The Rolla Story:
And to think, he almost didnt make the gig…
Call it fate, call it a coincidence, call it a series of fortunate events, but three years, two records, and one wedding later, Rolla can only call it their good luck that Fuzz’s booking agent forgot to cancel what would prove to be a most fateful gig. It was a cold December night in Burlington, Vermont. Fuzz (Tom Tom Club, Deep Banana Blackout) made the show at Nectar’s, and it was there he met his future wife, band mate and soul mate, Carrie Ernst, a newly local singer-songwriter who remembered Fuzz from his earlier bands. She decided to say hello… The chemistry was undeniable, and that night the two stayed up ’til sunrise talking and playing songs to one another.
Their live debut together was as spontaneous as their meeting, during an acoustic set by Fuzz supporting Dickey Betts (Allman Brothers Band). Encouraged by a warm audience response (and as an excuse to spend more quality time together) they decided that they should take their musical relationship seriously. As the collaboration became their main focus, they realized something was missing – a rhythm section – and recruited longtime Fuzz associates bassist David Shuman (The Lilys, MayKate ONeil Band)) and drummer Marc Balling to the cause. Rolla was born.
A band born of love, Rolla’s first record, La La Land, naturally has a romantic persuasion. Though the musicians’ backgrounds encompass jazz, funk, R&B and folk, Rolla draws inspiration from the players’ common ground in timeless pop and rock (the Beatles, Pink Floyd, Bob Dylan), and from the contemporary artists they admire (The Shins, Wilco, Modest Mouse). The centerpiece of Rolla’s music is Fuzz and Carrie’s vocal harmonies, weaving bright, but laid-back pop melodies over clean and to-the-point electric and acoustic arrangements.
La La Land propelled much touring, including opening spots for national acts such as Blues Traveler, Kenny Rankin and the Weepies, and was awarded “CD of the Year 2005” by the Indie Acoustic Project. The band has since recorded an EP, Fits & Starts, which finds them gone more electric and occasionally exploring some darker lyrical terrain. Love is still decidedly in the air, but Rolla try their collective hand at relational dysfunction with “I’m Happy” and life, death and purgatory with “Let it Happen.”
Phil Pitts has taken over drum duty from Balling, who left on good terms over scheduling conflicts (he’s a schoolteacher, Rolla’s a rock band…). Plans are laid for regional and national tours and a new full-length in the coming year.
La La Land (2005)
Fits & Starts (EP, 2006)
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