GREG OROPEZA OF RIBZY
by Ginger Coyote
photos by Murray Bowles
I got a chance recently to sit down with
Greg Oropeza the driving force behind the San Jose's own
Ribzy.... Greg and I have been pals for years. Ribzy have
played a few Punk Globe Benefits in the old days. So I jumped
at the chance to speak with Greg about Ribzy, The Ruthie's Inn
Reunion Show, Rikk Agnew and our mutual addiction to the ABC
Soap "All My Children." I hope you enjoy
Congratulations on releasing your CD Ribzy 1981-1985
Recordings on Vinehell Records.... Was it hard getting all
the material together for the release?
All those recording sessions were missing up until a
couple of years ago. After a divorce in '95 in which I lost
my house and about a thousand vinyl records, I was horrified
to find out that also with my records were my original Ribzy
tapes, and they were now in the hands of someone who was
threatening to release them himself. Long story of changing
hands etc, but I finally got them back and began the process
of restoration and remixing.
Punk Globe: The CD sounds
fucking great! How have the reviews and the fan's reaction
It's been great really, it's the only reason we keep
playing. We don't want to be all Spinal Tap and shit, not
knowing when to hang it up, but the reaction to these sessions
has been overwhelming. Erik, from the band Rebel Truth, wrote
on his site something like " ...this CD makes all the crappy
shit we had to listen to in the '80's worthwhile!"
Punk Globe: Ribzy had
recorded a lot of tracks for prior releases that fell thru
correct? This CD is a collection of all of your recordings
during that era?
Most of these recordings were made for Alternative
Tentacles, with the full blessing and support of Biafra and
MIke Varany, who was running the thing at the time. When we
were finished with our sessions, they asked us to wait a few
months, something to do with Faulty Products, their
distributor I think, had fallen through. When they were
finally ready, we had changed members and decided to
We also made
what in hindsight was a stupid decision to sign with Upstart
Records in LA. These sessions were submitted and
apparently burned because some deal they had with the Circle
Jerks went sour. Some of these tracks made it out on bootleg.
We recorded yet
a 3rd album, but that didn't go any where, we were fading.
Globe : Are there any new recordings on this
recently released CD?
There are some tracks from 2003, as well as some
hidden tracks, if you're patient to find them. They hidden
tracks were recorded in our basement with our first singer
Matt, who was 14 at the time.
Punk Globe: How about
future recording plans???
We are going into the studio to record a 7" next
month. These tracks will only be released on vinyl.
Punk Globe: It was great seeing
you back in action at last Saturday's Show... What prompted you
to reform the band?
Well, besides from finding our tapes, we reformed after
a 15 year hiatus to play a San Jose Punk reunion show back in
2001 with Los Olvidados and The Faction. After the passing of
our buddy "Rockin' Rob Dapello" in 2000, a couple of dozen bands
played his memorial gig at the Cactus Club , including 2 of my
other bands. Los Olvidados did a powerful set and that inspired
and challenged The Faction to reform for a few gigs, and they
asked Ribzy to play. We had given The Faction their first gig
back in '83 or so with Social Distortion, so we had a history
with them. We really though it would be a one shot thing.
Punk Globe: Rockin'Rob
was Lars Fredrikson from Rancid Brother right? Tell us about
who is in the current line up?
We have Dion on vocals, who sang for us in '83 and '84
and also appears on our split vinyl "From the Valley Within".
Biff is back on drums, he was our second drummer and sings some
when we play a long set. Besides playing rockabilly with many
known greats, he recorded a single with one of my favorite early
punk bands, Crime. Pat is on bass. Pat was actually our last
drummer in '85 and for a few isolated gigs after. He tells me
now that he didn't know how to drum when he first auditioned for
us, he had just copied what he heard Biff play on a tape he had.
He even played drums for us in a band called Geri Rieg, when we
opened up for The Chili Peppers at The On Broadway in '86. Pat
also did a short stint with Social Unrest as well, but on
there's myself, playing my 5 string guitar thing. Other than
the Monkee's and the Archie's covers, the music's mine so I
figure I should probably be there. Ribzy was booked to play a
gig that was in conflict with this jazz/swing band I play in, a
band that actually makes money, so Pat was going to play guitar
for Ribzy that night, but the club rescheduled telling me I
should be there.
Punk Globe: How many shows
have you played with this current line up Greg?
Greg: This lineup?
Maybe only 6 or so. Jamie was on bass for all our previous
gigs since we reformed, but is now going through too much
personal crap to focus on Ribzy .
Our first gig with this lineup up at
Roosters in Oakland with Sad Boy Sinister and the Texas Thieves.
We also played the Blank Club in San Jose a couple of times,
one of them last June with Flipper and Fabulous Disaster.
