Back where it began

Newish local band The Rooks lands Griffin residency

The Rooks’ Zach Ryan (center) serenades the Beauty Bar back patio.
Photo: Corlene Byrd

Shoes say a lot about a person. When the Rooks take the stage at the Beauty Bar on Friday night, the local band’s footwear is a true reflection of its sound: clean, polished and retro.

Afterward, singer Zach Ryan explains that today’s popular music is neither his band’s inspiration nor its aspiration. “There’re no bands from our era that people are going to listen to 10 years down the line,” he says. “A song comes out, is way overplayed for a month, then it becomes an iPod commercial.”


The Rooks at Griffin
Every Wednesday, beginning Dec. 2
10 p.m., 21+
Band Guide
The Rooks
The Study Band
Bar Guide
The Griffin

Instead, The Rooks look toward the likes of Billy Joel to help shape the sound that has tonight’s crowd bobbing heads and singing along during a set that follows a solo performance by new Panic! At the Disco member (and former The Cab member) Ian Crawford, and precedes a headlining appearance by Athens, Georgia’s The Whigs.

If The Rooks’ suit jackets and finger-snapping songs seem to have come out of nowhere, it’s because they have. The band has been together just two months, since Ryan relocated to Las Vegas after a short stint in Oregon and ran into guitarist Angel Ramirez-Ornelas at the Griffin. The two talked music until 3 a.m. “We had some good ideas. It just felt comfortable,” Ramirez-Ornelas says.

Guitarist Jeff Dickson, whom Ryan met at the same Downtown bar, signed on soon after, bringing bassist Leo Banchik and drummer Jonathan Realmuto with him.

That initial meeting place will soon take on even more significance for The Rooks. Beginning December 2, they’ll take over as the Griffin’s back-room Wednesday-night house band (a position previously held down by The Study Band). “It’s our favorite bar, the place we’re going to go anyway,” Ryan says.


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