Dr. Robert

Vocalist Dr. Robert, otherwise known as Robert Howard, carved a fleeting yet memorable image in the U.S. with the video for the Blow Monkeys' "Digging Your Scene," a clip highlighted by Robert's flamboyant personality and dapper attire. The song itself was better than much of the British pop music on MTV at the time, but the Blow Monkeys were unable to maintain interest in America. In England, however, the Blow Monkeys had a successful career ignited by Dr. Robert's attacks on conservative political beliefs. In 1987, the Blow Monkeys' "Celebrate (The Day After You)," a track featuring funk legend Curtis Mayfield, was banned by the BBC because it was interpreted as having a left-wing bias. The band also participated in the Red Wedge tour to support socialism. After the Blow Monkeys split up in the early '90s, Robert started to record as a solo act. Robert's solo debut, Realms of Gold, was released in Japan in 1994 and in England in 1996. Robert also played guitar and bass for ex-Jam leader Paul Weller and produced "Pass in Time" from Beth Orton's Central Reservation LP. After discussing the riots in Brixton to a BBC radio morning program, Robert continued to express his views on the show. In 2001, he recorded Bird's Gotta Fly. Five in the Afternoon, a collaboration with U.K. soul singer P.P. Arnold, dropped in 2007, and the following year saw the Blow Monkeys reunite and release their first album in 18 years, Devil's Tavern. Reinvigorated, the band continued to work, both on the road and in the studio, releasing three more studio albums, Staring at the Sea (2011), Feels Like a New Morning (2013), and If Not Now, When? (2015). During that period, Robert continued to release solo material as well, including Flutes and Bones in 2012 and Out There in 2016. ~ Michael Sutton

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