RIG TIME! is an angry, caustic and vehemently heavy force based in La Crosse, WI. The band has performed 300+ shows, in 39 states and counting, since 2015. Holding true to the idea of “All Ages Or Nothing” the band has relentlessly toured across the US performing at only all-ages events and resonating their substantial live sound while stressing the message that live music is for all. Deeply rooted in the DIY attitude, RIG TIME! is a determined and passionate ensemble with a strong work ethic and a vital purpose.
Their recent full-length album War was released on October 20, 2017, via Innerstrength Records, following the self-released full-length Sick of It (2016) and two EP’s (2014’s Awful and 2015’s Devout). Featuring a sound that is the audio equivalent of a tank column entering a besieged city, the crunch, and clangor of War is a game-changer. Forged in the fires of hardcore, sludge, and power violence, War epitomizes RIG TIME!‘s scorched-earth tactics and demonstrates the natural chemistry of the band.
Vocalist/Drummer, Bryan W. Fleming provides intensity and indignant passion to a wave of sullen and unrelenting baritone guitar riffs, forcefully delivered by Rebecca Fleming with massive low-end impact and ferocity.
XS ROCK: Tell me about the latest band news? Any new projects coming out, live shows or announcements?
Bryan: We always have shows coming up. We have an addiction to playing and touring. Currently, we are in Fargo, ND playing tonight at Red Raven Espresso Parlor. That would make today show number 72 of this year, and we still have a whole bunch coming in before the year is over. We should be hitting at least 100 this year, so definitely watch our social media because there is a good chance we’ll be in your area soon. We just released our new single “NO FAITH” and we’re extremely excited with how it turned out and the response we’ve gotten. It’s our favorite song to date, and we absolutely love playing it live. We plan to keep pushing it hard and spreading the music video and single out there. As for projects, we are working on a new album, or maybe an EP. We haven’t fully decided yet what songs we want to release, but we have a collection of about 10 songs we are working on right now. I do have a side project band called DARE TO BE with the vocalist of the Massachusetts hardcore band, Crafter, that just put out an EP on Patient Zero Records. It’s a four-song EP for fans of early 2000’s hardcore in the vein of Count Me Out, Go It Alone, Killing The Dream, Have Heart, Verse, etc, etc. I am really happy with how that turned out. Patient Zero has a limited run of really cool cassette colors too. Check it out if you’re into some fast, melodic hardcore.
XS ROCK: So how long has the band been together?
Bryan: The idea for the band started in July of 2014. Rebecca and I had a random improv jam one day and it just clicked. We were really into bands like Rotting Out, The Greenery, Dead Hearts, and Incendiary. Originally, we thought is was going to be a straight hardcore band, but we realized we didn’t want to lump ourselves into a specific sound, but we knew we just wanted to be heavy, and that’s what we’ve stuck with. We’re kind of a mix of sludge, doom, hardcore, 90’s metalcore, nu-metal, noise rock and more. We’re heavy though, we can guarantee that. We played our first show on December 26, 2014, at the Warehouse in La Crosse, WI and we pretty much hit the road right away after that.
XS ROCK: What was your main motivation for originally starting or being in a band?
Bryan: As I mentioned, that improv jam sparked it all, but this was about a month after a band I was in for several years called it quits. I pondered if I would even continue music for a little bit and thankfully everything fell into place. Rebecca and I always wanted to tour and travel the country, and that’s what we do now on a regular basis. Our life is touring and playing shows, and when we get back home to Wisconsin, we work our jobs there until we can hit the road again. We are nomadic people and I think the motivation stems from being able to travel and see friends, meet new people and the adrenaline of performing our art for anyone that will listen.
XS ROCK: What is your music background?
Bryan: I have been playing instruments since I was about 12 or 13. I started with guitar, added a bass, messed around with drums, piano, to whatever stringed instrument I could and just kept trying a little of anything. I was a self-taught musician who lived in the middle of absolutely nowhere and I had very few friends, so guitar tablature websites and the radio was my teacher. I would listen to the radio, and when I heard a song I didn’t know how to play, I would write it down and learn how to play it that night by looking up the tabs on my dial-up internet connection. I learned a lot of Metallica and Slayer too, which I owe a lot of my skill too. For Rebecca, the funny thing is I was teaching her bits and pieces of guitar over the years and that one day we jammed, I looked at her and said “Where the hell did that come from?!” (Laughs) I didn’t realize she could play well enough to improvise a 12 minute jam session but she killed it back then, and we ran with it. Now she’s the entire string section of our band, playing both guitar and bass live, switching band and forth. Last night, her strap broke on her guitar during our set in Grand Forks, ND and she played it off like it was nothing. She looked at me and just said to keep going. She was crouching down on one knee, switching back and forth between guitar, bass, and noise pedals and not missing a beat. You have to imagine her switch with her foot on the same leg that is holding up her guitar. She killed it.
