There are many ways the origin of a band name is created. But rarely is it derived from the essence of the music they play. In the case of the band “Downtown Mystic” it is just what the leader, Robert Allen envisioned. On his way up to Boston he saw a wooden sign, probably years old that read “next exit downtown mystic”. Suddenly, a light bulb came up and he thought what a great name. For him the name depicted “downtown” being an area where rock clubs are usually located and “mystic” for the mysterious creative nature of the music, hence, the birth of Downtown Mystic.
This ideal would ring true since the band has had a revolving door of talented musicians. It is always re-creating itself as Robert hand picks who will perform live with him. This leaves the mystery for the fans that come to hear the band. There is always a surprise waiting. Robert has had some great musicians being a part of the band like drummer Steve Holley (Paul McCartney/Wings/Elton John/Ian Hunter) and Paul Page (Dion/Ian Hunter) on bass.
Downtown Mystic’s music has been compared to such legends like the Rolling Stones, Springsteen and The Eagles. Their sound which is a combination of old school rock, blues and country is a joy to listen to. It is no surprise they are meshed into the same category as these legends.
“All of those artists you name have set the bar at a high level and I hold myself to that high level. I work hard on writing, arranging and producing the songs because I want to achieve the “greatness” that those artists achieved. I might not always hit the mark, but when I do, it’s something that can’t be denied and that’s a very satisfying feeling.”
The band has played many various venues over the past five years. One venue seems to stand out for them. Ironically it is a bar called The Great Notch Inn which is a biker bar and part roadhouse. It may seem odd that a bar be one of their most memorable places. But according to Robert the locale definitely rocks! Besides that, the house band, The Sidney Green Street Band is one of their favorite bands they have shared a stage with.
Exposure for the band on radio was initiated by old school host Jed The Fish on KROQ in LA when he played one of their tracks as part of his “Catch of The Day”. This was followed up by another host / DJ Rodney Bingenheimer, known as the “Mayor of The Sunset Strip” spinning one of the tracks that led to national exposure.
Downtown Mystic has managed to chart on the AMA Radio Chart in the US and on the Euro/Americana Top 25 Chart in Europe with the album “Standing Still”. It was a big step for the Americana band. For Robert being on the European chart meant a lot since it also opened another door. They even made a license deal in Germany which Sony Music distributed in Europe.
Tracks like “Better Day” and “No Exceptions” have a southern California flavor with an East Coast twist. Robert tries to blend his Tom Petty influence with the likes of the Byrds. The band has had the pleasure of jamming with such legends like Garry Tallent and Max Weinberg. Robert met Garry when he came to where the band was playing. At that time the band received a production deal and he asked if Garry can record with them. He not only recorded with them but also joined them on stage. This led to Garry bringing Max along to jam with them in the studio. It was a very memorable moment for the band.
As many may know technology has changed the landscape for the music industry. For recording artists they need to perform to make a living. Robert sees it as a positive and a negative.
“I think technology has helped and hindered the music industry. It’s certainly been great for recording. I don’t think Brian Wilson could have finished his masterpiece “Smile” without new technology. He was so far ahead of his time that he needed technology to catch up. Then you have the MP3. It’s a double edged sword because the MP3 made sharing songs so easy but it also lowered the quality of the sound. New technology allows for the copying of music files without paying for them. Not getting compensated for one’s creative work cannot be justified. That has been the dire consequence that new technology has created.”
Currently, the band has released their latest EP “Downtown Mystic on E Street” which is part of the roll out of the next studio album “Rock’n’Roll Romantic”. The EP was #1 for a month on the Global Top 50 Rock Chart on Airplay Direct for Radio. It covers such musical styles from rock to country. It has also managed to be in the Top 10 on the Roots 66 Airplay Charts and the Roots Music Report. Also the single “Way To Know” went to #1 on the Roots Music Report Alt/Rock Song Chart.
With all this charting going on it wasn’t long before the band had sync licensing deals in place. Their music has been played on The Voice (NBC), “American Pickers” (History Channel) and various shows on MTV, USA, CNN, Discovery etc. Not to mention that many of these shows are aired internationally offering extra exposure for the band.
Even with all their success they have yet to do a national tour but they would like to ink a European one. Especially, since their debut album “Standing Still” was released there. They are currently shopping for a label deal in Europe. Once they have a deal in place they are due to go on the road. It is a band worth exploring as they grow with every endeavor.
Keep up with them by visiting http://downtownmystic.net/
by Nick Christophers