The boys of Summer

Dayton rockers deliver concept EPs

By Tim Anderl

Photo: Red Hot Rebellion deliver their rock revival, the Melt the SkyEP


The idea of the concept album has long been present in rock lore. Ziggy Stardust, The Wall and, more recently, American Idiot and Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots. Rock diehards recognize, adopt and develop deep and lasting love for these efforts. This summer, two of Dayton’s finest and most formidable rock bands cast their hat into the ring with their concept EPs. This is what the bands had to say about them …

When Sparks Fly

During the formative years of a lot of 20- and 30-something Dayton punks, local pop punk titans When Sparks Fly dominated the all-ages, VFW hall scene. The pretense-free band was responsible for organizing and playing dozens of hours-long concerts at Charity Grange Hall in Beavercreek and the Knights of Columbus Hall in Riverside.

For some unknown reason – perhaps a failure to be in the right place at the right time with the right sound – When Sparks Fly remained on the fringe and eventually called it quits in the later part of the ‘00s. Taking equal cues from Alkaline Trio, Guns N’ Roses, Hot Water Music and Van Halen, When Sparks Fly dusted off the band’s original lineup in May 2012 to give it another go.

A little more than a year later, the band emerges with the July 2013 release of The Moon’s Not Real EP. This is what guitarist/vocalist Lokie Lewis said about it:

When did you begin writing the material for The Moon’s Not Real? 

When we first got back together we immediately started working on new songs, which was about a year and a half ago, but some of these songs and parts had been written or started before that. – Lokie Lewis

Who produced the record? What input did that person have that changed the face of the record?

Micah Carli (of Hawthorne Heights) produced, mixed and mastered the whole thing. He had a lot of good ideas as far as tempos and rhythms. He also helped us find the right tones we wanted, considering he has practically every guitar and amp combo you would ever want. – LL

Is there an overarching concept behind your new album that ties the record together?

Yes, the new EP is a concept record about the Wolfman going out to prove his existence only to find out that the moon is a hologram and that there is a century-long conspiracy to cover it up by the Illuminati and the New World Order. After uncovering that all the popes, queens and presidents are actually lizard people, he goes into hiding. While in hiding he asks himself a question I think we should all be asking, “If the moon’s not real, am I?” -LL

Red Hot Rebellion

Red Hot Rebellion was founded on a singular principle: to rebel against the watered-down excuse for rock of the status quo. The trio offers volume, speed and fervor – perhaps a throwback to a simpler time when rock ‘n’ roll was dangerous, a time where music was more important than fashion and where intensity and vitriol was more important than whining about breakups and heartache. Fans of Zeke, AC/DC, Motorhead and Rye Coalition will immediately recognize the musical universe from which these gentlemen channel their power.

The band’s latest EP, Melt The Sky, was recorded in February and March 2013 and will see a release on August 27. It includes four original cuts, as well as a cover of Gang Green’s “Alcohol.” This is what bassist Jim Tramontana (a.k.a. Jimmy Thrillwell) divulged about the outing:

When did you begin writing the material for the Melt The Sky? 

The upcoming release is an EP and we started writing at the end of last summer. Although, one song (“Junkyard Jesus”) was one of the first songs we wrote when we first formed in 2010. We shelved it, but then started playing it out again last year. The response was good, so we decided to re-record it and put it on this EP. -Jimmy Thrillwell

Who produced the record?  What input did that person have that changed the face of the record?

We co-produced it as a band with Chris Suttle (In The Red Recording Studio). Chris is a friggin’ genius and a delight to work with. The sound of this EP is big and it’s largely due to Chris’s production style. One example is the guitar solo in the song “Melt The Sky.” There’s actually two guitars soloing at once – which works because Doug Spencer is an awesome and thoughtful guitarist who gives spot-on performances – but using two guitar solos on top of one another was totally Chris’s idea, and wouldn’t have been something we would think to try ourselves, for the final mix. -JT

Is there an overarching concept behind your new album that ties the record together?

Red Hot Rebellion is a band from another planet sent here to set rock ‘n’ roll back on its proper path. Of all the intelligent cultures in the galaxy, only a few create their own music. And of those, a smaller handful create rock ‘n’ roll. A thriving rock scene is a prerequisite to joining the galactic union of more advanced planets. Earth started out OK and then it all went terribly wrong. Red Hot Rebellion was sent here to correct that. This story will be played out in the second issue of the RHR comic book. -JT

For more information on When Spaks Fly, please visit For more information on Red Hot Rebellion, please visit


Reach DCP freelance writer Tim Anderl at

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