‘Like nothing you’ve ever heard’
It’s not every day that a mosh pit breaks out at Loaded Joe’s coffee house in Avon, but that’s exactly what happened Saturday night when local rock band Remnants of a Riddle took the stage for its first set of the evening.
ROAR played to a house of about 50 people, mostly friends of the band or fellow students who sat close to the stage for moral support.
So far, ROAR has played roughly 15 shows across the valley, including one in Keystone during a battle of the bands competition in which the band came in second place, according to Teddy Gillis, bass player for the band.
And just how does he describe their sound?
“It’s kind of a mix between metal, rock and punk. … It’ll be like nothing you’ve ever heard,” Gillis said.
Some of the band’s biggest influences are Metallica, Pantera and Megadeath, he said.
Besides the band’s sound, what makes Remnants of a Riddle stand out is the fact that none of the members have graduated high school yet. ROAR has been around for about a year and a half now, according to Gillis, although some lineup changes have occurred during that time. As of now, the roster consists of Gillis, Aaron Szindler on lead guitar, Griffin Turnipseed on vocals and J.T. Schmitt on drums. Gillis, Szindler and Schmitt all attend Battle Mountain High School, while Griffin goes to Eagle Valley High School.
Their songs range from the silly to the political and everything in between. ROAR’s second set Saturday night started with “The Buttertoast Blues,” a song about eating toast with breakfast.
It also happened to be Camille Sawtelle’s favorite song by the band. She was in the audience Saturday night and said the shows are always fun.
“You can tell their personalities in the music. It’s original,” Sawtelle said.
Next, ROAR launched into “Protest Song” ” a ditty decrying the hypocrisy of outlawing weed that contained the catchy chorus “Whatever happened to sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll/ now we just have AIDS, crack and techno.”
“The best lyrics, I would say, leave room for interpretation,” Gillis said. “Kind of like the name Remnants of a Riddle. You don’t really get it. It’s just kind of an abstract thing.”
They also dabble in more traditional story-telling lyrical styles, such as in the song “Witch Hunt,” which Gillis said was about how society blames rock music for the corruption of youth.
“(We) get people thinking and get people up and acting,” Gillis said.
Trying to build a following in a valley not exactly known for its love of rock music is difficult. All the members of the band agree on that, but according to Schmitt, it’s well worth the effort.
“I say we make it the rock ‘n’ roll town. It’s not a rock ‘n’ roll town until we came along. I don’t mean to brag about it, but now we play the rock that’s in this town,” Szindler said.
Another of ROAR’s fans, Sage Buchalter, is happy that the band is willing to take a chance to try to create a local fanbase.
“To be able to put yourself out there and do this kind of stuff is awesome. I wish I could be in their band,” Buchalter said.
The band hopes to hit the studio soon to record an album, though Gillis said he wasn’t sure if it would be a full-length effort or a shorter demo. They’ll bring roughly 15 to 20 original and complete songs into the studio with them, as well as a handful of cover songs, and decide from there the direction they want to pursue with the recording, Gillis said.
But for now, playing live is what Remnants of a Riddle is focused on, and bringing the party to the valley is what they’re all about.
“I hope to bring a fun band that everybody can enjoy. That’s all my goal is really, that people have a good time at our shows,” Turnipseed said.
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