What began as an excuse for a handful of South Side musicians to get together and play some fun Irish music that defined their musical upbringing, has quickly turned into an eight person 'tour de force' that is taking the Midwestern music scene by storm! Since the band's inception in 2009 Red Rebel County has sold out countless shows, been invited to play in front of thousands for various high profile Chicago Police/Fire Department benefits, and packed some of the largest venues around the Midwest. Their legion of rabid fans continues to grow rapidly with every show.
Covering the pioneers of the bar-room sound, Dropkick Murphys and Flogging Molly, Red Rebel County plays everyone's favorite party tunes, along with a handful of traditional Irish bar-room tunes guaranteed to have the crowd singing and dancing along with the band. BUT PARTYGOERS BEWARE - this show isn't for the faint of heart! Red Rebel County doesn't put on just any old, ordinary show like most other cover bands. When Red Rebel County rolls through a town the venue is quickly transformed into a huge party with the band playing host as your friendly party "MC." So get ready for loads of toasting, dancing, and fans jumping up on stage to join in with the band as part of the show!
Having received national attention and critical acclaim, this group is well versed in bringing both energy and musicianship to their live shows. From the bag pipers, to the banjo and the fiddle that will have you dancing along, Red Rebel County puts on a MUST SEE show for music lovers everywhere! Be sure to check them out when the party hits your town!
A.J. Simek - Lead Guitar and Vocals
Mark Crowley - Lead Vocals
Douglas Crowley - Bagpipes and Backup Vocals
Rob Medinger - Drums
Roc O'Padula - Bass Guitar
Dan Sito - Banjo and Mandolin
Dana Kurzka - Fiddle
George Van der Schoot - Vocals, Rhythm/Lead Guitar
Red Rebel County to Play Otto's
[+ Show ]
Irish rock band Red Rebel County, covering Dropkick Murphys and Flogging Molly songs, will play at O...Irish rock band Red Rebel County, covering Dropkick Murphys and Flogging Molly songs, will play at Otto’s Niteclub & Underground Jan. 29. The band includes Mark Crowley on vocals, Danny Sullivan on guitar/vocals, AJ Shamus O’Simek on guitar/vocals, Roc O’Padula on bass, Rob Medinger on drums, Lucy Duke on fiddle, Quinn Cunningham on banjo/mandolin, Doug Crowley on bag pipes/vocals and Luke Cunningham on bag pipes.
The Daily Chronicle recently talked with Mark, Rob and AJ about the upcoming show.
Q: How did the band get started?
Mark: We’re all musicians, we’ve all played in other bands, we were all talking about putting together a band where we can play Irish music. So the idea came, we were like you know, let’s put something together, we’ll do some Dropkick Murphys, Flogging Molly songs. We kind of booked a show, and formed the band, and it just kind of snowballed from there.
Q: Why do you think your sound is so popular in Chicago and this area?
Mark: I would say the big thing with us is we really represent the working class in Chicago. It’s a very blue-collar band. Everyone in this band works a 9 a.m.-5 p.m. job, some sort of career or city job. It’s kind of rowdy, party music. It really gets everyone up and jumping and going. It’s a constant upper, just keeps everyone happy and keeps everyone going.
Rob: A lot of people come to the show, they’ve heard about the band, there’s this big buzz because we put on an energetic show and get the crowd to sing along. I think a lot of people have come up and said, “I didn’t even know who these bands were but you guys put on such an amazing show that I think I’m going to check out the Dropkick Murphys or Flogging Molly.”
Mark: I don’t want to toot our own horn, but we get Flogging Molly and Dropkick Murphy fans coming out, and they tell us we put more heart into it than those two bands. They can tell that we actually have a passion for this music.
Q: How do you work together since you are such a large band?
AJ: As far as meshing well, we all kind of have an input on what we’ll do next, as far as covers and writing originals. When we do get together, we all just sit down, we try to figure out what we want to do next or if we’re going to write this weekend, or what’s the next step, how many songs we want to learn next.
Q: You do a lot of covers, but how are you working original songs into your shows?
Mark: We’ve got a couple songs written. We’ve probably got about four or five in the works. It’s just a matter of getting everyone coordinated and getting it from pen to paper. It’s one of the focal points of the band, is going from the cover music scene to basically writing our own originals that can stand up in this genre.
Rob: I think we see the opportunity, so we’re trying to work that into something a little more productive. The cover thing’s fun and it’s a blast, but ultimately I think we’re all pretty creative, where we’d like to channel that.
