Interviews: Chris Rest Talks About the New RKL ‘Live in a Dive’ LP

Originally Chris Rest didn’t realize the band even owned the master recordings until sometime last year when the hamster-esque tendencies of former guitarist Barry Ward came in handy. He had kept all of the band’s old flyers, posters, deadstock merchandise and archival tracks, including the set recorded at Eindhoven’s famous squat in De Efenaar, Netherlands.

“He’s the one who kept track of everything and archived everything,” Rest said. “He said, I found this band from the Eindhoven show in 1989, but it’s all still separated, and I said let’s see if we can remix it, get it mastered and release it, because I remember it being a was a good show and we were kind of at the top of our game at that point in our career, so it all worked out.”

After a friend from the Pacific Northwest hand mixed and remastered it, the live album was then sent to Fat Mike of Fat WreckChords to gauge interest. Of course, he was immediately enthusiastic about the material which, ironically, had actually been recorded by the venue staff that night, with the band not being aware of it until after their set was completed.

“I don’t know if they even asked if we wanted that, but they were kind enough to hand over the tires.” Rest laughed and explained that despite having hired mobile rigs the year before to come to their shows and record live (which resulted in RKL’s two European live albums from 1988), the shotgun recording in the squat turned out much better than the previous two they had booked and paid for, and they also represented a more accurate version of what the band sounded like live in those years.

“People always said we were a great live band and I’d always felt like all our recording and studio stuff that we’d done up to this point wasn’t right, like the Rock n’ Roll Nightmare album was a cool record and stuff , but we didn’t even have a bass player at the time and had barely rehearsed in the studio. We pretty much learned those songs on the couch and then went in to record them with our drummer Bomer who played bass and drums.”

Keep in mind that during this time in the 1980s there was no band member over 21 or 22, some were still in their late teens. By 1989, about half of the group had gotten out of hand with hard drugs and alcohol, which ultimately proved very damaging to the band. As the only original member successively over the years, Rest found comfort despite all the chaos, addiction and exhaustion from the grateful naivety of the youth:

“We had no idea what it was like to tour with a bus. On our first US tour, we shared a van with Dr. Know, so it was two bands and all our stuff in one van, we didn’t even have a trailer. But again, same thing – both first tours of Europe were in a van with the equipment and we just thought it was. You slept sitting down, you slept on the floor, sometimes we spent money and shared a hotel room so it was pretty rough. And then the partying really got out of hand, drinking European beers – every night it was just chaos.”

Located in Eindhoven, Netherlands, De Efenaar was a well-known squat in the area, but for Rich Kids on LSD, it almost felt like one big party. Played mainly in basements or small club rooms with low ceilings, cramped quarters and poor acoustics, the cavernous dilapidated building had real lighting, a decent PA system and a capacity of at least 600, possibly up to 800 people according to Rest, and that night RKL was managed to pack the tent.

“I remember being pretty overwhelmed with all the people and how everyone was just so into it… it was cool.” Rest brings back memories.

With a total of 17 songs, RKL’s set list that evening in the Netherlands mainly consisted of songs from their 1987 album of the same name, Rock n’ Roll Nightmare. Die-hard RKL fans may recognize “Rumors,” a song that until now only existed on one of the live ’88 recordings on Live In A Dive, a song that until now had never been formally recorded in a studio, let are mastered. Interestingly enough, on the original 1988 version of “Rumors”, the vocals had to be overdubbed afterwards because they weren’t even written at the time of the live recording.

“That song is a little crazy. We really went for technical riffs and chord changes on that part of song writing,” Rest recalls.

Citing The Bad Brains, Youth Brigade and Battalion of Saints as major early influences, RKL absorbed much of the culture around them playing shows with all the bands from the early Ventura and LA punk scenes. Aggression, TSOL, Circle Jerks, Black Flag, Suicidal Tendencies and Wasted Youth were some of the other names Rest listed before revealing that a penchant for classic rock had its own influence on the band as well. Kiss, AC/DC, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden and others have firmly entrenched the aptly titled Rock n’ Roll Nightmare years, despite the fact that most of the band, ironically, was bullied by hair metal kids on the secondary school.

