Real cool: Todd Robinson with his parents, Roz and Geoff Robinson, and grandmothers Naree Smith (rear centre) and Joan Robinson at Southern Cross University in Lismore on Saturday.
Real cool: Todd Robinson with his parents, Roz and Geoff Robinson, and grandmothers Naree Smith (rear centre) and Joan Robinson at Southern Cross University in Lismore on Saturday. Jay Cronan

Rock guitarist graduates from uni

A HARD rock guitarist was one of the more unlikely university graduates in Lismore at the weekend.

Todd Robinson, born in Goonellabah and educated at Trinity, emerged smiling from the auditorium at Southern Cross University on Saturday, clutching a double major bachelor’s degree in contemporary music and education.

But his funky T-shirt, aviator shades and sneakers indicated he would rather be on stage with his electric guitar, letting rip with some mind-blowing chops. For the 25-year-old has already carved out a career for himself in the rock music industry.

Todd is lead guitarist in the band that supports Australian Idol winner Kate DeAraugo and he plays on her albums.

He has also released his own instrumental album of mellow country rock, titled Ambivalence, which was hailed by guitar magazines around the globe and earned the praise of legendary players such as Joe Satriani.

A Melbourne guitar-maker, Crossley, approached him to design an instrument and he now has three signature guitars within the range.

At the graduation were not only his proud parents, Roz and Geoff Robinson, but his two grandmothers, Neree Smith and Joan Robinson, who were both born in Lismore.

Mrs Smith said she enjoyed Todd’s playing, but not when it got too loud.

The Robinson household was filled with all types of music when Todd was growing up, and dad’s collection of metal LPs were on high rotate.

“I introduced him to everything from Kenny Rogers to Metallica,” Geoff said.

And it seems the heavier side won out, as Todd particularly enjoys the sounds made by Neal Schon, of Journey, and Steve Lukather, of Toto.

Grandma Smith sang in the Lismore Cathedral Choir for many years, and in the 1980s mum headed a covers band called Magnum, which ‘did the local circuit’.

Todd was given his first guitar by his aunt at an early age and never looked back.

Mum Roz said she could see the passion for the guitar in him and the natural talent from the start. “But he has also worked extremely hard,” she said.

Todd still practises for three to four hours a day, ‘to make sure I’ve got the chops right’, he said.

And if he ever tires of rock’n’roll, he can use his university qualification to teach music at secondary level.

“I have a passion to teach, but when I begin I will want to commit 110 per cent to it,” he said. “Right now there are just too many gigs to play.”

Todd also supports a female vocalist at bars in Sydney, where he moved this year, and plays as a session musician at Peppertree Studios twice a week.

He has his own pre-production recording studio in the city, called Hard Rock Studios, and is busy rehearsing with the Todd Robinson Band for their upcoming album.

Todd was one of 1300 students to graduate from SCU in five ceremonies on Friday and Saturday.



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