The Record Stache

Rob Munk is no monk: new single reflects on his mischievous youth

Photo by Iam Williams

Today we are pleased to introduce you to Rob Munk , whose music clearly indicates that he was a lover of early 90s college rock and hell ya, so were loads of us – it’s all a good thing. An indie rocker based in Montclair, New Jersey, today he released his new single ‘Youth’, a melodic and nostalgic sonic reminiscing of a period in life that a huge swath of the population still represents. Recommended listening and a kick-ass artist to watch.

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.

Not long ago, Munk released the album’s lead track ‘Amazon’, apparently inspired by fatherhood and the need for environmental accountability by us ‘old guys’ (well, several generations, truth be told). Both tracks are appetizers for the full card deck, which he lays out on his forthcoming ‘Phased Out’ LP.

Scheduled to release on November 18 via the Magic Door Label, this grassroots imprint was founded by Guided by Voices drummer Kevin March, together with producer Ray Ketchem and artist-vocalist Renée LoBue.

“When we’re young, mistakes and triumphs are often indistinguishable but at least it’s all exciting. We could probably all write this song, and extend it for a thousand verses,” says Rob Munk.

“I wanted to try something simple, where the verse and chorus had the same chord progression. I always liked songs that were able to pull that off. Producer Ray Ketchem referenced Love and Rockets when we tracked this, which felt perfect because Seventh Dream of Teenage Heaven was one of my favorite records during peak adolescence.”

An ambitious modern rock album, this 12-track collection is, in Munk’s own words, “a little poppy, a little sloppy and entirely honest”. ‘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.

20 years on, Rob has again returned to music with better and more personal songs that mean a great deal to him. During the pandemic, he reocrded this album with his good friend, actor-writer Daniel London (Old Joy, Minority Report, Manhattan) and Tinsel drummer and writer-director Joe Ventura. The first releases from this were the singles ‘Heavy Shoes (to kill the blues)’ and ‘Ghosts of San Francisco’.

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 ArmsLuna and Elk City.

As of November 2, ‘Youth’ is available everywhere digitally, including Apple Music and Spotify. The full ‘Phased Out’ album, which is out on November 18, can also be pre-ordered via Bandcamp.

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

Keep up with Rob Munk
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