The musical origins of Salt Lake City experimental-jazz duo Robot Dream come from George Michael and family bands.Rob Bennion, 33, a D.J. who plays saxophone and flute, sang before he spoke, according to his mother. "I just loved learning to play songs by ear, figuring out the notes for myself," he said. "To be honest, I wanted to be a drummer, but the middle school band wouldn't let me in without piano training so I chose the sax because of the song 'Careless Whisper' by Wham! I was a big George Michael fan, much to my dad's disappointment. He confiscated my George Michael tape which I had ordered off of one of those '10 tapes for a penny each' subscriptions when he heard the song 'I Want Your Sex.'"He continued: "I guess I was attracted to the rock star aspect . My favorite movie had a musician for its hero: "Back to theFuture." Funny I ended up playing the saxophone one of the least rock-star instruments out there."His comrade, Bart Olson, 36, a percussionist, said, "I was kind of forced in to music because one day my parents told us the TV was broken and gave us all instruments to learn I started out playing the fiddle in a family band of eight kids in Spokane, Washington. I was the frontman at 8 years old."Both ended up graduating from BYU, with Bennion's degree in Portuguese and Olson's degree in international studies.Now they perform regularly around the area, including regular gigs at Gracie's, and with their friend Conn Curran will perform a benefit show for Hurricane Sandy victims on Dec. 13.
Both answered questions about musical memories, inspirations and where their unique name comes from.
What are some of your most memorable experiences in music?Bart: I was once signed to Capitol Records with Ryan Shupe & the RubberBand and performed for 40,000 in Camden,New Jersey. I also performed on "Good Morning America" on the street in New York. I played with one of my drumming idols, Will Calhoun, a member of the band Living Colour), at the Owl Bar at the Sundance Resort,along with the amazing singer-guitarist Matt Harding. I played with the band Monkeygrinder with the bassist for Neon Trees, and [I was] a pirate with a real peg leg who blew fire into the crowd and scared half the crowd to death.Rob: Playing six nights a week in a "mama-san" geisha-type bar in Japan, where the [organized crime syndicate] Yakuza would often come. The club would clear out when they got there, but they were always nice to me, tipped really well, and reminded me a lot of a bunch of good-natured Polynesians, because they were big and tan. When I was 16 my band which Bart played drums for opened for "Dance Hall Crashers,"one of the bands I idolized as a teenager. We then convinced them to let us play on stage during their set and I was in heaven . I've headlined a jazz festival in Japan, where they interviewed me and treated me like a celebrity.