Robert Schwartzman's career as a musician started when he joined friends to play music for fun.

Schwartzman, lead singer of the band Rooney, was planning a career in film when he was caught up in the excitement of creating music. Before long he was enlisted by some friends who were excited to join the Los Angeles rock scene.

"I never saw myself as standing on a stage as a musician," Schwartzman said. "I met [some of the other eventual band members] and they were farther along in their plans. We just hit it off; we liked the same music."

As do critics from such divergent publications as Rolling Stone to various suburban weeklies. The band's 2007 CD, "Calling the World," won plenty of kudos and kept the band on the road for the better part of the year.

If you go Rooney with Cobra Collective Where: State Theatre, 220 N. Washington St., Falls Church When: 7 p.m. doors, 8 p.m. show Thursday Info: $15 in advance, $17 day of show; 703-237-0300;

"Putting yourself out there is sometimes the hardest part," said Schwartzman, who is the son of actress Talia Shire. "We are just going to keep working hard. The business today is so hands-on, you have to have the skills and work ethic to succeed." The group has always needed that work ethic, having hit plenty of bumps, including label and management changes. Once the band members realized recording their records was almost out of their control, they bowed out of the major label process and went indie.

"When we made the record 'Calling the World,' we made three records and two were shelved. That took the wind out of our sails and set us back with all the work we had done," Schwartzman said, explaining that when it came time to make the next album, the band went indie. "Not having a label and making our own record has taken a lot of hurdles out of the process. We know we have songs we love and we're in a place to record songs we love."

Not that he isn't proud of the band's past albums, but "Eureka," the band's just-released album, sets the band back on a healthier path from which they can grow, he says.

"When I wrote this record, I felt very relaxed and happy, and lyrically, I feel the songs are important and honest," he said. "We have matured a lot ... and we take more chance on songs that are more interesting musically."