The Urban Verbs was an American new wave band from Washington, D.C.[1][2][3][4][5] The band was fronted by singer and lyricist Roddy Frantz and guitarist Robert Goldstein. The duo wrote songs together for over 30 years.

Urban Verbs
OriginWashington, D.C.
GenresNew wave music
Years active1977-1981, 1995, 2008
LabelsWarner Bros. Records
Past membersRobert Goldstein
Roddy Frantz
Robin Rose
Danny Frankel
Linda France
Billy Swann

In 1977, the Urban Verbs rehearsed in the Atlantic Building at 930 F Street in NW Washington, D.C. Robert Goldstein (December 6, 1949 – October 7, 2016) began to book bands in a derelict bar in the Atlantis Club, which was where the Urban Verbs played their first shows and became a nexus of the DC new wave and punk rock scene. In 1980, the Atlantis became the 9:30 Club.

The Urban Verbs played at the CBGB club in 1978 with the Cramps.[citation needed]. Producer Brian Eno was in the audience. Eno offered to record several of the band’s songs ("The Next Question" and "Pensive Lives") which have never been officially released.[6]Template:Anderson, Mark. "Dance of Days," p.35

In late 1978, Urban Verbs returned to CBGB to perform with Cleveland band Pere Ubu. Urban Verbs played the Peppermint Lounge and various NY clubs as well as numerous DC shows. In early 1979, the Urban Verbs shared the stage with the B-52's at the Corcoran School of Art.

The band received numerous positive reviews in the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the City Paper among others. Urban Verbs became the darlings of the DC avante garde art scene playing numerous shows at the Washington Project for the Arts, DC Space, the Pension Building and the Corcoran School of Art.

Warner Brothers executive Bob Krasnow signed the band to a two-record contract. The band's eponymous first album was recorded with Mike Thorne (producer of Wire, Soft Cell and Bronski Beat) in 1979 and released in early 1980. The cover of the album pictures single photos of each band member in plastic bags partially filled with a clear liquid, presumably water. The Urban Verbs second album for Warner Bros., "Early Damage", was recorded in Atlanta with producers Jeff Glixman and Steve Lillywhite.

Urban Verbs were scheduled to tour with Joy Division in May 1980. Arriving in Toronto for the first show, the band found the tour was canceled due to the suicide of Joy Division singer Ian Curtis. After subsequent touring in 1980, Robin Rose and Linda France left the band. France was replaced by bassist Billy Swann. The band toured the United States and Italy until 1981.

In 1995, Urban Verbs reunited to perform at the closing celebration for the 930 "F" street location of the 930 club. Urban Verbs again reformed in 2008 to play a show at the 930 Club which was featured on NPR’S All Songs Considered.

From NPR, 8 October 2016, "For 20 years, Robert Goldstein was NPR's music librarian. He went on to become a manager in our research and archives division, and shared his love of music with our audience in stories he wrote for broadcast and online. He was also an accomplished guitarist, whose work made an impression on a young Bob Boilen decades ago, sparking a friendship that continued when they began working together. We lost Robert on Friday night {7 October 2016} after a prolonged battle with cancer. He was just 66 years old."


  1. Welcome to the Club: 930, Washington Post Magazine, April 18, 2010
  2. Urban Verbs Renewal, Mark Jenkins, Washington Post, December 22, 1995
  3. Urban Verbs Past Perfect, Mark Jenkins, the Washington Post, December 30, 1995
  4. Shaping Music, Richard Harrington, The Washington Post, October 7, 1983
  5. Urban Verbs, Mike Joyce, the Washington Post, February 22, 1982
  6. Pop Notes, Richard Harrington, The Washington Post, November 4, 1980
  7. Urban Verbs, Harry Sumrall, The Washington Post, March 10, 1980
  8. Assault by Urban Verbs, Joanne Ostrow, The Washington Post, March 7, 1980
  9. The Urban Verbs, Eve Zibart, The Washington Post, January 26, 1979
  10. The Urban Verbs, Harry Sumrall, The Washington Post, October 30, 1978
  11. Pop Notes, Eve Zibart, August 15, 1978
  12. Two Rock Groups Play CBGB's, John Rockwell, The New York Times, November 12, 1978


  1. ^ NPR; All Songs Considered; Interview and Concert; NPR
  2. ^ Brightest Young Things: Interview by John Foster:
  3. ^ Dance of Days, Two Decades of Punk in the Nation's Capital: Google Books
  4. ^ Places That Are Gone ; WTOP, January 5, 2007;
  5. ^ Welcome to the Club: 930, The Washington Post
  6. ^ "Episode 2.2: URBAN VERBS". '77 Music Club. 2017-10-20. Retrieved 2017-11-13.