TUESDAY NIGHT: Check Out RIBS At Strange Matter

by | May 9, 2011 | MUSIC

On Tuesday May 10th, Strange Matter will host a show that will feature Historic, Ear Theory, RIBS, and Collen Applegate. I had the chance to catch up with three of the members of RIBS, a Boston-based band who is playing in Richmond for the very first time. Y’all make them feel welcome, ya hear?

RIBS is Keith Freund on vocals and guitar, Blake Fuslier on bass and vocals, Justin Tolan on guitar, and Chris Oquist on drums. Keith and Blake grew up in Atlanta, and then transferred to Boston for school at Boston University. They heard about a “shred guitar prodigy” by the name of Justin Tolan who was, incidentally, also from Atlanta. Talk about fate. Keith and Blake weren’t to meet Justin, however, until Keith responded to a “band wanted” ad that listed Radiohead, Muse, and Aphex Twin as influences. As it turns out, it was Justin’s ad, and the two became three. A little later, drummer Chris Oquist joined the band and they started making music together. Now they are a band on the move, nominated for The Boston Phoenix/WFNX Best Music Poll and named one of The Boston Phoenix’s Eleven Bands to Watch in 2011.

Enough bio stuff. Let’s get to the interview.


On Tuesday May 10th, Strange Matter will host a show that will feature Historic, Ear Theory, RIBS, and Collen Applegate. I had the chance to catch up with three of the members of RIBS, a Boston-based band who is playing in Richmond for the very first time. Y’all make them feel welcome, ya hear?

RIBS is Keith Freund on vocals and guitar, Blake Fuslier on bass and vocals, Justin Tolan on guitar, and Chris Oquist on drums. Keith and Blake grew up in Atlanta, and then transferred to Boston for school at Boston University. They heard about a “shred guitar prodigy” by the name of Justin Tolan who was, incidentally, also from Atlanta. Talk about fate. Keith and Blake weren’t to meet Justin, however, until Keith responded to a “band wanted” ad that listed Radiohead, Muse, and Aphex Twin as influences. As it turns out, it was Justin’s ad, and the two became three. A little later, drummer Chris Oquist joined the band and they started making music together. Now they are a band on the move, nominated for The Boston Phoenix/WFNX Best Music Poll and named one of The Boston Phoenix’s Eleven Bands to Watch in 2011.

Enough bio stuff. Let’s get to the interview.

OK guys – what the heck does RIBS stand for? Why the mysterious capitalization?

It’s a well-kept secret.

Then you won’t mind if I make something up for all those curious Richmonders?

Have at it. [Note: I have a dirty mind, so none of the suggestions I have are safe for work, nor germane to the band’s style, so I shall refrain.]

I’ve read about how you guys met and how the band started, so I’ll skip those questions and go to my number one favorite question I love to ask musicians. What was your FIRST favorite album?

Keith: Beach Boys, Greatest Hits.

Keith, I’ve read that many of your musical influences haven’t made their way into your music thus far. Do you see the Beach Boys making into your repertoire somehow?

Keith: [chuckle] Not any time soon.

Blake: Outkast, ATLiens. I really didn’t start LISTENING to music until I was a teenager. When I was a kid I listened to oldies with my parents. After that, radio rap and other stuff. I developed my own taste later.

[Justin enters the room. We had just been talking about whether the band had ever played RVA before (answer is NO, as mentioned earlier), and Justin chimes in that he has been in Richmond before – for a flood. He tells me he rode down the street in an innertube. I share with him the hope that he does not bring a flood with him this time. He echoes this sentiment, not commenting on the implication that he might have the power to control the weather. He then answers my favorite first album question.]

Justin: Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness by Smashing Pumpkins. I was seven years old and my sister had been listening to the album and didn’t want it anymore. I loved it, but my parents went through with a sharpie and marked out the eff words in the liner notes.

You guys are kicking off your first East Coast tour tonight in your adopted hometown of Boston. How will tonight’s performance differ from the performances you’re planning for the tour?

Keith: Our show will depend on the size of the venue. When the venue is bigger, we have the chance to bring more lights, and have a bigger production altogether.

What do you want your Richmond audience to know about you as a band? Are you the kind of band that gets out there and meets the locals?

We’ll definitely have more opportunity to talk to people now that we’re bringing our roommate to help us break down our stuff. Usually we’re pretty busy doing that. Other than that, I guess you could say that we’re the heaviest show you can bring your girlfriend to. We’re looking forward to the show.

[So are we, right Richmond? I spent a good ten minutes blathering on about the bands my old ass saw in that space when it was Twisters, and then let the guys get off the phone so they could get ready for their show. To learn more about the band, you can check out the video below, visit their website, and come on out to Strange Matter Tuesday night. $5, 18 and up, starts at 9PM or thereabouts.]

Elizabeth Johnson is a writer for Big Oak Studios, and manages a local Richmond website.

Marilyn Drew Necci

Marilyn Drew Necci

GayRVA editor-in-chief, RVA Magazine editor for print and web. Anxiety expert, proud trans woman, happily married.




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