Rebel Riot: Hard Rock and Rage Brigade from Latvia
Rebel Riot: Hard Rock and Rage from Latvia
Rebel Riot is a four-piece hard ‘n’ heavy brigade from Riga, Latvia. Their latest manifesto of ripping rage is entitled The Good The Bad and The Heavy – jammed packed with rocking anthems that should garner the band a good deal of attention well beyond their Latvian home base. They’ve opened for the likes of Accept and are primed and ready to record a brand new testament to their rock and rage adventure. Highwire Daze recently interviewed vocalist / rhythm guitarist Bob Concrete to find out more about the mighty Rebel Riot and their explosive tunes! Read on…
Introduce yourself, tell me what you do in Rebel Riot and how long the band has been together.
We are a four-piece hard’n’heavy band. We’ve been playing together since 2007. We just like some good heavy rock and metal music. Classmates Kaspar (on bass) and Kristine (drummess) while still in highschool were up for making a band and posted an internet ad. Somewhere around the corner Bob (guitar/lead vocals) and Janis (guitar) were in search for a band themselves and replied to that ad.
Where is Rebel Riot based out of and what is your local music scene like there?
We are Latvians from Riga, Latvia. Our country and population is rather a small one. So is the underground music scene. There are some classic local rock/metal bands (singing in Latvian). Some younger bands appear from time to time. Not that much internationally active bands. In the public there could be just about a few thousand active rock/punk/metal and underground music listeners (going to gigs).
Select two songs from The Good The Bad and The Heavy and what inspired the lyrics.
We kinda tried to put the songs into a concept. The lyrical themes evolved around talking about the wicked and nasty things in life, others on the contrary – about optimistic and noble views, and then there’s the praise for the rock’n’roll lifestyle which we don’t despise that much. Hence the album title, twisting the classic movie title.
Some words from Janis on the song Preacher of Lies: “I had a situation with some Mormon preachers in the street. We had a talk and I realized how closed-minded they are. Of course it’s all just a scam and I can see that the same thing happens on a much bigger scale worldwide and every day. A lot of misinformation out there. Somebody is always trying to cash in on misled people. It’s probably even more relevant today than a few years ago. Think for yourself and don’t sell out!”
Lightworker – it’s a story about a protagonist who devotes himself to the art of heavy metal in the name for curing and saving his home planet.
With The Good The Bad and The Heavy being released in 2016, how close is Rebel Riot to writing and recording all new material?
As we speak.. we are working on some new material for some months now. Almost ready to record some of it. So 2020 should see some new recordings from us.
What was it like opening for Accept and did you get to meet or hang out with anyone in the band at all?
It was really cool! Imagine you get an offer to open for one of your favorite bands (and it’s not just some obscure band). It still counts as one of our coolest shows from the many hundreds we’ve had. We had a separate backstage closet, but the courteous Germans were cool about us slipping into their backstage. We took a few photos, autographs… “Hey, are you guys having all of your beers from the fridge?” So we got some beers from them too, but drummer Stefan Schwarzmann tried our Latvian Black Balsam. The other guys were cool too. Wolf was immersed into laptop work on the couch though.
If Rebel Riot could open up for any band either now or from the past, who would it be and why?
Ah, too much to choose from. But one of them could be Motorhead, who were one of the coolest rock’n’roll bands. Also fun would be probably a band like Ministry, or some charismatic characters like Sebastian Bach.
What could one expect from a live Rebel Riot show?
We’ve been working on our sound for years. The riffs just have to sound juicy just like everything else and the vocals piercing through. And then there is fire! We have these small somewhat unusual pyrotechnics (flames on guitars and cymbals, sparks, smoke). Just for the sake of the show.
Rebel Riot has a female drummer within their ranks. What has it been like for her to tour with a bunch of guys and what is her drumming background such as influences and how long she has been drumming?
She’s like our sister. She just has to put up with all our shit. A bit shy. But she’s all cool. Here’s what she’s got to say:
“Before bigger tours I had some thoughts about how is it going to be for me and 8 guys in one van all the time together. But in the end, it’s easy and smooth. Either they’re the best guys to tour with or I can adapt very easily… or both.
I started playing drums when I was 16 after I understood that piano and guitar aren’t my instruments. My first experience was playing in a school band with our bass guitar player Kaspar, as we were classmates then.
My favorite drummers are Vinnie Paul (Pantera), Bill Ward (Black Sabbath), John Bonham (Led Zeppelin). But it’s not like they are my only influences. There are a lot of really good and amazing drummers you can learn from.”
Your first album Make A Mess came out in 2010. On this 10 year anniversary of Make A Mess, what do you think of the album now in retrospect?
We have a saying in Latvian – First puppies get to be drowned! That was our first experience in a studio so we didn’t know how to do everything properly. We were just learning how to compose songs, record and mix them. It was an important work of our career. But we have some good songs on that one, of which some are still on our live show set list from time to time.
What is the secret to having the same band lineup for 13 years and counting?
To be precise – we have had some harder times and line-up changes over the years. Kaspar the bass man was absent for a few years. Two other guys stepped in for the time being. And also Kristine was substituted for a few years while she was away in The Netherlands for some studies and work. We have had ‘family’ type of talks together and we decided to just keep this as our big thing and let it roll no matter what. We just love what we do.
Are you involved with any other bands or projects outside of Rebel Riot?
Kaspar plays bass in another local instrumental stoner band called Omerta. Janis occasionally joins punkrock guys in Johnny And The Burnouts. Bob has played with a local oldschool hard rock band Rūsa.
What’s up in the New Year for Rebel Riot?
Studio work finally! Some cool gigs hopefully.
Any final words of wisdom?
Thanks for getting our word out there!
Rebel Riot is:
Bob Concrete (rhythm guitar / vocals)
Jānis Kažemaks (lead guitar / backvocals)
Kristīne Lokmane (drums)
Kaspars Pētersons (bass guitar)
(Interview by Ken Morton)
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