Conversations with Lead Man Rob Ward
and the release of A FALSE SENSE OF Warmth
Music can do a lot to us. It can strike a chord with our emotions as it reminds us of someone or an event that has shaped who we are. Music also has the ability to bring us together or tear us apart. Music can move us to tears, make us smile, or even rip a divide inside a day. For me – music sometimes transports me to other places inside imaginations whether my own or history. As I write this–cigarette and glass of wine in hand I listen to the first album from Brooklyn based band Food Will Win the War called A False Sense of Warmth. I think back on meeting front man Rob Ward as we sat down on several occasions and chatted about his band.
An anonymous scholar once wrote, “Food Will Win the War’s music sounds like it was taken from Rob’s journal. Bound in brown leather it sits on a mahogany nightstand under dimly lit oil lantern light. His music is truly American. It is a modern folk- laced (semi-colonial at times) bazaar celebrated in large open fields as the masses construct large monuments in celebration of our country. There are long wooden tables where thousands sit eating corn, bread, and venison. As others bring more food from their own crops. Beer flows into enormous copper jars and glasses. As the band plays patrons take to their feet and begin to dance.” Or (in reality) it’s just a good damn time!
Rob Ward is a tall skinny guy with a deep baritone voice that at first can catch you off guard. He spoke of his childhood as we finished our first round of pints from a growlier. As a Military baby he grew up all over the place like Virginia, Florida, Delaware but now resides in Williamsburg, Brooklyn where he is completely content saying his neighborhood is a“driving feeling to create. [New York City] is un-parallel to anything”.
While Rob’s mother was a flute teacher, he chose to study viola at a very early age and moved onto guitar after he purchased one at a garage sale. As middle school took hold he picked up a pen along with his guitar and began writing music. As high school rounded the corner and gave way to college Rob took everything more seriously as he would perform at school parties. But it wasn’t until 2005 that his band Food Will Win the War was born. I then asked him why the name, responding “it was a fun name with deeper implications”. Being that this FOODWILLWINTHEWAR is not a history lesson I will give the readers who do not understand the chance to google the hell out of that [their name].
It was a food program and it had to do with war.
Enough of me being a jerk. I will move along. As our evening went on and the beer still flowed over a dirty ashtray people near us spoke of the middle east and current events. So I decided it was about time to move in for the obvious question. “Rob, being that your band’s name is about war and actual government programs do you pay attention to the news and get inspired by what is going on now in the news, especially war and the Arab spring”? Rob responded with a chuckle and told me that although he does read a lot his music is more “profiles than political statements”. It was then he said that he did write a score to the story of the Texas Seven and their escape from jail. Quite a funny story because they fled for the border… Not to Mexico but Canada.
So has Rob ever had to run for the border? No, but he probably would have made the same choice as the Texas 7 because Canada is the obvious choice. “Have you traveled much(outside the U.S.)?” “A bit. Europe, mostly. But also Israel”, stating that it is “beautiful” over there. “Well how do you feel about food?”, I asked. He told of his love of Akamaru Modern Ramen at Ippudo. That is where we got stuck for a couple minutes. I think he started to think that the interview I was conducting was horse shit s we moved on because that topic has absolutely nothing to do with this article. He then went on to describe how a song is born and how it is “nonlinear” in most aspect as a “song goes where it goes. Sometimes three or four things going on at once.”
After Mr. Ward has found the meat to a song he has written he calls on his band of well behaved musicians. Between the Glockenspiel is the violin which is adjacent to the bass that is in front of the drums standing behind the accordion and keyboard. The band’s personality is light and fun as Rob says “We enjoy working together…And I love performing. You never know what is going to go wrong. One time in Sarasota [Florida] on the Fourth of July someone threw a flip flop at me,…thinking about what happened to President Bush, BEEN THERE.”
“I love performing. You never know what is going to go wrong. One time in Sarasota on the Fourth of July someone threw a flip flop at me.”
So as many would ask is where does the music come from and is the new album any good. Those are just stupid questions! Joking. Rob exclaimed to me the soundtrack of the city. “The East side has always been it for me”, he said telling me of many bike rides over the bridges into Manhattan. I then began to talk about the album itself. Is it good? In all honesty, It’s great. Senor Rob told me about each song and where they came from. Some songs coming from good times with friends out drinking themselves silly to abstract songs about astronauts. All in all it’s fun to listen to, but maybe you should figure it out for yourself and pick up the album. Soon Food Will Win the War will be going on tour so dates and cities will follow soon. Make sure to keep up with them on Facebook and on their website. Their album can be downloaded as well on itunes.
Jeremiah Birnbaum(electric guitar)
Becky Ofrane-Hughes(vocals, violin)
Producer Jeremy Sklarsky also produced Weather Vanes (Freelance Whales)
– Mastering Engineer Sarah Register (of Talk Normal)
also mastered Wincing the Night Away (The Shins)
– Special guest performers include Judah Dadone (of Freelance Whales)