Cool bandmates recall their day in the Dutch sun

Community Portrait
By: Michael Kirby
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Sometimes it’s just so great to see a couple of guys getting a chance to live a dream. Steve Robello and Dan Cunningham grew up in the same Dublin neighborhood, and now both Bay Area transplants are neighbors who live only miles apart in Cool. As budding musicians hanging around the same music store in the late ’70s, Robello and Cunningham knew each other but didn’t pal around. They played with some of the same bandmates in different bands throughout high school. Now in an almost surreal coincidence they find themselves in a band taking their music to a level that they only dreamed of so many years ago. Robello, nicknamed “Steve O,” and Cunningham are in a heavy metal band named DDP, which stands for Dublin Death Patrol, after their old stomping grounds. To be a member of DDP, the only qualification is a musician had to be from Dublin — if not, sorry, end of discussion. Robello plays guitar and Cunningham is drummer. In June 2007, along with five other members, they had the experience of their lives. Performing before 30,000 screaming fans at a heavy metal music festival in Holland while on tour in Europe, DDP played on the same bill as 35 of the best bands in metal music today. Scheduled on a smaller stage, DDP were 13th on a lineup of 18 for the first day of the weekend festival. But then the band found themselves able to fill the fourth spot near the headliners on the main stage after Machine Head, a very popular band in Europe, was a no-show because of a mechanical breakdown. “Their bus broke down in Germany and we were asked to play their spot,” Robello said. “We leap-frogged all these other bands mainly because the two guys we have singing in our band are big stars in Europe, and the promoters figured we could energize the crowd.” Playing just ahead of Slayer and Iron Maiden, DDP got the crowd going with a great set. “We played the best set of the tour and by the time we finished we had the crowd chanting, ‘We want more, we want more,’” Cunningham said. “That was really a great day, the feeling of 30,000 fans screaming for your band can’t be described.” DDP has one CD released and the boys are now in pre-production of their second self-produced album written in Cool in Robello’s music studio. Each musician is married. Robello is raising two boys on his rural acreage and Cunningham has a daughter in college. Robello is a self-employed machinist building specialty products on his property and Cunningham is the creative director for a video production company in Rocklin.