Prairie Dog Vault

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Delish Mix

Well-travelled locals drop debut EP

by James Brotheridge


The Royal Red Brigade know how to run a band practice. When I arrived at their downtown practice space, they had a box of cupcakes sitting there, delicious cupcakes with hints of ginger and a caramelized Wonton as a garnish.

RRB might not be able to take 100 per cent credit for the cupcakes, as it was singer/guitarist Jason Thiry’s girlfriend who made them, but the four band members gotta be responsible for the comfortable, familiar and confident air they all exude. It’s about time – after eight years of trying, they feel they’re getting it completely right.

Back in 2002, Thiry, singer/guitarist Joshua Ruecker and drummer Mitch Rogers played in the Deadhearts together. Eventually the band took a hiatus, re-forming later to become Malaria Bear. When they lost their bassist for that group, Jesse Ethier was brought in. Rogers plays with Ethier in the local Celtic-punk group the West Port Murders, and Ethier had been a fan of the Deadhearts.

The trio agrees Ethier completed the group.

“Jesse’s entrance into the band sealed the deal for us,” says Ruecker. “She came in big for us.”

“Aw. That’s sweet,” says Ethier.

Since then, the band’s been hunky-dory.

“I get to play with basically some of my best friends, and it’s nice that we get to get a lot of juice out of it,” says Ruecker. “That makes it more fun and somehow less important and more important.”

Ethier agrees. “It’s a special mix we have.”

The Royal Red Brigade isn’t just good vibes and sunshine, though. Judging by some of the cuts off their debut EP Out of the Trenches, and their hardworking live shows, they’ve managed to get results from this fun grouping.

Part of this is no doubt due to the experience they’ve accumulated with other bands. Members of the RRB have been on the rosters of groups like the Sinsters, the Hot Blood Bombers and Bastard Sons of a Rock ’n’ Roll Devil. As musicians, they’ve all reached a new-found level of maturity.

“We all have more experience. I don’t know if our sound has changed drastically,” says Thiry.

“We’re more polished. Our skills are better for sure,” adds Ruecker.

“We can play now?” gibes Rogers.

“Yeah, totally. We can play now,” replies Ruecker.

The RRBers have taken their past endeavors across the rock spectrum and poured them into their new material. Take EP-closer “Vampire Prom Queen”, a rockabilly/garage hybrid featuring mean, accordion-backed breakdowns.

“I couldn’t even tell you how we wrote it in retrospect,” says Thiry. “All of a sudden we were adding vocal parts in and circus-themed breakdowns.”

There have been some hiccups with releasing the EP, which is being put out as a seven-inch on Harvest King Records. However, they finally have the product ready for distribution.

The buddies and rockers in arms of the Royal Red Brigade are poised to take Regina down.

(Full disclosure: I had one of the cupcakes and am a complete sucker for ginger.)