The Roomates

The Roomates are a doo wop revival group from England founded by Steve Webb. A longtime fan of vintage rock styles, Webb was a fixture on the U.K. rockabilly revival scene in the 1980s, but by 1987, he felt the rockabilly community was losing its spark, and started devoting more time and energy to his passion for the classic vocal group sounds of the '50s and '60s, as personified by Dion and the Belmonts, Jay and the Americans, the Mystics, the Elegants, Vito and the Salutations, and other American doo wop acts. As Webb dug deeper into classic vocal music, he discovered other fans interested in the same sounds, and he decided to form a group of his own. The initial lineup of the Roomates included Webb, his brother Mark Webb, Nick Kennedy, John Wells, and Marc Haley; however, by the time the band released their first album, 1998's Can't Live on Memories, Wells and Haley had left the group and Glenn Brentnall had stepped in, and the combo had developed a tight, authentic sound, burnished by hundreds of performances on the U.K. rock revival circuit. In 2004, the Roomates signed with the leading British archival label Ace Records, who released their third album, Classic Sound of the Roommates. In 2005, the Roomates performed in Finland, where they met retro-styled pop singer Sweet Jenna, and all parties were impressed enough with one another that they recorded an album together, and Jenna occasionally tours with the Roomates. The Roomates' third album for Ace, Dawning, arrived in 2012. The British group the Roomates are not to be confused with the well-regarded American doo wop group of the same name, though the American group and the British group have become friends over the years, and original Roomate Bob Minsky wrote liner notes for one of their albums. The U.K. Roomates have performed on-stage with their idol Dion Di Mucci, and been endorsed by doo wop legends Phil Cracolici of the Mystics, John Gummoe of the Cascades, and Jay Traynor of Jay and the Americans. ~ Mark Deming

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