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ROOKIE

by ROOKIE

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about

ROOKIE is six matching jumpsuit-clad, shaggy-haired friends from Chicago who play rock ‘n’ roll that’s more at home next to their parents’ battered LPs than on their friends’ streaming playlists. Their self-titled, debut full-length album deftly reformats the classic rock landscape with blowtorch hooks, enthralling harmonies, evocative touches of cosmic country, and distinctively indie-minded songwriting.
ROOKIE’s modern take on timeless American rock ‘n’ roll pulls from all corners of the sonic map, it’s familiar but fresh, lived-in but blown-out. It’s the ’70s/’80s pop-rock sheen of Cheap Trick, 3-minute precision songwriting of Big Star, loose Neil Young Americana, and hazey, psych-flavored boogie of the Allman Brothers and Thin Lizzy. Though barely able to comfortably fit on most stages, once they’re plugged in and smooshed together it’s a potent blend of power chords, blistering leads, and performance prowess beyond their years.
Like local peers Twin Peaks, Whitney, and Post Animal, ROOKIE emerged from an idealistic grassroots, Midwestern, youth community-centric, DIY scene. House shows and divey all-ages venues were the preeminent performance spaces and rock ‘n’ roll was once again king. There is an all-inclusive and carefree essence surrounding the band, as well as their audience, reminiscent of the wide-eyed drive and sense of purpose of an underdog sports team or - more appropriately, given their jumpsuits - a Formula 1 pit crew.
That cooperative vibe is most clear in their balanced attack, each of the six members bringing a signature part of the layered sound from song to song. “Hold On Tight” bashes down the door with a deceptively simple AC-to-the-DC riff, but the three-headed guitar monster attack of Dimitri Panoutsos, Chris Devlin and Max Loebman takes the standby arena rock formula to wild new places. In “Sunglasses” Loebman’s lead vocals evince an ethereally sunny pop disposition, which he later strips down to great effect, just his upper register and acoustic guitar, for the stark “Elementary Blues”. Throughout the album’s 12 tracks, the rhythm section of Joe Bordenaro on drums, Kevin Decker on bass, and Justin Bell on keys establishes a groove-meets-power foundation. On several songs, including “I Can’t Have You But I Want You,” Bordenaro sings lead as well, while the rest of the group piles on with a rowdy gang chorus.
The band of 20-somethings created their broad-yet-intimate sound not long after forming in 2017 from the remnants of under the radar local outfits Joe Bordenaro & the Late Bloomers, Yoko and the Oh Nos, and Max and the Mild Ones. The budding project soon became the subject of excited whispers around town. In 2018, the group released two singles on Bandcamp (“One Way Ticket” and “Let’s Get It Right”) and a 7" single (“I Can’t Have You But I Want You” and “The Move”) for nascent studio/imprint Treehouse Records These recordings raised the whispers to the level of folklore.

credits

released March 13, 2020

ROOKIE is Joe Bordenaro, Kevin Decker, Christopher Devlin, Max Loebman, Dimitri Panoutsos, and Justin Bell.

Additional Players:
#2 - Elan Frankel, Rhodes
#12 - Brandon Deets, Guitar
#3 & 6 - Brendan Linnane, Pedal Steel
#2, 5, 6, 10, 11, & 12 - Steve Kostakes, Organ

Steve Kostakes, Organ
All songs by ROOKIE, ROOKIE CHICAGO LLC (ASCAP).
Recorded at Treehouse Records in Chicago, IL.
Tracks 6, 8, 9 recorded at Big Cat Studio and Treehouse Records.
Engineered by Barrett Guzaldo.
Produced and Mixed by Barrett Guzaldo and ROOKIE.
Mastered by Alex DeYoung.
Artwork by Brandon Deets.

