The Brief History of 123 Astronaut
Jeff Robbins is probably best known as the front person for the Boston band, Orbit. After signing to A&M Records, Orbit released 3 albums with the label (La Mano, Libido Speedway, and The Lost Album) and played hundreds of club dates and festival shows across the US and Canada. The band’s song “Medicine” made its way onto the Modern Rock top 10 and the band toured with Lollapalooza in 1997. Orbit got spit out during the Great Record Label Mergers of 2000™, losing a recorded-but-not-yet-released album in the process.
Orbit continued on for a few years, releasing a full-length on their own label (XLR8R on Lunch Records) and being featured in an early Guitar Hero predecessor called Frequency. In 2003, Robbins formed a new band called Well and released a 6-song EP called The New Standard Biscuit. In 2011, A&M put out Orbit's unreleased album under the name “The Lost Album.”
As the record label money dried up, Robbins went back to developing websites. In 2006, he started a web development company called Lullabot. The business quickly gained success, creating websites such as GRAMMY.com, MSNBC.com, MarthaStewart.com, WWE.com, MTV.co.uk, BravoTV.com, Syfy.com, TeslaMotors.com, and many others. As CEO, Jeff grew the company to 65 employees before selling the majority of his share of the company in 2017.
Jeff formed 123 Astronaut during the summer of 2017. The lineup includes Eric Hastings on drums and Keith John Benjamin on bass. The band’s self-recorded EP “The Friction” was tracked DIY-style in the members’ garages, basements, and spare rooms. Written in the wake of the 2016 US presidential election, the songs grapple with anger, frustration, optimism, denial, and the value of love and hope during times of difficulty and friction. Hugo Nicolson (whose credits include Beck, Radiohead, Father John Misty, Primal Scream, and Björk) stepped in to mix and the EP was released at the beginning of 2018.
The band’s first full-length album is simply entitled “123 Astronaut”. For this recording, the band pooled their equipment, putting together an impressive home studio at Jeff’s house – recording drums in the living room, bass in a guest room, and guitars and vocals in Jeff’s small office. Jeff engineered and mixed with Jonathan Wyner stepping in to master the 9 song release. “123 Astronaut” comes out on the bands own Envelop label on September 20th.
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