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Poughkeepsie Pop: Robbers on High Street

Their CD and their live performances are actually drawing comparisons to the Strokes and the White Stripes, among others.
Their CD and their live performances are actually drawing comparisons to the Strokes and the White Stripes, among others.

Ben Trokan and Steve Mercado are the founding members and driving force behind Robbers on High Street, a pop band that has drawn comparisons to some of rock 'n' roll's most memorable acts.

Tree City is the title of their first full-length CD.

Trokan and Mercado both come from Poughkeepsie, N.Y., and moved the band to Manhattan a few years back. As writers, they have drawn inspiration from the New York City subway. Trokan says he wrote the CD's first tune, "Spanish Teeth," after an embarrassing incident on a crowded train at rush hour.

"I had to elbow my way in, and there was a woman already on the train in the middle of a fight with her boyfriend," he recalls. "When I bumped into her, she just started chewing me out in front of all these people."

Another song on the album, "Hudson Tubes," satirizes the mating rituals of subway riders.

And the album name? That's in honor of their hometown and other "tree cities," which participate in The National Arbor Day Foundation's Tree City USA program.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Liane Hansen
Liane Hansen has been the host of NPR's award-winning Weekend Edition Sunday for 20 years. She brings to her position an extensive background in broadcast journalism, including work as a radio producer, reporter, and on-air host at both the local and national level. The program has covered such breaking news stories as the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the capture of Saddam Hussein, the deaths of Princess Diana and John F. Kennedy, Jr., and the Columbia shuttle tragedy. In 2004, Liane was granted an exclusive interview with former weapons inspector David Kay prior to his report on the search for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. The show also won the James Beard award for best radio program on food for a report on SPAM.