Riot in Progress
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Riot in Progress

Band Rock Metal


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos


The best kept secret in music


"Local Hitters"

Detroit city doesn't have much of a metal scene with most of the spot light on your hip hop and rap artists, but Riot in Progress kicks metal in the ass, rewriting the definition of 'NU Metal' giving metal a shot of 400cc of pure adrenaline. Being at a live Riot in Progress show is an experience that can only be explained by being there youself. Their music can appeal to all types of different people no matter what style of music they normally listen to. As a band they are great to listen to, fascinating to watch and great guys to talk to. Their songs are hard hitting, but you still understand every word of what's being sung. It's heavy metal/hard rock with singing, screaming, rapping and there are always people on the floor jamming along with them. With girls and guys chanting back and forth, as loud as they can "face down ass up thats's the way we like to fuck", to their song about masturbating "Spank the monkey" Although there isn't a mosh pit going on, everyone in the bar knows all the words to the songs and they are loving it. After listening to all the songs and watching them play through an entire set, the fans still want more. - Axis Monthly

"Riot in Progress provide sountrack to local film"

Riot In Progress provide soundtrack to local film.
Riot In Progress reportedly provided the soundtrack to the recently-released indie film entitled, "After April", according to their latest e-mail. Shot on location in and around Detroit, "After April" tells the tale of Patrick, a Detroit man who discovers through a rejected blood donation that he's HIV positive and decides to hunt down and kill the prostitute who infected him. The film was co-written by Warren native Ryan Farley and Detroiter Brian Evans who also shot and directed the film. Local actors Michael McKiddy and Angela Duffy star as Patrick and Eve respectively. "After April" opened at The Roseville theater on Jan 14th, 2004 and will run through the 27th. Click "Read More" for showtimes and additional related links.


"Riot review at the Machine Shop"

Mitch caved-in to his suburban guilt and made the 47 mile drive to Flint to see Riot In Progress open for national artists The Buzzhorn and Injected at The Machine Shop. Well, he nearly missed RIP, ignored the major-label artists and instead got drunk with Jesus and joined him in drooling over the barmaids in this mother of Hard Rock bars. Oh, and he has a theory about saving Flint from it's financial woes too. (Click the pic above for a larger image.)

Flint Guilt

I don't really like to go to Flint. To me, the city conjures up images of decaying brownfields, empty factories and the pallor of human desperation. It's too depressing to think about. Michael Moore's probably more to blame for that perception than anyone, but when GM decimated it's auto factories back in the eighties, most living-wage jobs in the area went with it. By the nineties, the once solid working-class center of automotive production began to fray at the edges and unravel. Attempts to re-invigorate the city with auto museums and other attractions fell flat and now they're so far in debt the State of Michigan is attempting a financial take-over. Flint's now a shadow of it's former glory - and a dark shadow at that.

But seven-string shredder John Thibert from Riot In Progress dropped us an e-mail the day before to ask if we could cover their opening spot for national acts Buzzhorn & Injected at The Machine Shop, a hard-rock bar on Dort Highway in Flint. I'm not a fan of hardcore music and, initially, had no intention of going. But guilt crept in: I've been spending too much time with "nice" bands from affluent suburbs and not enough time in the belly of the beast; where sex, drugs and heavy-fucking-metal are taken together in massive doses to assuage the stress of living in a dangerous and unreliable world. I have a heavy-metal past I've been trying to distance myself from for twenty years, but maybe I was overdue a visit.

While driving toward the relative safety of Royal Oak to see a band I've spent too much time with in the last year, on impulse, I turned around and made the 47 mile drive to Flint. Webmaster Rick played cell-phone navigator for me since I hadn't downloaded a map from the calendar and was unfamiliar with the area. What would I do without him?

