Way It Is Same As the Way It Was
'The last time we saw Riverbottom Nitemare Band, the local hard-core outfit was performing it's last show ever. Except, it wasn't, really. Guitarist and vocalist Pete Dio was just preparing for carpal tunnel surgery and the 10-week recovery period that would follow. So, no shows - no ripping through sets of furious tongue-in-cheek punk - for at least 10 weeks. "It was the punk rock thing to do," Dio says. "We told everybody that I would never be able to play the guitar again. That the show in January was our last show. And everybody and their mother came out. It was the best scam I ever pulled off." If you fell for it - and are ready to write Dio and the rest of the band off as a bunch of pranky benders - you're missing the whole point. Half the fun of the Riverbottom boys is the live theater that surrounds the band. The pranks, the feuds, the PA systems that go "missing" from local bars. It's all just part of the fun. And now that Dio, drummer Dan Amos and new bassist Scott "Scummy" Knepple are hitting local stages again - and bringing a slew of new high-speed punk send-ups with them - we're ready to call it, as Dio does, "a triumphant return." "I've been healed," Dio says. "It's a miracle." During the past three months, the band has holed up in Jason Davis' analog studio, Off The Cuff, creating their first album, "The Way It Is, Same As The Way It Was," a collection of 10 hyper blasts, all aggressive and speedy; all brandishing an irreverent streak of humor. "The whole album is about going to extremes," Amos says. "Burning down your radio station, taking what you want. And soccer moms ... although that's not really an extreme." From the aforementioned odes to suburban moms to tales of getting beaten up by ex-girlfriends, the album's cheeky lyrics and yawping vocals are flanked by just the right amount of fuzz and noise, never tumbling into a sonic blur. And the analog recording adds grit, too, providing a fat, natural sound - as close to a live show as you can get, Dio says. "Working with analog is tough," Dio says. "You can't fix the pitch of your vocals, you can't re-record anything. There are limitations, but that makes you more creative. You've got to milk it a little more. You got to pull it off and get the same result as the guy who's recording digitally. Basically, I wanted it to sound like 'Highway to Hell,' but that's a large task, I guess." So Riverbottom is back and ready to unleash the album. And those of you still ticked by the band's last scam can take comfort in this: Recording the bass tracks for the album was a nightmare, Dio says. At one point - like something from "This is Spinal Tap" - there were four bassists playing on the album. "And I wasn't one of them," Knepple says. "And I was," Dio says. "So, I beginning to think I'm too hard on our bassists." ~ Emma Downs, Journal Gazette.