San Pedro’s RIG is a classic early 1990’s SST band that’s back together and better than ever.
My favorite RIG story was posted on Instagram by Ibarra:
That one time RIG got to play the Warner Grand Theater in 1994. We had Toast showing films in back of us from the balcony. We also had a couple of strobe lights and a couple of smoke machines going and we smoked out the stage before we came on. We bought a bunch of long rubber snakes and soaked them in a bucket of K-Y Jelly. The stage was so smoked out when we hit the stage that the crowd couldn’t see us and we couldn’t see them. That’s when we started throwing the slimey snakes at the crowd. Imagine snakes coming out of the smoke pelting the crowd and when they touched the snakes they felt real and slimey. HA. We also threw army men at the crowd too. Once the smoke cleared somewhat, we were pelted by the same snakes we threw at the crowd the rest of the show. Good times.
Newly reconstituted—but definitely not reformed—RIG 2022 features the classic core of vocalist Craig Ibarra, bassist/vocalist Christian Moreno and guitarist Marc Palacios, now augmented with double-drummers Phillip Haut and Ferdinand Cudia.
Their sound? Set phasers to ‘kill everything now’!
Vocalist and main dude Craig Ibarra is an artist, author, teen SST employee and Mr. San Pedro. He took time out to for a quick interview—enjoy:
RIG is back! Why now? Is there any significance to your return?
Phillip was making subtle nudges on us getting back together for a show via social media since 2018 maybe. I think these subtle attempts were pretty much ignored for the most part.
In April 2020 we gave in and set a date to get together and see if it could work. I don’t think we were contemplating reforming, but maybe doing a reunion-type-show or two. Not long after we set a date to practice, the COVID-19 shutdown hit and so we shelved the idea.
I was recently putting a benefit show together at The Sardine in San Pedro for an old friend who was/is going through some medical issues, and so I asked the guys if they were interested in having RIG play […] and everyone was up for it. So this was the spark that got us practicing again, starting in June 2022—a little over two years after our initial plan.
What RIG songs really get the crowd going?
I have no idea. Our first show back on October 22nd was successful I guess you can say (see photo at the top of this post, by Trevor Song). We got a lot of compliments—probably more than ever. To be honest, we aren’t used to that. I wouldn’t say we were very well liked, but we were into it and that’s all that mattered. Let’s just say we were loud and annoying.
How does it feel to be stoking that engine again?
For this new version of RIG, we had to ditch the drum programming and samples, because Christian lost the DAT’s that they were stored on, so we are more or less going at it like a regular band, but with two drummers.
Who are your artistic or musical idols in 2022?
I can’t speak for the band, but me personally: I was just recently blown away by a five-piece band called Service from Indiana that features Russell Simins [from Jon Spencer Blues Explosion] on drums and his wife Jilly Weiss Simins on vocals. Super heavy & intense. I also recommend Self Improvement out of Long Beach and Head Cut out of Ventura. All very inspiring.
What’s the best music to put on when the working day is done?
I listen to music most when I’m working. HA.
What are three songs you wish RIG had written and why?
Good question …
You have made so many cool things over the years, from working at SST to A Wailing of a Town, your book on San Pedro punk. What have you been working on lately? Any new books or art or…?
I’m working on a revised hardcover edition of A Wailing of a Town which should be out in 2023. I have a record label called Water Under the Bridge and a publishing house called END FWY Press. Also contemplating writing a memoir.
Is RIG playing any more upcoming shows?
We haven’t talked about doing more shows after the Oracle Tavern.
What are some fun things to do in San Pedro right now?
There’s a great fairly new venue in town called The Sardine which I’m a part of.
What do you want the audience at Oracle Tavern to come away from RIG’s set thinking and feeling?
“These guys are super loud and annoying.”
Final question: I’m hungry! Where should I eat breakfast, lunch and dinner in San Pedro?
For breakfast, you’re gonna wanna eat at the Pacific Diner all the way at the top of Pacific Ave.
For lunch you’re gonna wanna grab a sandwich at Busy Bee Market and for dinner you might wanna head down to the San Pedro Fish Market for outdoor ocean view dining. Plenty of dive bars to wash it all down!
Come celebrate twenty years in L.A. with me and some gnarly bands this November 11:
Friday 11.11.22 at Oracle Tavern – RIG, NOÏ (400 Blows + Federation X supergroup from L.A.), A Lovely Sort Of Death, Paul Lai (of the legendary Upsilon Acrux) & special guest DJ Dizparity from Taipei, Taiwan working his magic before, during & after the bands.
All shows 8pm / $10 / 21+
1640 N. Spring, Los Angeles 90012