Bar's Abuzz

As I pulled into The Machine Shop, I noticed an orderly row of customized motorcycles lined up ass-to-brick along the south wall by the entrance. On the east side, just off the crowded parking lot was a massive, champagne-colored tour bus - no doubt leased by Island Records recording artists, Injected who would be headlining later that night. On the west side of the bar was a fenced-in patio teeming with youngsters (18 and over) who stood around chatting, drinking and smoking. Outside the fence, parked next to the road, was the promotions van from Banana 101.5 (perhaps a phallic homage to it's predisposition for cock-rock and dick jokes?), the radio station that sponsored the event.

Riot (already in progress)

Inside, I felt both too old and too soft to be here. Riot In Progress were already pummeling the air with their brand of hard 'groove-metal' and a dozen or more young fans shook their fists and banged their heads front stage center. The testosterone level in the room was palpable from both the men and the women.

I left the main floor and found an empty riser where I could shelve my stuff and snap some pics without pissing anybody off. The performance was loud, furious, hard and pumped with adrenaline. It's not my bag musically, but I couldn't deny the effect R.I.P. had on their hardcore fans; if they called on them to destroy the bar, I wouldn't be surprised to see it fall.

Over the last few years, Riot In Progress have become a staple of the Detroit hardcore scene. In addition to popping up all over the metro area, the band has opened for such nationals as Sponge, Suicidal Tendencies, Marky Ramone, Deicide and now The Buzzhorn and Injected. In 1995, the band was signed by Work Ethic Productions, L.L.C." Owner Nolan Mendenhall described Riot In Progress' music as, ' High-stakes, in your face groove-metal...a monster....Ground zero at Nagasaki..." Now, ground zero found a comfortable home in Flint.

Once I'd taken a few bad pics (the fog machine was killing me), I sat at the end of the riser to jot down some notes. I ordered a 7 & 7, lit a smoke and crouched over my note-pad. I looked up momentarily to watch my drink vibrate two feet across the riser - it was that loud. Then it stopped. It was over. Shit. I missed nearly the entire set, save for a couple of songs. The crowd roared with respect for Riot In Progress. The band thanked the audience then wasted no time in breaking down their equipment to make room for Atlantic's Milwaukee metal boys, "The Buzzhorn."

"Riot in Progress "Spanks the monkey" in Public"

Riot In Progress "Spank The Monkey" in Public

Rapcore-crunchers Riot In Progress 'brought down the heavy' on stage at the 2002 DMA awards. While they didn't pack the dance floor (more from fear than disapproval, I'd guess), the press photographers and everyone else under thirty were bobbin' and twistin' their heads to their wall-pounding performance. R.I.P. was the shot of adrenaline needed to remind Detroit there's a whole sub-scene of bands in this genre who are NOT going away.
Wrenfield bassist, Frank Budd went ape-shit over their "Spank The Monkey" chorus and repeated the it over and over until we bought him another drink to shut him up. Just teasin' Frank...


"R.I.P. to test its mettle against metal bands at awards"

Riot in Progress to test its mettle against metal bands at awards

Times Herald
GROOVE METAL: The band Riot In Progress, which plays frequently in Port Huron, has been nominated in four categories for the 2003 Detrtoit Music Awards.

Since 1999, it's been the same thing for Riot In Progress: always a bridesmaid, never a bride. Albeit a very loud bridesmaid with raging guitars.
For four years, the hard rock band has been nominated for the Detroit Music Awards and for four years the members have come away empty handed.

That could change at the 2003 awards. Nominations were announced last week. In addition to a fifth consecutive nomination for outstanding hard-rock/metal artist/group, Riot In Progress picked up nominations for outstanding live performance, outstanding rock/pop instrumentalist for guitarist John Thibert and outstanding rock/pop vocalist for Steve Hopton.

Thibert of Oakland County's Orion Township is a native of St. Clair. The band maintains ties to the area with frequent performances in Port Huron, including a show tonight at JD's Key Club.

The awards, sponsored by the Motor City Music Foundation and the alternative weekly newspaper Metro Times, will be handed out April 11 at the State Theater in Detroit.

