The Robbs -- oldest brother Dee Robb (guitar, vocals), Joe Robb (guitar, vocals), and youngest brother Bruce Robb (keyboards, vocals) -- began their lengthy careers in their hometown of Oconomowoc, WI (near Milwaukee) as a teen-center pop group calling themselves Dee Robb & the Robbins. As Robby & the Robins, they recorded "Surfer's Life" for the Todd label, which has since appeared on numerous surf compilations. During a summer tour, their guitarist was facing the draft board, so the band had to shuffle the lineup and bring in their cousin, Craig Robb (real name Craig Krampf) as a replacement on drums. The band then changed names to the Robbs and soldiered on, playing soft rock harmony drenched pop in the vein of the Cowsills, the Monkees, or Paul Revere & the Raiders. Krampf and the three Robb brothers performed all across the Midwest, appearing as the opening act on bills with the top acts of the day. They were eventually discovered by music impresario Dick Clark, who had them perform at his Teen World's Fair in Chicago. Soon thereafter, the Robbs were signed to Mercury Records (the label that had, by then, signed the four Cowsill brothers before dropping the group after two singles) and recorded their first record, which was released in 1967. They appeared on TV's Where the Action Is and, along with Buffalo Springfield, opened for the Turtles. Clark later invited the Robbs to be regulars on his TV show, so the band moved to California. There they became the backing group for Del Shannon, Gene Pitney, Bobby Vinton, and others. The Robbs signed with Atlantic for a few singles. Then -- with Shannon's help -- signed with ABC's Dunhill Records and changed their name to Cherokee in the early '70s. As a country-rock outfit, they issued one album, produced by Steve Barri, which featured additional guest performances by former Byrds Chris Hillman and Sneaky Pete Kleinow. Each member of the original Robbs lineup ultimately left the group until only Krampf remained. He found continual and steady employ as a session drummer, while Dee, Joe, and Bruce Robb, meanwhile, turned to engineering and producing. They have since become quite successful as the owner/operators of their own Cherokee Studios, in West Hollywood, CA, and Cherokee Ranch Studios, which was located next to the Spahn Ranch in the '60s, before moving to Chatsworth, CA. The Robbs are award-winning producers/engineers of countless platinum artists, including Rod Stewart, John Cougar Mellencamp, Alice Cooper, and Steely Dan, to name a few.
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