Florida has been the heart of Southern Rock for over three decades, with bands such as The Outlaws, Molly Hatchet and of course, the daddy band that started it all — Lynyrd Skynyrd. Those are some pretty big shoes to fill, but Tampa Bay’s Rebel Pride has been a crowd pleaser all over the South for several years. Rebel Pride is made up of five members who each bring a strong background to the table:
Pat Buffo – Lead vocals, guitar, drums. Growing up in St. Petersburg, Florida, Pat learned drums, bass and guitar. He started “paying his dues” playing in metal bands and working in record stores. Pat had his own solo acoustic act when he was asked to audition for Rebel Pride.
Brian Jeffries – Guitar, vocals, songwriter. Brian attended Berklee College of Music, and considers “Live at the Fillmore East” to be his Bible. Over the years, he has been a member of several bands, including Southern Snow, Second Helping (a Skynyrd tribute band that toured North America) and The Traveling Freak Show.
“Sonny” Harlan – “Sonny” was playing drums early — banging on furniture while listening to his dad’s Lynyrd Skynyrd, Bob Seger and AC/DC records. Shortly after high school, he was touring clubs throughout the US. After seven full US tours, several Canadian tours, a six-week European tour and four albums with a punk rock band, Sonny has returned to his roots. He joined Rebel Pride in 2003. Sonny’s simple, solid style is the perfect foundation for Pride’s guitar driven solos.
“Big Dave” Stevenson – bass. “Big Dave” taught himself bass in the 9th grade. Living in Tampa Bay since 1978, “Big Dave” founded the Southern Rock/Blues band, “Treez” as well as the popular local band, “Fair Warning.” He then toured with a Skynyrd cover band until 1997, when he joined Rebel Pride.
Tom Spittle – Guitar, vocals, flute keys. Whistling tunes since the age of nine months, Tom’s from a family of musicians. In grade school, he studied everything from strings to brass to percussion. His teachers were John Beck at the Eastman School of Music and jazz great Vinnie Ruggerio. He now teaches guitar, bass and drums for the Anonas Arts Academy. Tom has played with many bands having many styles. He’s been with Rebel Pride for over 9 years.
Q. WHAT ARE YOUR LATEST PROJECTS?
RP: We are currently working on our second Rebel Pride CD of all original music. We are in pre-production with material written by the individual band members and other song-writing friends of ours. Rebel Pride is going to collaborate on a separate CD with a fiddle/guitar playing/songwriting, friend of ours named Paul Carr (a lawyer from Ruskin, Florida). Paul played fiddle with Rebel Pride at The Annual Charlie Daniels Angelus House Benefit Concert in Clearwater, Florida in 2000. The collaboration CD is a little more country sounding but still maintains the Rebel Pride edge. Also, we are playing Daytona Bike Week this year! Y’all can see us March 3 -6 on Main Street at the Full Moon Saloon, from 1-5 p.m. So, sleep in and catch our show across the street from the beach.
Q. YOU’VE MADE A SWITCH FROM COUNTRY TO SOUTHERN ROCK. HAS THAT CHANGED THE SIZE OF YOUR AUDIENCE?
RP: Yes. The Country audience fans we have like our approach to Southern Rock and our Southern Rock fans like our approach to Country music. Our Rock fans like our edge on Southern Rock.
Q. HOW DO YOU PICK THE MP3 SAMPLE SONGS TO GIVE AWAY ON YOUR WEB SITE?
RP: We only have one track available on the site in hopes to wet the audible appetite for the rest of the CD. Which by the ways smokes…
Q. YOU HAVE A LOT OF EUROPEANS BUYING YOUR CD’S. HOW DID THAT HAPPEN?
RP: Online radio is and has been immensely instrumental in presenting the fans worldwide new independent Southern Rock releases. There is a large fan base for Southern Rock in Europe.
Q. YOU ARE PLAYED ON A LOT OF INTERNET STATIONS. HAS THIS GIVEN YOU OPPORTUNITIES THAT CLEAR CHANNEL HASN’T?
RP: Yes. A lot of listeners have grown tired of force fed commercial radio play and hearing the same play list over and over. It has been an invaluable tool in getting our music heard in markets we never dreamed were even listening.
Q. WHAT ABOUT LIVE WEB CAST CONCERTS? HAVE YOU DONE ANY AND DO YOU HAVE ANY PLANNED FOR THE FUTURE?
RP: We haven’t done an online concert yet but we will soon.
Q. BRIAN, YOU’VE BEEN A SOUND ENGINEER. TELL ME ABOUT THAT.
RP: I have been mixing bands with my P.A. systems for years. I know how to make it sound very good at a reasonable budget for club owners to keep the band busy working as much as we do. I am also very proficient in the technical side of it as well and can fix it if it breaks down.
Q. A LOT OF BANDS HAVE BEEN TAKING THE FORUMS SECTION OFF THEIR WEB SITES. YOU DONE THAT, TELL ME ABOUT THAT.
RP: Forums are impossible to police on a minute-by-minute basis and some folks will say anything. We would prefer our forum to be limited to Rebel Pride Band related topics only. We may try it again.
Q. WHAT MUSIC DO YOU GUYS LISTEN TO IN YOUR OFF HOURS?
RP: We listen to all kinds of music ranging from the Southern Rock, Country, Blues, Jazz, Classic Rock but mostly just good ol’ southern stuff.
Q. HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE THE REBEL PRIDE SOUND?
RP: Hard edge guitar-driven Southern Rock.
For anyone interested in downloading some MP3’s or purchasing a CD, be sure to check out the website at www.rebelprideband.com. Enjoy!!!!