Rebel Punk’s debut album, Love/Hate, is scientifically proven to make you more badass
“Rebel Punk isn’t punk,” clarified drummer John Quesada. “It’s kind of how The Killers aren’t killers.” Rebel Punk is an El Dorado Hills band with roots all over the world, who play good ol’ rock ‘n’ roll. No crazy dramatics here, the lyrics are clean and all sounds are the cries of guitars, drums and bass only. Simple rock ‘n’ roll from experienced musicians who can rely on their honed skills with instruments.
The band will release their first album, Love/Hate, at the end of the month at Blue Lamp.
“We first started out as a cover band. We would be working on everything from Johnny Cash songs to The Clash,” said Quesada. One practice session, however, founding member and vocalist/guitarist George Palacios showed up with some original material. Eventually the band found itself cranking out so much original content that they struggled to narrow it down to the 12-song track list that would become Love/Hate.
The band reminded me of Social Distortion with a hint of The Clash. They encompass a sort of badassery that is expressed with class and cleanliness. Love/Hate blends the classic rock that you imagined was played in garages throughout the ‘70s, tinged with an attitude that would get these tunes blasting through the speakers of a dude flying down the 101 on his Harley. The band says they are “High octane rock ‘n’ roll,” after all.
Rebel Punk consists of a bunch of really hardworking dudes. For instance, Craig Dieterich plays bass and backing vocals but is a construction superintendent by day. Matt Vijeh does guitars and backing vocals but also works as a garbage man (the garbage man, according to him). When Quesada isn’t holding it down on drums, he can be found cruising down California’s freeways as a big bad truck driver. Cue the Sons of Anarchy opening song.
The band regularly shreds in a garage in EDH, where they have shockingly only had the police called on them twice. “When they showed up, they said, ‘We followed the kickass music to this garage. Rock on, but ya gotta stop by 9 p.m.’” Quesada fondly reminisced. “Then the cop cracked a beer and threw up some devil horns while we played our next song.” Keep it brutal, EDH.
Before every live performance, the group sticks to a strict regimen of pre-show rituals, mostly consisting of shots, “typically Jäger for Craig, Patron for Cack [Quesada’s nickname], Jack for George, and cold Tanqueray for Matt. Cack usually screams for a few more shots during the set,” the band said via email. You can find Rebel Punk playing everything from indoor venues with two-hour sets to large outdoor events including food truck parties, marathons and charity events. They also played Pat Walsh’s anniversary radio show on 93.1 KFBK. They are even looking forward to finally breaking through and possibly playing the Sacramento Concert in the Park series.
The new album was written from 2010 to 2014, and recorded at the superior Pus Cavern with Joe Johnston. Pus Cavern is the local alt-music recording Mecca where everyone from Cake to A Lot Like Birds to The Brodys has laid down tracks. Most of the material was written by Palacios. Originally hailing from Spain, he penned the songs to reflect his relationship with American culture and assimilating to it. Palacios expresses his disparity with some aspects of our culture, as well as his love for it (hence the album title Love/Hate). The song “Down in the USA” is easily the tune that most reflects the feel of the album as a whole. It is about Palacios coming to the United States on vacation from Spain, meeting his now-wife and deciding to stay in the States to be with her.
The album naturally progresses from tamer jams in the beginning and starts to loosen into controlled chaos in the end. The drums become more heavy-handed and quicker, the vocals are a tad more demanding and embracing of said chaos.
The second to last track off of the album, “What I’m Looking For,” starts with an Elvis Presley-type entrance before osculating into guitar riffs that would make Brody Dalle swoon. Track five, “Breaking Down the Walls,” is a perfect example of this band’s seamless rock ‘n’ roll style. It focuses on the relationship between the guitar and vocals and rolls smoothly binded together until the end of the tune. The band’s influences, which include Social Distortion, Metallica and The Ramones, ring true in their music. Stylistically and lyrically, they have the attitude and they certainly have the guitar playing to back it up.
On the night of their CD release at Blue Lamp, Rebel Punk will release their first ever music video. A1 automotives was more than happy to let them film their video amongst his hot rod collection, some with paint jobs that surpassed more than $35,000.
“It was so fun, yet tedious,” said Quesada. “We had to redo our song at least 50 times to make sure we got the right shot. The folks over at MC2 productions produced the video by rigging the garage with tons of Go-Pro cameras. It was cool because we even strapped one to the back of a hot-rod, and we all loaded in the car and let the camera tape us speeding off into a cloud of dust.” The video will be released at Rebel Punk’s album release show on Jan. 31 at Blue Lamp, where their 12-song lineup will keep that rock rollin’ all night long.