Updated: 08/05/00

The River City Rebels are a young band from the East Coast who are about to release their debut album on Victory Records. Their lyrics deal with many political and socials issues that should concern everybody. And even though these guys like to deliver the social consciousness verbally, their music is definitely of the punk/ska variety and should appeal to many. I sent guitarist Gabriel Rich a few questions concerning the River City Rebels, so read on to learn more about this up and coming bandÖ

Highwire Daze: Introduce yourself, tell me what you do in River City Rebels and how long the band has been together.

Gabe: I'm Gabriel Rich. I play guitar and sing in The Rebels. We've been a band in one form or another for around 3 years. Weíve gone through tons of lineup changes; I wasn't even an original member. I started off on just vocals; eventually I started playing guitar in the band. I moved to trombone for several months to fill in for a horn player who left. Now Iím happy to be back on guitar for good. Although the current lineup has been together for less than a year, I believe it's our strongest ever musically (with 2 guitars and 2 horns) and personally.

HD: Where is the band from and what is the music scene like there?

Gabe: 5 of the 7 members are from eastern Vermont/Western New Hampshire. The scene here is not the best, but a lot of kids really try to help out, putting on DIY shows in the area and there are a few good clubs around that really help the scene out as well. Our trumpet player and trombone player are from just south of Boston. The scene there is one of the best in the country in my opinion.

HD: How did you wind up being signed to Victory Records?

Gabe: We recorded a two-song demo in a nice Vermont studio last year, and sent it out to every label we could think of. We figured somebody had to be interested in us. We were very lucky that it was Victory. Tony, the Victory head honcho, flew out to see us play at a show we set up at an elks club in Vermont. He liked our energetic live show and had enough faith in us to give us the support of Victory.

HD: What do you think makes River City Rebels stand apart from other punk/ska bands?

Gabe: The fact that we're mixing up good old punk rock with a horn section makes us pretty unique, and I think our lyrics make us stand out also. Those are very important to us.

HD: Do you feel that America in general has become more tolerant of one anotherís racial and social differences?

Gabe: As a whole, there is definitely more tolerance and awareness in general on issues like racism, sexism, etc... than there used to be.

HD: Do you believe that everyone is prejudice to a certain extent?

Gabe: I don't believe so, no. I try to view everything in life objectively, as do a lot of people I know. I think the more people who do that, the better this world is gonna be. Sounds corny as all hell, but it makes sense if you think about it.

HD: While you address racism in your lyrics, there is no mention of subjects such as misogyny (violence against women) and homophobia. What are your views on those subjects?

Gabe: Misogyny is a big problem in the U.S. and is definitely an important issue to me personally, although it doesn't affect me directly like some of the other issues. As far as homophobia, I think that's a huge problem in the punk scene. It is a fact at this point in time that racism is not welcome in our scene. But it saddens me that some of my closest friends don't take a stand on homosexuality and that overall, the music scene is divided on this issue. I consider homophobia a bigger problem than racism in the punk scene, since I deal with it more directly.

HD: What is your opinion on organized religion in America today?

Gabe: I am not a religious person myself. I respect people who are, but I feel that too many people accept every aspect of a religion without question. I think people should figure it out for themselves. Itís a beautiful thing when someone can find spirituality and inner peace, and can live a happier life because of that. But as far as organized religion, I think it divides humanity into more factions that don't need to exist. When someone is hated because they don't believe in the same god as you, or when blood is being shed over religious issues... that makes me think that maybe organized religion is doing more harm than good.

HD: How long have you played guitar and what are your influences?

Gabe: Iíve been playing guitar for almost five years now. I taught myself how to play, and figured out all the grunge and alternative stuff (Nirvana, etc.) When I first heard "punk", it was probably Green Day. I figured out the whole Dookie album and pretty much went from there. I listen to many types of music and Iíve always loved the simplicity of punk rock, but my favorite band will always be Weezer.

HD: What do your parents think of your involvement in the River City Rebels?

Gabe: I'm one of the youngest members of RCR (Ward and I are only 17) and I live with my mom. She realizes how lucky we were to get this break and she supports us 100 percent. Sheís very cool about letting me tour and everything else.

HD: What are your favorite songs on the new album and why?

Gabe: My favorites are probably "Corporate America", "The System", and "Military Attitude." The lyrics and music on all three of these are some of my favorites. I like "We Will Fight" cause that's the one I did lead vocals for on the album.

HD: What CD or album do you currently own that someone would be very surprised to find in your collection?

Gabe: Hmm.. let's see... Back To The Future soundtrack, Transformers soundtrack, Spazz, uh.. Cornershop? haha

HD: If there was one thing youíd like someone to get out of hearing your music, what would it be?

Gabe: I would really like it if someone read the lyrics, and it inspired them to be more active in the types of issues we talk about, or even if it just inspires them to write a song or something.

HD: Any plans of River City Rebels playing here in the Los Angeles area?

Gabe: We're actually doing our first real tour this summer, going to PA, KS, MO, IL, IN, OH...check out for all the dates. And then we're doing a mini tour of the Quebec area with a band from Mass called The Goonies (fucking best live band I've seen.) All of us go to school right now. Ward and I have one more year of high school, the rest are in college. So it's hard to do anything too far out. Hopefully we'll make it out to California next summer. Iíd love to play there.

HD: Do you have any messages for people who might be interested in checking out your music?

Gabe: Yeah. Check it out. You'll like it. If you don't like it, you can send me a nasty email at

HD: If you could be a donut, what kind would you be and why?

Gabe: I guess I would be a chocolate glazed. I don't really have a reason okay? Just stop harassing me about it.

Racism, Religion, and War is coming out through Victory Records. It is truly music to start the next American Revolution toÖ


THE OFFICIAL RIVER CITY REBELS HOME PAGE: All the news on River City Rebels!!!
VICTORY RECORDS: The label for Rebel City Rebels!!!
THE HIGHWIRE DAZE HOME PAGE: Return to the Main Page!