The Old Rooney Gets Washed Away as Its New Lineup Comes Ashore in Miami

Robert Schwartzman, captain (and lead singer) of Rooney.EXPAND
Robert Schwartzman, captain (and lead singer) of Rooney.
Courtesy photo
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Just when we thought Rooney had sailed off into the California sunset, the indie-rock project has returned to shore.

Helmed by lead singer Robert Schwartzman, the group last year dropped its first studio album in nearly six years, Washed Away. Simultaneously, Schwartzman introduced an all-new back-up band, which will stop at Gramps in Miami July 11.

“The lineup is awesome. Everyone is excited and bringing a ton of positive energy to the mix,” Schwartzman says. “They're younger than me and just all-around happy to be performing in Rooney. I love that... They're all supergenuine and gracious. I've been through a lot of ups and downs with Rooney, and it's great to be surrounded with people that want to play and do the best to help this project.”

Rooney has always been about emitting a sunny, ocean-esque ambiance. That vibe is alive and well on Washed Away, which evokes everything wonderful about Weezer’s Blue Album, anything by the Strokes, and an upbeat dash of the Beach Boys, all in one happy place. Because Schwartzman is from L.A., it's no surprise the band continues to master the Cali vibe.

“I was born in California, so I know no other state as well,” Schwartzman says. “I'm really not sure what the ‘California’ sound is, but I think it's how people relate to music, with harmonies and major seven chords.”

In addition to hearing Rooney’s latest tunes, you can also count on some of the classics live. Schwartzman is still rocking some of the band's earliest songs, such as “I’m Shakin,” “Blueside,” and “Stay Away." He even weaves in a new tune here and there.

“Here we are about seven months after the last tour, and we're playing all summer, with a new EP coming out next month,” Schwartzman says. “In the past, we'd put out an album and tour and then disappear for five years. That's not what I want anymore. I just want to stay consistent and active and make lots of music, play shows, etc.”

That being said, it doesn’t look like we’ll be seeing Schwartzman hit any other type of stage (or screen) anytime soon. As much as we loved him on the big screen in The Princess Diaries and The Virgin Suicides, an acting blitz just isn’t in the cards for now.

“I still love [acting] and am open to it, but I just don't pursue it,” Schwartzman says. “I chose to follow music at a point when acting was more of an opportunity. I just didn't see myself following that career path. I love creating projects from the ground up, so maybe there's a way to do both.”

With the Sh-Booms and Run River North. 9 p.m. Tuesday, July 11, at Gramps, 176 NW 24thSt., Miami; 305-699-2669; gramps.com. Tickets cost $18 via ticketfly.com.

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