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Canada's King of Progressive Jazz/Rock

by Steven Hubbard

Before the members of the Barenaked Ladies were old enough to wear those baggy shorts they like so much; before Moxy Fruvous ever wrote one of their barber shop pop ditties; before many of today’s pop stars, there was Robbie Rox. As a purveyor of his own unique brand of progressive jazz rock, he has delighted audiences for three decades. Now in his middle age, Rox is Canada’s undisputed king of musical innovation.

Politically incorrect before the phrase existed, Rox has spent the past 30 years poking fun at the pretension around him.

Back with two more releases—Rox remains the lovably, self-described rebel he’s always been. Once again he sets his sights on the people and institutions around him that stand waist deep in hypocrisy, offering an honest collection of songs that he thinks will appeal to anybody with a sense of humour—regardless of age.

“I can relate to young people, even though I’m middle aged. I can relate to their anger and frustrations, I just happen to be an older guy, and the thing is; when you’re younger you have ideals and you think you can change everything, but when you get a little older you realize you might not be able to and all you can do is leave a piece of yourself behind,” says Rox, between sips of beer at his favorite watering hole.

Leaving a piece of himself behind definitely isn’t a problem for Rox—his direct songwriting, humour, burly build and famous chrome dome make him a true original; someone you just don’t forget and while he has been admonished by some in the past for his honesty, the most notable aspect of his songwriting is his use of humour.

“Humour is an amazing way to slip the truth to people. When you’re angry people think you’re not getting enough of something, and I admit, I don’t get enough of a lot of things. I can’t write enough, I can’t sing enough, I can’t live enough, but I’ve learned to be satisfied with what I’ve been given and for me humour has been a vehicle to express myself,” he explains, in typically candid fashion.

Rox is undeniably an important figure in Toronto’s live music scene. Robbie is presently recording his third cd which will be his 8th album and has immediate plans to tour with The Monster Horn Band.