Hometown: South San Francisco/ Pacifica, Ca
Members: Beck Von Felsburg, Rob Ruiz, Jared Coons
|Photos courtesy of Retard Strength|
If ever you’ve craved a ridiculous inferno of instruments and crazy costumes, Retard Strength would be your ultimate thirst quencher. The band (having jumped from trio to quadruplet to trio to quadruplet to trio again) has had quite a run in its short, fulfilling years together. For those of you who have heard of them but never had the pleasure of experiencing one of their shows: shame on you! The shows were mostly free of charge and very local and well, no excuses, you missed out! For those of you who have experienced them, read on.
The band’s core members- Beck Von Felsburg (vocals and bass), Rob Ruiz (vocals and guitar) and Jared Coons (drums)- have graced us with their presence in this rambunctious ensemble for the past two years, inviting and sending off members throughout (singers Martin Madden and Josh Bradley among the ranks). With a number of sophisticated and wacky costumes (one of my favorites being the head-to-toe caution tape mummy with sunglasses, aka ‘Lady Gaga’) to go along with their amusing music styles, Retard Strength has never let down an audience on the entertainment meter.
The band formed accidentally a couple years ago when front man Von Felsburg’s other band Minivan Disaster needed an opening act for a gig they had one night. Having been good friends since their teen years, Von Felsburg simply asked Ruiz and Coons to join him in an impromptu jam session, covering Misfits songs among others. The make shift band was well received and from there the band formerly known as Retard Strength was born.
“The original idea came from high school,” Von Felsburg says “the main idea was to be a death metal band”. Well, gotta live up that dream, right? The band’s reputation is certainly that of a death metal band. Throw in a little punk with a splash of preposterous lyrics and you’ve got your self a group of Retards… er, so to speak.
Retard Strength’s approach (“just screaming out ‘Diarrhea!’ at the top of my lungs really did it for me”) focused mainly on having a great time and getting a reaction from the audience -good or (rarely) bad- but never, under any circumstances, boring. Most people who have seen them will vouch that the band, often belligerent and impractical (but it a very good way), will rock your socks off.
So now poses the question- why would anyone write up a blog on a band that is no more?
Well, there is plenty more. Retard Strength has disbanded but is currently being reformed with the same core members and two more tag-alongs (Dan Santo and Vicki Monkman) to boot!
The old band felt it was time to move on musically (perhaps a more serious approach?) and since they didn’t want to use any of the ousted members’ songs, decided to go in a different direction entirely.
The new band-who remain nameless at the moment- is under wraps as you read this very blog. Little is known about this forthcoming ensemble as they are getting the feel for a new sound. However, I am told that the direction they are aiming for is Broken Social Scene meets Tom Waits (but that could also mean any and everyone in between). Whatever they decide on, I have faith that we the listeners will be nothing short of pleased. Whether you’ve been with the band since day one or are just now joining the army, there’s plenty of room for you here.
It’s with the fullest of heart I say theses words: carry on good members of the band formerly known as Retard Strength. We look forward to sharing the road ahead with you. Oh, and in case you didn’t know, we salute you!