Local musician Rob Storm has a problem that’s not well suited for his passion of writing and performing music.
“I was pretty reclusive for years. I didn’t go out,” Storm said. “I’m not real social, I really struggle with it.”
Born into a musical family in Toledo in 1965, Rob Storm moved away from the glass city at the age of ten. He lived all over the country, finding local followings, playing in a variety of bands. Storm needed a fresh start after divorcing his wife of ten years. It was during this relationship that Storm found himself becoming an introvert and a recluse and subsequently stopped performing live. In the year 2000 his search for a fresh start brought him back to his birthplace of Toledo, a place that some of his family still called home.
Storm is well aware of the juxtaposition of a working musician who struggles with social anxiety. And while he never broke a sweat playing in front of a thousand people, it is the pressure to be social in a crowd that is a real hurdle. Therefore, he buried himself in painting houses – a trade that he has performed for over 30 years. But despite his reclusiveness and his social anxiety, he never stopped writing songs.
“I’ve got a lot of people who really like my music and that’s what I want … [playing live] is not like socializing, it’s different, Storm said.
Storm started recording his latest album, Wishbones and Fortunes in late 2016 (his third solo record in his lifetime) and finished it in 2019. The record weaves together his influences of blues, folk and Americana. Later that year, Storm hosted a record release party at the Village Idiot in Maumee. After the pandemic stopped the world in 2020, Storm hadn’t performed the batch of songs live until recently. The local songwriter says he always tries to write to the best of his ability for each album he writes, drawing from musical influences such as: Joe Satriani, Joni Mitchell, James Taylor, and John Mayer and pulling from his life experiences as inspiration for his lyrics.
“A lot of pain … a lot of pain, you know?” he says jokingly with a laugh. “[I’m] fighting the fight, getting up every day, trying to create cool shit that people dig on, ya know? Fighting the depression and the angst and the crazy people walking around lately … I’m one of them — sometimes,” Storm said.
But behind his jestful manner lies a sincerity that the singer-songwriter obviously possesses, which radiates throughout his music.
Storm says his life has changed for the better in the last year and a half and credits the upswing to meeting his girlfriend Lydia, with whom he shared many mutual friends. The couple met after Storm attended a local gig to watch his former drummer play. Lydia’s son played in the same band.
“She’s the fire behind everything,” Storm said. “I’m playing more music now and my girlfriend has everything to do with it. I’m getting out and seeing people I haven’t seen in 15 years … people are happy to see me again and it’s nice to see people again. I’m trying to get unstuck, ya know what I mean?”
And is it working?
“It’s working,” Storm says with a laugh. “Slowly – with my inspiration here,” he says, tapping the top of Lydia’s hand.
Upcoming gigs and links to music can be found at facebook.com/Robstormband.
Storm plays at Levi & Lilac’s Listening Loft on Tuesday, May 16 from 6:30-8:30pm. $15. 301 River Rd., Maumee. 567-402-4308. leviandlilacs.com/Live-Music