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February 06, 2009
Vol. 50 No. 14

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The Riot takes over central Pa.

Courtesy of Courtesy of The Riot
Causing a riot-- The punk-pop rock band The Riot features (from left to right) bassist/vocalist Brad Henderson, guitarist/vocalist Jonny Fye, lead vocalist/guitarist Ryan Henderson, and drummer Ryan Williams.
Hailing from Harrisburg, Lancaster, State College and Williamsport are four punk-pop rockers who have combined their musical powers to form the central Pa. band called The Riot.

The Riot began in 2006 as a solo act featuring guitarist and vocalist Ryan Henderson, aka Ryan Riot. He wrote and performed his own songs, but as the "about" section of the band's MySpace page explains, "Ryan quickly realized The Riot was bigger than one man and recruited a team as passionate about punk rock as he was."

Henderson said he didn't want to take the route of some solo artists who compile a band "by just looking to their friends. I was searching for talented musicians who were just as excited as I was about music."

The first to fit that bill was guitarist and vocalist Jonny Fye. The two began to practice and play together, and with his "raw punk ability, knowledge and ear," said the MySpace page, Fye helped to provide a "strong balance between pop and punk."

The next addition to the band had experience playing with Henderson, as the pair had been in some bands together in the past, and as they were related. Henderson's brother Brad Henderson came on as a bassist and vocalist, adding harmony and enriching the band's sound.

The only missing part of the equation was a drummer, but it turned out that Ryan Henderson was already working with a talented one. Ryan Henderson was a store manager at Hot Topic, where he got to know employee Ryan Williams, aka Ryno. The pair found they had similar tastes in and views of music. After playing together a few times, Williams signed on to the group. Thus, The Riot was officially formed.

The band started by playing at small punk rock show venues around its Sunbury rehearsal spot, like the Championship in Harrisburg, the Chameleon Club in Lancaster and the Silo in Reading.

"We all have the same roots, the same punk rock upbringing," Ryan Henderson said. "We all saw and played at these local punk rock shows growing up, so that's where we went to play some music we were proud of."

Comparing the band's sound to the likes of Bad Religion, Jimmy Eat World and Anberlin on its YouTube page, nearly all of The Riot's songs are original.

"We decided to do it our way this time," Fye said. "We weren't going to follow a certain sound, or a certain look. We just wanted to be ourselves."

As the MySpace page explained, the band blossomed because of the chemistry the guys have on-stage and how they relate to the audience.

"Due to their high-energy performances and their ability to connect with the audience," the page said, "they rapidly began building a loyal fan base."

"We try to portray energy in every show, to make each show as worthwhile as possible," Brad Henderson said. "Eventually, we really started to be recognized throughout this wide-spread area as a decent band."

The Riot released a self-titled Extended Play (EP) CD in 2007 and tested it on a small tour throughout the state. According to the MySpace page, the EP sold out on its first two pressings, and some songs were played by local radio stations and on Sirius satellite.

By securing enough online votes from its fans, the band competed in and won the 2007 Ernie Ball Battle of the Bands. That victory earned the band one of three spots for area bands at the Scranton venue of the 2008 Warped Tour, a major music and entertainment festival.

"That was such a great time," Williams said. "Being able to meet all of those people from all over the place[...]music is what brought us all together."

The Riot was then featured on a Warped Tour regional compilation CD that was sold throughout the rest of the tour.

The band proudly remains do-it-yourself "in the interest of keeping that true, old-school punk feeling," said its MySpace page. "Every aspect of The Riot is handled in band: from booking shows to making T-shirts, The Riot does it all."

The Riot has been able to make it thus far without any major fights, Williams said. "We're best friends, so it just works out," he said. "We don't seem to have the drama other bands do."

Fye cites the musical maturity of each of the members as a major contributing factor to the band's successes.

"We've been past the initial butterflies of just playing in a band with our friends," he said. "There are decades of experience within this band, and it shows."

"Just being in the band with these guys, being able to play music with people like this, is more than enough," Brad Henderson said. "There's nothing that beats rocking out."
Ryan Henderson said the band will go on a few small tours this year, with a week-long one scheduled for April. The band will perform in and around Pennsylvania this year, and he said the band hopes to extend its reach even farther in 2010.

The Riot will perform at the Spyclub in Harrisburg on Feb. 6, Rumors in Enola on Feb. 7, the Chameleon Club in Lancaster on Feb. 12, The Brewary in State College on the Feb. 17, and The Warehouse in Milton on Feb. 28.

The Riot's MySpace Web site address is myspace.com/theriotpa and the YouTube Web site address is youtube.com/use/theriotpa. The band's music is available for purchase at iTunes.com, amazon.com and shockhound.com. The Riot can be reached via e-mail at RiotRock@yahoo.com.

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