Rooney hits road after long awaited release

The California darlings’ new album was released on its own label.

By Tom Carbone | June 28, 2010

Tags: Music

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In 2004, Rooney, a five-piece rock band out of Los Angeles, became the first band to make a special appearance on the Fox teen series The O.C. Up until that point, the band hadn’t seen much commercial success, and album sales were slow. This recognition kick-started the band’s popularity, leading to a worldwide tour and a highly-polished, critically acclaimed follow up record, entitled Calling the World, in 2007.

“We were touring all over the world and even had top singles in Germany and France,” Louie Stephens, keyboardist and vocalist for the group, explained. “I think Europe was receiving the record a bit better than the U.S.”

And then it was quiet.

Rooney’s next full-length record did not come out until June 2010. It was a long-awaited follow-up to Calling and fans wondered what happened to the band they once heard frequently in commercials and video games.

“We were finished with a few records and our label, Geffen, wouldn’t let us put them out,” Stephens said. “It was frustrating to be sitting on finished records without putting anything out for our fans.”

The frustrations persuaded the band to leave Geffen and start its own record label where recording processes and studio time wouldn’t be such an issue.

“The split was peaceful, but we realized that we were being slowed down by our machinery and it was time to fix that machinery,” Stephens said.

Eureka, the band’s third full-length record, was recorded entirely by the band members themselves, which gave them all the advantages they were looking for earlier in their careers.

“Our home studio allowed us to make our own critical decisions and record more frequently,” Stephens said. “The Beatles were putting out songs every other month; that’s how it should be.”

Rooney, who also produced Eureka, is hitting the road this summer to promote its latest effort and to gain audience’s appreciation again. Instead of stopping only in major U.S. cities, the band decided to embark on a more scenic tour and will be visiting cities it doesn’t typically play, Columbia included.

“We have booking agents, but we’re very involved in the day-to-day work,” Stephens said. “We wanted to hit some of our secondary markets -- the cities we don’t play much -- in order to please our fans. They definitely appreciate it.”

Rooney is also keeping fans involved during this tour via Twitter and the band’s website. Fans can log on to www.rooney-band.com and vote for their set list preferences. Rooney develops its nightly set lists based on the votes that come in for each particular city.

“This method has worked out great so far and it gives fans that direct line of contact that I think they appreciate as well,” Stephens explained. “Plus, they always select the songs we want to play anyways, so it works out well.”

Rooney will be headlining a show at the Blue Note on July 1, with Young Veins and Black Gold as supporting acts.

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