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Rooney

Rooney, the California pop rock band that formed in the early 2000s and fronted by Robert Schwartzman, is set to perform Saturday at the Village Theatre in Davenport. 

If you were a teen or tween in the early 2000s, Robert Schwartzman probably looks — and sounds — familiar.

Schwartzman often gets recognized from an episode of “The O.C.,” that his California-based pop rock band, Rooney, made a cameo on. Same goes for his 2001 movie role, alongside Anne Hathaway, in “The Princess Diaries.”

“There are lot of people who remember when they first heard this band,” Schwartzman said in a phone interview this week. One of those places, he mentioned, was the soundtrack for the video game "Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2004."

“There’s a nostalgia to when they first heard the project, like wherever that song went, people found it and that becomes the hook for them,” he said. “We’ve been around a long time, so that comes with the territory.”

Whatever the hook may be, it catches again whenever Schwartzman puts out new music under the Rooney name, including his recent single, “Second Chances.”

It happened, Schwartzman said, last summer when, after a six-year hiatus, Rooney, who toured with The Strokes, Weezer and Jane’s Addiction in the early 2000s, released a new album, “Washed Away.”

And it’ll likely happen this summer: Rooney, comprised of a new roster of bandmates, kicks off a 37-city tour, called “Ultrasonic Summer” this week with a stop Saturday at The Village Theatre in Davenport.

“With Rooney taking a few years off and coming back, you’ve awakened an audience,” Schwartzman said. “You get people excited again.”

Schwartzman said he hopes to keep the excitement going during upcoming live shows, where he’ll plays a mix of old hits such “When Did Your Heart Go Missing” and new tunes from “El Cortez,” a five song E.P. due out on July 28.

“It’s a big fun show,” he said. “We’re doing club shows; I aim high to make it feel bigger.”

Rooney isn’t Schwartzman's only priority — he’s also a director, producer and actor. Still, he can’t help but return to the project he started shortly after graduating high school.

“I like having Rooney in my life,” Schwartzman, who is based in Los Angeles, said. “And to keep people around and engaged, you have to keep making new music.”

Known for its sunny, pop sound, Rooney's new songs offers “a good mix of things,” he said, from rock ‘n’ roll to synth elements. 

“I’m pretty hard core about picking songs,” he said. “I want to keep raising the bar. I like all the music that has come before, but the challenge is to keep it flowing.”

Another challenge?

Keeping Rooney going, even though Schwartzman doesn’t count the band as a job.

“I don’t make money off it,” he said. “I fell in love with it when I was 19. I almost don’t feel comfortable when I’m not touring.”

Nowadays, seeing Rooney live is "kind of rare," he said. That makes “Ultrasonic Summer Tour,” which wraps up in San Diego in August, more special. 

"It's not like the old days when we were touring seven months out of the year," he said. "The only way Rooney can continue is if people keep showing up." 

It's those old days, according to Schwartzman, that keep Rooney relevant. 

“I feel fortunate to have had those opportunities; it got our name out there,” he said of Rooney's appearances in movies and TV shows. “When you’re younger, you don’t know what is right or wrong. Looking back, I’m proud of what has been built."

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Amanda Hancock is a reporter covering food, arts and entertainment in the Quad-Cities (and beyond).