XS ROCK: What image do you think your music conveys?
Bryan: Passion, honesty, anger, and release. That’s pretty much our sound in a nutshell. We’ve been told in the past we are terrifying live. (Laughs) We layout everything we have during a show. There is no holding back. It’s raw, unsettling and intense.
XS ROCK: What are your current music career goals?
Bryan: To take this as far as possible, wherever that might be, or until we are not happy anymore. This band is all about feeling and emotion. It’s a career and a job, but one we really truly enjoy. If we didn’t enjoy it, we’d have to stop. For now, we have no plans to slow down. We’d like to get some support tours and play for new crowds to show them what we can do. It’d be great to work with a professional booking agency that could help us link up on something like that, but for now, we are still DIY. I do all the booking and I am very picky on working with an agent unless it’s one who can really handle a band that wants to tour (and CAN tour) as much as we do and WILL do. Playing to as many people as possible is definitely a goal, but isn’t that every band’s goal?
XS ROCK: Which do you prefer? Writing new songs and recording or playing for a live audience?
Bryan: Live audience, for sure. We love writing, and we are so ready to play new songs live, but we’ve been slow with it because we can’t stop playing shows! We are not a band to take time off to write or slow down. It’s not us and it won’t be us. We will write and record as much as we can in between staying out on tour. By the time the new record comes out, then hopefully we can gain a fanbase to want to hear the album from all the damn shows we play! (Laughs)
XS ROCK: What are your songs’ lyrics about?
Bryan: It’s a really wide range of topics, but the major theme is about expressing all the anger and hate I feel about the world we live in, so it’s released and out of my head. The songs “Garbage” and “Blister” are about people who have to constantly feed negativity and hate through every Facebook status, Twitter post or conversation they have. Our songs may come off as negative, but they are just a diary page that needs to be read and let go. Our new single “No Faith” is about people that don’t support their music scene and don’t go to shows. When people stop going to shows, the scene dies off and then people will complain that the scene is dead, but it the fault of everyone who stopped supporting those shows/venues/bands in the first place. I have seen it happen a lot. If you don’t go to shows, bands will stop touring through your town, venues will shut down and local bands will not continue to form. If you love your scene, be a part of the community and encourage others to as well. As for other lyrical content, there are some personal topics in there as well. The songs “Friends And Family” and “Support” are about being told this life is a passing phase, or that we are wasting time playing music. Those are older songs and the support has changed, but there were definitely some hurtful things that have been said in the past. “Discomposure” is a song about fighting with myself and the things I dislike about myself. Lyrically, I write very honestly and there is no fakeness from what I say.
XS ROCK: What is the single most important thing to you as a musician?
Bryan: The freedom and openness to be whatever I want. Music is a gateway to be open as an artist and I could not live without it.
XS ROCK: Do you have any outrageous tour stories from the road?
Bryan: TOO MANY. I could talk about the two sheets of plywood (aka the stage) laid on a hill with no P.A., no lights, or electricity for an outdoor nighttime show, or the show that sold items to a pawn shop, to buy a saw to cut open a lock on an electrical box because the electric company shut off the power WHILE they were stealing from their neighbors to use the saw! Then, the house got destroyed, with the entire basement ceiling being ripped apart, mattresses, nails, lamps broken AND there was a tornado nearby. We played a show in a room to LITERALLY no one, not even a sound guy! We’ve played in a storage unit, a beauty salon, an abandoned school, and all sorts of strange places.
XS ROCK: What’s the strangest request that you’ve ever received from one of your fans?
Bryan: I don’t think we have had any super crazy requests yet. At least nothing that would be shocking. Every time someone wants an autograph, picture, stick or setlist though, I always think “Hey, I’m not cool, but sure!” (Laughs)
XS ROCK: Are your friends and family supportive of your choice to play in a rock band?
Bryan: They know how much of our life we put into this now, and I think for the most part they are. I know they miss us sometimes because we are on the road so much, but I think they understand now that this is what we live for and what makes us happy.
XS ROCK: What advice do you have for new bands trying to get started?
