I meet with Bruce Sanborn over dinner in North Hollywood. When he walks in, I think, “Wow, this guy is all rock ’n’ roll.” I’m not alone. Fit, trim, rugged features, deep tan, his ripped jeans, long hair, boots, wrist and neck gear turn heads and make people wonder: Who is this guy?

Sanborn has traveled the world, lived in New York, Spain and even Guam, but insists Los Angeles is his home.

“I was born here. Grew up here.”

He talks openly about his music, his six-piece band and the energy they bring to the stage. His original songs vary from hard rockers to blues to ballads that inspire even the roughest guys in the house.

“I’m not interested in love songs. Let somebody else handle those. There’s too much else going on,” he says.

With song titles like “Working at the Slaughterhouse” and “Rhonda Needs a New Backseat,” you can tell he’s functioning on another level.

Sanborn’s first CD got its title from people asking him what type of music he plays. His reply: “The kind of music you listen to at 4 a.m. when you’re drunk.” His CD, Music at 4 a.m. When You’re Drunk is available on his Web site.

After dinner, Sanborn and the band take the stage at the Universal Bar & Grill. The audience seems aloof until Sanborn’s gritty, deep and powerful voice breaks out in his first number, “She Won’t Dance with a Runaway.” He has got their attention.

He slides into his second number, “12 Gauge Lovin’.” The lyrics themselves are enough to captivate: “Be careful what you wish for/ Be careful what you dream/ If it shows up wearing leather it’s bound to make you scream.”

His words paint vivid pictures. One of my favorite lyrics is from “No Parking.” “Mary danced a samba with a Chinese mime/ I drank a pair of whiskey sours on an orphan’s dime/ The band played ‘Hurdy-Gurdy Waltz’ in four-four time.” When listening, you’re in the bar with him, watching his dreams die.

When Sanborn gets to the blues rocker “Under City Lights,” musicians from other bands come out of the back of the club, watching in awe, seeing this guy pour out his soul. Sanborn has gained their respect. Not a word is spoken in the house during this song. The intensity is tangible, and no one wants to miss out.  

The Bruce Sanborn Band consists of the versatile Jim Ward on harmonica, guitar and vocals along with Adam Zygmunt on bass and on occasion, sax, French horn, melodica, clarinet and about 30 other instruments; Kevin Polito, nicknamed Italian Thunder, is just that on drums, while Chris Theil rips it with his bluesy/psychedelic style on lead. The very sexy Suzi Black rocks out on percussion and backing vocals. These guys put on a show.

Sanborn has a rare set of talents. He has trained and performed professionally as an actor, comic, guitarist, dancer and songwriter. He has learned through thousands of performances how to engage and electrify an audience. And the result is powerful.

I am not the only one who thinks this way. His audience demands an encore.

After the set, Sanborn is out on the back patio wiping his head and neck with a towel, his shirt soaked with sweat. I tell him how much I enjoyed the show.  

“It’s what we do. Times are hard. People need a break. So this is what we do. We deliver.”

Sanborn is pure rock ’n’ roll; music with a message and with the potential for starting revolutions. I would be surprised if these guys aren’t packing stadiums soon, so if you want to avoid paying the big bucks, catch them at their next gig at Cinema Bar in Culver City on July 27 at 10 p.m. Do yourself a favor and be there.

For more information, visit thebrucesanbornband.com.