Rubber City Rebels
The Rubber City Rebels were probably the most 'punk' of the bands that came out of the late 70s Akron music explosion. They were heavily influenced by the Ramones, and to a lesser extent, the Dead Boys. When singer Rod Bent (of the band King Cobra) and guitarist Buzz Clic (of Bold Chicken) saw these bands play in 1976, thet got together - apparently after a King Cobra gig at the Crypt - and started the band.
The original band included Bent - renamed Rob Firestone, Clic, Donny Damage (bass), Stix Pelton (drums), and Pete Sake (keyboards). Sake didn't last long - keyboard players didn't fit in with midwest style punk. Pelton was replaced by Mike Hammer. The band, like the Dead Boys, were not welcome in most of the NE Ohio clubs they played the Crypt, which they ran, and a few other gigs before the Dead Boys invited them to play at CBGB's. When they got back, they recorded a split LP with the Bizarros for the Clone label, recorded at Clone's Bushflow studios. The LP was well received by the burgeoning punk and underground press.
By 1978 the band was frustrated by the small local scene so they moved to Los Angeles. The band got some decent gigs, but Hammer and Damage wanted out so they returned to Akron and started Hammer Damage. They were replaced by Johnny Bethesda and Brandon Matheson. Matheson had been in the LA band Sunset Bombers with Doug Fieger, who started and lead the Knack. The band did well and stayed out west, where they first got a deal with Site records. Nothing came of that, so they were signed by Capitol records (helped by Fieger who was riding high with the huge success of the Knack). Before the Capitol deal they made a 45 featuring one of their signature songs "Young And Dumb".
The band's first LP came out in 1980 and it's a good one, showing the band's influences with a Sex Pistols cover (No Feelings) and a cover of Fleetwood Mac's (under the name of Vince Vance and the Valiants) "Somebody;s Gonna Get Their Head Kicked In Tonight". They also did a cover of "Laugh" which had been the debut 45 by Hammer Damage.
The band continued to play in LA and tour, but the fast changing music scene was taking it's toll and the band went into hiatus, never officially disbanding. They made another 45 in 1981 "Brainwave" on their own label. The 45 was produced by Jack Lee, who was a member of the legendary punk-pop band the Nerves (he wrote the classic "Hanging On the Telephone" recorded by Blondie).They spent most of the 1980s apart. Starting the 1990s they began to play again,. with Mike Hammer and Donny Damage taking up their original instruments. They continued to play into the 2000s, as their status continued to grow.
They recorded their second LP in 2001, called "Pierce My Brain" and it sounds like the picked up where they left off. They also released a live album, recorded at Akron's Highland Theatre.
The band still plays occasionally, a few times with Hammer Damage
LP - From Akron (one side, other side by the Bizarros) - Clone 001, 1977
Young And Dumb / Paper Dolls - Flaming Orange 926, 1979
LP- Rubber City Rebels - Capitol 12100, 1980
Bluer Than Blue / same - Capitol 4936 promo (not confirmed to exist on stock copies)
Brainwave / Surprise Surprise - Rubber City Rebels 100, 1981