Warning: Take this review seriously at your own peril. Robby Roadsteamer is, to borrow a phrase from "Tropic Thunder," "a dude playin' a dude disguised as another dude." Roadsteamer started out parodying big dumb rock bands, doing it so well he wound up playing rock venues with real rock musicians and landing a DJ gig at WBCN.
Then, late last year, Roadsteamer (above) got disillusioned with Boston's music scene and ditched the band. He started blurring the line between the character and his own true experiences, released four albums in seven months, and got axed at WBCN.
Roadsteamer's disappointment reaches new heights on "New England Weathered Friends," his new self-released comedy album. He's still silly and scatological, and we wouldn't blame you if you took out that lighter you've been saving for the NKOTB reunion and burned this review for calling this a more personal album.
Still, there are plenty of reflective moments in "Goin' Down to Ipswich Mass." and "Once a Year Visit to the Farm," and "The Good Guys Have Lost the War" is a pretty effective broadside against the music industry.
Roadsteamer strums and sings with little regard for pitch, and he still has bad luck with women and even worse luck with rock stardom. And the album offers mostly goofy laughs with songs like "If Your Teddy Bear Could Talk," but Roadsteamer has put everything he has into this 30-song opus, taking the parody act as far as it can go. Wherever he pops up next, he has little choice but to drastically evolve again or start over.
Robby Roadsteamer plays at the Middle East Downstairs Friday as part of the MassCann/NORML Awards.