Baxter Robertson ~ The Tiger Club

Baxter Robertson

Baxter Robertson

Featured artist Baxter Robertson is founder, composer and head tiger of The Tiger Club. The club’s instrumental album Mephisto Island is a smashing success. Everyone loves their high-quality, high-energy music.

I love the big band influence of Entrance of the Tigers, so I asked Baxter to tell me more about this song: “Thank you so much! You could not have paid me a higher compliment. I decided that we needed some sort of processional, something we could play first in the set to get the mood started. I put that late 50’s, early 60’s loungy beat together and added a Tigerized bluesy arrangement around it. While it’s not the first song on the record, it’s the essence of what you might hear us start with at a show.”

Many great musicians belong to The Tiger Club. The short list of charter members include: Chris Beveridge, bass; Scott Rognes, keyboards and vocals; Brad Hughes, saxophone and flute; and Dennis O’Donnell, electric guitar.

The Tiger Club sound is unique. I just had to ask Baxter about his music influences: “When I decided to do something primarily instrumental, I turned to my library. I had some Henry Mancini; I had some Herb Alpert; I had some Jr. Walker & the All Stars; all kinds of Bossa Nova; and moody composers like Juan Garcia Esquivel. Those are the influences that got me started on the project.

Baxter Robertson founded The Tiger Club in 2004, because he wanted to play more adventurous music. Here’s the back story behind the club: “During the 70’s, 80’s and early 90’s, I was primarily a songwriter. I have songs in motion pictures and TV. I just didn’t want to do pop music in a band, because that was something for younger people. I wanted to create a project that would include all ages, that was timeless and would allow me to play keyboards (which I love). When we went out to play this music live, the reaction was undeniably positive – the audience loved it. The band on stage agreed.”

Tiger Club - Mephisto Island coverMany great musicians belong to The Tiger Club and the club grows based on need: “We started with just a few friends of mine, who are fantastic musicians. As the project grew and we recorded Mephisto Island, we knew that we wanted to expand our roster. The music I had written for the record was much larger in scope. We decided to get whoever we needed, through our contacts and we even used people we hadn’t met before. The short list of charter members include: Chris Beveridge, bass; Scott Rognes, keyboards and vocals; Brad Hughes, saxophone and flute; and Dennis O’Donnell, electric guitar.

As you can tell, Baxter Robertson has quite an extensive music background. “The short version is: piano at age 7, sax at age 9, guitar at age 12. I have decades of experience on those instruments. I played in rock bands and big bands all through high school. I toured Japan and the States, while still in high school doing big bands. After I graduated UCLA with a degree in Composition and Theory, I was in a street band for a long time that went on to have a record deal. After that, I got signed to RCA and then Atlantic Records as a solo artist doing primarily pop rock in the 80’s. I’ve been doing all kinds of music ever since.”

Because I’m a painter, I’m attracted to The Tiger Club graphics on their home page and album covers. Who’s the artist? “Her name is Kath, and that’s all I know. She’s somewhere in Eastern Europe. My partner, Cal, found her through Fiverr. We both agreed that she’s magnificent, and we should try get her to help us design our website and our look. She’s been wonderful to work with.”

The Tiger Club videos are also very artful and unique and perfectly fit the music. Who produces the videos? “We have a member of the band, who’s our drummer when we play live, his name is Gary Durrett. He has also made his living for decades as a video editor. We just give the songs to him and let him go nuts.”

Tiger Club performing 1 Baxter Robertson has some great advice for other instrumental projects trying to get noticed: “First and foremost, design something that you can take out and play live without too much production. Playing live is where you’re going to get the most instantaneous feedback on your art. Find things that are going to engage the audience. Establish those points of connection, so you can create something with a purpose going forward that’s going to get people to react in a positive way to what you’re doing. With The Tiger Club, we try to play a show where people go: ‘Oh my god, what did I just see here? That was really fun.’ Hopefully, they get lost in the atmosphere of the show and leave with a smile.”

If you go see The Tiger Club play live, you will see the club sing: “After all, it is a show, so we throw in numerous vocals. We have what we call a moving stage, where we switch up the combinations of things going on: people move around, we bring people on the stage and people go off. Our shows have a review format.” I hope The Tiger Club comes up to the Pacific Northwest, because I would love to see their show!

The Tiger Club released their Christmas singles, both of which are vocal songs. One is a Tigerized version of the Motown hit Purple Snowflakes, which also has a video by Gary Durrett. The other song is It’s a California Christmas by Leiber and Stoller. So, go out and get yourself a copy of these fabulous tunes.

The Amused Now Featured Artist Series

Baxter Robertson composing Baxter Robertson, The Tiger Club

Cynthia Kahn, Founder of Amused Now