We’re in a band jam space in central Cambridge, and Robby Roadsteamer is doing what made him a local celebrity: profanely ranting.
He careers from topic to topic: Drew Bledsoe’s ill-advised stage dive back in the 1990s, why he stole a trophy from the Boston Music Awards years ago, his love for metal band Static X, his drug use, his frustration over Boston’s lack of support for the homegrown arts community. He says many things that cannot be printed in this newspaper, all of them in a two-pack-a-day growl that belongs at a professional wrestling match.
Roadsteamer, the creation of a 38-year-old comedian Rob Potylo, a radio host and artist who grew up in Danvers, began as a riff on one-time Red Sox DH Jose Canseco. Potylo was pretending to be the ballplayer, now known for grabbing headlines for weird and usually dim-witted reasons. Potylo’s friends thought it was hilarious.
Now, each week, in addition to his own online radio show he hosts at WEMF, he hosts a show in character every Friday.
Next month, his band is headlining a gig at The Middle East and he plans on performing a comedy gig as Roadsteamer.
“People have threatened to kill me, threatened to kick the (expletive) out of me,” Potylo says.
Potylo is perhaps best known for his years deejaying as Roadsteamer at the now defunct WBCN between 2005 and 2008. By the time BCN let him go, he had already fazed out the Roadsteamer character, effectively dropping the act in 2007, looking, he said for a chance to be himself on the stage.
From the looks of his current home, Potylo is, by any, measure, eeking out an existence.
He says he earns some pocket money from producing online radio content , in addition to his iTunes residuals.
He talks about making rice in a rice cooker for breakfast. He says he rings up condoms as bananas in the self-checkout lane of a local supermarket to save money. He pulls a similar scheme passing off curried chicken salad as potatoes at a local supermarket to save cash. “It’s like 87 cents instead of seven dollars.”
Despite his fall from show business heights, Potylo says he’s content sleeping on the floor of a music studio.
“I’d rather be who I am 24-7 and struggle. I compare it to being a monk. I would hate relegating it to weekend warrior status. For me, man, it’s do or die. It pisses everybody off. It points out the shackles of people who long ago settled.”