Bryan: Don’t be afraid to travel. I used to stop myself from touring because it seemed so unreachable, but it’s not. You can tour and still maintain a steady “home life” or find a job that lets you tour. I am certainly not rich, and I don’t work a full-time job at home, but I don’t mind it at all. I grew up poor and I will stay poor. Music and traveling is what makes me happy, and I’d rather be happy than sitting at home wishing I was on the road. Just don’t be afraid to hit the road if that is truly what you want to do, and don’t be afraid to follow your dreams either way.
XS ROCK: What are your favorite tracks to play live?
Bryan: Currently, “NO FAITH” is our favorite song to play live. We also love playing “GARBAGE” and a brand new song called “DELUDE”. That one isn’t even recorded yet. We have played the song “VENGEANCE” a ton as well because that has a lot of dynamics and is fun to play.
XS ROCK: Which band or artist inspired you to perform? Why?
Bryan: I have a never-ending list of bands that make me want to perform. My favorite band is Deftones, and that is always a huge inspiration. Rebecca’s first fell in love with The Greenery (CA) and Dead Hearts (NY) years ago and she credits them as the first heavy bands that impacted her.
XS ROCK: If you could design a dream tour for your band, who would be on the bill?
Bryan: THIS IS A HARD QUESTION! (Laughs) A tour that makes some sense for our sound, I would say probably us with The Acacia Strain, Twitching Tongues, Defeater, Rotting Out, and Full Of Hell. That would be insane. I would absolutely love to tour with Kid Dynamite just because they rule and they are the main reason we only play all-ages shows. That would blow my mind. Obviously, I’d lose my mind to able to tour or even play a show with Deftones. Hell, we just want to tour with anyone!
XS ROCK: What do you consider your greatest accomplishment so far?
Bryan: It’s kind of a dumb answer, but I think our biggest accomplishment is just sticking with this. We have had ups and downs, we’re broke, we’re tired, member changes, and tons of roadblocks, but we just don’t stop. We keep going harder and harder and we love it. We’re happy and just keep hitting new levels with it.
XS ROCK: If you weren’t performing in a band what kind of career do you think you would have?
Bryan: I wanted to be a sociology teacher for a long time, but lately I have realized I sincerely just want to be a travel show host. To be able to travel the world as a job and just experience cultures and different things is exactly what I want to do.
XS ROCK: What type of equipment do you use for live shows?
Bryan: We use only Pig Hog Cables because they are the best damn cables on the market. I recently started using Los Cabos Drumsticks and they are the single most solid and strong drumsticks I have ever used. I made one pair last 11 shows and they still aren’t broken. I forced myself to move on to a new pair! (Laughs) I have a very hard hitter and used to break sticks so much that I couldn’t keep up with it and it cost a ton. Rebecca uses a Stephen Carpenter signature series LTD baritone tele style 7 string. Currently, I have an old Yamaha kit, but my snare is a PDP because I refuse to get a new one. It’s the loudest damn snare and I can’t ever see a reason to get a new one unless this thing gives out on me. I use all Sabian cymbals, except my Meinl Big Bell ride. It’s basically a ride cymbal with a mixing bowl for a bell. It’s gigantic. Rebecca also swears by Jim Dunlop Picks and Sure-Lock Straps. When her strap came off at the show last night, it was actually the screw coming out of the guitar. The strap never let go of it! (Laughs)
XS ROCK: What do you think of the current music scene?
Bryan: It has its ups and downs for various reasons, but we are still out here in it day after day because we love what we do. The “cool guy” mentality can go away anytime, but there is still a lot of community to be found. Always remember, we are all in this for the same reason. All genres and all bands should help each other out. The more we work together, the stronger the scene will be for all of us.
XS ROCK: For anyone that doesn’t know you, what would they be surprised to know about you?
Bryan: I listen to tons of R&B slow jams. TONS. That is the main music I listen to at home or anywhere really. I am not a strict hardcore dude or a metalhead. I am a musician, a songwriter, and an obsessive music fan. I listen to tons of jazz (mostly 50’s & 60’s cool jazz and hard bop), instrumental surf rock, classical chamber music, 80’s synth-pop, 90’s dance and pop hits, noise, ambient soundscapes and more.
XS ROCK: Is there anything that you’d like to promote or say to your fans out there?
Bryan: Please, go listen to “NO FAITH” and tell your friends. The greatest compliment you can give a band is seeing their live show or listening to their music. That alone makes a huge impact on us all. Watch the video, save it on Spotify, download it from Bandcamp. Whatever your preference is, that little gesture makes a big difference. If you check out our music, don’t stop there. Keep it up and you can find tons of great bands out there.
XS ROCK: Thanks again for taking the time to talk with us at XS ROCK!