TC singer hits the road with Roger Waters
By Rick Coates
No one can accuse singer Robbie Wyckoff of being just another brick in the wall.
A Traverse City native, Wyckoff grew up wanting to be a singer. The 1983 TC High School grad was in the school choir and a lead vocalist in several area rock bands before making his way to Los Angeles shortly after graduation. While Wyckoff has had some pretty impressive gigs over the past 25 years, he returns to Michigan this weekend on the biggest tour of his life.
Wyckoff has been touring with Pink Floyd legend Roger Waters as the co-lead vocalist in the Roger Waters The Wall Live Tour. The tour makes a stop this Sunday, October 24 at the Palace of Auburn Hills.
Prior to this tour Wyckoff has recorded and performed with Diana Ross, Barbara Streisand, Celine Dion, Natalie Cole, Clint Black, Sheena Easton, Rick Springfield, Keith Emerson (Emerson, Lake & Palmer), Michael McDonald, Jackson Browne and Greg Rolie (Journey, Santana). In addition, he has been in several film and television projects with vocal work in the movie Shrek, the animated Disney TV series Phineas & Ferb, The Emperors New Skool, The Replacements, and appearances on Everybody Loves Raymond, Yes Dear and 7th Heaven.
The Roger Waters Tour started in September in Toronto and Wyckoff has been performing in every major North American city and venue. The tour will wrap up a few days before Christmas, the European leg kicks off in March, continuing through June.
So how does a guy from Traverse City find himself performing on one of the biggest tours of the year?
A friend of mine called me who had worked with Roger on the the original Wall recordings and told me that Roger was looking for someone to sing the David Gilmour parts and wondered if I would be interested in auditioning, said Wyckoff.
So he had me call the producer of the tour and I sang a cappella for him over the phone. Well, the guy liked what he heard flew me to New York and then they pulled out the original masters of The Wall and had me sing to that and they hired me.
What was it like for Wyckoff meeting
Roger Waters for the first time?
Of course I was nervous, but at the same time I was confident. This business is a tough one and it is interesting, but I had been out of work for awhile and my wife and I were wondering what we were going to do. We both are very spiritual, so I got on my knees and prayed and the next day I got the call from my friend.
Roger Waters has a reputation of being difficult to work with, but Wyckoff has not seen it.
Actually, quite the contrary -- he has been easy, and very supportive to not only myself but to all of the members of the tour, Wyckoff. He is really nice and spends time with us and after the shows he organizes these really nice dinners for everyone and he eats with us. These are elaborate dinners and he always offers a toast. He has a great sense of humor and has been a great boss. It has been an awesome experience.
Before moving out to L.A., Wyckoff was in a band in Traverse City called Lyric that played around the region and was quite popular. Fellow bandmate Kenny Olson, has also done quite well for himself,
So, has Wyckoff been enjoying himself?
This is a dream come true for me. It is a very emotional concert -- people have told me they have been brought to tears by it, said Wyckoff. There are a lot of similarities to the original Pink Floyd Wall Tour. The wall is constructed during the concert and we perform behind it for about 35 minutes. I go up on top of the wall 40 feet above the audience to sing Comfortably Numb and it is dark at first and then all of a sudden the spotlight hits me. It is all pretty amazing; we fly on a private jet and go to the shows in limos with police escorts.
It has been several years since Wyckoff has been to Traverse City, although after the tour he hopes to return next summer. His father still lives in the area.
My dad and his wife are coming to Detroit and I am excited because this will be the first time he has heard me sing on a professional level, he said.
To learn more about the Roger Waters Wall Live Tour check out www.roger-waters.com. To see Robbie Wyckoff sing Comfortably Numb on top of the Wall at the Toronto show look on YouTube. Wyckoff will join Rick Coates on the Omelette & Finster Show this Thursday ( October 21) at 8 a.m. for an extensive interview on WKLT (97.5/98.9 fm).