Winners are chosen by a body of more than 2,000 music industry professionals.

Thibert said he is hopeful the band can break its streak.

"It could go either way," he said. "It's just a matter of getting the word out to people in the industry who can vote.

"We're going to keep plugging away at it."

He said being nominated is a big deal within Detroit's music community. Previous winners, such as Eminem and Aalyiah, have gone on to national prominence.

- Times Herald - Bill Chapin

"Local Band Spot Light"


June 11, 2004

The Lowdown: For just less than a decade, the four-piece metal band Riot in Progress has been going to work almost as much as the beloved Pistons. Though they each put in long hours at thankless day jobs, guitarist John Thibert, 28, singer Steve Hopton, 28, drummer Mike Darowski, 26, and bassist Dustin Mackey, 29, somehow manage to find time to play heavy rock 'n' roll five, six, even seven days a week. And it has paid off.

With scores of Detroit Music Award nominations, a well-respected street team and legions of die-hard fans, Riot in Progress has earned its place in Detroit's dog-eat-dog music scene. And now it faces a crucial turning point: On Wednesday the band will throw a no-holds-barred party to celebrate the release of its second full-length CD, "Incoming from the Airwaves." The accomplishment has been seven years in the making, and band members hope it will propel them from local heroes to national contenders.

The Sound: Riot in Progress is a progressive band that is not afraid to try a variety of genres (heavy metal, industrial, jazz).

"We try not to repeat ourselves," says drummer Darowski. "That just makes for a bland record."

The most identifiable element is Hopton's raucous, screaming vocals -- but even those soften to a whisper or a melodic croon at times. Riot in Progress experiments with elements of hip-hop and rap -- what Darowski refers to as spoken word.

It's still metal. And, guitarist Thibert says, "It's a certain breed of people that like what we do."

The Rabid Fans: "We have a good amount of people who have been with us since our first record," Darowski says.

Several, even, have a Riot In Progress tattoo -- a few have the R-I-O-T logo across their knuckles and a few used their entire backs to pay homage to the band.

"They're insane," front man Hopton says of Riot's fans. "We love 'em, but they're crazy."

Dedication: Despite the years of toil, the men of Riot in Progress -- two of whom even moved to Tennessee in the early '90s and worked at a nuclear power plant -- remain 100 percent dedicated to 100 percent success. The band members bristle at the mere suggestion that they may be forced to give up music. They could never do such a thing.

"The game plan changes every day," Darowski says, "but we're definitely not a half-ass band."

The gig: The CD-release party for "Incoming from the Airwaves" is Wednesday at the Emerald Theatre, 31 N. Walnut, Mt. Clemens. 586-913-1920. Doors at 7 p.m., all ages. $10. Support comes from fellow hard rockers Breakpoint, Inflextion, Last and Stepchild. The CD will be available in stores Thursday.

By Liz Hill, Free Press special writer

By Nik

• Riot In Progress

Steve Hopton - Vocals

Mike Darowski - Drums

Jon Thibert - Guitars

Dustin - Bass

Exactly what the name suggests, Riot in Progress is Detroit’s intense and aggressive four-piece modern metal powerhouse. Notice I said "modern," not new. They are way better than that.

Screams that will shred any eardrum within listening distance, guitars that will hook you in, low end from the bass that will rumble you out of your seat (which you shouldn’t be in anyway) – and just when you think you caught the groove, the pounding of the drums gets all technical on your ass and changes up, with the wicked stylings of Mr. Darowski.

On the scene since 1995 with one full-length CD and 2 EPs to their credit, Riot continues to grow, playing larger venues, bigger shows. (In fact, by the time you read this they will have just opened for Sponge at the Emerald.)

I caught up with them at the Emerald, where they were opening for Paradime (although three quarters of the crowd came and left with Riot). As Mr. Matt B. gave us our disco background music, I got the lowdown.

How would you guys describe your music?

