River City High



All great bands have to come from a place where roots can grow and talent can blossom. As teenagers, James Menefee and Mark Avery were all over Richmond, Virginia going to shows and playing music. As the 90's came to and end, so did James' and Mark's first bands, Funsize and Inquisition. So in February 1999, the two got together and formed the nucleus of River City High. It would be over a year before the lineup would stabilize, but the band wasted no time getting down to business. They began rehearsing and went straight from their practice space to the studio to record their debut EP, Richmond Motel. Recorded at Richmond's own Sound of Music Studios in the Summer of 1999, the record is everything a debut should be, raw, energetic, and promising. It was released by Boston's Big Wheel Recreation in early 2000 and shortly afterwards the band began building their reputation as touring troubadours.

Prior to the release of Richmond Motel, Jay McMillan joined on drums. The EP was drawing more and more attention and as the shows got better, the crowds got bigger. It soon became clear to the boys that their band was taking off, and if they wanted to go all they way, it was time to get serious. They went back into Sound Of Music Studios in early 2000 with famed producer Brian Paulson who had worked with Wilco and Superchunk. The resulting EP, River City High Forgets Their Manners, a joint release between Big Wheel Recreation and Doghouse Records, captures that band's transition from a work in progress to a solid Rock 'n' Roll road show. Two tracks feature Superchunk drummer John Wurster. By the time the record went to press, Bob Anderson had come on as touring guitarist, and after demonstrating a desire to "drop everything," he was invited to join the band full time. Having Bob in place as the last piece of the puzzle, River City High were able to commit themselves to the road and spreading their music across America. With a four month nationwide tour booked in anticipation of the release of Manners, the members of River City High put their days of school, day jobs, and revolving members behind them and looked ahead to the lives they always wanted to live.

Touring throughout the entire Summer of 2000, River City High shared stages with the likes of Less Than Jake, Juliana Theory, and New Found Glory. They also headlined their own shows and honed their skills into a tight, fast, frenzied sound that made their performances of studio material even more unbelievably energetic. Having established themselves as a seasoned Rock 'n' Roll Punk Pop band, River City High came off the road with a full head of steam and spent the next several months alternating between the studio and more tour dates. James describes this period as "frantically trying to get a new record done while living on the road." River City High Won't Turn Down, the band's first full length, was completed in May of 2001. It was recorded in Boston by Tim O'Heir, who had just finished working on the new J. Mascis record, and has previously worked with Superdrag and other Boston legends like Sebadoh, and Juliana Hatfield. One track features backing vocals by Mary Lou Lord. James had run into the Bostonian while she was playing in the in the subway and invited her to join River City High in the studio. In the midst of all this activity, the band headlined shows and continued to support up and coming/soon to be huge talents like Jimmy Eat World, New Found Glory, Hot Rod Circuit, Midtown, and Dashboard Confessional.

Taking self-promotion to the next level, River City High played 200 shows in 2000, and are well on their way to surpassing that number this year. The band is already back on the road after completing a nationwide tour with The Juliana Theory as well as appearing on several dates of The Vans Warped Tour. Their reputation as being one of the most talented, hard working, honest to goodness Rock 'n' Roll bands anywhere has earned them universal praise on the indie music circuit as well as a support slot with mega major phenomenon Blink 182 this Fall. Their debut full length, River City High Won't Turn Down, is a culmination of an entire year of non-stop touring. The experience they have gained from playing night after night and listening to nothing but Rock 'n' Roll in the van day after day is more than evident on the new record. Since the boys have moved away from their hometown of Richmond, they now call the road their home. Luckily, they have taken their roots with them and planted them all over the country and while they are out there playing their asses off, we all have the pleasure of sitting back and watching them grow. The European release of their new full-length is liscensed to Defiance Records and hopefully out December 1st.


Richmond Motel (Big Wheel Recreation/Doghouse)
River City High Forgets Their Manners (Doghouse 073)
River City High Won't Turn Down ( Doghouse 085/ Defiance Records XXI)