Even though it seems like most of today?s rock albums amount to one "maybe" hit surrounded by nine shit sandwiches, RYE COALITION proudly admits ignorance regarding the criteria for a modern day radio single or prefab TV commercial soundbite. What do you expect? Ralph Cuseglio, Jon Gonnelli, David Leto, Justin Morey, and Herbert Wiley V have always written coherent musical journeys based not on quantity, but quality from start to finish.
Curses, the fourth full-length RYE COALITION album, perpetuates that all killer/no filler tradition. Produced by Dave Grohl (NIRVANA, FOO FIGHTERS, QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE? yeah, that guy) at California?s legendary Sound City Studios, Curses was so named for the band?s notorious bad luck streak that hung like an albatross from its neck. Sculpted from RYE?s hardest, heaviest, and tightest compositions to date. It functions as an ode to the lost art of creating an imaginative yet down n? dirty hard rock album, each track guaranteed to have dudes and dudettes playing air drums from Pittsburgh to Sacramento and riffing on air guitar from San Antonio to Flint. It?s a twelve-song bender that crushes the competition, brazenly planting its flag at the pinnacle of a long and storied career.
Even more importantly, Curses symbolizes RYE COALITION once again in control of its own destiny after an ill-fated 2003 deal with DreamWorks/SKG sent the band jumping from one sinking ship to another. Beginning with the sale of DreamWorks to Universal/Vivendi, followed by a merge with Geffen, RYE finally found itself banished to rock and roll purgatory on Interscope Records. By the end of 2004, the so-called "Hard Luck Five" decided they?d had enough, and staged a mutiny- a successful one- severing ties with Interscope by their own choice while retaining full ownership of their masterpiece. Rather than hang around in limbo waiting to be dropped like last year?s haircut, RYE bailed out willingly, emerging from the major label debris with Curses in hand and no obligations to their former overlords.
In the end, New Jersey?s favorite sons made a ballsy, uncompromising album, worked with Dave Grohl in the process, and spent serious major label dollars they?ll never have to pay back. Only RYE COALITION could turn a Hollywood nightmare into an indie rock cream dream! Up against similar circumstances, most bands would (and do) cave in and break up, lamenting what could have been. But fortune favors the bold, and now RYE has the freedom to oversee the release of Curses by long time ally and champion of the socially unaccepted, Gern Blandsten Records. Guitarist Jon Gonnelli sums it up: "As a band, we felt gravely misunderstood by Interscope. Furthermore, we perceived the label?s treatment of RYE COALITION to be a symptom of their grave misunderstanding of what genuine rock music is." Not so with Gern.
As a hard rock band with a collective personality, sardonic sense of humor, and twelve years of releasing records while touring with amazing bands such as FOO FIGHTERS, MARS VOLTA, QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE, THE FUCKING CHAMPS, TRANS AM, SHELLAC, and many more, RYE COALITION continues to exist outside mainstream rock music?s cookie cutter regime. "RYE is a hard working live rock band that has won fans through performance, non-conformity, and musicianship without the help of radio or video airplay," frontman Ralph Cuseglio explains. "As a group, our main goals are first and foremost to become better musicians to ensure that each record is a spontaneous progression toward something that the band has yet to accomplish, a snap shot of where the group is at as human beings and musicians during specific moments in time."
RYE COALITION has achieved this by always choosing to collaborate in the production of their albums with only the most like-minded of musicians. In the studio, it?s vital that the band connect with someone who understands and shares the members? distinct sense of humor while pursuing the creative process solely for the love of making music. "Once music becomes a means to and end and not an end in itself," says Gonnelli, "its purity as a mode of true self expression is corrupted- making it an empty gesture." With this in mind, 1997?s Hee Saw Dhuh Kaet and 1999?s The Lipstick Game were both engineered by Alap Momin, aka D?LEK?s Oktopus, while Steve Albini (SHELLAC, RAPEMAN, BIG BLACK) recorded the critically acclaimed On Top in 2002. With hard rock heavyweight Dave Grohl on board, Curses is the latest, greatest phase in RYE COALITION?s ongoing evolution.
Grohl enlisted the help of Grammy Award winner Nick Rasculinecz as his engineer and de facto right hand to tweak the dials as well as co-produce and mix the album. Grohl, Rasculinecz, and RYE COALITION share the common experience of a punk rock background coupled with the passion to create original music, enabling each individual to connect on a meaningful level during the recoding process. The result speaks for itself.
RYE COALITION is back. Was it worth the wait? Well, if you have to ask, you may never know. Curses not only stands up to the best that the rock n? roll of today has to offer, it leans way back and snaps forward with a face smashing headbutt. Tracks like "Pussyfootin?" and "Cigarette Catastrophe" harness more velocity than a Datsun Z with a carburetor full of PCP, while future arena classics like "Burn the Masters" and "Tequilla Mockingbird" invoke the pulsing, timeless magic of KISS, THIN LIZZY and AC/DC. Of course, the keenest ears will detect only the subtlest hint of those whiskey-and-JESUS LIZARD soaked years marked by RYE?s early records.
This is not an ironic cock-rock record for the hipster set to forget about by next month. It?s a new standard in American music twelve years in the making. If you can find a flaw in these masterfully crafted anthems, you?re not only looking too hard, you?re missing the point. Don?t worry, though. With months and months of touring on the table for 2006, you can sleep easy knowing that RYE COALITION is coming to help you understand. In the meantime, hold on to hope and don?t lose sight of the things that truly matter. There?s always a light at the end of the tunnel- and this time, it?s not a train. It?s Curses.