LADIES AND GENTLEMEN
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

Punk Globe: Congratulations on releasing your CD Ribzy 1981-1985 Recordings on Vinehell Records....  Was it hard getting all the material together for the release?

Greg: 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 been?

Greg:  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?

Greg: 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 re-record.

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.

Punk Globe : Are there any new recordings on this recently released CD?

Greg: 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???

Greg:  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?

Greg:   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?

Greg: 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 guitar.

And then 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.

Greg:  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?

Greg:  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.

Verbal Abuse, 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????

Greg:  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??

Greg:  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???

Greg:  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 the ratings..

Greg:    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?

Now, The 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?

Greg:  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....

 

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