Fans of Rest’s other band Lagwagon may remember their original drummer Derrick Plourde, whose style was heavily influenced by RKL’s Tasmanian devil of a drummer and sometime vocalist, Richard “Bomer” Manzanullo.

“You can hear it in how tight the drumming was in the first few Lagwagon albums, how Derrick – his pedaling patterns and how he really paid attention to being aggressive…which have double footed things that most people didn’t do at the time” Rust explained. “And I know Chris Flippin and Shawn Dewey were RKL fans too, and being from Santa Barbara, we influenced all the early punk bands in the area at the time, even though we weren’t the first generation.” . from punk bands coming out of Santa Barbara.”

“I was really just an ignorant kid then, I don’t know… I still feel kind of the same person and of course I don’t party like I used to, but besides that I don’t feel that different. I don’t know, age is weird, I still feel like I’m the same kid in a way…it’s hard to believe I’m almost 55.”

When asked if he would do anything different after nearly 4 decades, Rest admits that RKL’s disbandment is one of his biggest regrets. Bomer, he explained, was such a visionary that his ambitions actually polarized him in ways that were emotionally crippling to him. Wanting to take the band to the next level than punk rock with visions of epic, orchestrated productions in the same way Freddy Mercury or Rob Halford conjure their music, Bomer at the time had almost too much potential and didn’t have enough outlets for it at all. transfer.

“He woke up in the morning and already had a song completely written in his head, and you know, if you have a vision like that and then other people play your music, it’s never going to come out the way you hear it in your head, and i think he felt that Jason (Sears) was holding us back. He was a real Darby Crash style singer you know, but nobody had the stage presence…he had such charisma. He could really pull a crowd master, or stir them up. It’s an art in itself, just that.”

Both Bomer and Sears died of drug overdoses in 2005 and 2006, with drugs playing a major role in RKL’s overall demise as a band. Of course, Rest expressed regret at all of this, that there were many things he wished he could have done better, but most importantly, how much he missed both of them.

“Every time we broke up, drugs had something to do with it.”

When asked what he would like the world to know about Rich Kids on LSD, he laughed and stated that most of the t-shirts out there are bootleg, but followed up with the more sobering fact that they were much undervalued when they were for. were the first to arrive. They weren’t mentioned in any of the fanzines and were consistently overlooked as one of the great California bands to emerge from that area at the time.

“They always mention DRI, and a lot of the bands that were on the same circuit, but for some reason maybe it was because we were from Santa Barbara, people didn’t feel like it was a place for a legit punk rock band where I’m from, but I’m not sure.”

“The first review I ever read of our band was from Timmy O’Hannan, (of) Maximum Rock n’ Roll, and I was so excited, and the first thing he says is, ‘Heavy metal grrr-rawr, I don’t choose to listen to it’ and I was like, devastated, you know?”

Definitely worth mentioning is the incredible Live In A Dive album cover, created by longtime RKL cover artist Dan Sites for this tenth installment of the ongoing Fat Wreck Chords series. Recently, Sites sat down with both Rest and Fat Mike for his Fat Mike interview series of Fat Mike to talk about both his long career as a recording artist and his retirement due to terminal illness, making this album cover (probably) the last to be released. he will do. ever do.

Rich Kids On LSD’s brand new live album, originally recorded in 1989 for the Live In A Dive series, will be out on Friday June 3rd 2022 and it’s hard to tell if this material is more of a revival of lost relics of the past, or a memorial to those who made the album what it is today. Maybe a little of both.

There is an ancient Hebrew esoteric term called the “Binah”, which refers to everything in the universe with its own specific purpose and place. Perhaps Bomer never really achieved his ambitions during his own lifetime, but even today he still has a great deal of influence. Not only has his pioneering double-pedal drumming style seared itself through generations of punk percussionists, but he’s also left behind a presence and charisma that are impossible to replicate and even more impossible to forget, those are all things that legends are made of. So that way, Bomer was within the Binah of it all, meaning he had his purpose and place, even if it could have been a little longer. At the end of the day, there are albums like Live In a Dive to bring him back, and friends like Chris Rest to both tell his story and play his music for years to come.

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