When it comes to European beer, it's a safe bet that Germany and Belgium will be top-notch, but who knows what you'll find in your travels elsewhere. The same can be said for marijuana. You know Amsterdam has it on lock, but outside of that, it's hard to know what to expect.
"Finland? Who would have thought, but it was some of the best weed we've ever had," Crobot singer Brandon Yeagley says by phone from the band's hotel in Poland. The band is three-fourths of the way through a European tour with Black Label Society and have found it to be interesting, in all regards. "The language barrier gets tougher as we head into Eastern Europe. You stop in a gas station and try to find out what kind of crap that hot dog-looking thing is made of."
The Pennsylvania-based hard rock quartet has only been together a couple of years, but has already been gaining a foothold in the U.S. and overseas. Their upcoming headlining tour brings them to Tremont Music Hall on April 7. Bonus for Crobot: The U.S. has been stepping up its weed game recently, as well.
"Denver's got their shit down," Yeagley says. "It's the place to go. There are menus there, and the quality is better. Hopefully, Washington state will up their game in quantity. They were sold out the last time we were there. They have cool laws where you have to test for mites, molds and things of that sort. It's more expensive, but it's safer and more regulated. The U.S. is becoming greener."
All smoke aside, for Crobot, music has been a dream. It's afforded the four band members an opportunity to travel the world. They performed in Lithuania and saw people singing along to their songs. Yeagley says the world no longer feels like such a big and unfamiliar space.
"We're becoming cultured," he says with a laugh. "It's mind-blowing every night when people know who we are and are singing along to songs. It's not 1,000 people singing along — it might only be five or 10, but that number is huge to us because we never thought people in Europe would ever know who we are. Hopefully nobody slaps me in the face to wake me up out of this Wayne's World dream that it feels like."
It shouldn't come as a surprise that their music is winning over people around the world. Crobot's sound follows in the footsteps of classic rock outfits such as Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath — lyrical themes that revolve around the occult and heavy rock riffs that drive the songs forward. Yeagley's also able to hit plenty of high notes a la Robert Plant.
"I think a lot of my technique has come from being a child and imitating my favorite actors and comedians and making cartoon voices," he says. "I think that helped me develop some muscle memory. When I started really taking things seriously — warming up, breathing exercises — and when I heard people like Miles Kennedy, it changed the way I viewed things as a singer."
Yeagley also got motivation from his father, who used to pound on his door when the band was practicing, telling them to find a better singer. Yeagley says it helped fuel the fire and he remains humble and his own worst critic.
His father also got him listening to fantasy metal bands like Uriah Heap and Deep Purple, leading to his own fascination with the supernatural, mythology and Native American culture. Those influences have come through in his lyrics. Yeagley sees himself as a storyteller, building a "universe" of sorts where Crobot's lyrics come from. The band is even working on a graphic novel to help bring some of the themes to life. He sees the story unfolding with each new album the band releases, as well.
Yeagley says he's also been inspired by the lyricism of Neil Fallon of Clutch and the way Fallon tells crazy conspiracy stories within the band's music.
Because Yeagley isn't into spewing his emotions for public consumption, he prefers to keep those themes buried in his lyrics. He says he'd rather protect that side of himself, and his voice as well. Yeagley doesn't drink much because he's trying to protect his "instrument." However, the irony of being a singer who smokes a lot isn't lost on him.
"I don't smoke cigarettes," he notes. "Sometimes I'm up there and I might have smoked [weed] before I went on stage and the worst thing I have to deal with is cotton-mouth. I try to counteract the effects of smoking by staying in shape and those kinds of things, too. Public enemy No. 1 for my voice is alcohol.
"We are very well-trained athletes when it comes to drinking and smoking," he adds with a laugh. "Once we get [on stage], the possession of rock 'n' roll takes over and we're just shells of men anyway."