Close, but no cigar...
(The Rebel Pride band story)
Dave Bolin, and Chuck Heron both of Dowagiac Michigan established the Rebel Pride Band in the fall of 1988. Dave (vocals and guitar) and Chuck (bass guitar) had decided to leave the country band they were in and start a new southern rock/country band. They signed on Bob Hopper (drummer) of Niles Michigan first, then after trying numerous musicians, signed on Dave Stroup (keyboard player/ singer) also from Dowagiac.
The Rebel Pride band had several names for the first couple of months. Riff Raff, and Rebel Roxx to name a couple. They finally settled on Rebel Pride in December of 1988. The name came from the lyrics of a song by Dwight Yoakum (I sang Dixie).
The band spent the first year (1989) playing local clubs and bars. By the spring of 1990, the band was starting to make some noise. They were getting much bigger venues. County fairs, festivals, along with the clubs, and bars. They were working steady at least on the weekends, sometimes up to three gigs in a single day!
Fall of 1990 brought a brand new adventure for the band, the first time in a professional studio in Nashville Tennessee. A mini-album (4 songs) including the song Rebel Pride was produced by a well-known engineer/producer in Nashville. This producer was very well connected to a major record label. He liked what he heard his only concern was the identity of the band, was it country or rock and roll? He felt they needed to decide what their genre would be, before going to the next level. Rebel Pride, on the other hand was content not to be labeled a country or a rock band. So their first major label
encounter ended without being signed.
Soon after their brief time in Nashville, it was back to Michigan where they added a steel guitar player and a fiddle player to the band.
Building a bigger and bigger following with the help of a few radio station mangers and personalities, Dave Bolin's song, Rebel Pride was being played every chance the stations got, until the major labels called for a cease and desist (too much time away from their material). The song was a big hit to the local Michiana (Southern Michigan and Northern Indiana) audience it was being requested nearly a hundred times a day. Dave Stroup's song There is You, also received rave reviews by the locals.
The large volume of air-play of
Rebel Pride opened doors for the band. Allowing them opportunities to be the
opening act for many stars such as, Vince Gill, Tanya Tucker, Oak Ridge boys,
Billy Dean, Toby Keith, Holly Dunn to name a few that came through the area.
The promoter of a Johnny Cash / Marty Stuart tour was interested in helping the band get rolling. He set up a meeting between Dave and Johnny Cash. The meeting was about as down home as it gets, a picnic style dinner with the man (Johnny Cash) and the Carter sisters, before the concert. Johnny asked what it was they thought he could do for them. Dave handed him the cassette tape they had made in Nashville, and asked him to listen to it. Johnny took the cassette immediately into his tour bus and listened to the first couple of songs on the tape. When he returned he expressed how much he liked the song Rebel Pride. He told them he would do what he could to get the band a jumpstart. He also told them to be prepared for the sacrifice it would take to make it in the music business. He told how difficult it was to have and/or keep a family in this business. He told them they had to be sure they wanted it more than anything. That's what it would take for them to make it in the music business.
They believe it was Johnny Cash that got Dave Bolin and Dave Stroup a meeting with Jimmy Bowen. Jimmy Bowen at the time was one of the chief executives of the Nashville country music scene (I don't know what his official title was/is). The meeting lasted about two hours, a couple of nobodies in a meeting with Jimmy Bowen for two hours, which was unheard of. To summarize the meeting, Mr. Bowen said he was interested in the two of them as a duo, but not the band. Nashville was looking for a duo (Brooks and Dunn hadn't been discovered yet). If they had agreed to his terms, which they obviously did not, they may have been Brooks and Dunn! He wanted them to sever the relationship with the band. Move to Nashville and start the training on how to look, how to act, and how to sing, dance, talk, so on and so on you get the point. In return he would work on a European tour. This was how it was done; he assured them if they did well in Europe they would then tour the U.S. The tour, however did not include any money other than personal expenses. That would not work out to well for the families that depended on them for support, not to mention the rest of the band, what would happen with them? These were their friends. Mr. Bowen assured them this would be their only shot at the big time. The two Daves however declined their second invitation to the big time.
The Rebel Pride band would stir things up again in the mid nineties, by winning two of the four country music showdowns they would enter. Not much would result from the wins, but the confidence level was on the rise at this time. This did lead to more opening act jobs. The popularity of the band became wider spread into the Chicago area. With a couple brand new members from that area, the Rebel Pride band would rise again. Better than ever, but far past their prime in the eyes of the major labels. The words of Jimmy Bowen would ring true; they never would make the big time, but in their minds keeping family and friends together is far better than anything the big time would have to offer. The band is still going strong and having a ball in 2009.
Many musicians have come, and went through the Rebel Pride band. Bob Hopper and the band parted ways in 1993, for several years but he did come re-join to do anther year with the band in 2007. Dave Stroup left the band in 1996.
Dave Bolin and Chuck Heron (original 2 members) are still in it today.
The band today is a
four piece with Chuck Heron on bass guitar. Dave Bolin on rhythm guitar and
harmonica. Greg Kaniuga on lead guitar. Stoney Ferguson on drums. Vocals are shared throughout the
band. From old school country to cutting edge Rock and roll and everything in
between, they try to cover it all. Originals are still coming out, but not as
frequently as they used to. "It's all about having fun and rockin' out now",
says Dave and Chuck.
The Rebel Pride band can be seen performing most weekends in the Michiana area, you can find out where and when on the rebelpride1.com website. There you will also find live recordings to listen to or download. Original songs by the Rebel Pride band are available to hear or download on I-tunes and many other online mp3 stores.
These are honorable mentions to the many musicians to grace the Rebel Pride band at one time or another.
Tom Ek, Chris Albert, John Wessler, Clayburn Williams, Dave Sanders, Dave Rench, Tom Aidera, Alan Butrick, Tim Spite, Dick Miller, Rick Miller, Rick Mabe, Jeff Shelby, Ron Shelby, Aaron Carpenter, Paul Morse, Dennis King, Dennis Ferrier, Matt Webster, Christy Quick, Lori Carpenter, Gary Jackson, Jim Thrasher, Jim Miller, Roger Sheline, Butch Bennitt, Gary Bishop and Jeff Oursler.
Background song is excerpt from "Lay a Little Love on Me" written and performed by The Rebel Pride Band
rebelpride1.com website established 9/17/2008
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