Rubber City Rebels
Band members Related acts
- Johnny Bethesda -- bass (replaced Donny Damage)
- Bob Clic -- bass (replaced Donny Damage) (2001-03)
- Buzz Clic -- lead guitar (1975-80)
- Donny Damage -- bass (1975-78, 2001)
- Rod Firestone (aka Rod Bent) -- vocals, guitar (1975-80,
- Mike Hammer -- drums, percussion (replaced
Stix Pelton) (1978, 2001-03)
- Brandon Matheson -- drums, percussion (replaced Mike
- Stix Pelton -- drums, percussion (1975-78)
- Pete Sake (aka Pete Mullen) -- keyboards (1975-78)
- Bold Chicken (Buzz Clic)
- Buzz Clic (solo efforts)
- The Firetones (Rod Firestone)
- The Lewds (Bob Clic)
- The Sunset Bombers (Brandon Matheson)
Rating: 3 stars ***
Title: Rubber City Rebels
Country/State: Akron, Ohio
Grade (cover/record): VG / VG
Comments: cut out hole top right corner
GEMM catalog ID: 5320
Ah, Akron's Rubber City Rebels ... Interesting how one of the more talented outfits out of the city managed to get overlooked by the buying public and radio when many of their less talented competitors actually managed to garnered their 15 minutes of fame.
Guitarist Buzz Clic, bassist Donny Damage, and singer/guitarist Rod Firestone started their musical collaboration in the Akron cover band King Cobra. With the addition of drummer Stix (Styx) Pelton and keyboardist Pete Sake to the lineup the Rubber City Rebels quickly became part of the city's blossoming music scene that gave rise to the likes of The Dead Boys, Devo, Pere Ubu, The Pretenders, Rachel Sweet, etc. The even started the Midwest's first punk/new wave oriented club via Akron's The Crypt. By the mid-1970s the band had begun to attract considerable local attention, their initial break coming when buddies The Dead Boys invited them to serve as opening act at a showcase performance at New York's CBGBs. The resulting publicity saw them sign to the small Clone label which released a split album with the Bizarros "From Akron" (Clone catalog number CL-001 - the five Rubber City Rebel tracks were on side two). Clone also released a Rubber City Rebel 45 'Teacher's Pet' b/w 'Hooked On You/To Kill You' (Clone catalog number ??).
Following the call of commercial success, 1978 saw the band (sans keyboardist Sake and drummer Pelton who was quickly replaced by Mike Hammer) relocate to Los Angeles. Unable to find a label, they recorded and released a pair of singles on their own RCR label 'Surprise Surprise
b/w 'Brainwave' (RCR catalog number RCR-100) and 'Young' and Dumb' b/w 'Paper Doll' (RCR catalog number RCR-101).
The move and subsequent shows at Sunset Strip clubs like the Troubadour and the Whiskey a Go-Go along with an infamous publicity stunt where they hijacked a Hollywood billboard brought them to the attention of Sire Records which promptly signed them to a contract. Unfortunately creative and business differences saw the band dropped before they could record anything.
the band posing before their infamous Hollywood billboard
Following another series of personnel changes that saw bassist Damage and drummer Hammer head back to Ohio (they were replaced by Johnny Bethesda and ex-The Sunset Bomber Brandon Matheson), at the urging of long time friend/supporter and Knack front man Doug Feiger (who'd played with Matheson in an earlier band), Capitol Records signed the group. With Feiger in the production role, the band debuted with 1980's cleverly titled "Rubber City Rebels". Musically the set was an interesting and entertaining mixture of punk and power pop moves. Imagine The Knack with 100 times more energy and testosterone and you'll be in the right aural neighborhood. With all four members contributing material, tracks like 'Rubber City Rebels' and 'Young and Dumb' underscored their punk/new wave moves, but those were offset by some surprisingly commercial numbers including 'Gonna Be Strong', 'Lonely Fool' and 'Bluer Than Blue'. The results were somewhat schizophrenic, but the combination of styles combined with the band's goofy sense of humor (a revamped version of 'Child Eaters') made for an album far better than you would have expected. Besides, where else would you find an album that included both a Fleetwood Mac and a Sex Pistols cover ('Somebody's Gonna Get (There Heads Kicked In Tonight)' and 'No Feelings')?
Capitol Records promo photo
City Rebels" track listing:
1.) Somebody's Gonna Get (There Heads Kicked In Tonight) (Jeremy Spencer) - 2:23
2.) Paper Dolls - 2:30
3.) Gonna Be Strong (Rod Firestone) - 3:34
4.) Child Eater (Rod Firestone - Bill Clic) - 4:22
5.) Laugh (Rod Firestone - Donny Damage) - 2:52
2.) Lonely Fool (Rod Firestone) - 2:29
3.) Bluer Than Blue (Rod Firestone Bill Clic - Bandon Matheson - Johnny Bethesda) - 2:35
4.) Rubber City Rebels (Rod Firestone Bill Clic - Bandon Matheson - Donny Damage) - 2:20
5.) No Feelings (Cook - Jones - Matlock - Johnny Rotten) - 2:56
YouTube has a couple of late-1970s era live performances shot at L.A.'s Whisky A Go Go. The clips are all in black and white and not great quality, but still kind of interesting in that they show the band in a much more hardcore mode than you'd expect from the Capitol LP:
('Kick Your Head In Tonight')
Greeted with complete indifference from radio and the buying public Firestone and company called it quits. Firestone briefly reappeared as a member of Firetones. As far as I can tell, the groups' recording catalog consisted of a four song 1983 EP "Trouble" (Warner Brothers catalog FT101).
Spurred on by renewed interest in their catalog including a re-release of their debut and "Re-Tired" (White Noise catalog number ???) which pulled together their five "From Akron" tracks and some early live sides, the band including bassist Damage and drummer Hammer reunited in 2001. I've never heard it, but the band released a true sophomore studio set in 2003 "Pierce My Brain" (Smog Veil/Munster Records catalog number SV49MLP). In case anyone's interested, the band shot a video for the LP's title track which you can see via the following YouTube link:
"Rubber City Rebels" reissue 2001's "Re-Tired" 2003's "Pierce My Brain"
Naturally there are a couple of Rubber City Rebels websites:
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