Rum & Rebellion
Rum & Rebellion. Straight from the heart and a bit from the hips. ___ review from Punk Planet #73: Lots of Folks know Salinas, California for it's place in literature, where John Steinbeck culled narratives of the working class quietly wrestling with the American dream. Migrant workers, a darker shade of brown, continue to settle in that town in the tradiation of pursuing happiness through hard labor. It's a new narrative of immigrants, ones who have come to this country carrying with them the inalienable right to raise families against a culture who have deemed them illegal aliens. Rum & Rebellion was born from this history and hypocrisy, describing their music as 'straight from the heart and a bit from the hips.' George Sanchez, guitarist and vocalist, spins stories so honest and sincere you feel like you're listening to a friend while perched on a barstool under amber lights. With bassist Joe Hunt and drummer Scott MacDonald, Rum & Rebellion (R & R) churn out country-inspired folk-esque music that is reminiscent of Fifteen and Against Me!, with seething ferocity and deeply personal odes. R & R offers us a type of socio-political commentary that is missing from our collective music collection, shedding light on a community built by migrant workers and their daily plight. Sanchez's voice strains, course and rough, like the words to his songs, wrapping us in stories of death and the living who are slowly dying ('Oh Salinas,' 'El Corrido de Oscar') and bittersweet tales of the heart ('Bye Bye Anne,' 'This Sin'). This DIY record is free from any pretense or illusions of grandeur, put out by the band itself. There's humility in their songs, where you feel like they're trying the best they can, and that's all we really want. The reality of revolution is that it's a slow upheaval, a marathon -- not a sprint. R & R knows that it takes one step at a time: 'Used to be a socialist and I used to carry a card / I used to sell our paper to the students in the yard / Wondered why no one bought it / then I walked into the street. / Realized no one bought it 'cause they need something to eat.' ('Turning Point'). -- Amy Adoyzie ___ review from HeartattaCk #49: I am so glad this is what I thought it would be and it's as good as it is. This is an upbeat, jangly guitar-fueled, and passionately voiced folk-pop outfit hailing from Salinas, California. Fans of This Bike is a Pipe Bomb would love this band. The lyrics are honest and refreshing. Thirteen heartfelt songs telling true stories of rebellion and love focused on the people and community they live in. The cardboard CD layout is nice looking too, including a short bio on the 70-something artst whose artwork they used. This band is f***ing fantastic and recommendable to anyone who loves folk/punk and good story telling. Hand numbered CDs out of 1000! -- Weston Czerkies ___ review from Performer Mag: Part of the allure of punk rock is that you can put in whatever you want, play it fast and rough, and never worry about the consequences. Elements of bluegrass, country, or even ska have shown up in stalwart punk regimes, and Rum & Rebellion are no different. George Sanchez's whiskey-scratched voice invokes thoughts of Guttermouth or the Germs, but the band's sociopolitical agenda is more in tune with Punk In Drublic-era NOFX and the furious attacks of Bad Religion. The band is heavily influenced by it's current home, Salinas, CA, and many of their songs deal with the migratory sentiment that permeates the city. Issues of culture, tradition, and community are dear to the band, and the spreading disregard for these ideals serves to fuel their frustration and provide the energy in their songs. While the term country-punk seems to be creeping up through the ranks of hyphenated subcategories, Rum & Rebellion taps into something a bit broader. This is fast, messy music with lofty intent, but it is nothing if not sincere. When asked what they call their music, they simply replied that it was straight from the heart and a bit from the hip. Sanchez cites the birth of bluegrass as parallel to their efforts, as it was originally derided by mainstream country audiences for being ignorantly fast and reckless. The music may be fast and reckless, but it's certainly not ignorant. John Steinbeck, Woody Guthrie, and Nabokov all grace the music (both in reference and influence), and their legacy of disquiet and restlessness haunt the record. When Sanchez yells about the fatalist approach of bigger cages and longer chains in "Where We're At," he's not only referring to the dire straits of a family, but also the squalor of an economy pressed under a totalitarian regime. Rum & Rebellion are not afraid to shout out about the injustices they see around them, and to get people thinking as well as stomping their feet. (Self-released) -Stephen Gresch ___ a bio, of sorts: Salinas is probably the last place you'd find a band like us. The migrant knows this town for work. The literati know this town because of John Steinbeck. Servicemen remember Salinas because it was every soldier's destination upon leave from Ft. Ord. You've probably had a salad with components from the Salinas Valley. James Dean died on his way to a race here. But all that is neither here nor there. The fact is, none of Rum & Rebellion grew up in Salinas. But this town is where we're at right now, and that's reflected in our music. We're part of the town's migrant tradition. We didn't come here to work the fields, but we did come to Salinas because of work. Just like every other migrant, we brought along our memories and traditions and sought out a community familiar to the ones we left behind. Like the others, we found a community in the bars and the shows and over time, we became part of something that exists, happily, on the fringe. There aren't any established English-language acts here. Most touring bands skip this town altogether. For shows, we've got house parties, a few friendly community spaces, and an all-ages café run by some down folks. Most of the records that come out of this town are done without the help of a label. And that's all right. There's no standard that casual observers expect the bands, poets and emcees to live up to. After a few shows, all the faces quickly become familiar. Sure, we've had some scraps at the shows, but there's also an intimacy, respect, and care because the shows are all we've got. Our songs are political and heart felt. After all, what is politics without love and what is love if not a political stance, a declaration of one's self-determination? Our inspiration is equal parts Ian McKay and Alejandro Escovedo, hardcore and the Harry Smith Anthology of American Folk Music, with the boom-chicka-boom of Luther Perkins for fun. (Truth be told, Rum & Rebellion came together in the wake of the Lucero/Against Me! Tour in 2004.) In July, a friend asked us what we call our music. Straight from the heart and bit from the hips. Take a listen to the record. We recorded it with Craigums at the new Dutch Oven in Alameda, CA one weekend in April. We've also got a song, "The San Luis Waltz," on the Someday Coming Round: Deviant Twang Revisited compilation put out by our friend Paul Davis of Mule Train in Santa Cruz, CA. You're invited to the next show at the Cherry Bean in downtown Salinas, our home outside of the practice spot. Afterwards come along to where ever we end up and have a drink with us. When you drive through Salinas, don't be a stranger. There's so much to be lost by keeping yourself to yourself. Later. George, Joe and Scott rum & rebellion.