Rob Wolleben is a New Jersey – based drummer for the American instrumental rock band Blue Wave Theory. A native of Kirksville, MO, Rob lived in 5 different states before settling in New Jersey. He was introduced to a diversity of music at an early age. His parents grew up in the ‘60s and had an extensive collection of vinyl that they played on the family’s record player. The collection was expanded in the 80s and 90s when compact discs came on the scene. As a young boy, Rob would spend his nights listening to everything from Handel to Hendrix.
Rob began playing piano in elementary school and continued to play classical piano through college. In high school, he started playing drums after attending a high school jazz ensemble concert where the band played Maynard Ferguson’s Birdland. He was inspired by all the different rhythms that the song had. So, he saved up his allowance by doing chores for his parents and bought a 5 piece Pearl Export shell kit….which he still uses today!
As a teenager, Rob was heavily influenced by the speed metal drummers of the day and he got pretty good at playing blastbeats. He used blastbeats so much in his playing that people in his music community coined him "Blastbeat". As the years passed by, Rob played with a diversity of bands and always tried to leverage his experience as a classically trained pianist to add a dimension of musicality to his drumming. He did this through a dedication to learning different styles of music and by using an array of cymbals and percussion. Rob doesn't play too many blastbeats now, but he still uses elements of speed metal drumming in his current efforts.
In 2011, Rob joined Blue Wave Theory. The group's sound is rooted in surf music of the 1960s, but often incorporates elements of other genres including reggae, punk rock, and progressive rock. An accomplished group of musicians whose versatility is as broad as their personal backgrounds with decades of musical influence, ranging from Dick Dale, Link Wray, Los Straitjackets, Laika & the Cosmonauts, along with the funk of Dennis Coffey and psychedelic surf of The Mermen. The band's music is entirely instrumental. The insistence for each musician in this trio to keep true to their personal styling and inspiration gives Blue Wave Theory a distinctive stamp of uniqueness and creativity.
Blue Wave Theory and their hectic eclectic brand of music has shared the stage with some of the world's finest instrumental surf rock artists including Dick Dale, Messer Chups, and Gary Hoey. Blue Wave Theory has also performed with many of the coolest east coast surf bands including Mister Neutron, The Coffin Daggers, The Supertones, The Sharkskins, The Brigantines, and The Octomen. The band can seen performing at music venues throughout Philadelphia, New York City, and New Jersey including the Sellersville Theater, World Cafe Live, MilkBoy, The Anchor's Bend, Otto’s Shrunken Head, and the Coney Island Boardwalk. In addition, Blue Wave Theory has played in several east coast summer festivals including the Asbury Park Surf Music Festival, Bethlehem Musikfest, the Art of Surfing Festival, along with fundraisers like the Epicurean Palette at Grounds For Sculpture.