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Rye Coalition

Rye Coalition: That '70s Band

story by tim mcmahan



Lazy-i: October 30, 2002

Rye Coalition
w/ Putrescine and Bleeders for Treats
Sunday, Nov. 3
9 p.m.
Sokol Underground

13th & Martha


You can keep your stinkin' emo sap and shove your no-nukes, veganistic moralizing right up your pleather-wearin' backside. Rye Coalition is all about the rock, baby. So leave your Deep Thoughts about Iraq and the current state of the economy at home when the band hits the Sokol Underground stage Nov. 3. This music is about drinking shots, scopin' chicks and having as much fun as possible with the amps turned to 11.

On their latest CD, On Top, the New Jersey 5-piece channels the stoner-rock souls of Led Zeppelin, Grand Funk Railroad, KISS and Aerosmith on over-the-top anthems with titles like "One Daughter Hotter than One Thousand Suns," "Switchblade Sister: One Tough Nun" and "Stairway to the Free Bird on the Way to the Smokey Water." Typical track "Heart of Gold, Jacket of Leather" features lead vocalist Ralph Cuseglio sounding like a coked up Paul Stanley backed by a bickering Jimmy Page and Joe Perry arguing with their guitars over who has the biggest cock. "Stop Smoking While I'm Eating" is anger management by way of Houses of the Holy, with Cuseglio shouting (presumably with a fist in the air) "Give the kids a shot / What is it they want?"

He knows what they want. They wanna rawk!




When Cuseglio called from Jersey last week, I cut right to the chase: Why the '70s classic rock sound? Is this real love or a twisted joke on all of us guys who grew up with Led Zeppelin?

"It's not a joke at all," said Cuseglio, betraying his state of origin with his thick Sopranos-style accent. "We're really into a ton of '70s rock, especially Led Zeppelin."

Mere pups in their 20s, these guys didn't grow up when Live at Budokan, Presence or Toys in the Attic first hit the record racks. Instead, they got their rock jonze from their folks.

"We listened to a lot of punk and indie rock when we first started listening to records," Cuseglio said. "Then we came across our relatives' Zeppelin and Beatles records and it grew from there. I can speak for the entire band that there are a handful of bands out there right now that we listen some of the time, but a ton of classic rock bands that we listen to all the time."

Cuseglio points to the 'Cuda era's party-til-you-drop attitude as the reason they don't make 'em like that anymore. "Peoples' response to rock is a lot more rigid now; where in the '70s, people were much more willing to let loose. I notice it at shows -- people don't know how to let go and have a good time."

And it's not just the fans. Cuseglio said bands these days (especially in the indie scene) are more interested in making a point than in entertaining. "A lot of musicians take themselves really, really seriously," he said. "We came from a punk background, where bands were politically correct, saying things about veganism and the military. We just never fit into that. We never gave a shit. We wanted to get on stage and just play music."

Cuseglio said that, as a result, Rye Coalition has garnered a bad rap in some indie rock circles. "We've been pegged as assholes trying to be pariahs," he said. "It's never been about anything but the music for us. We don't have any great ideas of getting up there and changing the world with what our music is saying. Some bands do that well. We don't have any interest in it. We want it to be fun for everyone involved. Music is really one of the purist forms of escapism."

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Published in The Omaha Weekly Oct. 30, 2002. Copyright 2002 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


"Peoples' response to rock is a lot more rigid now; where in the '70s, people were much more willing to let loose."