Rob Wolleben - drummer

New Jersey – based drummer for the American instrumental rock band Blue Wave Theory


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.

Recent Releases

Sing Along with Blue Wave Theory (2018)

Blue Wave Theory joins forces with the ccMixter international music community for the new “Sing Along With Blue Wave Theory” album. For this ccMixter-sponsored release, talented artists from around the world created some amazing remixes with the music of Blue Wave Theory. The boundaries of Blue Wave Theory’s instrumental surf rock became widely expanded to include multiple genres such as reggae, progressive rock, lounge, rockabilly, electropop, funk, and electronic dance music. Many of the recordings feature vocals, a first for Blue W ave Theory. Twenty of the resulting remix productions are included on the new release “Sing Along With Blue Wave Theory”.

Beach Combing (2017)

“Beachcombing” is a 15-song collection of live performances and previously unreleased studio recordings. Included in this release are unique Blue Wave Theory instrumental interpretations of classic hits including “Time is on My Side”, “What a Wonderful World”, and the seasonal favorite "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)". In addition this compilation contains Blue Wave Theory versions of two vintage instrumental rock classics: Neal Hefti’s “Batman Theme”, and Link Wray’s “Rumble". Rounding out the album are some new Blue Wave Theory originals including "Listening To Shells", "Haile Selassie Hits The Beach", and "Moonburn".

Surfin' Jack Flash (2014)

On this Cordelia Records compilation, the instrumental surf bands of the world play the music of The Rolling Stones.  Here's the tracklist:  (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction - The Penny-Farthings, Get off my Cloud - The Melamine Division Plates, 2000 Light Years from Home - Jimmy Creasey, Tell Me - The Moths, Time is on My Side - Blue Wave Theory, Paint it Black - Los Fantasticos, Have You Seen Your Mother, Baby, Standing in the Shadow? - The French, Honky Tonk Women - The Insanitizers, Let's Spend the Night Together - The Malcolm Bells, Factory Girl - The Oh-Yeahs, Mother's Little Helper - Tony Dynamite and The Shooting Beavers, The Last Time - The Nematoads, I'd Much Rather Be with the Boys - X Ray Xylophone, Under My Thumb - The AmpFibians, It's Only Rock 'n Roll (But I Like It) - The Pterodactyls, As Tears Go By - Gothic Murder Porn, Moonlight Mile - Glasgow Tiki Shakers, Jumpin' Jack Flash - The Kettering Vampires, (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction - Culpho Dog Gymkhana.
Superstorm (2013)
Named after 2012's horrific East coast hurricane, Blue Wave Theory's new release coalesces these inspirations into the creation of a powerful aural landscape rooted in instrumental surf music, and spiced with occasional echoes of reggae, rockabilly, fusion, and psychedelia. Inspiration often occurs in unexpected and seemingly disparate ways. For its sophomore album, Blue Wave Theory draws influence from a wide variety of sources including Superstorm Sandy, Holstein cows, black and white TV, the theremin, Hawaiian volcanoes, a restaurant in Puerto Rico, woodchuck hunting, Rhode Island getaways, driving the highways of upstate New York, playing Frisbee at the Jersey Shore, The Endless Summer, and Saab automobiles.  Close your eyes and enjoy the journey as Blue Wave Theory takes you on a musical road trip through America.
Radical Waves (2012)
Radical Waves is a 24-song surf/instro compilation CD featuring great new tunes by The Aquatudes, The Barbarellatones, Blue Wave Theory, The Cocktail Preachers, The Coconauts, Dash McIvor & The Surfmeisters, The Deadlies, Glasgow Tiki Shakers, Go!Tsunami, The Insanitizers, Kill, Baby...Kill!, King Pelican, The Mighty Land Shark!, Mister Neutron, The Nematoads, North of Malibu, The Razorblades, The Reefriders, The SpyTones, Squid Vicious, The Surf Zombies, The TakeOffs, The Twang-o-Matics, and Z & The Cloud Dragons.


I am available to record drums on your next project. My personal studio is set up with an array of top-shelf microphones, outboard gear, electronic and acoustic drums in a great sounding live tracking room.

How does it work? Contact me and we will discuss the process as each situation is unique. Generally, you can email/Dropbox me files or send a physical hard drive. I will then send you back the session files for your approval.  I use Sonar Cakewalk and can easily export to almost any format.

I love to collaborate and consider my versatility to be my greatest strength. I am equally comfortable playing groove-based music as I am playing textural and dynamic singer-songwriter or instrumental music.  I have accumulated a wealth of experience in many genres. Good feeling grooves played with sensitivity is my trademark. I look forward to being of service to you and your music.

Upcoming shows



Booking inquiries for pre-production drumming or live gigs.