Pinback's Rob Crow lives a hectic life

Crow and bandmate Zach Smith record in a home studio.
Rob Crow might not know where he is, but he does know how to keep Pinback, his two-person indie-rock band, going throughout the years. And thank goodness for that. Courtesy of Pinback

Take five upcoming records, a U.S. tour, two unhappy toddlers and a windy day at a restaurant in New Haven, Conn.: a day like this could only occur in the life of Rob Crow.


"We all had to get out of the bus at like, dawn," Pinback multi-instrumentalist Crow said. "The kids have been cranky, not sleeping. I think I'm in Connecticut."

After a bathroom break for his three-year old and further dealing with feeding his children, he finally settles down to talk - only to start laughing.

"The wind just blew an umbrella off a hot dog stand and into some people," Crow said.

Although everything is hectic around him, it doesn't stop Crow from enjoying the ironic things in life. Rob Crow makes up half of the San Diego band Pinback, whose latest album, Autumn of the Seraphs, was critically acclaimed. Although life for music gluttons Crow and his counterpart, Zach Smith, is not slow, it doesn't stop them from putting everything they have into their albums.

"We go over every detail over and over again," Crow said. "We like to be in total control of everything, no matter how bad it gets."

Smith and Crow record their albums in a home studio and they work for excellence.

"We have no one to blame but ourselves," Crow said.

Although Crow and Smith are both hardworking perfectionists, their personalities are like night and day.

"He and I both have totally opposed ideas to what we like about music," Crow said. "He hates everything I like."

Crow backtracked.

"He might like 5 percent of it."

Having two members who don't agree on everything could put a strain on the band's relationship, but for Pinback, it works.

"Everything is a total tug-of-war," Crow said. "He wants it a totally different way and to make it into something both of us like - it's a lot of work and it sounds crazy. We'll both end it with something we never thought of. That's what we like about it."

Both Crow and Smith do not work exclusively with each other. Each member has multiple projects, with Crow in bands including Heavy Vegetable, Physics and Optiganally Yours. Crow has an album coming out in January with another project, and Smith is currently working on two others.

"Everything I've worked on depends on who I'm collaborating with," Crow said. "It's just who I'm with. What I do in those bands is usually different. I like to feed off the influence of other people."

Neither Crow nor Smith have any idea of what an album will be like until it's finished. The element of surprise is evident in both their method and how each member contributes to the band.

"Whenever we have an idea, we just attack with whatever we have," Crow said.

Both members contribute by playing multiple instruments, singing and writing songs.

"We don't want to have it played out," Crow said. "We want to have a surprise every time. We both want to have it sound like nothing we thought it would sound like in the first place."

Life on the road and in the studio might be restless, but Crow doesn't mind.

"I like being in new places, playing shows, meeting new people," Crow said. "I dislike being away from my family when I have to, but that's about it."


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