Sing like a wounded beast

If Rob Roy were a mythical beast, he’d be a dragon, shortly after being lynched by a mob of angry townspeople. Roy (now a substitute teacher who ran unsuccessfully last year for a seat on the Davis City Council) and his band, Sterling Riot—made up of himself, four teenage boys and a girl who play instruments varying from the glockenspiel to the violin—have been playing house shows for the past few months. And what Roy lacks in musical talent, he makes up for tenfold in charisma and inventive lyrics. Take for instance the song “Irish Tubman”—sung from the vantage point of a love-struck girl forced to tell her father she’s fallen for a professional shit-scooper. Somehow Roy keeps the music—which can only be described as folk and punk, mixed with trains crashing and dragons dying—as loveable and endearing as the man himself. On Saturday, Sterling Riot ( played a free show at Davis’ Delta of Venus cafe on a bill featuring the legendary Anton Barbeau (“an expatriate in London … from outer-space,” says Roy). Watching Sterling Riot perform, Barbeau looked at once amused, disturbed, perplexed and annoyed. SN&R caught up with Roy after the show:

I think you scared Anton Barbeau a little bit.

Was he scared of the rock?

Not sure. How much rock did you bring tonight?

I’d say a foot.

You rhymed “poet” with “show it.” What was the reasoning behind that?

They rhymed, you know? I like rhymes.

I don’t know. I feel like sometimes you have too many words in your songs, so you have to cram a bunch of words into one bar.

You know, it works for Slayer.

How did you get all these teenage boys to play with you?

They like rock.

One could say that you’re a teenage boy collector.

One could say that.

Does that help or ruin any future shots at City Council?

I think Davis has a sense of humor.

What about for a substitute teacher in the Davis school system?

Young people love music, so they’ll come to my shows.

If you had a kid, would you let him listen to your music?

By all means. I would have a kid while listening to my music.

Does Sterling Riot have anything brewing?

A lot more political songs.

Uh oh. You’re taking on Iraq?

Yeah. The new song is a drinking song about Iraq.

I notice your ex-wife [actually his ex-fiancée] is in the audience.

Yeah. My ex-wife is here.

How do you feel about that?

There are a few songs that are about her.

Do you still have feelings for her?

Fuck you, Josh.