Victory: What is it to you?
Victory is skipping work for a jaunt up the Pacific Coast Highway, open road ahead, chasing that black-line ahead poised for unknown adventures. Victory is sweating through your shirt while dancing all night in a dark basement bar. Victory is waking up the next morning in someone’s bed you don’t even know. Victory is cold beers and epic barbecues with old pals and friends-to-be. Victory is making out in elevators. Victory is getting away with it, and living to tell the tale.
Victory is music: Sun-bleached rock ‘n’ roll handcrafted in the heart of Los Angeles. Guitars are the main course, served with fuzzed-out bass, peppered with archaic drum machines, and soaked in the howls of the man behind it all, Robert Fleming. He’s a well-mannered garage rocker who has no qualms helping grandmas across the street.
Like so many of us, Victory was conceived in a bedroom. Or maybe it was a walk-in closet. Wherever it was, it was a dank, small space, jammed with a drumset, an amp or two and a thrift store mixing board. From those solo sessions, Fleming served up a tidal wave of irresistible rock, singing at the top of his lungs, providing a pop-music amalgamation gleaned from the sounds of Post-war juke joints to Purple Rain karaoke in Koreatown.
In 2011, he independently released his first record, Demonstrations, a seven-song EP pressed to 10” vinyl, which he snuck past the watchful eyes of over-educated record store clerks, slipping his anachronistic rock into the pantheon wax. The limited edition tracks landed in the hands of Los Angeles legend Kevin Bronson, who extolled the scuzzed-up virtues of Victory: “Fleming’s boyish tenor bounces over scratchy and buzzing guitars, recalling the buoyant ’60s and just about everything catchy since, and his lithe, get-to-the-hook nuggets get in and out of your face in three minutes or less.”
For his 2013 full-length "Victory is Music,” Fleming enlisted Grammy-winning producer Chris Testa (Neko Case, Paul Simon, Jimmy Eat World) to provide the album’s devil-may-care swagger and a Phil Spector-on-MDMA effervescence. The LP cuts a wide swath of styles. “Straight Line” serves up handclaps and doo-wops, “Dirty Jeans” is a stripped-bare acoustic number with a lonesome flugelhorn crooning like a Mariachi who lost his way. On the snarling bass and dance-floor shaker “Play It,” Fleming becomes a party-stoker, begging for mercy from neighbors who just can’t hang with the infectious understated grooves. Music Scribe John Bauccio says the album is “at once fresh, familiar and focused. These are the songs of the modern troubadour, that brave soul who finds beauty in the everyday noise of the city, and art in the conflict of the day.”
Victory is the soundtrack of summers stretching into infinity.