Most bands have the dream of ‘burning down the house’ in front of sold-out crowds. Outside Verona could put that fire out after its show.
Composed of three Golder Ranch firefighters and two others who are friends and family of the fire department, the Oro Valley-based band has just started heating up the room.
About a year ago, lead singer and firefighter Scott Robb got the group started and became, in some people’s opinion, one of the luckiest people in the world.
“Firefighting is the second best job on earth,” he said. “Second to a rock star.”
Robb started laying down tracks for his band’s demo CD before he even had a band.
“My brother and I, we were just starting to put that CD together and layering it and playing all of the instruments,” he said.
As the CD started to come together, Robb found himself going in a new direction.
He tore an ACL on the job and had to move to an administrative post. He asked the people in his department what they thought of him singing kid safety songs for public education purposes. They loved his songs.
The department purchased local television spots featuring Fireman Robb with a guitar, singing with children about the Cool Pool Rules.
A single 30-second clip that reminded children to never swim unsupervised or run around the pool spawned multiple public service announcements covering everything from fire safety to helmet usage.
“After I had a couple kids and started listening to kids’ music, I couldn’t stand it,” Robb said. “So if I could make some kids’ music that parents didn’t want to choke themselves after listening to it, that was kind of why I started writing these songs in the first place.”
Shortly after Fireman Robb commercials started their rotation, a person involved with organizing talent for a Red Cross benefit concert questioned Robb about playing his fire safety songs. After explaining he had other music and a band, Robb was offered the opportunity to play, with his band, at the 5,000-seat Anselmo Valencia Tori Amphitheater, also known as AVA Amphitheater, where the group would open for Billy Scroggs.
That did it. Outside Verona needed to be formed.
Since Robb’s demo CD had involved only him and his brother, layering guitars, vocals, drums and piano on a recorder, Robb needed to add a few more members to perform the music live.
Searching no further than his work and family, Robb brought in lead guitarist Nate Mitchell and bassist Jason Rivera, both from the Golder Ranch Fire Department. Obviously his brother Jeff Robb joined on, and another firefighter’s younger brother Kyle Conway joined to offer his beat on drums.
Being so close already, the group found forming a band fairly simple.
“We’re working 24 hours at a firehouse,” Mitchell said. “Being in a band is along the same lines as the brotherhood within the firehouse.”
Ranging in ages from 21 to 33, the band members bring in as much diversity in age as they do in their music tastes.
Jason draws influences from Blink 182 and Jack Johnson; Nate likes Dream Theater and Led Zeppelin; and the other members bring in classical tastes and country music along with Radiohead, Foo Fighters and Dave Matthews.
A little Jimmy Buffett can be heard in their song “Wasted in Cancun,” and sounds that are similar to The Fray are evident in “She’s the One.”
But getting an opportunity to hear the group perform live on stage is difficult, due to the band’s mission and vision.
The band has given a few performances, but Robb shies away from opening for any old bands. He wants to stay true to his band’s music and won’t compromise for mainstream music tastes.
“Outside Verona has basically grown off of that old Shakespearian analogy,” Robb said referring to “Romeo and Juliet” when Romeo said, after being banished, that he would rather die than not live in Verona.
“We aren’t going to be pigeonholed with one sound,” Robb said. “We want to prove there is life outside of Verona.”
Outside Verona’s music can be heard at www.myspace.com/outsideverona.