Local rockers RPG are all about having a good time. They're known for blistering three-chord bar rock, the kind of sweaty music that sounds better with each passing drink. But that doesn't mean they take the recording process for granted. In fact they just spent more than two years making their next album, "Worth the Weight," due out by fall.


  • RPG audio slideshow.

    "We worked on it ad nauseam, scrapped it, then recorded the whole thing over again," guitarist/vocalist/songwriter Matt Conner says. "Crazy for a half-hour rock record. But it came out pretty damn good. I can't complain."

    The new album, recorded in Richmond at the Etching Tin, clocks in at 10 songs in around 30 minutes, so it's no wonder the band's merchandising company co-sponsors a NASCAR driver. In terms of influence, Conner notes that he was obsessed with Brit rock band The Pretty Things' melodic album "Parachute" (1970).

    "The new stuff is a little less garage rock and moving toward prog rock," he says. "Still definitely waist-down kind of delivery."

    While RPG tours relentlessly in other states, the band doesn't perform in Richmond very often. Drummer Mike Marunde laments that there are hardly any small venues like Twisters left for intermediate-level bands. "VCU has worked really hard to get all the clubs off Grace Street, so now you have to go the Bottom," he says, "which sucks."

    Conner says one thing that inspires his lyric writing is his "hatred for the music industry." But RPG definitely feels comfortable playing for the common folk.

    "You can make three to five hundred at a bar where they don't take anything off the door, have a killer time, get food and beer," Marunde says. "Or you can play a bigger club that wants 400 bucks right off the bat to pay for bouncers, security, a sound guy that doesn't know how to mix you."

    One thing the band is stoked about is the addition of bassist John Campbell, an old friend of the group and a member of Grammy-nominated local metal superstars Lamb of God. RPG will arrange their tour schedule, which may involve a trip to Europe, to avoid conflicting with Lamb's sold-out touring -- which has included playing to audiences of 40,000. It helps that Lamb of God may take a year off from touring.

    "[John] loves RPG and already knew the songs," Conner says, "so it's a perfect fit."


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