AJ: We have a lot of people that have seen us do our covers, compared to our originals, they don’t even know the difference between what we’re playing. Some of our originals, people are like, “Wow, what Dropkick Murphys song was that?” And we’re like no, it’s an original.
Q: Where do you guys hope to go from here?
Rob: We started to reach out to some bigger festivals and we’ve gotten a pretty good response. It’s really kind of strange how I’ve gotten calls from New York, Atlanta, Texas, Georgia, Florida, I mean, you name it. We kind of have a niche going. Apparently, there’s a lot of room for what we’re doing out there. This is what we all do, this is what we love to do besides our day job, obviously.
If you go
What: Red Rebel County with Bluefish Fellows
When: 9 p.m. Jan. 29, doors open at 8:30 p.m
Where: Otto's Niteclub & Underground, 118 E. Lincoln Highway in DeKalb
Cost: $6, 21-and-older show
Red Rebel County Puts a Little Irish in DeKalb
[+ Show ]
Posted: Thursday, January 27, 2011 11:40 pm Red Rebel County puts a little Irish in DeKalb Chris ...Posted: Thursday, January 27, 2011 11:40 pm
Red Rebel County puts a little Irish in DeKalb Chris Krapek northernstar.info | 0 comments
DEKALB | If you’re a sailor peg and you’ve lost your leg, you don’t have to ship out to Boston to find it -- DeKalb has you covered.
Red Rebel County, a Dropkick Murphys and Flogging Molly tribute band, will play at 9 p.m. Saturday at Otto’s Nightclub, 118 E. Lincoln Highway. The 21 and older show costs $6.
The Northern Star recently talked to the nine-member band from the South Side of Chicago about Ireland, booze and kilts.
Northern Star: What is it about Irish culture and music that attracts you?
Doug (bagpipes/backing vocals): Both our parents are from Cork City, Ireland in Cork County, known as the “Rebel County,” hence the name of our band. We grew up singing at all hours of the day and listening to everyone take turns on different songs. Playing music in our house while growing up was always encouraged by our family. It’s a big part of the Irish culture and history.
Rob (drums): The cool mix of banjo, bagpipes, fiddle and a rock band thrown in the mix is something that’s unique. You don’t see many bands doing it out there, and the instruments mesh together perfectly to form a really powerful sound. Also, the Irish culture is about family and the “average Joe” having his say, so it’s great to see those elements come together with the music on stage in our live show when the crowd is involved in the show.
Mark (lead vocals): For one thing I’m 100 percent Irish, and so is my brother, we think. Our mum and dad are from Cork City, Ireland. I spent a lot of time in Cork as a kid. My whole family lives there still, excluding my brother Doug. Our mum still lives there, so its a big part of who we are.
NS: Why did you guys decide to cover both Dropkick Murphy’s and Flogging Molly?
Doug: The band started as sort of a joke and purely for fun. There used to be a huge Chicago Irish Parade that ran through my South Side neighborhood and the idea of playing covers in the garage for my annual party seemed like fun. So we picked some of our favorites that we all liked, and it just happened that those two bands ended up being the majority of the songs.
Rob: These bands are clearly the two pioneers of the Irish punk rock sound and their “all for one, one for all” attitude represents what we stand for coming from the working class part of the South Side of Chicago, so for us there was no comparison with other bands.
NS: What’s the one song that’s always requested?
Doug: There’s usually lots of screaming at our shows and I can’t make it out over the bagpipes.
Rob: That is a tough one. We cover most of the party favorites people want to hear, but occasionally you get a b- side track that is a favorite someone really wants to hear. We try to mix it up between hits and album-type tracks to make it cool. Usually we hear people shout out “Kiss Me, I’m S---faced” by the Dropkick Murphys. That seems to be a crowd favorite where people want to get up on stage and sing along with the band.
Mark: The “punkers” at our shows usually want to hear “Boys on the Docks,” the ladies want “Every Dog Has Its Day” from Flogging Molly, the city workers want to hear “Amazing Grace,” -- from town to town, venue to venue, it’s always something different.
NS: Someone makes fun of your kilt--what do you do?
Doug: I occasionally get a few “nice skirts” comments from guys, but I usually just say “thanks.” I don’t think they get what it all stands for, and that’s fine. I’m proud to wear my kilt - there’s a lot of tradition behind it. Bagpipers don’t just go out and buy a kilt, they earn the right to wear the tartan when the pipe major decides they are ready and have met a high standard of performance. This can take two to three years.
