Rebel Rampage is a rock band armed with words and music to resist oppression by the government and inspire change for equality and justice!
Please list all of your band members and their roles in the band.
Graham Czach - vocals, bass / Dylan McGee Jones - guitar / PunKy Balfour - drums
For starters, what bands were you part of prior to this project? How long has this project been around?
Graham here speaking. We are kind of all over the place. I have two original solo albums out under my name, Graham Czach, featuring some killer musicians such as Kris Myers (Umphrey's McGee) on the first album and the guitar player of this band, Dylan McGee Jones, on my last 'Star by Star EP', which is when we really started working on original music together. I toured for many years as the bass player for Chicago Afrobeat Project when I was living in Chicago and have done a ton of session work for bigger artists like Lupe Fiasco, Saint Asonia, and more. I also play upright bass mainly for jazz gigs and own/run two special events companies that provide jazz trios and customize to specific events called the Chicago Diamond Trio and LA Diamond Trio in their respective cities.
Since moving to Los Angeles a couple years ago, I've been getting more involved in the songwriting and producing aspect for other artists and for film and TV. With all that and being at the helm of Rebel Rampage, it's like having 10 full time jobs and I constantly wish I could clone myself, ha. Rebel Rampage is brand new and I started writing the music the day after inauguration 2017 with an urgency to get these messages out through music for the people. I then reached out to Dylan as we had been discussing this idea for some time and sent him some demos. We then found our way to PunKy who completed the power trio. Dylan is also the guitar player for Gallant and works with other artists as music director as well.
He has toured and performed with a number of notable artists over the years and you can find more info and bios/background on all of us in the band at our website here - https://www.rebelrampage.com/about. PunKy Balfour, drummer, produces and writes for a number of artists as well as tours with Andre Cymone (Prince). This is my dream team right here of musicians that bring this music to the next level always pushing the envelope and expanding boundaries. We have an electric chemistry that really comes across in the recordings and live. It's like someone ignited a musical bomb with the extreme intensity and energy we bring. The hard hitting messages in the music and lyrics are crafted with a purpose to fight injustice and inequality and inspire people to take action against oppression especially relating to the fascist Trump regime.
What are the main themes or topics for most of your songs and do you think these topics will change over time?
We are addressing a lot of issues on this album and almost every song has a message addressing a different issue. The album runs the gamut from “Not The Enemy”, which is about the attack on the Free Press and "Fake News" to “Red Star (feat. Angelo Moore)” about Russian Collusion to our modern rock remake of Graham Nash’s classic 1972 protest song “Immigration Man” addressing the immigration crisis. Other songs range from general empowerment and rally cry type songs like “I Am The Power (feat. Emily Armstrong)”, “Resistance March”, and “Divided We Fall”, to again more specific topics like “Women In White” written about supporting women’s rights inspired by the Suffragettes and “Sick Of Dying” about the failings of the US healthcare system.
One of the band’s personal favorites, “Scorched Earth” is about climate change and the ignorance of deniers that drive their own selfish interests through greed and money. These issues and topics will hopefully change for the better but they are only getting worse right now due to our broken government and our fucked up leadership of corrupt assholes running the country into the ground and making us step closer and closer to full on fascism. All of this will be relevant for some time to come and has already been for decades. We are now going way backward. We are fighting the good fight to not let that continue to happen.
What bands are currently inspiring the music that you’re making?
There's a wide range of influences and inspirations on this album from bands past and present but here are a few including Rage Against The Machine, Soundgarden, Royal Blood, Led Zeppelin, Muse, Jimi Hendrix, Fishbone, Alice In Chains, Rise Against, System of a Down, and a lot of other artists and bands who have real messages and substance in their music especially that are politically charged.
This music is more inspired by the constant barrage of attacks on our democracy and rights by the Trump Administration and the government in general. We are not trying to sound or be like any artist, the influences and inspiration will naturally come out. The sound is us as unique individuals coming together to create something bigger as an entity expressing ourselves through music.
Was there a particular band/artist or concert that inspired you to start a band?
No…Election Day - Tuesday, November 8th, 2016 inspired me to start this band and write this music after seeing how this crazy narcissistic ignorant sociopath lunatic asshole could become President. And an illegitimate one at that losing the popular vote and being installed by Russia. I will never recognize Trump as President. He’s not my President and never will be.
I felt helpless and knew I needed to do something about it with whatever I could and instantly started expressing myself through music. It’s a great platform to get your messages out there and rally people to come together and take action. I will never support someone so void of any values, compassion, morals, and the list goes on.
What do you do to prepare for a show? Any flexing, exercises, etc …
For this music, I always have to warm up my vocals for a couple hours before the show and strengthen my voice for weeks with different vocal exercises. A lot of scales and traditional warm ups help a lot as well as pushing the limit of your vocal range. I’ve learned a lot about how to control different types of timbres by altering my throat to give a different effect vocally for a lot of the grit and shredding high scream singing in different songs.
We are all professional musicians for a living so we all do our own wood shedding on our instruments on our own and also get really particular about forming a show and getting really tight in the zone at rehearsals. We take it very seriously and want to give the best performance we can, so we are very disciplined in that respect. I also stretch and do yoga before a show as it helps to loosen me up and give me the energy I need to bring it. This is the most physically and musically challenging band I’ve been in. You can see by our live show and feel it in the music.
What has been the biggest highlight of your music career so far?
There have been some amazing highlights and experiences over the years for all of us but making this album with the incredible team of people we made it with is the biggest. Pouring your heart and soul into original music and making an album the right way in the middle of the desert in Joshua Tree at Rancho De La Luna is priceless!
If you could tour with any bands, past or present, who would they be and why?
Some of the obvious choices are listed in inspirations mentioned earlier. Rage Against The Machine, if they were to reunite, would be my top choice because of the politically charged messages aligning as well as the heavy intense aspect of the music. A few others that would be a great fit musically and message wise would be System of a Down, Muse, Fever 333, Pearl Jam, Foo Fighters, and Rise Against. Really been digging Royal Blood as well and would be great to hit the road with those dudes.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
We are partnering with the ACLU for our album release party at the York Manor on 11/18 in Los Angeles with some special guests. The most important thing any US citizen can do is exercise their right to vote and take action in whatever way they can from calling their elected reps to taking to the streets in protest to save our democracy and our nation.
Links To Turn Music Into Action:
Call your Senators and Reps
Find your Senator here - https://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm
Find your Rep here - https://www.house.gov/representatives/find-your-representative
Donate / Sign Petitions at ACLU.org – https://www.aclu.org/
Register to Vote and Vote at Rock the Vote - https://www.rockthevote.org/
Take Action, Show Up In Person, Protest!