Punk Globe: I know that you
played The Ruthie's Inn Reunion show.. How was that? Toni and
Rachel worked hard on that show I know.
That was killer! There are some times on stage when
things are going so well you know you can do no wrong. The band
was in sync, tight, having fun. We played right after MDC who
had did a semi acoustic set, so the crowd was anxious for some
loud fast punk rock, and Ribzy delivered. MDC used our drums and
bass rig, so we had little to set up. we just went out and
blazed through 20 songs in thirty minutes.
Punk Globe: Who were some
your favorite bands that played that night?
I enjoyed The Fuck Ups a lot, and I thought Bob
Noxious did a pretty good job considering how out of the scene
he's been. Stone Vengeance was kick ass, my favorite by far of
all the metal bands.
Social Unrest and Fang were cool, but my favorite of the entire
night was No Alternative. Johnny Genocide is one of those
guitarist that watching him, it looks like what he's playing is
so simple, yet so much sound and style is blaring out, hitting
you over the head. He is an amazing musician, really.
Punk Globe: You also did
a show with Dr. Know and Poop.... How did that show go????
We played 2 shows with them actually, I hadn't seen Rikk
in 20 years, but then 9 mos ago or so after he had just
finished his time with 45 Grave, he brought his band Poop to
town for one gig and invited me to jump in for a song.
He offered to play our CD release party when that happened,
and I took him up on it. I was stoked when Brandon Cruz also
agreed to come play our San Jose release gig with Dr.
Know , so I secured another gig in nearby Santa Cruz to make
everyone's trip worthwhile. The gigs went great, Brandon got
to surf and eat vegan food, and Rikk become fast friends with
my 3 year old son Ryan.
Punk Globe: Both Rikk and
Brandon are nice guys! Our mutual friend and Punk Globe writer
Miss O was very bummed she missed the festivities in Crockett..
Do you have any plans for a tour??
We may tour the Pacific Northwest just so Miss O can
see us! Seriously though, I just spent a month in Europe and
would love to bring Ribzy there.
Punk Globe: Jason Honea had
mentioned that you had visited him in Berlin. Are
the members of Ribzy all involved with
other projects as well???
Pat always has several projects going, Teenage
Panzercorps is one I know of. Biff mentioned he was starting up
a project with Johnny Genocide. I have a band called The Quirx
(sic), not to be confused with the lame Quirks from Hollywood
who list Green Day as an influence on their website.
We're playing some gigs with Goofball, featuring Bruno from
Flipper and Bad Posture in a couple of months. Also, as I
mentioned earlier, I play in a swing band , it's called The
Pimpsticks. It features Mike Belardes from The Kingpins , Dave
Baisa from the Odd Numbers and Erik from Whiskey Sunday.
Punk Globe: Greg, I know you
are an avid "All My Children" fan.. How do you enjoy the current
canvas of characters... The Writer seems to be giving alot of
air time to Colby and that set rather than the older core
characters like Opal, Palmer, Myrtle, Brooke, Ruth and Joe...My
favorite era on AMC is when Dorothy Lyman played Opal Sue and
the characters were Jackie Diamond, Ray Gardner, Billy Clyde
Tuggle, Liza, Marion, Jenny & Greg, Jessie & Angie, Olga
Swenson. The guy who played Huggy Bear was Angie's Father. you
know when Bob Noxious was dating Enid Nelson and AMC was #1 in
Ruth? When the last time you've seen her? Ever
since Mary Fickett left and Lee Meriwether took over, her role
was diminished . I think Mary Fickett did come back for a
holiday show, so the Cat Ruth must be out. Colby is obnoxious,
but effective I think. They have to bring in fresh blood now and
then, it doesn't
seem that long ago Tad was in high school being busted for pot.
When the show started it was mostly about 2 families, the Tylers
and the Martins. There was also the Brents, remember them?
Chandlers seem to be dominant. I was hooked the first year it
aired, because I spent a big summer of 1970 indoors covered in
poison oak. I'd like to say I've watched it from the beginning,
but I'm afraid I came in 6 mos after it started.
Punk Globe: I think the
actress who plays Colby really blows... I much more prefer
Kristin Alderson who plays Starr Manning on "One Life To Live.
" I wanna thank you so much for
playing the Crockett Show with White Trash Debutantes, Naked
Lady Wrestlers and Still Alive... I know it meant a lot to Kat
and your fans... Thanks also for doing this interview. Is there
any last words that you may wanna leave us with?
Yes, The White Trash Debutantes are a fun party band,
Paulie should shave his legs, and who knew there was a little
town under the Carquinez bridge called Crockett?
Punk Globe would like to thank Greg
for the fun and very informative interview..... Ribzy rock and
if you see that they are playing go out and support
them.....You will NOT be disappointed you did....