Name: Robert Schwartzman
Hometown: Los Angeles, California
Fun Fact #1: Jason Schwartzman is his brother.
Fun Fact #2: Nicholas Cage and Sofia Coppola are his cousins.
Fun Fact #3: The band is named after Ed Rooney, the principal from Ferris Bueller's Day Off
Maybe your love for Schwartzman first began when you saw him play Mia Thermopolis's too-cool-for-school crush in Princess Diaries in 2001. Or perhaps it was when you saw his band perform "I'm Shakin'" on The O.C. in 2004, or maybe when you heard the band's hit single "When Did Your Heart Go Missing" blast from every stereo in the fall of 2007. Or maybe you're just not familiar with Schwartzman or Rooney at all, in which case—let us introduce you.
We strolled around Brooklyn's Williamsburg neighborhood with Schwartzman, grabbing coffee at Kinfolk 90 before listening to him play some music in McCarren Park. Turn up your sound and watch the multi-talented musician eat a chicken sandwich before busking to his song, "Why."
Schwartzman's Coffee Order: An Iced Tea and 10 Pastries
Schwartzman usually drinks iced Americanos. "But when you sing, apparently you're not supposed to drink a lot of caffeine," he notes. Oh well!
"I always loved having a band, but there's so much more out there to do with music, so I felt like I needed more in my life, musically. That's why I started writing for film and why I want to do more composing. Working on this movie, Dreamland—which I got to write the music for—brought everything together."
Schwartzman on Starting Rooney When He Was 17, Scoring a James Franco Film, and What's Next
"I took a little hiatus in 2012, a break from Rooney, and I worked on a movie, and some solo albums. I scored a movie call 'Palo Alto,'" says Schwartzman. "I just try to stay busy making music, and being creative, and trying to get my hands on other projects."
"I could talk for days about what it's been like to have a band since the late '90s. It feels good to be out playing shows again. I've met so many supportive, awesome people who have been behind the music that I've been making, and supportive of the Rooney project, and who are really passionate about the songs. They tell me about how the music has affected them, and it's the best thing when you feel people are receptive and care about what you're doing."
Schwartzman Orders a Chicken Sandwich, Goes for Walk, Makes Jokes
"There was a new Radiohead album, so we thought we would put ours out on the same day. We were like, 'You know what? Radiohead, Schmadiohead. Let's put a Rooney record out on the same day,'" jokes Schwartzman.
"The new album, which we put out in May, is called Washed Away. I've been working on this record for a while on and off, but I wasn't sure what it was going to be. Eventually, it seemed like it was heading to a place to be a new Rooney record, so I homed in on trying to shape the sound that I've always loved and that has given Rooney an identity."
Schwartzman Plays a Song From His New Album, "Washed Away," on a Park Bench in Brooklyn
Schwartzman jams out to "Why" from Rooney's new album "Washed Away" with Alexandra Lilly.
"Freddie Mercury had a great line: 'I'll keep making music as long as people want to hear it.' And I think it's such a true statement for a lot of songwriters. Some people write music for many reasons. For me, I love to put on a show. I want people to feel like they're having a great time at the show, and that they're a part of this community. I think all I can do is hope people are excited about the new album and want to hear it."
Want to see Rooney live and hear the new album? Check out their upcoming dates for the Groundswell Tour below!
October 12 – Austin, TX at Barracuda
October 13 – Dallas, TX at Curtain Club
October 14 – Houston, TX at The Raven Tower
October 15 – New Orleans, LA at One Eyed Jacks
October 17 – Orlando, FL at The Back Booth
October 18 – Ft. Lauderdale, FL at Culture Room
October 19 – Gainesville, FL at High Dive
October 20 – Pensacola, FL at Vinyl Music Hall
October 21 – Atlanta, GA at The Loft
October 22 – Birmingham, AL at Zydeco
October 23 – Nashville, TN at 12th and Porter
October 25 – Carrboro, NC at Cat's Cradle
October 26 – Baltimore, MD at Baltimore Soundstage
October 27 – Pittsburgh, PA at Rex Theater
October 28 – Ithaca, NY at The Haunt
October 29 – New York, NY at The Marlin Room at Webster Hall
For more of Rooney's music, check out rooneymusic.com.