columbus Makes Art Presents: HighBall Halloween Performer Doc Robinson on Columbus, Artistic Inspiration & The Beatles

Sara Wolff Sara Wolff Columbus Makes Art Presents: HighBall Halloween Performer Doc Robinson on Columbus, Artistic Inspiration & The BeatlesDoc Robinson performs at HB: On The Rocks, a celebration of HighBall Halloween's 10th Anniversary. Photo courtesy Doc Robinson.
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On Friday, Oct. 20, HighBall Halloween celebrates 10 years of costumes and creativity for HB: On The Rocks as 10 local bands pay tribute to music and style icons and the era they defined. Doc Robinson headlines a mixed set of originals and covers by the Beatles, along with other local favorites. The band is comprised of Jon Elliott of The Floorwalkers and Nick D’Andrea of Nick D’ and The Believers. They sat down to talk about their upcoming performance.

Sara: Your performance HB: On The Rocks is paying tribute to The Beatles. Can you tell us a little bit more about how their legacy inspires your music?
Nick: We both own copies of The Beatles complete fake book that are in tatters from a decade of dragging them around to gigs and parties. I still remember buying my first Beatles record, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, when I was 15, popping it into the CD player, laying on the ground and listening through the full record three times in a row. That hooked me for life. Their gift for melody, for strong structure, for pushing the limits of what you can do and say inside of a pop song; they were like the NASA program for popular music. They carried us into the future.

Jon: I can’t imagine Nick and I spending a full day of either writing or recording a song without mentioning The Beatles in some way. We both have been students of theirs since we first laid ears on their music, and we take as much influence from their philosophy, spirituality and cartoon-like personas as we do their discography.

HighBall Halloween Performer Doc Robinson.

HighBall Halloween Performer Doc Robinson.

Sara: What other artists or musicians inspire you?
Nick: Dr. Dog, The Rolling Stones, Parliament-Funkadelic, Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Tom Petty, Leonard Cohen, Lou Reed.

Both: Third Eye Blind.

Jon: Smokey Robinson & the whole MoTown movement, STAX, Sam Cooke, Aretha Franklin,
Jeff Buckley, Radiohead, R&B/Pop Music of the 90s/and early 2000s.

Doc Robinson

Doc Robinson.

Sara: Doc Robinson has been described as “indie pop with an old school swagger.” This year saw the release of your debut EP, Golden Daze, with some of your favorite local musicians, as well as the incredibly fun music video for “Drive Slow,” which was shot around some of your favorite Columbus locations. What can we look forward to seeing in the coming months from Doc Robinson?
Nick: We’ve got another full length record in the works. We’re about 75 percent done with the writing phase and we’re starting to plan the recording process, and should have that one out early next year. We’ve also got another collaborative recording project we’re developing with Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams that we’ll be looking to put out next April.

Jon: We have some great music video collaborations with Dingo Nation on deck that we have yet to release. We were fortunate to capture some great footage at this past year’s beloved Doo Dah Parade; keep an eye out for some sad clowns on the march.

Sara: What do you love about the creative community in Columbus?
Nick: The family support, the collaboration that takes place between different bands, the variety of venues that can comfortably accommodate literally any genre and the diversity of the music scene.

Jon: We are so proud to be a part of a creative community that is constantly making efforts to remain in-touch and in full support of its artists. This city is rich with innovative and creative culture, and with so much incredible art and music surrounding us, it’s very easy for us to find inspiration to create!

Sara: How would you describe your stage shows to someone that hasn’t seen you before?
Nick: Rowdy, raucous, everybody-get-down good-times.

Jon: We sincerely and wholeheartedly enjoy ourselves! We love these songs and the brethren joining us on stage helping us bring them to life.

Sara: HighBall Halloween celebrates fashion, costumes and creativity, especially in regard to the Battelle Costume Couture Fashion Show on Saturday night. Will fashion and costuming play into your performance at HB: On The Rocks, and if so, how?
Nick: Most definitely, we’ll all be in Beatles garb of our favorite members from our favorite eras.

Jon: Absolutely, there will be Liverpool chic as well as 60’s psychedelic. Dressing up is most of the fun!

Sara: Without giving too much away, what can we look forward to for your performance at HB: On The Rocks?
Nick: Lots of sing-alongs, surprise guests and rippin’ guitar solos.

Jon: With the world currently filled with so much hub-bub, we’ll definitely be bringing the peace and love vibrations!

See Doc Robinson with a little help from their friends (as The Beatles), MojoFlo (as Beyonce), The Floorwalkers (as Bob Dylan), Damn the Witch Siren (as Madonna), Liberty Deep Down (as *NSYNC), T. Wong (as Lenny Kravitz), The Shaw Brothers (as Johnny Cash and Willie Nelson), Katanya Ingram (as Stevie Wonder), Jenny Flory (as Amy Winehouse) and Joey Hebdo (as Queen) play at HB: On The Rocks, a tribute to music and style icons and the era they defined, on Friday, Oct. 20.

HighBall Halloween culminates on Saturday, Oct. 21 with HB: High Fashion, featuring The 10th Anniversary Costume Couture Runway Show, The Battelle Costume Couture Fashion Show and performances by The Deeptones, The Wet Darlings, Parker Louis and Band, and Nina West & the West Family. Both nights feature over-the-top public costume contests and hosts Nina West and NBC4’s Monica Day. HighBall Halloween takes place outside the Greater Columbus Convention Center in the Short North Arts District. Tickets are available online Oct. 13-20, or at any entry gate at the event; early bird pricing ends Oct. 13. For more information visit highballcolumbus.org.

Columbus Makes Art Presents is a bi-weekly column brought to you by the Greater Columbus Arts Council – supporting art and advancing culture in Columbus. The column is a project of the Art Makes Columbus campaign, telling the inspiring stories of the people and organizations who create Columbus art. Each column will be written by a different local arts organization to give you an insiders look at how #artmakescbus.

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