“A lot is riding on this new record.” Adam Traub checks in by phone about his band the Burning of Rome and their new disc. “Kind of everything. We’ve got a good relationship with our label [Surfdog Records]. I’m treating it like it’s our chance to break out. Everything came together at the same time — the booking agent, the label, and the publicist. It’s sink or swim time.”
Is this an opinion that is open for revision later? “Yes. We’ve been in this position before.” Traub says if his band doesn’t go big this time, they won’t stop what they are doing. “Will we have to go back to our day jobs? is the question.”
Surfdog calls With Us a “pleasingly strange debut.” It’s set for release September 18. So, in what ways is the new record pleasing and strange?
“A lot of stuff I recorded before, in the past I didn’t have the proper gear to express what I wanted to get across,” Traub says. “This time, with a budget, I had access to incredible gear and exposure to incredible minds. To have my songs evolve from crappy little demos I recorded in my apartment to beautiful opuses...” he trails off.
Some of those incredible minds included Grammy Award–winning producer Tom Biller. The record was mixed by Dave Darling (Tom Waits, Jack Johnson, Brian Setzer), with additional remixes by Paul Leary (Butthole Surfers, Sublime, U2, Meat Puppets).
Traub says, “[I’m] working my tail off and getting ready for the tour in August. We’re gone pretty much the entire month. We’ll be traveling up and down the coast and heading out into Arizona.”
I tell him August is a good time to hit Arizona, if only for the reduced hotel rates during what is the most hellish month of summer out there.
“I have a feeling we’re gonna be crashing on floors, not hotel rooms. We specified tour areas where we have friends.”
Does this mean that a tour is defined by the availability of free accommodations? Not entirely. The band favors gigs in towns where they have a fan base. “In some spots, we’re flying blind. We’ll make it work.”
Traub says he lives in L.A. now. “I just got this bartending gig. I’m not gonna miss it. I always thought it’d be all Sam Malone [from the TV show Cheers], pouring drinks and laughing and having a great time.” But, no. “It’s more like baby-sitting drunk adults.” In fact, he says the entire band is happy to be leaving their day jobs for a month.
Burning of Rome
What does Traub miss about San Diego? “I’m down there more now since I’ve moved to L.A.” The rest of the band still lives here and he travels south for rehearsals in Oceanside. “And I still hang in O.B. I feel like I’m still a resident living in a satellite city.”