Over the past three years, Rocky Mountain Rebel Music has grown a lot — and not just in terms of members. True, the Victoria band is now a 10-piece ensemble, with musicians manning everything from saxophone to guitars to didgeridoos, but vocalist and didge player Andrew Murgatroyd says the ska/funk/reggae/rock fusion band has expanded more than its membership since forming in 2008.
“When we were first getting started, people could step on each other’s toes,” he says. “But we’ve all found our own sonic real estate and where we fit and where we need to be quiet so that we’re playing with each other rather than competing with each other.”
And while one might think a band with so many players would function more as a loose collective than a cohesive unit, guitarist-singer Greg Szabo says that is not the case with RMRM.
“It’s not so much a collective like that,” he says. “These are the 10 members, and if one of them can’t make a show or a jam, they are missed.”
With the lineup solidified and a recent western Canadian tour under their belts — not to mention a nomination for Favourite Band in this year’s M Awards — Rocky Mountain Rebel Music is set to release their second record, Vic Sound System, at their Zone Band of the Month gig this Thursday. RMRM’s every-member-counts philosophy extends into the group’s songwriting; Murgatroyd says there are about four main writers in the group, but everyone in the band has a chance to contribute in his or her own way.
“Whatever the songwriter’s initial idea or concept may have been always gets kind of tweaked by each individual’s contribution,” he says. “In the end, you’ve got something that’s maybe a different animal, but definitely more RMRM.”
In talking to the band, it’s apparent they have a lot of pride in what they’ve accomplished with Vic Sound System — but their passion is still for live performance.
“I think we put together a good CD for sure, but I would still describe us predominantly a live band,” says drummer Simon Bailey. “You’ve got to see it or you don’t know what it is yet.”
Catch Rocky Mountain Rebel Music, with openers Handsome Distraction and Dirt Merger, 9 p.m. Thursday, March 31 at Rehab Nightclub, 502 Discovery. Tickets $9.