Red Hot Rebellion deliver 100,000 megawatts of rock n’ roll
By Tim Anderl
Photo: Red Hot Rebellion release Melt the Sky at Blind Bob’s Aug. 30; photo: courtesy of Red Hot Rebellion
“Melt The Sky,” the title track from Red Hot Rebellion’s (RHR) new EP was conceived last summer when vocalist/bassist Jim Tramontana became obsessed with nuclear bomb testing. Of particular interest to him was Operation Starfish Prime, in which a test detonated nuclear weapons in the upper stratosphere and lower outer space. Participants worried that the explosion might cause Earth’s ozone layer to completely evaporate, essentially melting the sky.
Unsurprisingly, an obsession with danger is right up RHR Tramontana’s alley. Sky-melting solos, space aliens, not-so-subtle metaphors comparing space travel to sex, volume, drinking songs and fun … they’re all paramount to the RHR listening experience.
Dayton City Paper caught up with Tramontana (aka Jimmy Thrillwell) before the band’s Aug. 31 EP release show to uncover the catalysts that inspired his love of balls out rock n’ roll, and what he envisions for the trio’s future.
Did you find that music and how it fit into your life as a teen and early adult has had a lasting impact on the person you’ve become?
Most definitely. The music I listened to as a teen and early adult shaped my musical tastes, artistic pursuits and total outlook on the world. Music has always been at the center of all my social activities and has been my security blanket, my wing-man, my soundtrack to the bar-fight of life. -Jim Tramontana
When you were growing up, were there particular bands or artists who inspired you to pick up an instrument and begin playing music? How have those influences stayed in your wheelhouse of influences and what impact have they had on RHR?
I’m going to date myself with this one, but the first band that really, really turned me on as a kid was Ratt. The first time I heard “Round and Round,” I was energized, excited and intrigued by what I heard. It was like my absolute favorite song. And man, those guitars and drums sounded big and bad and awesome! I was hooked to these aggressive guitars and the intense energy. It didnIt take long to delve into older bands like Led Zeppelin, Hendrix, Black Sabbath.
I started playing guitar and getting into punk rock. And Nirvana. And then I wanted to get into the bands that influenced Nirvana, so add in more punk like The Ramones, Fear, Iggy and The Stooges, The Descedents, Operation Ivy, Dead Kennedys, etc. Then, it seemed only logical to start a band. Many bands later, I’ve finally been fortunate enough to find two guys who share very similar influences and tastes and we’re making music that is a direct result of the aforementioned influences. -JT
Do you believe that RHR has created its own niche within the Dayton scene, or do you find that there are similar artists in the area?
I think we are in a little niche unto ourselves in the area. There are many fine rock, punk, metal, lo-fi, etc. bands around and we can hang with all of them. We’re just a little bit different. -JT
Was it particularly gratifying to have your music used in the television program of another Dayton native, Rob Dyrdek?
Definitely! It has been super cool to have our music on Rob’s shows. At this point, more than half of our first album has been used on one of his shows. I think we’ve had like six different placements. Probably the coolest moment was the episode of “Rob Dyrdek’s Fantasy Factory” where Rob “kick flips”a car. It was a stunt that was the main focus of the entire episode and a huge build up. Then, right as he guns the car and speeds down track, Red Hot RebellionDs “For The Benefit Of Evil” is blaring in the background. Super cool. -JT
What lasting impact do you hope RHR has on the face of music both locally and nationally?
I hope that people just have a good time and don’t take it all too seriously. We sure don’t. Sure, we take the music seriously, but we don’t take ourselves too seriously. We think of ourselves as an arena rock band that plays small bars and clubs. Way too much power, way too much sound. But that’s part of the gag. People who get it, seem to like it. We just want people to have fun, be excited by the raw power and fury of 100,000 megawatts of rock n’ roll. -JT
What are your loftiest goals for RHR? What haven’t you achieved yet that you’d like to?
Our loftiest goals would be playing a sold out show at Red Rocks or Castle Donington. Also, playing the first rock show on Mars would be pretty cool. In the near-term, we just want people to show up to our CD release show, and for everyone there to get the new CD. All of our merchandise is “pay-what-you-want.” So if all you have is a measly dollar, you can get possibly the greatest rock n’ roll CD EP that has ever existed. -JT
Red Hot Rebellion will celebrate the release of Melt The Sky on Saturday, Aug. 31 at Blind Bob’s, 430 E. Fifth St. Also on the bill are The Jackalopes and Loveless. Admission is $5 for 21 & up. Doors at 9 p.m. For more information, please visit redhotrebellion.com.