The Bellrays

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The BellRays
The BellRays in Duisburg, 2014
The BellRays in Duisburg, 2014
Background information
OriginRiverside, California, U.S.
GenresGarage rock, soul, punk rock
Years active1990–present
LabelsYou and Media (US)
Heart of Gold (ES)
Vicious Circle (FR)
Shock (AU)
Alternative Tentacles (US)
Associated actsLisa & the Lips; Bob & Lisa, The Rosethorns
Websitehttp://www.thebellrays.com
MembersLisa Kekaula
Bob Vennum
Stefan Litrownik
Justin Andres
Past membersCraig Waters
Jim Kerwin
Ray Chin
Tony Fate
Todd Westover
Walter "Phil" Phillips
Michael Sessa
Jeffrey Porterfield
Eric Allgood
Chris Markwood
Brad Vaughn

The Bellrays (also capitalized as The BellRays) is an American rock group that combines garage rock and punk with soul music,[1] founded in Riverside, California in 1990 by vocalist Lisa Kekaula and guitarist Bob Vennum. They have been with several independent labels, including Upper Cut, Poptones, Alternative Tentacles, Bittersweet, Shock, Cheap Lullaby, Vicious Circle, and Anodyne.

History[edit]

Kekaula and Vennum founded the BellRays on the dissolution of previous group The Rosethorns,[2] a group formed by Vennum in 1986, which Kekaula joined in 1988; the band released an album Ralph's Mom & Dad in 1990;[3] songs from the album were later rerecorded by the BellRays.

The BellRays released their first album In the Light of the Sun on cassette in 1993, featuring drummer Ray Chin and keyboardist Jim Kerwin. Tony Bramel (aka Tony Fate) produced and played bass on the recording and joined the band permanently as guitarist in 1996, with Vennum switching to bass.[4] The following albums Let It Blast and Grand Fury were recorded live in the band's rehearsal space.[5][6]

Fourth album The Red, White & Black (2003) was released on the Poptones label in the UK and Alternative Tentacles in the US. Craig Waters replaced Chin as drummer for the band's next two records Have a Little Faith and Hard, Sweet and Sticky,[7] the latter featuring Billy Mohler on production and bass guitar,[8] Bob Vennum having switched back to lead guitar with the departure of Tony Fate.

The BellRays' seventh album proper Black Lightning was released in 2010[9] and their most recent album Punk Funk Rock Soul Volume Two in 2018.[10]

On the group's MySpace page, they described themselves as follows:

"High Octane Rock and Roll! Biography schmiography! Who cares about where they came from or what they did before or how many records they put out. Stats are not what music or this band is about. If you have an open mind and want something challenging in your life then this is where you want to stop and listen. Just take it in and make up your own mind. You want somebody to tell you what it is go to Kelly Clarkson's website instead. You tell us what we're about and then tell your friends whether you like it or not."

"Zero PM" was featured in the video game Driv3r[11] and "Revolution Get Down" in a commercial for the Nissan Xterra.[12] "Revolution Get Down" was also used as a fade-to-commercial song during the 2006 NCAA Tournament in the George Mason-Florida semifinal on CBS Sports.

Albums & EPs[edit]

  • The BellRays (1990)
  • In the Light of the Sun (self-released cassette 1993;[13] reissued 2002)
  • Let It Blast (1998)
  • Punk Rock and Soul (1999) [5 tracks; split LP w/Streetwalkin' Cheetahs]
  • Grand Fury (2000)
  • The Red, White and Black (2004)
  • Have A Little Faith (2006)
  • Hard Sweet and Sticky (2008)
  • Black Lightning (2010)
  • Covers (2016) [6-track EP]
  • Punk Funk Rock Soul Vol.1 (2017) [4-track EP]
  • Punk Funk Rock Soul Vol.2 (2018)

Compilations[edit]

  • Meet the BellRays (2002) [compiled from Let It Blast and Grand Fury]
  • Raw Collection[14] (2003)
  • Raw Collection, Vol.2 (2005)
  • Merry Xmas, Love the BellRays (2008)
  • It's Never To Late To Fall In Love With The Bellrays (New, Rare & Unreleased)/Introducing Lisa & The Lips (2019)

Compilation appearances[edit]

  • A Vital Gesture Christmas (1996)
  • A Tribute To Really Red - Teaching You the Fear Again (2020)

DVDs[edit]

  • The BellRays @ the Barfly (2005)

References[edit]

  1. ^ Johnny Loftus. "The BellRays | Biography & History". AllMusic. Retrieved 2020-04-07. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  2. ^ "Changing Colors". LA Weekly. 1998-11-04. Retrieved 2020-04-07. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  3. ^ "The Rosethorns* - Ralph's Mom & Dad | Releases". Discogs.com. Retrieved 2020-04-07. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  4. ^ Cecile Cloutier (2000-06-07). "Star Time". Citypages.com. Retrieved 2020-04-07. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  5. ^ Bob Gendron. "Let It Blast - The BellRays | Songs, Reviews, Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved 2020-04-07. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  6. ^ Bart Bealmear (2001-01-16). "Grand Fury - The BellRays | Songs, Reviews, Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved 2020-04-07. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  7. ^ "The BellRays Return WIth Two New Records of Revolution Rock". Westword.com. 2017-04-25. Retrieved 2020-04-07. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  8. ^ "The BellRays: Hard, Sweet and Sticky". PopMatters.com. May 18, 2008. Retrieved 2020-04-07. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  9. ^ Hal Horowitz (2011-02-28). "Black Lightning - The BellRays | Songs, Reviews, Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved 2020-04-07. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  10. ^ "Punk Funk Rock Soul Volume 2 - Record Collector Magazine". Recordcollectormag.com. Retrieved 2020-04-07. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  11. ^ "Driv3r (Video Game 2004)". IMDb.com. Retrieved 2020-04-07. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  12. ^ "The BellRays: Tour Dates & Tickets, Tour History". Jambase.com. Retrieved 2020-04-07. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  13. ^ Adam Bregman (2002-02-26). "In the Light of the Sun - The BellRays | Songs, Reviews, Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved 2020-04-07. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  14. ^ Johnny Loftus (2003-03-04). "Raw Collection - The BellRays | Songs, Reviews, Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved 2020-04-07. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)

External links[edit]