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From Dive Bars To Festivals: The Roof Crafts Album From Tour Experiences

The Roof band Courtesy of The Roof

From jamming in local dive bars to touring up and down the East Coast, Penn State alumni-founded rock band “The Roof” is preparing to release a new album inspired by time on the road.

The Roof’s lineup consists of Francis Musaraca on vocals, Jake Finkbiner on lead guitar, Ivan Zvorsky on guitar and bass, and Skyler Scholl mans the drums. Together, the band creates a classic rock sound with a hint of psychedelic rhythm and blues.

The band’s formation sounds like a scene from a movie.

“Freshman year we met at Penn State Altoona,” Scholl said. “I moved up there and didn’t know anyone. Jake lived upstairs, and I played drums. I was looking for someone to jam with, so we started hanging out.”

“Later, I saw Ivan out with a guitar and asked him to jam sometime, so I got his number,” Scholl continued. “Francis, our lead guitarist, actually asked for a guitar pick on YikYak, and Jake replied to him. When we invited him over, he showed up with a guitar.”

With three out of the four band members tackling engineering majors, The Roof didn’t start playing shows until sophomore year.

“Every Wednesday, we found out there was an open mic at Pellegrine’s Lounge,” Scholl said. “We started jamming there, just hanging with old dudes and playing classic rock. We had our first rehearsal and concert there.”

The group’s name originates from the time spent playing at Pellegrine’s.

“When we would do open mic nights, the old guys would always make us new band names every week, and we got tired of it,” Scholl said.” We used to rehearse in Francis’ attic, so one day we just picked ‘The Roof,’ so they wouldn’t call us something potentially worse that day and it stuck.”

Later, the band began to play shows in Pittsburgh, as well as bars and parties in downtown State College, with one of its first shows being at Zeno’s.

While in college, The Roof also release its first EP, “Tangled Lives.” The EP, as well as all of its discography released before 2022, was produced at home. Many of the band’s songs were produced with the help of Nicholas Stahlman of Donny Burns & The Third Degree.

“There are as many ways to write songs as there are songs. Sometimes we’d just jam, record, then hone in on it,” Scholl said. “Francis and Ivan would also play us the acoustic version of a song, then we’d work on it together, and make it into a song with the full band.”

After graduating, the band began touring and played numerous music festivals including Bonnaroo, Get Down, Waynestock, Wam-Bam Mountain Jam, and Bears Picnic. The group has also opened for numerous artists such as New Politics, Waka Flocka Flame, and The Brook & The Bluff.

Courtesy of The Roof

For its upcoming album, The Roof is working with producer Rich Stine, who has worked with acts like The Head and the Heart.

“We have the album ready and conceptualized,” said Scholl. “We also have a song called ‘Headstone’ queued up. We’re planning on releasing it in the next month or two.”

The inspiration for the group’s songs often comes from experiences while touring. “Headstone” was inspired by a car accident on tour.

“We had a gig up on the border of New York and Pennsylvania,” Scholl said. “We stayed up late then went home, and I accidentally fell asleep at the wheel. We got in an accident but had a show in Pittsburgh a week later that we didn’t want to miss, so we played anyway. We were so grateful to be playing. The song is from the perspective of someone who has passed on, looking down on their living loved ones and talking to them. Like if the headstone had ears.”

The group’s most recent single, “Shangri-La,” was inspired by a gig in Hartford, Tennessee, where there was a rivalry between two competing rafting companies.

“After performing, some locals told us we bridged the gap and said ‘Thank you for bringing the town back together,'” Scholl said.

Courtesy of The Roof

“We really want to get our music across campus. Penn State made us. “We wouldn’t be where we are without it,” Scholl said. “We want to become the ‘hometown band.’ We want people to be able to relate to how we represent central Pennsylvania.”

You can check out The Roof on Apple Music and Spotify.

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About the Author

Marie Moyer

Marie is a third-year student majoring in journalism and minoring in graphic design. She loves being fiscally irresponsible at local farmers markets, watching niche documentaries on HBO, and going to Penn State hockey games as "self-care." You can find her on Instagram @_mariemoyer_ or send her suggestions (and cat photos) via her email [email protected]

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