Who We Are
Foam Riders are a rock band from Livermore, California, playing music that spans the past 6 decades of rock and roll, including many of thier own compositions. We are available for booking at wineries, restaurants, wine & beer bars, parties, weddings and many other events. We offer two different arrangements, acoustic-only and full band (with drums and electric instruments). Please contact us for booking information.
Originally, Rob and Greg were part a large group of guys (mostly from Livermore, CA) who got together on St. Patrick’s Day 2014, at a ‘jam session’ organized by a mutual friend. Then, a couple of weeks later, Richard and Doug joined in on what had now become a weekly ‘Jam Night’. The guys generally showed up each week with a few songs (covers and/or originals) that they’d like to jam to. The song list built up rather quickly, and within 3 months, they had booked their first gig.
They spent the rest of 2014 and the first part of 2015 playing 2-3 live gigs per month, trying to hone their performance and set list. Then, in May of 2015, the guys got their first opportunity to play to a much larger crowd, at the Livermore Valley Wine Festival. It was a huge step to go from playing for small groups of winery customers to playing on a large, public stage. The performance went off without a hitch, and, subsequently, they were asked to play at the season’s first Thirsty Thursday event at the Livermore Farmer’s Market. Another great opportunity, in front of a new, large group of people, and another fantastic performance by the guys.
Since then, the band has played at many venues in and around Livermore, as well as providing music at multiple weddings.
In 2016, the band again played at the Livermore Wine Country Festival, and opened the Thirsty Thursday season, as the very first band to play on the new Rotary Bandstand at Livermore’s Carnegie Park. They also provided the evening entertainment for the 2016 Livermore edition of the Relay for Life, benefitting cancer-fighting, at Livermore High School.
In 2017, the Foam Riders will again be playing the Livermore Relay for Life, to benefit cancer research, as well as appearing at McGrail Vineyards and some private parties.
The Story of the Foam Riders Name
In the early days of playing together, the guys jokingly came up with some funny names for the ‘band’ that they were unknowingly starting. One day, in a group text, one of the guys hit some random emojis on his phone (see the conversation here). Rob jokingly said ‘Suds Surfers’, but that was quickly replaced by the suggestion of ‘Foam Riders’. Foam Riders become the code-name for the band, while they continued to practice together. On the morning off their first gig (August 31, 2014), they realized they didn’t have a band name. So, with no one suggesting anything better, Foam Riders became the official name of the band.
Rob Nordvik began playing guitar on an old nylon string acoustic guitar, that his uncle’s girlfriend gave him when he was about 10 years old. He immediately strung it with steel strings and destroyed it. Shortly after that, he got a proper electric guitar and tried to learn to play. However, once high school came around, he spent more time working on his classic Mustangs, and less with music. But, in 1989, he hooked up with another car buff, who also played guitar, and they started playing and writing music together. Though the music never really left the confines of Rob’s home, the exercise spurred his creative juices. Over the next few years, he wrote quite a few more songs, though the majority of them were corny ‘young love’ songs. Luckily, his very first song has survived, to maintain a position in the Foam Riders repertoire, to this day.
When it comes to vocals, Rob’s earliest memories include singing cowboy songs with his grandfather, starting at around 3-4 years old. Though never formally trained, he spent many a day, singing along to his favorite songs (mostly in his car). When the Foam Riders first assembled, he had never sang in front of anyone in his life (other than his grandfather). Since the band had a bunch of guitarists, but was in need of a lead vocalist, he gravitated more towards filling that position, and has tried his best to do his heroes justice.
Doug Roberts learned to play guitar last year, and has been diligently studying the techniques of such greats as “Milli Vanilli” and “The Monkeys”. Doug has written several original songs for the Foam Riders based on his struggles heading “West” at an early age in a covered wagon. Outside of music Doug enjoys watching international Curling competitions, and is a big fan of 1966 Bronze Medal Curler Bruce Roberts (no relation). Doug also likes piña coladas and getting caught in the rain.
Richard is a reformed classical cellist. He played in several orchestras including the Livermore Amador Symphony as well as for various operas in his teens and early twenties. Several years ago he had a lapse of judgement and decided to learn to play the bass and join a band. Unfortunately that lapse of judgement appears to have become permanent, and he has since decided to further destroy the audience’s ears with his interpretation of Rock and Roll cello, violin, mandolin, slide guitar and harmonica. Be sure to bring plenty of rotten fruit to keep him in line.
Greg Yim has been playing drums for the past 9 years, studying with Bay Area musicians Andrew Griffin, Alan Hall, and Glenn Richman, and gigging with local bands the Jukebox 50, and Make Jazz Quartet.
Greg has also been playing guitar since high school, though not much during the past 6 or 7 years. He played guitar in several pop-rock cover bands, and recorded three original songs in 1999. He also played rhythm and lead guitar with the Julia Lau Band from 2003 through 2009, appearing on her 2006 independent album “In the Wildflowers and Weeds”.
Currently, Greg is playing lead guitar with the Foam Riders.
Born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, Jonathan Wilson has always had a passion for listening & playing music. In the early days, getting his feet wet in the Bay Area Thrash metal scene as vocalist/guitarist for AGGRO. That developed into an interest in recording and he attended classes for Recording Arts at Los Medanos College. As the years past, feeling the need to get back to playing some music, JW started playing the drums. Through the years he has played with several local acts, WAR PRAYER, PATRYK DEROSA & most notably FIELD OF STONES where he engineered/recorded/produced their debut CD in 2013. Coincidentally, that’s about the same time the beard began.