RPG

RPG

BandRockPunk

Richmond, Virginia quartet RPG lives by the amp and dies by the amp. They practice loud, they play loud and they live loud, as the title of their Arclight Records debut indicates—Full Time. The band formed back in the fall of 1999, appropriately with the sole intent of making loud, fast rock music.

Biography

When RPG bassist Tony Brown warns “It’s gonna get kinda loud,” you gotta listen. In fact, that’s how RPG gets you to listen. “[Volume] is a primal need,” he says. “Music is easier to feel when it’s loud. You can’t ignore it; you have no choice BUT to turn and watch.”
Indeed, the Richmond, Virginia quartet lives by the amp and dies by the amp—“Loud Amps Save Lives” reads one RPG T-shirt. They practice loud, they play loud and they live loud, as the title of their Arclight Records debut indicates—Full Time. That way, they figure, people have no choice but to pay attention.
The band formed back in the fall of 1999, appropriately with the sole intent of making loud, fast rock music. They’d had plenty of practice in their prior bands (hose.got.cable, Kilara, an early incarnation of Burn the Priest), none of which seemed to gel—but Conner likes to say “none of that is of much consequence now, because RPG has become its own entity.”
Far out? Wait ‘till you hear ‘em. They’re practicing in the background as Brown takes his turn for this interview, and although there is currently only one guitar skronking and wailing, its thunder is indisputable—even over the phone it rattles teeth. And they’re not simply dialing up to eleven going for it; RPG is loud in the literal and abstract.
The intensity translates to Full Time, a 13-track, 30-minute dose of loud-fast-rules that grabs you by the short-n’-curlies and tugs just enough to draw blood. Throughout, RPG mines a panorama of influences from—we’ll let Conner recite the litany of names: “...Grand Funk to early Aerosmith to Humble Pie to Bo Diddley to Fear to 45 Grave to the Frogs to the Sonics to John Prine to Cody Chesnutt to the Melvins to Harvey Milk to P.J. Harvey to the 13th Floor Elevators to... We listen to a lot of different stuff.”
So do a lot of other bands—it’s what RPG does with their influences that matters. On Full Time, you can hear them flawlessly execute the rough soul of the Sonics or MC5 (dig Conner’s soulful vocals on “Paralyzed”), the swagger of Aerosmith (it’s all over “Early ‘72”), the rabid spunk of Fear (“Song of Evil”). And here and there, you can pick out moments of P.J. Harvey’s intense insanity (or is it the Melvins’ retarded fury?) and the Frogs’ humor. RPG is diversely influenced, but hardly derivative—call them familiar but exhilaratingly fresh. “We’ve created a sound,” Conner holds forth, “that puts all of what we like together without borrowing too heavily from any of it.”
Since forming, RPG has toured the U.S. exponentially, playing with the likes of Zen Guerilla, GWAR, Orange Goblin, Alabama Thunderpussy, Bad Wizard, The Brought Low and Lamb of God. They’ve enjoyed airplay in England (the track “Untuck It” recently trumped a tune by the Eagles of Death Metal in a head-to-head battle) and their friends in Lamb of God sported RPG T-shirts throughout their Ozzfest gigs this year (and MTV’s Iann Robinson wore one on the air). As a result, they’ve amassed a devoted fan base throughout both countries that communes daily (with each other and the band) at RPGVA.com and sold over 4,000 copies of Full Time—before they hooked up with Arclight. They’ve even somehow found time to lens a feature-length documentary about themselves, titled High Performance.
All of this notwithstanding, RPG remains grounded. To them, they’re “just working”—and that’s part of their charm. Their workmanlike ethos resonates in every aspect of their lives (they all maintain full-time—hence, the album title—day jobs and, as Brown says, are simple “paycheck-to-paycheck kinda guys”) and their music—even their motto: “Three chords, two minutes and a cloud of dust.
Says Conner, “We’re a straight-up, loud, fast rock band, and we’re doing this because it’s a whole lotta fun.” And keeping it simple—and “inescapably loud”—ensures what RPG does stays “100% real.” And that’s what has endeared them to their current fans and those to come as they again embark on a nationwide tour in support of Full Time. A word to the wise, though: if you plan on hitting a show—bring earplugs. “It’ll definitely be loud,” says Partin. “It’s gonna be a 30-minute blast of something you don’t hear every day.”

Lyrics

Nazi Mindreader

Written By: Matt Conner

If anything in the universe
was half the way I wanted it to be
All the warriors turn into worriers
Because all the criminals would be listening to me

Baby tells me that's a terrible way to be thinking.
Tells me that I operate on a different plane.

If you should ever choose to turn the screw
once or twice-don't think of it like propaganda,
Just think of it like good advice.

Baby tells me that's a terrible way to be thinking.
Tells me that I operate on a different plane.
Tells me that's a terrible way to be thinking.
Tell me you're a little bit worried about my brain(yeah, well so am I)

Early '72

Written By: Matt Conner

Hit the ground in a PA town right about
Early 72
Growed up to get all fucked up, but I guess
Some things ain't never new.
Got told how to hold on to my
little bit of self control.
Kept my head up, now I'm fed up
and I'm taking my toll.

You said, "How could it be, that I turned out like that?"
Well I guess it's just like me
to show you where it's at.

Prissy prance-leather pants
Ain't you the hippest cat?
Brand new boots make you look so cute
don't forget your cowboy hat.
Leopard print makes me squint,
you're such the fashion plate.
You got bad tattoos, and here's more bad news-
You're about ten minutes late.

You said, "How could it be, that I turned out like that?"
Well I guess it's just like me
to show you where it's at.
When's the last time you rode a horse, cowboy?

You said, "How could it be, that I turned out like that?"
Well I guess it's just like me
to show you where it's at.

Discography

Fulltime (Direct Hit) 2003 self release
Fulltime/High Performance CD/DVD (Arlight Records) 2004

Set List

Typical Setlist:

Lose It
You Gotta Know
Stand Still Blues
Early 72
Can't Get Any Sleep
20 Year Old Idiot
Fire For Effect
Right On
Clockin In
Nazi Mindreader
Paralyzed
Song of Evil

-our sets are usually 30-40 minutes. Covers we've done/do are "The
Bomber" by the James Gang, "Parchman Farm" by Mose Allison, and "I Love
Livin' in the City" by Fear.