We'd like to thank our friends, partners, and families for their continued love and support in the making of this record. We'd also like to thank Anthony Esposito for his unmatched generosity, our Uncle TJ for keeping us in check, and our fantastic team for putting their energy and efforts into this band. To anyone that has listened to a song, attended a show, or encouraged us along the way; we do not take it for granted. - ROOKIE

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Track Name: Hold On Tight
You’ve got to hold on tight
Everybody thinks you’ve gone crazy
You’ve got to slow down, chief
Before you go lazy lazy

You’ve got to hold on tight to your baby
Swing and you’ll make her go crazy
Dancing on the miracle mile

You’ve got to keep it cool, kid
Karma never felt so good
You’ve got to start a new band
Rock it like a real boy would
Track Name: I Can't Have You But I Want You
A hot mess, but she won’t let you know it
She’s business all the time but I caught her walking by
She’s got that laser vision, her gun is her eye
You wonder if she looks at you, are you gonna die?

And when I said, “I could be anything you ask for,”
She’s got no time, she’s got no time
And when I said, “I could give you what you want”
She rolled her eye
She rolled her…

I can’t have you but I want you
All I want is to be free
And I can tell you think too highly of yourself
But man, she smelled so good

A slit dress, she ain’t afraid to show it
Like she ain’t afraid to lie
Just to watch a grown man cry
She’s got that television but there’s no tv guide
She’s flipping through, getting off
She’s got to survive

And when I said, “I could be anything you ask for,”
She’s got no time, she’s got no time
And when I said, “I could give you what you want”
She rolled her eye
She rolled her…

I can’t have you but I want you
All I want is to be free
And I can tell I got too high all by myself
Oo ya but man, it smelled so good
Track Name: Sunglasses
I like your sunglasses
She’s a renegade on rollerblades
I’ll write a hit for the masses
And I hope it doesn’t drive you away

But don’t you ever take the easy way out
He says, “Don’t shoot the messenger, the messenger’s the only way”
And if you struggle with doubt
He says, “Don’t shoot the messenger, the messenger’s the only way to reach ya”

She says, “It’s so tragic… that conversation’s become so passé”
And if it hurts, and it really does hurt
I’ll pack my bags and hop on a train
Track Name: Side of the Road
I was climbing through my window
I left my keys inside the ride I took home
Like I left my heart with a lady
Who sat with me out on the side of the road

I’ve been chewed up
I’ve been spit out
I’ve been beat up
I’ve been knocked out cold
I’ve been high up
I’ve been low down
But nothing feels like when we’re together alone

We were thinking about leaving
Packing up without a place to go
She’d been dreamin’, had a vision
Let’s get the hell outside of Chicago

I’ve been used up
I’ve been spit on
I’ve been hit on
I’ve been left alone
If you’re high up
there’s a come down
That starts to feel like when we’re together alone

Tried to make it but we broke down
And now we’re split up I got nowhere to go
‘Cause I gave my heart to a lady
Who left me out there on the side of the road

(Chewed Up) Well she chewed me up
(Spit Out) And she spit me out
(Beat Up) She beat me up
(Knocked Out) I was knocked out cold
(High Up) She got me high
(Low Down) She left me low
She’ll cheat you and she’ll leave you and you’ll end up alone
Track Name: Fake Grass
I find myself believing that I know a thing or two
But everybody’s leaving and now all I have is you
And I try to act like I have been around here for some time
But who am I deceiving? I have only but just moved

I sit alone for hours but I never feel alone
It’s then that I remember that I am so far from home
Why aren’t I picking up the phone?
And yet no one here is selfless but yet no one here is cruel
And everyone can sell it but we all know it’s not true

And I, I can’t be taken for a fool
Who knows me all too well

Yea he says he knows about you and he says he knows your name
And you act like you don’t know his but it’s only just a game
Because no one cares about you more than you could care for them
But since we all play guitar, well, we might as well be friends

And I, I can’t be taken for a fool
Who knows me all too well
And I, I can’t be taken for a fool
Who knows me all too well
Track Name: Elementary Blues
If you’re dreaming of a lived-out past
And you’re wishing you could make it last
You ought to know
It could be much easier

When you feel as if it’s getting dark
You can’t cope and you think you’ll starve
Somebody knows
Someone’s got it bad like you
Someone’s got it out for you

For you

Arguably the best-looking jerk on the block
This is my time, best of my time
Reservation makes a fool out of me
Every conversation is a building block and I’m learning
And I’m yearning to be the biggest fool I can be

