RYE COALITION: PART ONE
Wednesday, Mar. 06, 2002 @ 3:29 pm
I used to write about my day job on the old Downtimes page. My co-workers actually found the entry I made on my last day of work. I was rambling on about how bummed I was that I had to take part in a going away party in my honor. The co-worker that set up the party then found the entry and emailed me a zinger of a message! Yow, was she pissed!
But I've yet to talk about my current day job on the page. What I do during the 9 to 5 (and all sorts of weird hours in-between) these days is book shows for bands on national tours around The Great States.
This means 50% of the time I talk to people that work at/for/with clubs and 50% of the time I talk to rock and roll musicians, all aspiring to be rock and roll stars. Some of them even get managers and shit.
I asked a band called Rye Coalition if I could start to make fun of them from time to time on this site. I didn't want them to stumble upon this without warning after doing a web search on their own band. They were cool with it. Or at least my main contact in the band was. I told him: "I'll probably make fun of you, maybe try to make you look funny or a little bit stupid or something..." His response: "Please do."
So I should start with some history. The band used to play what everyone where I lived called "hardcore" music. They released two records and probably some demo tapes back in the early/late 90s. My main contact in the band is Jon Gonnelli, and I speak with Jon most every single day. When he went on his first tour, he was 17 years old.
The stories go like this: The band would come this close to breaking up every night. There was a situation in El Paso when the singer, who's name is Ralph and who's email address has the words "Singing Donkey" in it, was getting kicked out of the band, apparently. The show went on, the band recruiting a member of the crowd to handle lead vocals.
The band took a break for a number of years - went under radar - but now they're back with a new record. They're older and they're listening to more AC/DC and Led Zeppelin. When we were talking about starting a working relationship, I heard some of these stories from the old days. In regards to the El Paso show with Joe Blow Hardcore Kid on vocals, I asked Jon: "So how was it?"
"It was fucking terrible. Worst show ever," he recollects. And then to make certain I'm aware that nothing's changed and all is fair in love and hate, he'll call someone in his band a douche-bag.
Later, Jon tells me about the night the band got really pissed at a bar in Louisiana and set up their instruments in all four corners of the bar, letting the Singing Donkey run wild, breaking through wooden pieces of the bar as he galloped around with loud grace.
They've now completed a number of weeks touring in preparation for the release of their new album. The Last night of this tour was in NYC, which is as close to the band's home as you get without crossing into New Jersey. On stage for this almost-hometown performance, Ralph says something Jon doesn't like after the first song. There's a fight on stage with faces being mushed and insults flying. The band breaks up six or seven times in a five-minute period and then move on to their second song.
"So do you guys all hate one another?" I ask.
"Well, yeah, sometimes, you know?" Jon tells me.
"Why don't you all find other people to play with?" I ask.
"What are you kidding me? We've been with one another forever. I don't think it'd be possible to not play together."
And that's what makes it all worth it, right? Tough guy rock and roll love with a New Jersey accent. The band left today for another few weeks on the road. I'm going to see them down in Texas for a music festival next weekend. There will, without question, be more to report.
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