Mark: I’m not a piper, so I shouldn’t even really wear a kilt, but I’m Irish so I can. I wear it mainly because I’ve got some sweet gams. No joke, I’ve got some nice legs, Roc O’, our Italian-Irish bass player, told me so at the last show. But seriously, not many make fun of the kilt because there are nine of us. We’re more like a street gang then a band. So you give me any guff and I’ll have my Manjo player knock you out!
NS: Can you describe the shows you guys put on, for someone who has never been?
Quin: Our shows tend to be rowdy with lots of screaming and girls dancing -- kind of like a drunken hoedown that a lot of people seem to have become addicted to.
Rob: Lots of singing, dancing; people jumping on stage to dance or sing along with us. We liken it to a traveling circus where the band is the sort of ringmaster and the crowd joins in with us on stage as part of the main act.
The Local Tourist Talks with Red Rebel County
[+ Show ]
With our large Irish population and the status of St. Patrick's Day as a city-wide holiday, it's no ...With our large Irish population and the status of St. Patrick's Day as a city-wide holiday, it's no wonder that Irish drinking music bands are popular in Chicago. So it should be no surprise that local band Red Rebel County has skyrocketed to a place of honor in our city's cover band scene. Their covers of Flogging Molly, Dropkick Murphy, and traditional tunes get your feet dancing and your glasses raised, but they're more than just a rollicking good time. Two of their members are firefighters, and this Friday they've got a benefit at Joe's for Ignite The Spirit.
I spoke with band members Rob Medinger and Douglas Crowley about the band, their show, and this amazing charity. Have a listen and then get your tickets to their show tomorrow night at Joe's. It's only $5 and proceeds help families of fallen and injured firefighters. They've also got t-shirts for sale and other ways you can help out. Make a night of it with a party bus ride from the south side. They actually sold out earlier this week so they ended up getting a bigger bus! They've now a few more seats but you'll need to get them today (tickets available on their website).
These are great guys who play fun music and help out a fantastic cause. I can't think of a better way to start your St. Patrick's Day festivities in Chicago!
Chicago-area band Red Rebel County blends love of rock, traditional Irish music with charity work
[+ Show ]
March 16, 2011|By Ann Keeton, Special to the Tribune (Page 2 of 2) "We recently had the City of ...March 16, 2011|By Ann Keeton, Special to the Tribune
(Page 2 of 2)
"We recently had the City of Rockford Pipe Band join us. Their music is very traditional, but they ended up having a really good time. We let anyone get up and sing," Doug Crowley said.
Drummer Rob Medinger, who serves as the manager of Red Rebel County, said the group formed a strong bond right away.
Still, with nine musicians who work at a variety of day jobs "it's like a traveling circus." With the exception of the fiddler, all the original members are still in the group, he said.
Though the last South Side Irish Parade was held in 2009, Red Rebel County has continued to play at all kinds of venues.
The band played a packed show Friday to benefit Ignite the Spirit, a Chicago Fire Department charity. That was a special night for Doug Crowley and fellow band member Rocco Padula, also a member of the Chicago Fire Department.
Crowley said he'd be hard-pressed to choose between being a professional musician and working for the Fire Department. "I love being a firefighter and playing music. What could be better than this?"
For more information on the band and upcoming appearances, go to redrebelcounty.com.
Red Rebel County to rock Chicago Gaelic Park’s Irish Fest
[+ Show ]
When it comes to native music, Chicago Gaelic Park’s Irish Fest will be booming with all kinds of st...When it comes to native music, Chicago Gaelic Park’s Irish Fest will be booming with all kinds of styles on its six stages.
The 25th installment of the popular event will run from May 27 to 30 and feature a number of big acts.
Among them is Red Rebel County, which will headline the Tara Stage on May 29.
The band is known for its covers of Dropkick Murphys and Flogging Molly tunes, but also has some Irish favorites and originals among the repertoire.
“It’s just good party music, just good fun and gets people charged up,” drummer Rob Medinger said.
“It’s upbeat and up-tempo. That’s why we picked that. We were like, ‘Let’s have some fun.’ ”
Medinger, of Oak Lawn, has been whooping it up with Red Rebel County since 2009 when he, vocalist Mark Crowley, bagpiper Doug Crowley and some friends were having drinks at Jack Desmonds Irish Pub in Chicago Ridge.
What started as a way for the buddies to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day has turned into an act that has been making a name for itself both in Springfield as well as the Chicago area.
