Rookie is a band that wears its love of rock’s classic vinyl era on its proverbial sleeve. So the story depicted in the video for its song “I Can’t Have You But I Want You” — premiering below from the Chicago group’s self-titled debut album — hits home for each of the sextet’s members.
The clip, directed by Adam Moorman and filmed around Chicago, shows an eight-year-old girl (a student at Chicago’s Voice Lab) getting her own rock on, first buying a copy of AC/DC’s High Voltage and then stealing a Gibson SG (like Angus Young plays) from a music shop, which she winds up playing and bouncing on the mattress in her bedroom. “We’re all from the Midwest. We all grew up on classic rock a lot of great bands we grew up to — we just got off the road with Cheap Trick, which his like a dream come true,” Rookie singer, drummer and co-founder Joe Bordenaro tells Billboard.
“We look up to ’70s rock as an aesthetic, I guess. We try to keep it classic as far as guitars. And our keyboard player (Justin Bell) uses a Hammond B3 organ, which gets a lot of weird looks when we’re on the road. We just want to feel good playing what we’re playing.”
Bordenaro formed Rookie during late 2018 with Max Loebman, whom he met in the Chicago rock scene after Bordenaro moved there from near Joliet, Ill. They recruited the other players over time (bassist Kevin Decker is Bordenaro’s older cousin) and created “a band built on friendship” — as well as one that’s figured out how to make use of three guitar players on Rookie, which comes out May 13 on Bloodshot Records.
“Chris (Devlin) is the third guitarist and is a really great recording engineer, so we really met him through a studio called Treehouse Records,” Bordenaro says. “The first session he played with us was ‘I Can’t Have You But I Want You,’ and we all loved hanging out with him and his personality. So we figured we’d make it work.”
Following its Cheap Trick tour Rookie will next be playing with Twin Peaks, then hooks up with the Raconteurs’ Brendan Benson as both his band and his opening act — starting at South By Southwest. “It’s funny; I was at Riot Fest this past summer and was hanging out on the lawn watching the Raconteurs kill it,” Bordenaro recalls. “So when we got the message he was interested in us touring with him I was like, ‘Damn, this is crazy!’
“We’re super excited. We’ve had a lot of these songs in our back catalog for so long, it’s kind of refreshing to be able to finally get this (album) out and let everybody hear what we’ve been up to.”