Robby Romero’s Rock and Roll Roots

Robby Romero’s musical roots run deep. He was born with them. You couldn’t make up this story, a life so enchanted and filled with a cast of characters most can only dream of.

His inherited talent can be traced back to his grandfather, a talented musician and singer. His parents were musically inclined and left the Apache and Pueblo territories of New Mexico as soon as they finished high school and got married. They had their sights set on Hollywood. His mother, Rita Rogers, danced her way into show business, appearing in more than a dozen Elvis Presley films when Robby was still a child.

BABY-2BROBBY-2B-2BVersion-2B2 The ’60s were in full swing and almost over when he started dragging Robby to places like Griffith Park, where he danced and shook his tambourine with Mac Rebenack, aka Dr. John The Night Tripper, to the Los Angeles Coliseum where Robby jumped. on stage with Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass, or the Anaheim stadium during the ’70s, where he met Tex Mex Rocker Freddy Fender on stage.

During his teens, Robby played, recorded, and toured with some of rock’s best. His mother enrolled him in the School of Rock and Roll and handed him teachers and mentors on a silver platter, including Kiowa guitar stylist Jesse Ed Davis, Gene Clark of the Byrds, Paul Butterfield, Kinky Friedman, David Blue, Bobby Neuwirth, Bob Dylan, Rick Danko, Ronee Blakeley, David Carradine, and Leonard Cohen.An introduction by his mother and lifelong friend Dennis Hopper (who was early supporter of Robby’s talents) led to his first recording session being produced by Grammy Award-winner Johnny Rivers. He would later be courted by Phil Spector, Van Dyke Parks and Martin Scorcese’s The Last Waltz soundtrack producer Rob Fraboni. Robby’s teenage recording sessions took place at the legendary Sunset Sound and Gold Star studios in Hollywood and Shangri-LA in Malibu, California.

At the invitation of Doug Weston, he made his Troubadour debut at the tender age of 17. The room was a Who’s Who of Hollywood. He continued to play in the Los Angeles music scene throughout his teens, performing at the Palomino and along the Sunset Strip at the infamous Roxy and the Whiskey A Go Go, while being mentored by the fraternity of Rock Stars he found himself in the company of. This “all access pass” took you on a musical rollercoaster ride of “sex, drugs and rock and roll” that Rolling Stone magazine can only hint at, and websites like have a better understanding of.

When asked about his adolescence, Robby’s answer says it all.
“I was cast in a passion play, a crazed symphony of poets and performers who would later play a major role in the music I was destined to create.”


To this day, Robby cherishes the embrace of some of the hottest artists in rock history. These musicians were the guardians of the gold they had mined from the first generation, they were part of a lineage that went right to the roots of American Folk and Blues. Robby learned from the best. Those who survived the wild ride remain his closest personal friends and allies. These roots of Rock and Roll are magical and he honors them with respect. That early and auspicious presentation to the King has taken him down a path that few get to travel.

Perhaps Dennis Hopper summed up this era in their lives best when, just a few years before he died, he wrote on a photograph he had taken of Robby in Venice, California: “To Robby Romero, my son, my friend, so many places, faces, dangers. We did it. Keep faith.”

In which movie does Rita Rogers dance with Elvis?

The first person to comment with the correct answer wins an autographed Iron Horse CD.

Next weekend stylotao you will be exploring Robert Mirabal’s Pueblo heritage, so stay with us!

robby rosemary

Photographs from Robby’s personal collection.

From top to bottom:

Rita Rogers dances with Elvis

baby robby

robby and freddy fender

Robby with Rita, Dennis Hopper and Johnny Rivers.

Robby with (L to R) his son Jonah, Dwight Concha, Robby’s daughter Dakota, and Johnny Rivers at Taos Pueblo in December 2014,

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