Decidedly Southland-based, Red Rebel County includes Evergreen Park residents Mark Crowley and lead guitarist AJ O’Simek; Doug Crowley, of Chicago’s Beverly community; bassist Roc Padula, of Oak Lawn; and rhythm guitarist George Vandershoot, bagpiper Luke Cunningham and banjo and mandolin player Quinn Cunningham, all of Chicago’s Mount Greenwood community.
Fiddle player Dana Kurczka, of Downers Grove, is the sole one who has a bit farther to travel.
With all of the instruments involved in Red Rebel County, it makes for quite the show.
“The one thing that seems to really get people coming back at the end of shows is it’s just like a big party or big circus,” said Medinger, an alum of Brother Rice High School in Chicago.
“We have people coming up on stage, people singing along, girls that like to dance. It’s kind of like a circus atmosphere.”
The familiarity of music by Dropkick Murphys and Flogging Molly, which Medinger called two of the founding groups of the Irish pub rock genre, combined with the spin that Red Rebel County puts on traditional tunes has put the band in demand.
“We do songs like ‘Wild Rover’ and ‘Rocky Road to Dublin.’ They’re traditional songs, but we do them in our own style,” he said.
“We do ‘Amazing Grace’ with pipes and a full rock band ensemble. It’s kind of a mix. We try to throw in some of the old stuff and give it our own spin.”
Red Rebel County also has been trying to share more of their original music during sets.
“They actually get a good response,” Medinger said of the band’s self-penned songs. “We have five or six originals that we work into the set that are in the same genre or style of the covers we’re doing.”
An attendee of Chicago Gaelic Park’s annual Irish Fest for the last decade or so, Medinger said he is looking forward to headlining at the event.
“It’s something that we’ve been trying to get into for a couple of years,” he said. “We finally reached the stature that they came to us and asked us to play.
“It was kind of a humbling experience. That’s a huge thing. It’s just a South Side establishment. It’s been around a long time. We’ve been a part of the whole Irish community for a long time with the South Side Irish Parades.
“It’s sort of a pinnacle what we’re doing. To play it is an honor.”
Medinger said the chance to enjoy good times with friends is the best part about Irish Fest.
“It’s very friendly. Everyone is there to have a good time, hanging out with friends and family,” he said.
“It’s just a good family event. People come and have some beverages and hang out with friends. Good drinks, good friends and good music is the key.”
WANT MORE ABOUT RED REBEL COUNTY?
Check out the latest Music Extra topic on Elaborating on Entertainment for more of our conversation with Rob Medinger, of Red Rebel County.
He’ll discuss more about why people should attend Chicago Gaelic Park’s Irish Fest, why Irish music has such a feed-good vibe, the firefighter connection to Red Rebel County, and more.
The band’s website is RedRebelCounty.com.
Music Extra: A Conversation with Red Rebel County
[+ Show ]
What could be better than making music with your friends? That's exactly what Red Rebel County has b...What could be better than making music with your friends? That's exactly what Red Rebel County has been doing since forming in 2009 after drummer Rob Medinger, vocalist Mark Crowley and bagpiper Doug Crowley decided to form a band. You can read much of my conversation with Medinger, of Oak Lawn, in my Gig of the Week on Red Rebel County in 5/27's Weekend magazine. But here's a bit more from the Brother Rice High School alum about several topics including why people should attend Chicago Gaelic Park's Irish Fest, why Irish music has such a feel-good vibe, and the firefighter connection to Red Rebel County.
The piece I penned previews Red Rebel County's headlining gig on the Tara Stage at Gaelic Park's 25th anniversary of Irish Fest in Oak Forest. The event, which draws thousands annually, is one that Medinger said he has enjoyed attending for more than a decade. "I just think it's an institution. It's tradition. It's got a lot of history to it. It's something everybody should experience once in their life. To come out on this scale, it's a huge thing. There's multiple stages going on at the same time. I think it's just a big event. And also, (we shouldn't) forget the whole reason it's around. It's to support Gaelic Park, which has been around for a long time and does a lot of good things for the Irish community."
And the Irish community has shown its support for Red Rebel County. Originally formed to play for friends at St. Patrick's Day parties hooked around the South Side Irish Parade, the band threw in some cover tunes and booked a couple of shows at local venues. "We did two warmup gigs -- one at Jack Desmonds (Irish Pub in Chicago Ridge) and a small bar called the Zoo, which isn't around anymore," Medinger said. "We were amazed that 200 people showed up for the gigs. We (had) just put up a few fliers and posters. We decided it was so much fun (so we kept) it going. It turned into a huge thing, packing in 1,000 people at Joe's on Weed Street (in Chicago) and 115 Bourbon Street (in Merrionette Park). "It's pretty much a bunch of us hanging out together, and we wanted to do something fun that involved music," he said.
