The rock that will save us all

Red Hot Rebellion’s “mission” to save the world

By Gary Spencer

Photo: Red Hot Rebellion will perform at Blind Bob’s on Jan. 31

Contemporary punk rock could be seen as a very limited music genre – there are certain expectations of what punk bands can do musically and otherwise, which seems ironic given the original feelings of rebelliousness that birthed the movement.

But there is a handful of bands who are trying to think outside the punk box about things they can do with their music that are off the beaten path some 40 years after the first wave of punk began.

Dayton’s own Red Hot Rebellion (RHR) is one such band, and this Saturday they will unveil their brand new album, The Mission, an ambitious concept album (something of an anomaly for a punk band, Green Day’s American Idiot notwithstanding) that comes with a fully illustrated comic book.

Made up of Jimmy Thrillwell on bass, Blind Tone Deaf Dougie J on guitar and Andris Rebellion on drums, Red Hot Rebellion has been rockin’ the Gem City and beyond for over four years now.

The band started simply enough, with a simple goal.

“I wanted to do a band that we describe as ‘the soundtrack to a bar fight’ – straight up rock ‘n’ roll with punk and metal intensity,” RHR bassist Thrillwell said.

In its four years of existence, the band has been kicking ass at both punk and metal shows all over Ohio and beyond. And while doing just that has been mountains of fun, Red Hot Rebellion has been itching to do something different with their original rock and roll vision – something more daring and adventurous.

“I’ve always loved the idea of a concept album; an album that tells a story. Some of my favorites [are The Beatles’] Sgt. Pepper, [Queensrÿche’s] Operation: Mindcrime and [Nine Inch Nails’] The Downward Spiral,” Thrillwell explained.

“We frequently lament about how popular music is in terrible shape which led me to think, ‘what if aliens have been listening to our music and they’re fans, but now we’re disappointing them because our music has become so weak and boring? What if the only way Earth is going to become part of a great community of advanced galactic cultures is by having a thriving rock scene? And what if the aliens decide to set us back on the right path by sending a band to Earth to show humanity how to rock again?’ That’s us. We’re the aliens. We’re that band.”

With that state of mind, Red Hot Rebellion has embraced their role as the alien rock band that our planet has desperately needed and began brainstorming and shaping The Mission and its songs and story.

“I came up with the story of The Mission before we really wrote any songs for it,” Thrillwell explained. “I wanted to up the ante and tell a bigger story about a band of aliens sent to Earth to save the world with the power of rock ‘n’ roll. I wrote the story while on a flight from Dayton to Philadelphia. We took the major ‘beats’ of the story and then wrote corresponding songs and then I wrote the lyrics to fit the story. Each song has elements of the larger storyline but can also be taken as a stand-alone piece.”

And speaking of their incredible story, RHR wanted to give The Mission a visual element to further bring this story to life. So, they decided to create a 60-page comic book that explains the tale in greater detail, to give the listener a full sonic experience they could both see and hear. In order to achieve this, the band recruited Dayton’s Studio Akumakaze’s Chris Martin to draw the story’s inner illustrations, The Walking Dead comic letterer Rus Wooton to create the cover and Atlanta illustrator Ben Landis to do the book’s liner notes, all of which was funded through a band Kickstarter campaign. From concept to creation, Thrillwell and the band was reaching for the skies on this mission.

“People responded really well to the idea of an album and comic being two sides of the same coin,” Thrillwell said, “so I wanted to create something bigger and better for the second album. With the comic, you are a third person observer of events, while the album is more from the perspective of the band itself. They can be read/listened to separately but each enhances the other. You’ll get the most complete experience by taking them both in.”

Over a year in the making, The Mission album and comic book will be first unveiled to the public right here in Dayton this coming Saturday, followed by a slew of performances and appearances at rock shows and comic conventions for the foreseeable future until a major label contract and/or a business proposition from Stan Lee comes their way. In the meantime the band will just enjoy the fruits of its labors and keep the rock coming for those who embrace their interplanetary rock quest.

“This is, hands down the best thing we’ve ever released,” Thrillwell joked. “It’s bigger and badder, affirming that we are never going to stop rocking, no matter what.”

Red Hot Rebellion’s The Mission album release party takes place this Saturday, Jan. 31 at Blind Bob’s, 430 E. Fifth St. in Dayton. Legbone and Duderus are also on the bill. Admission is $5 for patrons 21 and over. Music begins at 9:30 p.m. For more information, please visit

Reach DCP freelance writer Gary Spencer at

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Gary Spencer is a graduate of Miami University and works in the performing arts, and believes that music is the best. Contact him at


  1. The rock that will save us all | Red Hot Rebellion’s “mission” to save the world – Dayton City Paper | Music Connection- Dayton - January 27, 2015

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