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Band Spotlight: Rye Coalition

Rye Coalition

Jersey City's Rye Coalition have been away from the spotlight for quite some time. While R.C members have been working on other music projects such as The Black Hollies and Cold Fur,many fans were wondering if the band would ever play another show again. Next Saturday at Maxwells,Rye Coalition will be playing their first show together in five years. The band took some time to answers some questions about their recent whereabouts, upcoming documentary and chances for another album.

1) What have the band been up to?
Each member of Rye Coalition has been up to various worthy endeavors since we last convened in 2006. Dave rules. He's the father of two beautiful sons whom each band member tries to fight on a daily basis to which Dave usually responds, "You wanna fight-a-my sons? That's a bulls*#t!" Ralph rules. He spends his days guiding the youth and offering counsel at a legendary Hudson County high shcool. Ralph also runs marathons, sky dives, and is a lover of dogs. Dave and Ralph are also in a band called Cold Fur together with two dudes from the old time Jersey powerhouse, The Want, who pioneered NJ punk/Led Zep stylings way way before Rye Coalition brought it back in style with The Lipstick Game in 1998. Dave is also in other bands, Chron Turbine and Overnight, to name a couple. Herb rules. He spends his days calling shots at a famous NJ furniture company and is a devout fan of Ronnie James Dio. Justin rules. He's a chocolatier and confectionary consultant at the unrivaled Al Richard's Chocolates in Bayonne, NJ. Jon rules. He works on a web series for a famous video game company that almost rhymes with pimento. Jon, Justin, and Herb are also in The Black Hollies together. The Black Hollies have released a slew of singles and three full length albums, Crimson Reflections, Casting Shadows, and Softly Towards The Light. Justin played bass in the now defunct Dansettes for a while and then played bass in the initial incarnation of Nouvellas. Jon played guitar in Los Angeles based Holloys and performed on their three EP's, Make It Happend, Art Wars, and Nowhere Is Now Here.

2) Will there be any new material in the future?
At this point the band is unsure if there will be new material. The idea has not been discussed. Everyone is enjoying revisiting the old material and reminiscing about where we were in our lives, as a band, and as friends during the times the old songs were written. We don't really want to spoil the moment by thinking about what lies ahead. It could be fun though. Rye Coalition have always been a band that does whatever we want when we want to. We will always try to keep any possibility open and worthy of consideration. Maybe since we never technically broke up we should start recording albums again. Dave summed it up best after the first rehearsal, "Five old guys playing songs they wrote when they were eleven years old who are all currently older than each respective member of Led Zeppelin during their Knebworth performance."

3) The band is playing Maxwells. How excited is everyone about the show?
Everyone is incredibly excited. We haven't performed live together in almost five years. Some of the songs we're going to play haven't been performed live in over ten years. AND it's Jack Leto's 70th birthday, a truly great man, who can still stick the three from the perimeter, post up down low, and tell you what it was like being at the Monterey Pop Festival in San Francisco in 1967! But don't call him Monterey Jack.

4) Will there be any more shows lined up in the future?
Again, we really want the Maxwell's show to be a unique and special occasion so we do not want to book any shows around it or in conjunction with it. I think we got an offer for a show in Philadelphia and a NYC show. We don't know if we'll do any more shows after this.

5) What's the band's opinion on the current NJ music scene?
It seems that there is a lot of great stuff happening at Maxwell's, which continues to be and probably will forever be, the cornerstone live music venue of New Jersey. People are getting creative and doing shows at interesting spots in Jersey City like Barrow Mansion and Harsimus Cemetery. Asbury Lanes is a great venue in a bowling alley. I heard they're doing an All Tomorrow's Parties in Asbury Park. That's great news! People always say, "Asbury Park is going to make a big come back. Asbury's gonna make a turn around. You'll see." My question is this, "Is it, really?" I wish Bruce would just throw everyone a bone down there. You'd think he'd take the whole town out for a slice and an orange drink or something. Or maybe he should buy out enough tickets so that each resident could take their kid to a movie or a ball game on him. If and when this day actually comes then I might start to say to myself, "You know I think Asbury's really making a comeback."
6) The band have been on the road with numerous acts. What is the band's most memorable tour experience?