Hailing mostly from the Southland (Doug Crowley is from Chicago's Beverly community, while his brother Mark is from Evergreen Park), the band also features lead guitarist AJ O'Simek, of Evergreen Park; bassist Roc Padula, of Oak Lawn; fiddle player Dana Kurczka, of Downers Grove; and rhythm guitarist George Vandershoot, bagpiper Luke Cunningham and banjo and mandolin player Quinn Cunningham, all of Chicago's Mount Greenwood community.
In case you're wondering, the group's moniker does have its roots in Ireland. The Crowleys' mom still lives in the city of Cork on the Emerald Isle. "Cork County, which is where their family came from, is called the Rebel County. And the color is red for the county flag. We got Red Rebel County from that," said Medinger, who also serves as the band's manager.
Although Red Rebel County has fielded booking request from as far as Texas, New York, Georgia and Florida, the band has been concentrating primarily on gigging in the Chicago area (Durty Nellie's in Palatine is among Medinger's fave places to play) and Springfield. "We're hoping one day to get together and get an RV and do a tour around St. Paddy's Day," he said. "The farthest we've gone so far? We're doing a wedding in Jacksonville, Ill., coming up. We're playing in Springfield, and it's a blast. We're slowly building into a huge following there."
Although some would say drinking alcohol while checking out Irish music might cultivate the party atmosphere and Medinger doesn't deny that connection, he said Irish music also has a different feel to it. "Just the banjo and the fiddle, it's not something that is typical of instruments you see at a rock show or shows in general," he said. "The whole sound has this upbeat (feel), almost crossing the border of country music -- but it's not. It's just up-tempo and it's fun, and it's good-time music. You're not going to be bored. No matter what kind of music you like, even if you're not crazy about the music we're playing, you're not going to sit there and fall asleep."
In addition to playing live to gain new fans, Red Rebel County also has been giving back via a number of benefits for the Chicago Police and Fire departments. "We have Doug and Rocky who are firemen," Medinger said of Crowley and Padula's roles in Chicago and Oak Lawn, respectively. "It all kind of comes full circle -- family and friends. We've all grown up in this area. We like to support. My brother-in-law is a fireman. I have other friends and family who are firemen. (It's) South Side, blue-collar. It's close to our hearts. Everybody in the band tries to support people in the community around us. Luke and Quinn's dad is a policeman. I think we've just been involved with those fields for a long time, being with family and friends. It's something that's natural to support when we can. We raised over $5,000 at Joe's on Weed Street for a firemen's benefit."
Medinger said he's glad for the success Red Rebel County has had thus far, and he's looking forward to hopefully recording some of the group's original material. "I've played in bands where I had to pay to play, out of my pocket," he said. "I would say the crowds and the reaction are probably the best thing. Obviously, with that comes actually being paid to do what you love -- not that it's about money. It's just the reception, the crowd and the energy are the best things. Doing something you love and actually being compensated for it is a good feeling."
Billed as the premier Dropkick Murphys/Flogging Molly cover band from Chicago, Red Rebel County pays homage to two of the founding fathers of the band's sound. "I know fans of Dropkick Murphys and Flogging Molly have said, 'You guys are better than going to their shows.' It's the controlled chaos, and everybody is part of the show."
Red Rebel County's website is: RedRebelCounty.com.
You can read my Gig of the Week on Red Rebel County at:
1. KISS ME, I'M S@#$ FACED
2. SHIPPING UP TO BOSTON
3. WILD ROVER
4. BAR ROOM HEROES
5. SPICY MCHAGGIS JIG
6. LITTLE LION MAN
7. WORST DAY
9. PUNCH DRUNK GRINNING SOUL
10. SPANCIL HILL
11. DRUNKEN LULLABIES
12. DEVIL'S DANCE FLOOR
13. IF I EVER LEAVE THIS WORLD ALIVE
14. THE LIKES OF YOU AGAIN
15. STATE OF MASSACHUSETTS
16. SALTY DOG
17. EVERY DOG HAS ITS DAY
18. REBELS OF THE SACRED HEART
19. IRISH DRINKING SONG
20. CADENCE TO ARMS
21. BOYS ON THE DOCKS
22. RUDE AWAKENINGS
and many more!
There are no upcoming dates at this time.