Watch Us In Your Living Room
Enjoy Very Local on the big screen.
Visit your favorite app store to download.

Shredding with Feralcat, the sax rock frontman

With the backing of a progressive rock ensemble, Pittsburgh’s other sax man Roger (Feralcat) Romero will drop a self-titled debut album this weekend.

by Aadam Soorma
May 31, 2019

Working the crowd through an energetic live performance on his iconic saxophone, Roger Rafael Romero, who performs under the name Feralcat, is not your everyday jazz musician.

Meet Feralcat

Born in New York, Romero grew up in Scotch Plains, New Jersey before moving to Pittsburgh for college.

He graduated from Carnegie Mellon University with a degree in materials science engineering.

“During college, I would call my parents to vent and tell them how badly I just wanted to play music,” Romero explains. “After graduation, I actually worked at PPG as a chemist for about a year. But then I was laid off and that set in motion a series of events that led to me pursuing a freelance career in music.”

Who Else Has Feralcat Played With

In March 2018, Romero linked up with Cameron Boucher – lead singer of an emo rock band called Sorority Noise. During a sold-out show at Spirit, Boucher invited Romero on stage to play (with his band).

“Without even knowing it, (Cameron) was such a big, positive influence on me. He let me do something so different – I realized I could play with heavy guitars behind me and blend our genres. I would love to work with him again in the future.”

Romero was so inspired by that collaborative performance, he began writing a piece that would eventually become ‘Castle Song,’ one of the tracks on his debut solo album.

Feralcat: The (self-titled) debut album

“I literally could not do this alone,” Romero says. “It’s so important for me to give credit where it’s due. My bandmates have been instrumental in helping to get Feralcat (the album) complete.”

The six composed, final tracks on the Feralcat EP were produced with Romero on lead (saxophone) and backed by:

  • Brandon Lehman, guitar
  • Drew Bayura, guitar
  • Caleb Lombardi, keys / synth
  • Chris “Trip” Trepagnier, bass
  • Allen Bell, drums

Feralcat reflects on Pittsburgh’s creative community

Romero, 26, has a very Pittsburgh take on being a creative in the Steel City. His experience is one of collaboration and playing alongside artists he admires.

“We are not competing with one another for work,” Romero explains. “We’re not competing to be the better artist or to be the one that gets this tour or lands that spot. We are working with each other.

“I hear about it from friends who are like, ‘NY is too competitive!’ Or ‘In LA, people are too fake; they’re just looking out for themselves!’”

“In Pittsburgh, people aren’t like that. We look out for each other. We grow together and we make better music, together.”

Beyond music, what else does Feralcat do?

When he’s not playing music, Romero carves out time to play video games.

“I absolutely love Role Playing Games (RPGs). Kingdom Hearts, Persona, Final Fantasy – the Japanese game soundtracks have been so important to my development as a musician. It’s music that seeps its way into so many of the things I do.”

Feralcat shares a word of advice

For folks looking to get into freelance performing or pursuing a full-time career in music, Romero says to brace yourself. 

“Put simply, get ready to get your ass kicked,” Romero says. “Be conscious and aware that you can let yourself fail. Get beat down a couple times and if it’s not for you, you’ll know.”

“It was helpful for me to sit in on jam sessions and play with folks – then go back and work some things out so I could get better for future collaborations.”

Listen to Feralcat

You can stream Feralcat’s latest on Spotify and be sure to catch his release party on Saturday, June 1 at Mr. Small Theatre as part of a double release with Pittsburgh-based Starship Mantis.

 

https://www.instagram.com/p/BuujTZuBlPB/

 

[hearst-location place_id=”ChIJDZ5sNKjzNIgR5QIcsD-M-e4″]Mr. Smalls Theatre[/hearst-location]

 

In 2012, Aadam moved to Pittsburgh. He's currently parked (sans chair) in Lawrenceville and plans to stay a while. On the weekends, you'll find him driving a small green bus (Porter Tours) as he leads tours at local breweries. Got a fun story idea? DMs are open: @asoorma.

VeryLocal_Logo_Black_RGB_icon_small

More Local Stories

Stones in the Steel City: A history of the Rolling Stones in Pittsburgh

From Danceland in West View to the Igloo, we take a look at when and where the Rolling Stones have performed in Pittsburgh. 

Can’t-Miss Independent Bookstores in Pittsburgh

A guide to the independent bookstores in Pittsburgh. There are over a dozen independent bookstores in Pittsburgh that sell everything from new releases to mystery novels.

New TV show is looking for Pittsburghers for outdoor adventures

If you are interested in some outdoor adventure, then you should apply to be on “Finding Adventure,” a new TV show that will be filming in Pittsburgh this year.

Pittsburgh college student created a blog to share her love and grief

Mollie Landman-Hunker met Brady Hunker in seventh grade at the Mount Pleasant Area Junior High School. They became close friends and started dating in high school. In 2016, Brady was diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma, a rare bone cancer. 

Guide to drive-in movie theaters near Pittsburgh

Road-trip idea: Get out of the house and under the stars. Here are six drive-in movie theaters you can visit all summer long.

Creating from a place of joy: An interview with artist Janel Young

Meet the Pittsburgh artist who is painting the town with bright colors and collaborating with national brands.

Stories of the New Orleans mafia as told by Cajun gangster Frenchy Brouillette

#ReadDat: ‘Mr. New Orleans’ tells the story of a grittier city through the eyes of the mafia

What building has the most stories? The Faulkner House Books, of course.

Down an alley, just off Jackson Square, is a book lover’s sanctuary, where one can find a curated selection of Southern literature and classics. Located at 624 Pirates Alley, Faulkner House Books is in a townhouse that was built in 1837 that in the 1920s was home to famed writer, William Faulkner.

One Smart-Looking Egg: Pittsburgh and the Art of Pysanky

We chatted with Melissa Rogers to understand pysanky, an ancient Ukrainian tradition. Learn more about the history of this Easter tradition.

9 documentaries about Pittsburgh history

From punk music in the ‘80s to a documentary about the polio vaccine, there is a lot of local history to watch

Rolling Stones Pittsburgh

Stones in the Steel City: A history of the Rolling Stones in Pittsburgh

From Danceland in West View to the Igloo, we take a look at when and where the Rolling Stones have performed in Pittsburgh. 

Independent Bookstores Pittsburgh

Can’t-Miss Independent Bookstores in Pittsburgh

A guide to the independent bookstores in Pittsburgh. There are over a dozen independent bookstores in Pittsburgh that sell everything from new releases to mystery novels.

New TV show is looking for Pittsburghers for outdoor adventures

If you are interested in some outdoor adventure, then you should apply to be on “Finding Adventure,” a new TV show that will be filming in Pittsburgh this year.

Pittsburgh young widow

Pittsburgh college student created a blog to share her love and grief

Mollie Landman-Hunker met Brady Hunker in seventh grade at the Mount Pleasant Area Junior High School. They became close friends and started dating in high school. In 2016, Brady was diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma, a rare bone cancer.