Rubber City Rebels
|This article does not cite any references or sources. (September 2007)|
The original line-up of the band consisted of Rod Firestone (vocals), Buzz Clic (guitar), Donny Damage (bass), Stix Pelton (drums) and Pete Sake (keyboards). Firestone was previously known as "Rod Bent" when he was performing in a band called "King Cobra" at a bar called "The Crypt". When he and Clic started playing originals there, they became the Rubber City Rebels.
In their early years, the Rebels were fans (and friends) of fellow Greater Cleveland-area bands The Dead Boys and Devo. Their breakout show was opening for The Dead Boys at legendary New York City rock club CBGB in 1977. This led to a split EP with The Bizarros, entitled From Akron, which was released that year and received praise from Robert Christgau. Firestone and Clic would go on to open the Crypt in Akron, at the time the only punk rock club in the Midwest. Bands including The Dead Boys, Devo, Pere Ubu and the Bizarros played at this club.
The Rebels moved to Los Angeles in 1978, minus Pelton (who was replaced on drums by Mike Hammer) and Sake (keyboards were deemed unnecessary for the band's change to a "heavier" sound), and gained considerable fame on the Sunset Strip. They would frequently headline at the famous Whisky A Go-Go for bands such as The Knack, Fear, The Kats, The Nu Kats, The Dickies and The Plimsouls. The band was signed to Sire Records in exclusive company like The Ramones, however a clash between band and record label ensued and the recording contract was terminated before the Rebels could record their debut album.
Following some personnel changes in the band (Damage and Hammer left to form The Hammer Damage Band and played often in Kent, Ohio. They were replaced by Johnny Bethesda and Brandon Matheson respectively), the Rebels signed a deal with Capitol Records helped in no small way by Doug Fieger, lead singer of The Knack (who were also signed to Capitol) and a self-professed fan of the band. Matheson and Fieger had previously been members of The Sunset Bombers and had one album released on Ariola Records. The Rebels debut, self-titled album was released in 1980. Although praised by critics, sales of the album never vaulted the band past its underground status and they did not follow up with a second release.
They can be seen in the 1982 movie "Tag: The Assassination Game"  near the end, playing a show behind the curtains in the theatre. Linda Hamilton's character runs through the crowd at the show attempting to escape from a pursuer. The songs "Born Dead" and "Rebel to the Rescue" are credited to them in the movie.
The Rebels faded from the scene and ceased touring in 1988, although they never officially disbanded.
Despite not touring or recording any new material through the 1990s, the Rebels' reputation and support among fans remained strong and in 2001, Mind Control Laboratories released a remastered Rubber City Rebels which featured improved sound quality and the addition of several bonus tracks. White Noise Records also released Re-Tired that year, a collection of live tracks and the Rebels' half of the From Akron EP. The band toured to support the new releases, featuring a reunion with former members Hammer and Damage.
The popularity of their reunion tour and the 2001 releases, the Rebels returned to the studio to record their second album, Pierce My Brain, which was released in 2003. This album did yield one moderately successful single, "(I Wanna) Pierce My Brain", which was included on the soundtrack for the skateboarding video game Tony Hawk's Underground.
Although Damage left the band following the first reunion shows, he was quickly replaced by Bob Clic (Buzz's brother and member of The Lewd) who plays on Pierce My Brain. The Rebels still play infrequent shows across the United States and Europe.
- Rod Firestone - Vocals
- Buzz Clic - Guitar
- Bob Clic - Bass
- Mike Hammer - Drums
- Donny Damage
- Stix Pelton
- Pete Sake
- Johnny Bethesda
- Brandon Matheson
- From Akron (Split EP with The Bizarros) (1977)
- Rubber City Rebels song included on The Akron Compilation by various artists
- L.A. In (Various Artists 1979)
- Rubber City Rebels (1990)
- Re-Tired (Live tracks/RCR tracks off "From Akron") (2001)
- Rubber City Rebels (Re-release) (2001)
- Pierce My Brain (2003)