Robot Army: Local Mike Brant and friends rock “dad metal”

  • Photos/Brian Bowles
caption for both or either: The band on stage at The Curve in Springfield.
  • Photos/Brian Bowles
caption for both or either: The band on stage at The Curve in Springfield.
  • Photo/Trent Durazzo
Robot Army band members from left to right are Brandon Durazzo, Lou French, Jimmy  Bahr, Mike Brant and Nick Shaw.
  • Photo/Josie Matters Photography
Jacksonville native Mike Brant is vocals for Robot Army.
  • Photos/Robot Army
Robot Army created their own logo and designs all their own merchandise.
  • Photos/Robot Army
Robot Army created their own logo and designs all their own merchandise.

By Kyla Hurt

Click on photo to view slideshow with captions

It’s an army of five. Robot Army is a band comprised of Jacksonville local Mike Brant on vocals; Brandon Durazzo from Buffalo, New York, on guitar and Lou French from Auburn on drums; with Riverton’s Nick Shaw on bass and Jimmy Bahr on guitar.

The band started in 2005 and Jacksonville’s Brant says the name Robot Army, “can mean whatever you want. Like our music and lyrics, you interpret to what it may mean to you. We all hear/feel things differently. That’s the beauty of it.”

The music is a combination of heavy metal and rock. Some might call it “dad metal,” laughs Brant. The entire group puts something into the creation of the all-original music. Brant explains that they, “bounce ideas off of each other and go with what feels right.”

The group plays a lot of festivals and mentions those such as Log Fest, Mansion Fest, and ABATE rally as examples over the years. They also play at bars, clubs and known music venues across central Illinois. Of note, Brant mentions Robot Army recently played a show sponsored by QLZ radio station; they played with the national act Tantric at Danenberger Family Vineyards, a winery located in New Berlin. Robot Army also just played with First Jason, “the first Jason Voorhees from ‘Friday the 13th’ on Thursday night, January 27, 2022, at the Curve Inn, Springfield,” adds Brant.

They are literally and figuratively going places. Robot Army received the Best of 2021 Reader’s Poll for Album Release, Best Singles and Top Springfield Area Live Show from Activator Magazine. Also, they were credited as the first metal band to ever play the Log Fest.

The group is absolutely for hire locally. Brant says, “We would love to book more shows in Jacksonville and the surrounding areas.” If interested in booking Robot Army, contact them via their “Robot Army” Facebook page or by emailing Check out more of them of their various additional social medias: Spotify, Apple and YouTube (music videos for the songs “Enemy” and “Shadows”).

About to start recording their third EP, Brant communicates that, “This album will include our newest member, Jimmy [Bahr], which really helped to tighten up our sound. It will feature five songs, like the first two Eps from 2020 and 2021.”

Brant himself and each of the band members have been playing in respectively local bands since the mid-‘90s. He continues, “It’s all something we are passionate about and love to do and will continue to do as long as we can. The five of us really work well with each other; we have good chemistry.” It makes sense that they came together to form Robot Army.

Telling more about their band, Brant remarks, “We are a fun band; we like to get the crowd involved. We write music for people. When you come to a Robot Army live show, we want/expect you to have a great time. We understand our music is not for everyone. But most people that are not into metal/heavy rock music, when they catch us live, they never leave unhappy. We leave them wanting more … they want to know what’s going to happen next.”

They hope to continue what they are doing and especially hope to get the metal scene back in the local area again. Voices Brant: “There are a lot of bands out there and not a lot of places for original metal music.”

The guys even make all of their own merchandise — which allows them to sell it at reasonable rates. Laughs Brant, “You get good, quality items, and we get you wearing Robot Army gear around. Shameless promotion!” The band has shirts, hoodies, hats, coozies, masks, stickers, guitars picks, CDs and more, all of which are available at any live show or can be ordered from their Facebook page. Brant adds that you can “just hit up one of the guys in the band” to purchase anything as well.     

Brant closes by saying, “We do want to thank the local places and all the local bands that do want to have original music. Our mission as a metal band is to keep our genre alive in our area and wherever our travels take us. We want to keep the people/fans coming to the shows … and definitely thank all of our fans for listening and all their support. And hopefully, continue to grow our fan base.”

Robot Army books their own shows, self-promotes, makes their own merch and writes their own music — not too bad for five guys and their “dad metal.”

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