Good, busy launching this album and resisting the fascist regime that’s taken over the US.
Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Red Star”?
Sure, Red Star (feat. Angelo Moore) in two words… Russian Collusion. That’s what this song is about and where the inspiration came from. The whole corrupt cabinet of felons in the Trump Administration and their ties to Russian oligarchs etc. is the basis of this song and how the Russians were able to infiltrate our democracy and turn us against each other. The song is kind of punk rock in nature and has some 90’s throwback elements especially with the addition of Angelo Moore from Fishbone as a featured guest who adds his signature voice and horns. He even added a Theremin on this track which kind of sounds like submarine sonar. It was an honor and an awesome experience working with Angelo. He brought awesome unique energy and intensity to the song and the music video. This song is a head bopper for sure with an almost hip-hop back beat groove in the verses, which then morphs into a punk modern rock reign of terror in the choruses and bridge.
Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?
Yeah, the hacking of our 2016 election by the Russians and the ongoing Mueller investigation which has brought up many guilty pleas and crazy deep disturbing connections to the highest levels of our government. We’ll see how it all pans out but one thing is clear, the Russians and the Trump Administration are undermining our democracy.
The single comes off your new album Divided We Fall – what’s the story behind the title?
It’s the last song on the album and a very fitting summary of the state of things and the songs on the album as a body of work. What’s the first thing you think of when you hear ‘Divided We Fall’? Most people would say United We Stand because it’s the sang and cliché for America that everyone knows. I believe the first use was in “The Liberty Song” by John Dickinson written in 1768. We are the most divided we’ve been since the Civil War and getting worse because of the hateful divisive rhetoric of Trump and his cronies. It basically sums up the album and addresses everything, posing the question whether we will stand or fall and it’s up to us to decide. It fits well as the album title and the closer to the album. It’s a not so subtle reminder of who we are and where we are going. It lays it all out there on the table for you. This is how we are all feeling.
How was the recording and writing process?
It was an incredible experience watching these songs come to life. There was a lot of collaboration on this album within the band for tweaking lyrics and production as well as guest artists and listening to everyone’s thoughts on musical direction. The highlight was being able to go out in the middle of the desert in Joshua Tree to the legendary studio, Rancho De La Luna, where desert rock was born with the likes of Queens of the Stone Age etc. and record an album the right way with owner Dave Catching. It’s truly something special out there. The spirits and vibe seep into the music and permeate its membranes. The experience was priceless and we were able to catch some real magic on the album thanks to Rancho! It’s like a big awesome family at Rancho and we are grateful to be a part of it and the history. It was a cool feeling standing where Joe Walsh, Dave Grohl, and Josh Homme stood and recorded some amazing music. And the stories there go on for days.
Do you tend to take a different approach when you are collaborating with someone else rather than on your own?
Our approach is the same collaborating within the band as with a guest artist or someone else as we think it should be. Our philosophy is that everyone is equal and has valued input. We never want to stifle any creativity or kill any vibes. It is an open atmosphere where you can really get the creative juices flowing and have fun because that’s what life’s about. And as in a true democracy, everyone has equal say. For instance, working with Angelo Moore (Fishbone) on “Red Star” was great in this way because we bonded over our mutual outrage with what’s happening in our government and also listened to each other for ideas. He added a whole Angelo army of vocals on the choruses with harmonies and same with his sax army utilizing pretty much every type of sax made. He then added the Theremin, which also added a whole other dimension to the song. Really cool to see him go and tap into his artistry. It was an honor.
How have RATM and Bad Religion influenced the writing on this album?
Both of these bands indirectly influenced the writing in ways both philosophically in the lyrics and messages, as well as musically with the raw intense emotion and pure rock edge. I think you can hear the influences in the heavy doubled guitar and bass riffs, the raw energy of punk rock in the drums and the “play every note likes it’s your last” aesthetic, and the specifically designed lyrics to confront issues head on and scream your ass off doing it from a primal core rage. If you hear these influences in the music, they weren’t intentional in the writing at all. I wrote all of these songs from deep inside myself expressing the reactions to what’s happening. We are not trying to sound like anyone else, your influences naturally just come out and these bands are definitely big musical influences. This album is how it all came out as Rebel Rampage.
What aspect of protest music did you get to explore on this record?
Every aspect we could possibly explore. Every song is a protest song with a specific message. Every song could be used in protest against inequality and injustice in one way or another. Some songs are more specific and some more general but they all have a purpose and that purpose is our band mission statement – “ Armed with words and music to resist oppression by the government and inspire change for equality and justice.”
Where else did you find the inspiration for the songs and lyrics?
I found a lot of inspiration from history and events that happened in history that for some reason mankind is doomed to never learn from and repeat the same mistakes over and over again. For example, “Women In White” was inspired from the Suffragettes movement for women’s rights that we are now again facing women’s rights trying to be stripped away. “Red Star” was inspired by the revival of WW2 era dictators like Stalin, Mussolini, and Hitler coming back into power like Putin, Trump, Kim Jong-un etc. “Scorched Earth” was inspired by the origin of the scorched-earth policy in military strategy where you destroy anything that might be useful to the enemy. It’s also symbolic of climate change and destroying the earth by denying it and not investing in renewable resources and energy.
Any plans to hit the road?
Yes, we have our album release party/show on 11/18/18 at the York Manor where we are partnering with the ACLU and having some special guests. We are also planning some regional shows in the last couple months of the year leading into a full on national tour being booked now for the early part of 2019. Stay tuned…
What else is happening next in Rebel Rampage’s world?
We are working on releasing the next single off the album, “I Am The Power” featuring Emily Armstrong (Dead Sara) with a video. The album release show is our next main focus for next month as well as getting the music out there for people to get inspired and VOTE for these upcoming midterms and beyond. We are working on partnering with various resistance organizations to rally the people and make some change through music. Vinyl albums are being made and will be available next month, but you can order them now at rebelrampage.com as well as CDs, T-Shirts, Posters, and Stickers. Please help spread the word and the music to create change and make a difference. We are on a mission! You can stream/download the album on your preferred platform here – http://smarturl.it/RebelRampage