Mike: I guess you could say it’s modern metal. It’s different, it’s heavy.

Steve: It’s intense, some complications, a lot of rage inside the music, a lot of aggression. And we’re trying to get you to feel all your senses with it. Some happiness, some sadness, some anger. We used to be all anger, but now were trying to hit all the senses. And I think were doing pretty good with that.

How does it feel to be playing bigger shows?

Steve: Great. It’s nice to be able to come and put some heads in here. Hopefully we can keep going on with this. We want to open up for more national acts.

What do you think of the Emerald?

Steve: I love it. You know, the Palladium used to be our old home, but now I like to think of the Emerald as our new home.

What’s in store for the future?

Mike: Right now, we’re working on a new full-length release. It will be a little longer before it comes out, because were exploring all of our options with it.

Steve: We’re shooting for March.

What do you guys think about the heavy music scene in Detroit?

Mike: After seven years of it, we’ve seen a lot more bad bands than good. But there are some bands who are starting to pull their heads above water and represent Detroit for what it is instead of what’s in California. It’s starting to get its own feel. I like the Detroit thing that’s going on now.

Any comments or anything you want to add?

Steve: I can say we’re definitely getting more popular now because there’s more hate mail on the web site. I noticed when there are a lot more people talking shit about you, you’re definitely striking a nerve and that can be good.

I never take it as a disappointing thing. I laugh. It’s a riot in itself when these people have nothing better to do than try to down us. I don’t look at the negative side of it when someone says your band sucks. That’s cool, because they still heard it and at least they’re being honest. The best is when you see the people at the shows who say we suck.

Mike: There will be a lot of new material coming out at our shows. We’re fitting more dyn amics into our stuff.

Steve: I’m taking vocal lessons now too. I also want to thank everyone who’s been hanging out and working to help us promote, and all the people who keep coming to the shows. We know who you are, we love you, we thank you. ¢
- Detroit Free Press Liz Hill Jam Rag Nikk

"CD Baby artist Riot in Progress nominated"

CD Baby artist Riot in Progress nominated
CD Baby artist Riotin Progress nominated for the sixth year in a row for "Outstanding HardRock/Metal Group" by the Detroit Music Awards -

Riot in Progress Won 2003 "Outstanding Live Performers" by the Detroit Music Awards.

Check out Rio in Progress' self-titled full-length on CD Baby at


"Short Film made about CD Baby artist Riot in Progress"

Short film made about CD Baby artist Riot in Progress

Movie: Punks and Broads
Directed, written & produced by: Rick Knoell
Length: 10 minutes

Every April in Michigan, the Detroit Music Awards are held at the State Theater.

With names like Trash Brats and Broadzilla, and an arena full of punk dress, you’d be surprised to find a range of musical genres on hand to perform and compete for awards.

I certainly was considering that filmmaker Rick Knoell focused on one band, Riot In Progress, and their latest shot at the evening’s honorary award for their field.

Humorously, when not throwing down the microphone mid-verse, they acknowledge that the minute you win an award, the fans leave. (There’s an idea for a short film right there!)

Knoell does a nice job offering an array of performance and interviews so that even if the music isn’t your cup of tea, you’re still interested in experiencing more.

Check out Rio in Progress' self-titled full-length on CD Baby at

- Rick Knoell

"What's Up, What's Down in the Local Music Scene"

The State Theater was in full effect Friday night as WRIF hosted a huge local concert designed for national record labels. The bands were giving their all, trying to make that lasting impression. From the ones I did get to see I have one question: "With all that yelling in your music, how the hell do you have any functional vocal cords?" The talent was heavy and everyone rocked out, but I did find a favorite: Riot in Progress. Definitely on the loud side, but great! It was like Korn and limp bizkit teamed up to bring out the lasting tones of Rage Against the Machine. The band was full of energy throughout alll of the thrashing songs. Did I mention, they were on their way to the I-Rock afterwards? Keep it up guys, I think you may be in the spotlight sooner than we think! PS I don't know anything, just a hunch! - Real Detroit Weekly Aimee Spencer

"Riot still making Groove Metal"

Riot in Progress still making 'groove metal'
Band with ties to Blue Water Area releases sophomore CD for fans
Times Herald



TICKETS: Available through Ticketmaster by calling (248) 645-6666 or online at

DETAILS: (586) 913-1920.