You ought to know
Your mother’s looking out for you
And your brother’s looking out for you
Make way for elementary blues

When I’m looking to get my revenge
Every Sunday comes rain again
Till’ it snows
Those Christmas lights are looking so fine

So fine when you have the time
Working for the man and I’m in my prime, mama

If you’re dreaming of a lived-out past
And you’re thinking you could make it last
You ought to know
Someone’s got it bad like you
Someone’s got it out for you
Track Name: One Way Ticket
Feels like I’m running down a one way street
In the morning when I’m snoring
And I’m back to the beat on the hazy streets
That keep me from yawning

What she said it’s like to never be alone
What she said it’s like to never be alone
Coming home with a one way ticket
I’m coming home with a one way ticket, yea

Back to the beat on the Chelsea streets
That keep me from winning
It’s a fire in my heart that I can’t explain
It keeps me surrendered

What she said it’s like to never be alone
What she said it’s like to never be alone
Coming home with a one way ticket
I’m coming home

Oh, someone to belong to
Oh, someone to belong to
Someone to belong to
Could it be you?
Track Name: Let's Get It Right
So many chances
Alone dances
Puttin’ up our fences
Blame it on circumstances

Let's get it right this time
Let's get it right this time
To let it slip, would be a crime
Let's get it right

So many deuces
Who cares who loses
Bad destiny chooses
Is that our excuses

Let's get it right this time
Let's get it right this time
To let it slip, would be a crime
Let's get it right

It starts right
No more shedding tears
Gotta lose all our fears
Better days are so near
Track Name: Michigan
If I were in Michigan man
I’d still hold my guitar in the palm of my hand
I’d have my own beach, I’d have my own land
I’d buy me a boat and I’d name it Roxanne

When I get lonely and I’ll miss the city where the girls are pretty
So I’ll take you with me
We’ll build a fire by the lake
Where the water looks at me and says I’m not so great

If I were in Michigan man
I’d still have some family, I’d still have some friends
I’d take one trip just to do it again
Never say bye-bye it’s a waste of time

When I get hungry, I’ll go into town
Where every diner still thinks they’re the best around
When the weekend waitress takes my plate
I’ll have to sit around just until it gets late

‘Cause there’s a piano man who never looks at his hands
And if he saw me leave well, then, he might get sad but probably not

When I get hungry, I’ll go into town
Where every diner still thinks they’re the best around
When the weekend waitress takes my plate
I’ll have to sit around just until it gets late
Track Name: Miss United States
I’ve been to Hollywood with the palm tree streets
I’ve seen the Redwoods on my own two feet
You’ve got to live a little, learn, it’s all around you

She pulls a quick one, she’s going M.I.A.
But when you see her again, you’ll crawl back to the taste
Of her brandywine, you dig the vines between us

Did I try too hard? Did I play my cards?
Do I always end up feeling like a fool?
And I won’t

To call it my mind… It’s in a worn-out state
It’s such a fine line
For Miss United States
You’ve got to read the paper to see what they said about you
Track Name: E Jam
I can tell myself what I’m gonna do
But I’ll find another problem or another excuse
I can take one step and by the next one I’ll have done it again

I wake up in the morning, feel a little confused
Already twenty minutes late so what’s the use?
I’ll just sit here (yea i’ll sit here)
I’ll sit here living life in my head

It was you
Yea you spin me round
You held me down
baby it was you

It was you
Yea she’s a queen without a crown
and you spin me around
but you had no clue
that it was you
I can tell myself what I’m gonna do
But I’ll find another problem or another excuse
I can take one step and by the next one I’ll have done it again

I wake up in the morning, feel a little confused
Already twenty minutes late so what’s my use?
I’ll just sit here (yea i’ll sit here)
I’ll sit here living life in my head

It was you
Yea you spin me round
You held me down
baby it was you

It was you
Yea she’s a queen without a crown
and you spin me around
but you had no clue
that it was you

Don’t you think that it’s funny
That we all got a job
Everyone to be here and now, can’t you see?
If you’re ever gonna understand
If it’s all some kind of master plan
Or what it’s gonna be like one day
If you see God face to face,
Just say you had no clue

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