Dec. 2, 2004

River City Rebels Plans Two Chicago Stops

By Randy J. Klodz

Vermont isn’t exactly a breeding ground for musical acts, but River City Rebels calls the state home while the band brings its “dirty sweet” proclivity and rock and roll swagger across the nation, including Chicago, where the band plans to rock Bottom Lounge on Dec. 11 and Clearwater Theater on Dec. 13.

River City Rebels—which features Bopper (vocals), Jungle Face Jack (guitar), Patti Botox (guitar), CJ Bags (bass), Erik (drums), Brandon Heart Attack (trombone) and Rylan Saucy Jack (tenor saxophone)—opened for Velvet Revolver, the super group comprised of members of iconic bands Guns N Roses and Stone Temple Pilots, over the summer during a stop in New Jersey, a big opportunity for the band.

“It was definitely an experience to open up for a band that was No. 1 on the charts and just the status of those guys,” said Bopper, singer for River City Rebels. “They’re just great guys, anyway, Duff [McKagen] and Slash are some of the most down-to-earth people you’ll ever meet.” Bopper also points out that McKagen has been a supporter of the band for years and even appears briefly in the upcoming music video for “Glitter and Gold,” and that Slash wears a River City Rebels T-shirt during live Velvet Revolver shows.

Popular touring jam band Phish may be the most known band native to Vermont, but River City Rebels is doing its best to become Vermont’s most popular touring act. Sure, that feat may be easier now that Phish has recently disbanded, but it’s just another accolade for the band to reach, even if there isn’t a statewide rivalry between the two bands.

“I’m not even sure if those guys [in Phish] know who we are, but Phish is done, so now we’re pretty much the biggest band out of Vermont,” Bopper, 26, said with a laugh.

River City Rebels is currently touring in support of “Hate to Be Loved,” the band’s third and most recent album which hit stores in September on Chicago’s own Victory Records. The band’s trendy looks and 70s and 80s inspired rock, that often rocks hard and soft, draws constant comparisons to New York Dolls.

It’s easy to hear hints of the Ramones, the Rolling Stones and Guns N Roses in the band’s music. The album’s opener “Hurt Like I Do” has Bopper’s vocals sounding similar to that of R.E.M. headpiece Michael Stipe, showing Bopper’s versatile singing range with the lyric: “I’ll make you hurt like I do / And I’ll never think twice.” Other tracks “Don’t Mess with Cupid,” “I’m So Vain” and “Her New Man” are must-listens. “Bloody April” is a mellow album ender that ties all of the band’s ends together.

Bottom Lounge is at 3206 N. Wilton Ave., in Chicago, with tickets for this all-ages show listed for $10 each with show time slated for 6:30 p.m. Clearwater Theater is at 96 W. Main St. in suburban West Dundee. Tickets for this all-ages show are listed for $8 each with a start time of 6:30.

River City Rebels Photo: c/o River City Rebels