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History of Rollo
origin and significance | pre-Rollo history | the signing | early press release | where are they now?
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History of Rollo

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Early Press Release

Editor's note: This press release was probably never actually released.

written circa 1980

Rollo is a new-wave tendency but in no way is it locked into any predetermined form. The music has monolithic urgency yet its moods are painted with a wide palette of insight and sensitivity. The canvasses are large and have great depth of structure, but they are not always rectangular.

A rich collective experience was necessary to create this vibrant sound. Each member of the band, visionary artists in their own right, was carefully selected and screened for common purposes and mass appeal.

Dan Smullyan, lead singer and rhythm guitarist, plants the Rollo seeds. From his pen emerge the words and melodies through which he illuminates the joy and sadness of the human experience: never sentimental, never the easy cliche for the quick buck, always the uncompromising vision of the poet tempered by the experience of growing up in the suburbs.

His girlfriend Char (sorry guys, he's not gay) says he has the discipline of a monk. When he's not writing songs or working as a highly paid consultant in the publishing industry, you'll find Dan developing his upper body strength, practicing darts, or drinking beer in his west-side apartment. Dan Smullyan: a voice to be heard.

Kurt and Jonathan Ochshorn (pronounced OX-horn), both sophisticated musicians at the cutting edge of popular taste, form the perfect foil to Dan's almost primal exigency.

Jonathan, polyphonic keyboardist and theoretician, was greatly influenced by early Scott Muni and the whole New York "top-40" scene. A licensed architect, adjunct professor at City College, and singer-songwriter in his own right, Jonathan knows the importance of rhythm and structure. "Songs without foundation fall down," he once remarked. "Yet structure without soul collapses under the profound weight of alienation and existential irrelevancy."

Jonathan's younger brother Kurt is the founder of Pentagraph Records and lead guitarist/synthesizer wiz of Rollo. Singer Smullyan puts it best: "He's the liason between us and the outer limits; Kurt exists is a completely different dimension than the rest of us," but adds, "we'd be nowhere without him." Kurt is generally considered to have masterminded the transformation of "The Guise," Smullyan's first musical vehicle, into the state-of-the-art phenomenon now known as Rollo.

And the relentless driving beat behind the music? Meet Julius Braunschweig on bass and Ira Grable on drums.

Julius is the only member of Rollo who has any claim to being British. Overcoming the brutality of English schooling, he took his scarred hands, learned to play bass and returned home to the U.S.A. Although he took an extended hiatus from music to explore both himself and the world of para-mutual betting, Julius is now firmly back where he belongs and has reclaimed his "turf."

Playing drums on the "Heyday of the Automobile" sessions is Ira Grable. Ira, the spitting image of a young Marlon Brando, splits his time between music and the rat-race of the garment district. A schizo? "I don't think so," he says. "It's still me at the nine-to-five. But when that whistle blows, I put on my cowboy hat and I'm ready to beat the skins." Although he disdains superfluous flash, Ira easily negotiates even the most difficult Rollo changes with authority.

Meet Rollo: spokespersons for the unconscious urges of mankind.