Riot In Progress vocalist Steve Hopton said making it big in the music industry is like winning the lottery. Just like picking the correct seven numbers, you have to pick the perfect combination of music that will grab a label's attention.
Riot finally is ready to release its winning picks in the form of Incoming from the Airwaves, the band's second full-length album. The band will have a CD release party Wednesday at the Emerald Ballroom in Mount Clemens.

It's been five years since the hard rock group released its debut, but the band wasn't dormant. The quartet wrote and recorded 23 new songs and polished its live shows, winning the 2003 Detroit Music Award for Outstanding Live Performance.

The band also learned how "to turn the other cheek and whose butt to kiss," said Hopton, a Marine City native.

In addition to Hopton, the band's Blue Water Area roots include current Marine City resident Dustin Mackey on bass and St. Clair native John Thibert on guitar.

Interest from record labels kept Riot In Progress from making a second CD sooner, the band said.

"Our lawyer was always on the verge of getting us signed with someone," Hopton said.

Still unsigned, the band decided their fans deserved a new CD anyway.

"It's kind of unfair for us to ... not have anything for our fans to listen to," drummer Mike Darowski said.

Band members still describe their sound as "groove metal" -- or, as Thibert put it, "James Brown on crack meets White Zombie" -- but they agree the new CD represents a more focused, song-oriented approach.

The songs vary widely, from industrial rock with screaming vocals to slow pop-rock ballads with melodies, reflecting the group's diverse influences.

"The songwriting process can be a riot in progress itself," Mackey said.

Hopton said some songs took as long as one month to write, with members duking it out and taking the song in different directions until everyone was satisfied.

"This whole band's a train wreck, but it's a good train wreck," he said.

Now that the CD is finished, the band has been hard at work planning and promoting the release party. Mackey is building a set based on the CD cover art. Darowski said the band has passed out more than 100,000 fliers in an attempt to fill the 900-seat theater.

"It's going to be a challenge," Thibert said. "Even the church parking lots are getting hit."

Originally published Thursday, June 10, 2004

Contact Bill Chapin at (810) 989-0741 or

- Bill Chapin The Times Herald

1995 Two song demo & single on D.M.A. United We Jam II
1998 Compilation tape “Hard-Core, Hip Hop, Metal Fest Vol.1 featuring the song “Lonely Addiction”
1997 "Self-titled" Full length CD
2001 3 Song EP enhanced CD with videos "Scream" "Shut up" and "Spank the Monkey"
2004 "Incoming From the Airwaves" CD


Feeling a bit camera shy


Riot in Progress formed from a group of four individuals with one goal in mind: To create a sound like no other, yet still marketable.

