You wouldn't realize just how much of a veteran Rob Brown of the Ruddy Ruckus is but the twenty-something singer and guitarist has already been rocking local stages for over a decade since forming his high school band Koetta Black. With that band's demise, Brown focused on creating new songs, on his own if need be, and would become the Ruddy Ruckus. Over the last seven years, Brown has developed his own sound and now a full band that plays one of its last gigs of the year this weekend.
"Koetta Black started back in 2008 when i was 13 or 14 years old when I signed up for a rock band class they do in schools called Rock This Way," recalls Brown. "I got together with some guys, we gave it a shot and tried to play music together for four years. It's funny, you think about what you did as a teenager and you're able to get things done somehow without any money or resources, you don't know anything about music. We played close to two hundred shows and released two EPs having an absolute blast doing it. We were coming to the end of high school and our drummer was already at college and it was getting harder to make the commitment to rehearse so we decided to take a hiatus that kind of turned permanent after a few months. We got together for a reunion for the closing of 24/7, church and skate park in Burlington. But when the band broke up, that was the time I started writing songs for my new project.
"I new the songs had to be heard some way even if the band had fallen apart," adds Brown. "But even a year or so before the band broke up - I was born in Brampton but grew up in Dundas and if you know Dundas at all, it is a place full of trees and valleys and trails. There is so much oxygen in the air and you can be so creative going for a walk. It was in the spring and on a walk, I wrote some things down and came up with some band names. A couple names were stupid, some could have been cool but I looked at the Ruddy Ruckus and circled it and I knew that would be the name if I needed it."
Brown started a new phase in life talking on post-secondary education in the commerce program at McMaster and the next phase of his musical journey. During the summer of 2013, Brown would record and mix his sole full-length “Life and Death, Love and Loss” in his bedroom at Mills Memorial Library at McMaster University and sometimes on the bus going to downtown.
"I was listening to a lot of folk and folk-punk like the Mahones, Flogging Molly or even Bob Dylan and I thought, this is the fast paced, heart-quickening music that I wanted to make and in the beginning, it was just me and a guitar," says Brown. "I used to go to the [now defunct] Baltimore House open mic and play for however long they'd let me. It was like a gym where I trained for a marathon but that's where I learned my live performance chops that my band relies on today.
"I wasn't going to Fanshawe for production, i took one recording class in high school and I recorded, mixed and mastered it myself, on the bus or wherever," adds Brown. "It became the only Ruddy Ruckus album so far. I'm proud of it because it's something I did all by myself from beginning to end. I didn't worry about the sound but the songs themselves and wanted to have something to give to people that came out to shows. It's the mantra I guess I've had all the way - I just went out and did it. You can get so lost and believe you need all this money but most of the time you just have to put the time in and get it done yourself."
Using the do-it-yourself ethic, Brown achieved some goals but knew that he wanted to present the music as a full band to celebrate the release of his music.
"I enlisted some old friends that had played with Allotrope to do the CD release show," says Brown. "We played a couple of shows but I got an internship at IBM and thought that was a good chance to see what the real world was like and I put music aside for a few years. I knew when I came back to Hamilton that I wanted to get the band going again and that started as a trio but as of last year we've become a quartet.We played a Battle of the Bands and came in second but that was good enough to play Mac's Welcome Week and that was the biggest show that we played. It was shortly after that we really wanted to make this band work and turn it from Rob's thing to a four person effort where everyone contributes. That's how we've been operating the last year."
Now Brown's guitar and vocals are joined by Patrick Brown on drums, Jackson Dorie on guitar and Giordano Modesto on bass as the band known as the Ruddy Ruckus but just as we're building to a climax for some kind of exciting breakthrough, word is that fans can enjoy the band only one last time this year. Using some of his business acumen, Brown has decided to take some time off for the band and woodshed to develop a new more refined unit for the future.
"I worked for 'Big Blue' in the sales organization and it was good to see how a large company like IBM operates because it really tests your people skills," says Brown. "Even with the short experience, it gave me some skills that I'm using for the Ruddy Ruckus now on the business side of things. "Live at Red Church" was an album I recorded in March and released in May of this year and it marked a bit of a departure. It was the last recordings I released on my own. I did it in the same spirit of my first album and it closes the solo Ruddy Ruckus side of things. One album, four singles and the live album was that and the new Ruddy Ruckus as a band is now what I'm focusing on.
"We're planning on going on tour in 2020 in the spring and summer and I don't know if we'll have time to put out a full album but I'd like to be putting out singles to keep people engaged and let people know we're still active and performing live," adds Brown. "It's been a constant promotional cycle - you finish one show and you're promoting another one and at this point I've done that for many years. Since we're preparing for the next show, we haven't taken the time to write the songs and figure out the direction of the band moving forward. We're going to do that for the next few months and build some anticipation for our return back to performing live so this weekend is going to be our last show of the year. This is going to be a high action movie and we're going to put everything we have into it because it's the last show of the year for us. We're also going to be recording a video that night for promotional purposes for the upcoming tour. We've got a couple of good bands with a good mix of music and for us, we're going to twelve songs with really high energy. All of our fans, friends and family are going to be there and we're just going to have a big party to celebrate the close of this chapter and the beginning of the next one for the Ruddy Ruckus."
The Ruddy Ruckus plays this Sunday September 22 at the Corktown with the Graham Ko Band and Baby Drayton. Music starts at 8pm and $6 gets you in. Click on facebook.com/theruddyruckus