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The Riverboat Gamblers rocked their way out of the university town of Denton, Texas, in September 2001 with the "Jenna Is a No Show" 7". It's unclear how the vinyl sliver was able to effectively harness the sonic fury that the Gamblers' legendary UNT house party live act had become; nevertheless, an instant classic was born. A Tim Kerr-produced eponymous LP followed on Vile Beat; it poured a pint of whiskey on an already raging rock & roll fire. Led by the whooping vocals of Teko (Mike Wiebe), the band also featured guitarists Freddy Castro (Fadi El-Assad) and Colin Ambulance (Colin James), bassist Spider (Pat Lillard), and drummer Jesse 3X (Jesse Hamilton). Like their peers in the Catheters and Tight Bros from Way Back When, the Riverboat Gamblers reveled in flailing 1970s cock rock and cared little for subtlety. Despite rabid major-label interest (in part derived from a typically incendiary set at the 2003 South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas), the band signed with rawking indie powerhouse Gearhead, which quickly issued the Something to Crow About LP in June 2003. Extensive touring commenced in the summer of that year, logging time with MC5, Burning Brides, and Flogging Molly along the way. The Riverboat Gamblers signed with Volcom Entertainment in April 2005, spent time on the summer's Warped Tour, and released To the Confusion of Our Enemies in April 2006. By this time, Wiebe, Castro, and Lilliard were rounded out on guitar by Ian McDougall and, eventually, drummer Mark Baker. This lineup only lasted a few more tours, as by March 2007, while on the road with Against Me!, former Gorilla Biscuit Luke Abbey was enlisted to take over the drum kit. After a somewhat tame 2009 release titled Underneath the Owl, the group attempted a muscular return with 2012's The Wolf You Feed.
The Riverboat Gamblers is a punk rock band originally from Denton, Texas but now residing in Austin, Texas. They are currently signed to Volcom Entertainment.
In 1997, former Blanks member Pat Lillard ("Spider Stewart") (Bass), formed The Riverboat Gamblers with Fadi el-Assad ("Freddy Castro") (Lead Guitar), and Mike Wiebe ("Rookie Sensation") (vocals) formerly of Kid Chaos. Lillard's original intention was to emulate Virginia rockers The Candy Snatchers in direct contrast to the popular emo music at the time, The Riverboat Gamblers' premiere show featured over-the-top songs relating to drinking and of course, gambling, tongue planted firmly in cheek. The Riverboat Gamblers continued to play house parties and shows throughout Denton and the Dallas/Fort Worth area. The Gamblers burst out of the Denton college scene in September 2001 on the back of their self-released 7" single "Jenna (Is A No Show)" Both 2001's self-titled release and 2003's Something to Crow About were produced by Texas punk rocker Tim Kerr (Big Boys, Lord High Fixers).
After the warm reception of Something to Crow About, the band soon relocated from Denton, Texas to Austin, Texas. The band first received attention from major record labels after their energetic and rowdy showcase at the 2003 South by Southwest (SXSW) music festival in Austin, Texas, but the band ultimately signed with indie label Gearhead Records. In 2005 they were signed to Volcom Entertainment and performed a stint on the 2005 Warped Tour, where the band was often noticed for its deranged live shows. The silliness of some of the earlier material has given way to a more complex breadth of material about America's maligned. They opened for Rancid and Rise Against in the summer of 2009. They have also appeared on the soundtracks to the videogames Tony Hawk's American Wasteland ("Hey! Hey! Hey!"), Madden NFL 07 ("On Again Off Again"), Skate 2 ("Uh Oh!"), Rock Band 3 ("Don't Bury Me... I'm Still Not Dead"), FlatOut: Ultimate Carnage, ATV Offroad Fury 4 ("True Crime") and Need for Speed: Most Wanted ("Blue Ghosts"). In 2010 they performed on the Vans Warped Tour in the United States and the Eastpak Antidote Tour in Europe. In a direct retaliation towards the "Chucks"(Van's Warped tour)the 'RBG' and 'Dead To Me' went on tour with 'Off With Their Heads' and a local band for each show through most of 2011 before returning to the studio to finish the '2012: soundtrack to the end of the world', as described on their website. The new album, "The Wolf You Feed" was released on May 22. Prior to its release, the whole album was available for streaming on the band's website. In conjunction with the album's release, the Gamblers played a club show at 2012's edition of Punk Rock Bowling.