American indie rocker Rob Munk presents his new ‘Phased Out’ album, 20 years after initially leaving the music scene. Alas, music takes on its own life, pushing Rob back into its realm with better and more personal songs than ever before. During the pandemic, he recorded this album with his good friend, actor-writer-artist Daniel London (Old Joy, Minority Report, Manhattan) and Tinsel drummer and writer-director Joe Ventura.
Released via Montclair, NJ-based Magic Door Label, a grassroots imprint founded by Guided by Voices’ Kevin March, producer Ray Ketchem and artist-vocalist Renée LoBue, this ambitious 2-track collection is, according to Munk, “a little poppy, a little sloppy and entirely honest”.
“Phased Out was such a joy to make. No oversight but my own standards, nothing at stake but my integrity. Years after wanting a career in music, I made music to supplement my career. I worked with masterful collaborators who understood my vision and worked hard to make it happen. I feel lucky for the opportunity, and proud to make a record as good as I could make,” says Rob Munk.
Mixed by Oakland composer-producer Chuck Johnson at Cirrus Oxide, this album was produced, recorded, mastered and partially mixed at Magic Door Recording by Ray Ketchem, whose production credits include Guided By Voices, Gramercy Arms, Luna and Elk City.
In the lead-up to this album, Munk released the upbeat environmentally-conscious lead track ‘Amazon’ and earlier singles ‘Heavy Shoes (to kill the blues)’ and ‘Ghosts of San Francisco’. The latest single ‘Youth’ is a sonic love letter to misspent youth, a misty-eyed celebration of juvenile delinquency and bad decisions made in that magical time before consequences, regret and civic responsibility took their rightful place as guiding principles.
‘Phased Out’ is a record that somehow comes out of nowhere from an artist that has been almost everywhere. This is modern rock that respects people’s emotional intelligence. With elements of 1990’s and 2000’s indie rock and traces of 1970’s AM pop, this is music that respects people’s emotional intelligence.
For Rob Munk, music was never the plan. An actor from the age of three, he and his brothers would commute into NYC from New Jersey for gigs to help support life with a single Mom. After several years of filming commercials (including Jello pudding with Bill Cosby), Rob was cast as young Woody Allen in ‘Stardust Memories’, his brother having played the same role in the Oscar-winning ‘Annie Hall’. He left acting at 14, enrolled in boarding school and formed a band, soon learning that music felt more natural and was far more fun than acting. He was hooked.
Upon moving to Boston, Rob’s new band Thudpucker became a staple on the Boston rock scene in the early 90’s as many local bands were starting to explode. Between several singles, local gigs and touring, they opened for everyone from Pavement and Hole to the Afghan Whigs and Juliana Hatfield. After relocating to Chapel Hill, NC, Rob formed the indie rock band Tinsel, having opened for Polvo, Guided By Voices, Pipe and Come, while also playing in cover bands with members of Firehose and Superchunk. After some touring and a few singles, they put out two records before imploding of natural rock and roll causes.
After stints in a few more NYC bands, Munk was once again doing commercials and TV shows, including scenes with Tina Fey, Tony Hale, John Goodman and Paul Giammatti. After moving to LA for a pilot season but getting no traction there, Rob launched the now-defunct blog ‘LoserActor’, creatively chronicling his daily humiliation. With his writing brought to the attention of the creative directors at famed ad agency Wieden + Kennedy, Rob returned to New York – only this time as a copywriter and creative director, writing huge campaigns for ESPN, Delta Airlines and AT&T.
‘PHASED OUT’ ALBUM CREDITS:
Written by Rob Munk
Rob Munk – vocals, guitar
Daniel London – lead guitar
Joe Ventura – drums
Scott Anthony – bass
Megan Reilly – vocals
Peter Gallagher – vocals
Maple Munk – vocals
George Munk – keyboards
Ray Ketchem – drums, keyboards, synths
Chuck Johnson – guitar, pedal steel, synths
Recorded and mastered by Ray Ketchem at Magic Door Recording
Mixed by Chuck Johnson at Cirrus Oxide in Oakland
Cover artwork by Ron Liberti
‘Youth’ video concept by Iam Williams and Rob Munk
Directed and edited by Iam Williams @ Shoffice
ALBUM TRACK LIST
01. Heavy Shoes (to kill the blues)
02. The Ghosts of San Francisco
05. Eyes of God
08. Outbound Track
10. Hey Batta Batta
11. Phased Out
12. Brand New Buick
Photos courtesy of Iam Williams
“Sassy power-pop… the same blend of jaunt and joyfulness and slightly downbeat and world-weariness running through their music as, say, The Lemonheads or The Dandy Warhols. Not to mention no small amount of early R.E.M. wonky majesty” ~ Big Takeover Magazine
“Enjoyable, danceable, moshable – timeless in the same way as Pixies and Throwing Muses will never seem old. But Munk’s music itself is perhaps closer to Sebadoh, Sparklehorse, The Shins, Fastball, Weezer or Presidents of the USA” ~ Amplify Music Magazine
“Munk’s an idealistic singer/songwriter with great guitar and vocal chops, not to mention stellar songwriting skills” ~ Popular Culture Beat