By Nicholas Jason Lopez
What’s that ruckus?
Originally the outlet for frontman Rob Brown’s folk-punk alter ego, The Ruddy Ruckus has now emerged as a full-fledged family force in the garage rock scene, with the addition of lead guitarist Jackson Dorie, bassist Giordano Modesto and drummer Patrick Brown.
Their debut album ‘Wentworth And Main’ was produced by Luke Bentham (The Dirty Nil), engineered by Vince Soliveri (The Redhill Valleys), mixed by Dave Schiffman (PUP, Vampire Weekend, The OBGMs) and mastered by Harry Hess (Arkells, Monster Truck).
Slated to drop on Sep. 10, 2021, it has been described as “a gritty sonic representation of living in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada” with optimistic singles like “Boston Lager” and “Hold On My Love.”
The Music Bugle had the opportunity to speak with Brown about ‘Wentworth And Main’ and more.
Music Bugle – How did you guys decide the band name?
Rob Brown – The Ruddy Ruckus started off as a stage name for me when I used to play on my own. It was to act as an onomatopoeia for the East Coast, Irish-influenced sound embedded in the DNA of bands such as Dropkick Murphys and Flogging Molly that inspired the first few Ruddy Ruckus songs. As Pat, Jackson and G joined the group, it was debated on whether or not the name should be kept. Eventually, we decided to keep it because it was unique and a good phonetic representation of the music that we were making as a group.
Music Bugle – What was your goal for “Hold On My Love”?
Rob Brown – Our goal for “Hold On My Love” was to introduce our band to a broader audience in order to support our overarching goal of world domination! Times have been tough all over and instead of pushing our feelings to the side, we decided to own the problems and troubles that are present in our own lives and to offer an olive branch to those suffering in their own unique ways. We wanted to say that regardless of what might be going on, you always have somebody in your corner to help you weather the storms that life throws at you. We think that’s a good message to be putting out there, especially as we can see the first rays of brighter days starting to shine through the mushroom clouds of the apocalypse.
Music Bugle – What excites you the most about your style of music?
Rob Brown – Rock n’ roll is a unique species with regards to its place within the animal kingdom of music. There’s nothing more exhilarating to us than the physicality that defines the genre. Whether it be bouncing off of other people in a mosh pit, feeling the hair rise at the back of your neck at an arena show or enjoying a drink at the back of a club while leaning against the bar, rock music is deeply rooted in feelings and emotion. There’s just nothing out there that can get your blood boiling as much as a power chord played on an old guitar through an overdriven amp cranked to 11. We try our best to offer a refreshed version of the “white guys with guitars” routine by adding in pop and folk sensibilities that compliment our featured homage to the guitar gods of the past.
Music Bugle – How would you compare your newest music to your earlier material?
Rob Brown – Our earlier material was mostly bedroom demos and a live acoustic album. This new single represents a great leap forward for us with respect to new production processes and represents a lot of firsts for us. First release featuring a studio recording, first time working with a producer, first time working with highly accomplished engineers. It demonstrates a higher level of trust between the members of the band. These days, everyone contributes to the songwriting process and this has been a welcome change that has led to tighter, more focused compositions. It’s a very exciting time to be in the band as we start to push the boundaries of the definition of our sonic aesthetic.
Music Bugle – Does social media help or hurt musicians?
Rob Brown – Social media is like “The Picture Of Dorian Gray.” On the surface, it has the power to connect musicians to larger audiences than what would have been possible even as little as a few years ago. We can see platforms like TikTok and their ability to drive and reward virality becoming credible challenges to old guard gatekeepers like radio programmers and record labels. In some ways, this is an exciting environment to participate in, because artists can use DIY tools to create and distribute music that can then be shared further with millions of people through user generated content. On the other hand, social media completely obliterates the lines between commerce and art. Artists do not use social media casually. It’s a 24/7 job that can consume all hours of the day if you’re not careful. Getting caught up in the numbers can happen really easily because like, follow and comment activity are mostly all public. It can be very easy for musicians who are building their careers to compare their metrics to highly followed social media influencers which, at times, can be disheartening, especially if you are really invested in what you are doing. It can be a valuable tool, but getting too obsessed with social media can lead to madness.
Music Bugle – How have you been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic?
Rob Brown – We were supposed to go on tour last Summer. We had dates booked from our hometown of Hamilton, Ontario to Quebec City. Not only was this supposed to be the band’s first tour, but this would have been the first tour that we have done in our entire lives as individual musicians. It was hard to eventually call it and cancel the dates when it was clear that the pandemic was here to stay. We have played one live streamed show since the first lockdowns started in March 2020 and although it was a great time, we miss playing in front of an audience. There is no greater drug than the experience of playing to an enthusiastic crowd.
Music Bugle – Who are you listening to right now, music-wise?
Rob Brown – There are a lot of great new releases that have come out so far this year. Dinosaur Jr.’s new record ‘Sweep It Into Space’ is an absolute slap. Weezer’s latest ‘Van Weezer’ has been a lot of fun to listen to as we roll into the warmer weather. The Dirty Nil put out ‘Fuck Art’ at the beginning of the year and that one has been on repeat as well. The Beaches just put out the ‘Future Lovers’ EP and that has been on regular rotation. Even pop albums like the new Lana Del Ray and Olivia Rodrigo records have some great songs on them and listening to them has become a guilty pleasure. 2020 yielded some great releases too, including ‘The Ends’ by The OBGMs and ‘This Place Sucks Ass’ by PUP. The Summer always encourages listening to the classics, anything from AC/DC’s “Back In Black” and The Tragically Hip’s ‘Fully Completely’ to Earth, Wind & Fire’s “September” and Prince’s “Purple Rain” is fair game on any given weekend afternoon.
Music Bugle – Where do you go when you need a break?
Rob Brown – Hamilton is known as the Waterfall Capital of The World and the Southern Ontario region where we live is full of trails, beaches and tons of green space. It’s nice to have these things readily available to do things like go on hikes or otherwise spend time in nature, especially as the weather has been warming up.
Music Bugle – What’s a quote that motivates you to keep doing what you do?
Rob Brown – “I’ve soared with the eagles and I’ve slithered with the snakes and I’ve been everywhere in between and I’m going to tell you something right now. There’s one guarantee in life and that there are no guarantees, yeah. Annnnddddddd you gotta understand this. Nobody likes a quitter, nobody said life was easy, so if you get knocked down, take the standing eight count and get back up and fight again and you’re a Machomaniac,” from “Macho Man” Randy Savage.
Music Bugle – What do you hope for in the rest of 2021?
Rob Brown – We really wish the best for everyone who has been affected by the pandemic. From families who have lost loved ones to business owners who are barely hanging on to the healthcare workers who continue to fight each and every day to keep people alive and healthy, there is a lot of trauma that has soaked through our societal fabric. We feel that in some sort of collective camaraderie, everybody has a story of something that has happened to them that they wouldn’t have experienced otherwise, had the pandemic not happened. When we look to other parts of the world that are having terrible surges in COVID cases now, it’s hard not to feel for the people affected. It’s going to be a long road to a post-pandemic reality from a global perspective, but it’s one that we embrace with open arms. We are hopeful that we can get there sooner rather than later.