His inherited talent goes back to his grandfather, a gifted musician and singer. Both of his parents were musically inclined and left the Apache and Pueblo Territories of New Mexico as soon as they finished High School and were married. They had their sights set on Hollywood. His mother Rita Rogers danced her way into Show Business, appearing in over a dozen Elvis Presley Motion Pictures when Robby was still a child.
The 60’s were in full swing and almost over when she first started dragging Robby around to places like Griffith Park, where she danced and shook her tambourine with Mac Rebenack aka Dr. John The Night Tripper, to the Los Angeles Coliseum where Robby would jump up onstage with Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass, or Anaheim Stadium during the 70’s where he found himself onstage with Tex Mex Rocker, Freddy Fender.
During his teens Robby was playing, recording and touring with some of Rock’s finest. His mother had enrolled him in the School of Rock and Roll and delivered masters and mentors on a silver platter, including the Kiowa guitar stylist, Jesse Ed Davis, Gene Clark of the Byrds, Paul Butterfield, Kinky Friedman, David Blue, Bobby Neuwirth, Bob Dylan, Rick Danko, Ronee Blakeley, David Carradine and Leonard Cohen.An introduction made by his mother and her life-long friend, Dennis Hopper (who early on supported Robby’s talent) led to his first recording session being produced by Grammy Award Winning Johnny Rivers. He would later be courted by Phil Spector, Van Dyke Parks and Martin Scorcese’s The Last Waltz Soundtrack Producer Rob Fraboni. Robby’s teen recording sessions took place at the legendary studios, Sunset Sound and Gold Star in Hollywood and Shangri -LA in Malibu, California.
At the invitation of Doug Weston he debuted at the Troubadour at the tender age of 17. The room was a Who’s Who of Hollywood. He continued to play the LA Music Scene throughout his teens, performing at the Palomino and along the Sunset Strip at the infamous Roxy and the Whiskey A Go Go, all the while being guided by the fraternity of Rock Stars he found himself in the company of. This “all access pass” took him on a musical roller coaster ride of the “sex, drugs and rock and roll” that Rolling Stone Magazine can only hint at.
When asked about his teens, Robby’s response says it all.
“I was cast in a passion play, a crazed symphony of poets and players who would later play an important role in the music i was destined to create.”
To this day Robby treasures that embrace by of some of the hippest artists in Rock history. These musicians were the guardians of gold they had mined from the first generation, they were part of a lineage that went straight to the roots of American Folk and Blues. Robby learned from the best. Those who survived the wild ride remain his close personal friends and allies. These Rock and Roll roots are magical and he honors them with respect. That early and auspicious introduction to the King has led him down a road few ever get to travel.
Perhaps Dennis Hopper summed up that era in their lives the best when just a few years before he died, he inscribed a photograph he had taken of Robby in Venice, California,“To Robby Romero, my son, my friend, so many places, faces, dangers. We made it. Keep the faith.”
Which movie is Rita Rogers dancing with Elvis in?
First person commenting with the correct answer wins a signed Iron Horse CD.
Next weekend taoStyle will explore Robert Mirabal’s Pueblo heritage so stay with us!
Photographs from Robby’s personal collection.
From top to bottom:
Rita Rogers dances with Elvis
Robby and Freddy Fender
Robby with Rita, Dennis Hopper and Johnny Rivers.
Robby with (from L to R) his son Jonah, Dwight Concha, Robby’s daughter Dakota and Johnny Rivers at Taos Pueblo in December 2014,