Long known as one of the great innovators of rock guitar, Robin Trower has been electrifying audiences with his axe playing for more than 50 years.
Now 74, the guitarist first burst on the national music scene with Procol Harum, appearing on the band’s first five albums from 1967-1971. He next formed his own power trio in 1973 and released more than 20 albums as the Robin Trower Band.
He’s known for his trademark “soft psychedelia” and for being able to channel Jimi Hendrix’s blues-psych, Fender Strat-fueled playing style.
In March, Trower will release “Coming Close to the Day,” a new collection of songs that show why this master continues to shine. On April 2, the legendary guitarist will play the Birchmere and offer up some of these songs live for the first time.
As he prepared for the concert, Trower took some time to talk about the show and plans for the year ahead.
Loria: What can your fans coming out to the Birchmere expect from you on the night?
Trower: I’ll be doing a lot of the classic favorites as always. I have a number of new songs off of my new album, which are in the set as well. I’m stuck in my groove.
Loria: How important is it for you to continue writing and playing new music?
Trower: I think it’s crucial to have new stuff coming through all the time because that’s what keeps the whole thing alive really.
Loria: Has your writing inspiration changed at all through the years, as you’ve gotten older and matured?
Trower: It’s more or less the same. I love to play guitar and I pick up the guitar every day if I can, and ideas just come. It’s always been that way for me.
Loria: When you’re on stage, do you interact with the audience much? Is that something that has evolved over the years?
Trower: No. I’ve always just concentrated on the music and when I’m on stage, I like to just play.
Loria: What is your guitar of choice in 2019?
Trower: I’ve been using my Fender custom shop signature Stratocaster that the Fender custom shop made for me. I have a few of those and I tend to go through my three favorites of those when playing.
Loria: What’s the secret of getting new music out to your fans today? What channels do you use?
Trower: We have a website and we let people know it’s out. That’s really all we can do today. We can’t get on the radio anymore. The site will play snippets of new songs to let people get a feel for them.
Loria: When you first started making a name for yourself, what were your goals? Did you think you’d still be playing all these years later?
Trower: When I joined Procol Harum, I had no idea I would someday go on my own, and certainly had no idea of how successful it would be. But while I was in Procol Harum, I decided to write more songs that were guitar based, and eventually I had to break away and start doing my own stuff. That’s led me to where I am today.
Loria: You’re 74 and have been playing live for more than 50 years. What keeps you coming back to the stage?
Trower: I couldn’t come out and play live if it wasn’t fun. That’s the key to it. It may be a little selfish on my part, but that’s what keeps me going—the love of doing the music I am doing. I am enjoying it more now, and that comes from years of experience.
Loria: How often are you touring these days?
Trower: I do 30-35 dates in the U.S., and up to 20 in Europe, and the rest of the time I am working on new material and recording. I love my fans and wouldn’t be doing it if it wasn’t for them.
Loria: What else have you been up to?
Trower: I did a project with (reggae vocalist) Maxi Priest. He has one of the greatest voices in the world. It’s an interesting collaboration and we might do some live work. It’s a very different thing for both of us.
Robin Trower will play the Birchmere at 7:30 p.m. April 2. Tickets are $55. For more information, visit www.birchmere.com.