There are really too many memorable experiences to go into great detail here but if there were a highlights reel of greatest tour memories they would come from these tours, first tour on a demo tape in 1994 with Charles Maggio (Gern Blandsten), Mike Simonetti (Troubleman Unlimited), and Tony Rhettman aka Wolfie, 1997 European tour before The Lipstick Game was released, Rye Coalition/Dalek 1999-2000, Rye Coalition/Oxes/Trans Am tour 2001, Rye Coalition/Golden tour 2002, Rye Coalition/Drunk Horse/The Friendly Champs 2002, opening for Shellac twice in 2002, Rye Coalition/Queens Of The Stone Age 2003, Rye Coalition/Saul Williams/Mars Volta tour 2003, and Rye Coalition/Secret Machines/Foo Fighters European tour 2006. An example of a fun memory would be something like this... The night before we were scheduled to fly home from completing the European tour with the Foo Fighters in 2006 the band decided to go out to some small German bar/nightclub to drink all night as opposed to sleeping before the flight. The bar was incredibly crowded with whatever the equivalent of German guidos would be, if there were such a thing, lots of girls, terrible music, and just a general scene of Euro-tomfoolery.
For some reason, a stranger took a severe disliking to one of the band members, in this case, the band member was Jon. This was a common occurence on most Rye Coalition tours. The German aggressor kept saying, "Arctic Monkeys! Arctic Monkeys," in broken English with a thick German accent directly into Jon's face. The place was so crowded. Jon thinks he is being called a regular monkey. In hindsight, Jon perceives the Arctic Monkey comment to be a reference to the tight striped sweater he was wearing that night. But at the time has no idea what the German guy is talking about. Jon's response handling of the situation is a bit confrontational, "I thought there was some kind of law passed here where Germans aren't allowed to be bullies anymore?!" The German guy gets heated after this comment and then Ralph rolls up to diffuse the situation. Ralph says, "What's going on here?" Jon explains the situation to which Ralph responds with immediate action. Ralphs takes the wad of gum out of his mouth that he had previously been chewing and sticks it to the top of the German guy's hair simultaneously saying, "Now you got gum in your hair!" The German is utterly flabbergasted. His jaw drops down to about as far as his kneecap. The German guy is entirely and completely astonshed by having the top of his branded with a piece of freshly chewed gum.
When the German finally comes to asses the reality of the situation he begins to flip his lid a bit. He starts yelling at Ralph that he, Ralph, is now responsible for extricating the gum from his hair. Keep in mind all of this is occurring on a crowded German dance floor. Somehow Ralph calms the German down and convinces him that the solution is to cut the gum out of his hair with scissors. Ralph says, "You got two options, peanut butter or scissors. I'm leaning towards peanut butter." The German guy protests saying Ralph must find him a pair of scissors so the guy can cut the gum out of his own hair. Ralph responds, "I will produce the scissors but no chance you're cutting the gum out of your own hair. I'll do the cutting. And that's the only way this is going down buddy." The logic here being that if this guy gets his hands on a pair of scissors amidst a crowded German dance floor there's no telling who could get shanked.
Two amazing things happen next. First, Ralph actually finds a pair of scissors which he obtained either from the bar tender or our friend Mike Olear who may have had a Leatherman with him. And then the German agrees to let Ralph cut the gum out of his hair for him.

7) What's the band's most memorable show?
One of the most memorable shows had to be our first show opening for Queens of the Stone Age on the Songs For The Deaf tour in 2003. It was at the peak of when No One Knows was played every other song on KROQ. It was Rye Coalition's first show in front of a crowd of more than 2500 people with a massive sound system on our side. This was after a year and a half of incessantly touring the grueling bar and club circuit. So it really felt like all the hard work actually paid off and lead to something bigger. This turned out to be true because the Queens of the Stone Age tour was a really big factor in the band getting signed to Dreamworks later that year. But Rye Coalition has played so many shows that are memorable for a variety of reasons so it's always hard to answer questions like these. I'm sure each member would give you a different answer.

8) What was it like working with Dave Grohl on the album Curses?
It was like living out the lyrics to any Guns N' Roses, Motley Crue, LA GUNS, Faster Pussycat, or Hanoi Rocks song, exactly how you might imagine recording a rock and roll record in Los Angeles with a huge budget might be.

9) If you could work with any other producer, who would it be?
Andrew Loog Oldham
George Martin
Glynn Johns
Isaac Hayes
Quincy Jones

10) What's the status on the documentary?
Our dear friend Jenni Matz is flying in to shoot the Maxwells show. Jenni is hoping to use it as a book end of sorts. We're hoping to have something finished some time this year but no deadline or anything like that has been set in stone. I am considering starting a kickstarter project to raise funds so that the documentary can be properly edited.

11) Do you have any words for your fans?
Rye Coalition is eternally grateful to anyone who has ever fed us, put us up with a place to rest our heads, helped us out when our van was broken down on the side of the road, fixed our gear, bought our records, told anyone about us, put up with our monkey business, and come to our shows. Without our amazing friends and families we would never have been able to accomplish what we did. THANK YOU. And really that's what the Maxwell's show is all about, gratitude and a chance for Rye Coalition to truly go out on top.

Rye Coalition will be performing at Maxwells next Saturday.

Reader Comments (4)

FYI The show is February 19, which is a week from this Saturday.
February 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJim Testa
Fixed it.
February 9, 2011 | Registered CommenterTerrance Pryor
Asbury Park did make a comeback. 80% of it is clean as hell and already overpriced! Anyway, I might have to head to Maxwell's on the 19th.
February 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterGreg
finally a good nj band gets some coverage.
February 10, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterchunks
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