• 2003 Detroit Music Award Winners for Outstanding Live Performance • 2003 Three live performances on Detroit’s Clear Channel radio station Channel 95.5fm “The Buck Head Show” • 2003 Performed at a Children’s Miracle Network benefit show – Capital Park In Redford, MI • 1999-2003 Consecutively nominated for Outstanding Hard Rock/Metal Detroit Music Awards • 2002 Performed for the Metro Times Magazine Best of Detroit at the Hockey Town Cafe • 2002 Performed at the Detroit Music Awards - State Theatre • 2002 Nominated for Outstanding Live Performance at the Detroit Music Awards • 2001 Finalists in the Miller Genuine Draft’s Blind Date contest, hosted by WRIF 101.1 FM and Sebastian Bach formerly of Skid Row • 2001 Fantastic Visions, The Art of Matt Busch Showcase at the Emerald Theatre in Mount Clemens, MI • 2001 Performed at the “Rock Your Shelter Benefit for the Harbor House” - McMorran Arena in Port Huron, MI which contributed to abused children • 2001 Guest appearance and soundtrack for Troma films “After April” filmed in Detroit • 1999 Performed at the WRIF Showcase - State Theatre • 1999 Motor City Music Festival at Freedom Hill in Sterling Heights, MI • 1998 Compilation “Hard-Core, Hip Hop, Metal Fest Vol.1” featuring the song “Lonely Addiction” • 1998 Performed at the Detroit Tattoo Convention - Cobo Hall in Detroit, MI • 1997 First full length CD (self titled) “Riot in Progress” • 1995 First single “Comatose” on Detroit Musicians Alliance’s “Fine Assorted Jams United We Jam II” • Riot has performed with Sponge, Biohazard, Suicidal Tendencies, Marky Ramone, Proof of D-12, Taproot, Factory 81, Tree, Hoarse, Warrant, Thornetta Davis and Hush • Steve Hopton is currently attending the Axis Academy of Music for vocal training. He has worked with Joseph Deluca contributing vocals for Renaissance Picture’s series “Xena the Warrior Princess”. This involved writing and performing music for the episode “Liar Liar”. Steve also has an acting background through John Manfreddy at the Detroit Institute of Acting & Arts. Steve was Nominated for Outstanding vocalist for Detroit Music Awards 2003 • John Thibert was nominated for Outstanding Guitarist at the 2003 Detroit Music Awards & attended the Atlanta Institute of Music in Guitar Institute of Technology. He has also performed live with Geffen Recording artist “Hush” for his CD release show at Alvin’s in Detroit, MI • Mike Darowski was nominated for Outstanding Percussionist at the 2003 Detroit Music Awards with over 14 years of percussion experience (including taking lessons and being a drum instructor) in the rock, jazz, classical and metal categories • Dustin Mackey (bass) manages lighting systems and assists with sound reinforcement for local clubs including the Emerald Theatre and Hayloft in Mt. Clemens, MI. • Supported by Detroit’s top radio stations: WRIF 101.1 FM (dj O.D. ), Channel 95.5FM (dj Buckhead), CIMX 88.7 FM (dj Kelly Brown) along with Warren Cousino High School WPHS 89.1 FM, Flint’s WWBN 101.5 FM (dj Tony Labrie) and Columbus, Ohio’s WBZX 99.7 FM • Sponsored by Jones Soda of MI. (Matt Morini) and Detroit Choppers

Nolan Mendenhall signed Riot in Progress, a groove metal band, under Work Ethic Productions L.L.C. in 1995. The band has released a full length CD, and a two-song EP, and releasing their latest CD "Incoming From the Airwaves" June 16, 2004. Riot in Progress strive for creative solid rhythm, strong bass & powerful guitar riffs. True-to-life lyrics belting out & electronic overtones complete this Detroit based groove metal band. Riot In Progress has become a veteran of the Detroit music scene and has come a long way to be nominated six years consecutively for, Outstanding Hard Rock/Metal Artist/Group for the Detroit Music Awards, 1999 thru 2004. Nominated Outstanding Live Performance 2002. Award winners for Outstanding Live Performance 2003.

Riot in Progress has performed over two hundred shows in Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania. They have made numerous radio appearances on Detroit’s most popular radio stations, such as The WRIF, 89X, and Channel 95.5FM. They have performed many benefit shows and opened for many national acts. In April 2001, made a guest appearance in Troma Films “After April” featuring 9 Riot in Progress songs. They were finalists in the 2001 Miller Genuine Draft’s Blind Date contest. Hosted by WRIF and Sebastian Bach formally of Skid Row. Also, Riot in Progress performed at the 2002 Motor City Music Awards at the State Theatre.

While staying focused, Riot in Progress has created a remarkable growing fan base that always has something to look forward to.