Skip to content

Rocky Mountain Rebels guarantee dancing

On our playlist A new monthly News feature that looks at the artists and bands in Victoria's music scene
The members of Rocky Mountain Rebel Music in Market Square.

Of all the shows Rocky Mountain Rebel Music has played in recent months, one guarantee can be offered: there will be dancing.

Even the quieter stops on their aptly-named Frozen Heart Winter Tour – the reggae-rock-ska mash-up toured B.C. and Alberta – proved the statement.

“We were in Calgary, it was (-36 C) and no one came,” says Andrew Murgatroyd, didjeridoo-wielding vocalist with the Victoria-based band. He was ready to resign to the idea that a RMRM show did not evoke dancing to their upbeat, yet oh-so-hard-to-categorize tunes.

“No! They still danced,” rebuts fellow vocalist Niska Napoleon.

A heated debate erupts between the 10 bandmates, gathered in Market Square for an interview. Arguments are slung fast and furious from all sides: “The other band was dancing,” “We’re up there dancing,” “That girl from Victoria and her boyfriend were dancing.”

Keys man Martin Milbo Schoeps throws down the final call: “Mike, the sound guy was dancing.”

The group shares a collective laugh at Mike’s interest in ripping it up and they move along.

At a Rocky Mountain Rebel Music show, there will always be dancing. And joking. And didjeridoo.

“It’s a real exploration of musical styles and songwriters and everyone contributes,” Murgatroyd says.

“We fight a bunch and something comes out of it,” adds drummer Simon Bailey.

The band members are reluctant to label exactly what they do, opting rather to widen the scope of their performances with public jams, open to all.

“We created (the jams) as a means to bring together the community; to bring together all of the bands who are, in one aspect, competing and in another aspect, in union. This is a means to bring them all together, all as equals,” said guitarist-vocalist Greg Szabo.

They’ve staged these open sessions, which bear the same name as their upcoming disc, “Vic Soundsystem,” on the top of Mount Doug, and more recently on Dallas Road during Skafest.

Despite the range of styles RMRM brings to the stage, they acknowledge the strong support they continue to receive from Victoria’s ska scene.

“We find the whole community is very supportive and very incestuous,” Murgatroyd said. “One night we played with three different bands and Martin was in all three bands, to put it in perspective.”

Their next show, March 31 at Rehab Nightclub, opens with Handsome Distraction. And yes, there will be dancing.


Quick bits: Rocky Mountain Rebel Music

• Members: Andrew Murgatroyd, Greg Szabo, Niska Napoleon,        Jesse Horwood, Eric Wickman, Simon Bailey, Martin Milbo Schoeps,  Carol Fong, Andy Bishop, Marko.

• Why do you call yourselves Rocky Mountain Rebel Music? The name Lululemon was taken.

• Next show: March 31 @ Rehab Nightclub (502 Discovery St.) Tix- $9

Pop-up banner image