Okla. — Riverside Rebellion is a rock band oozing with roots that run deep into the Oklahoma music culture.
“I think it’s really important to consider our Oklahoma roots. We’re an Oklahoma band. We’re all from Oklahoma. We’ve all in one way or another been influenced by the local music scene, which is robust and has a great history,” said Gregg Shipman.
Gregg Shipman, Bixby- Lead guitar and co-lead singer
Gregg’s upbringing was immersed in music.
“My dad and his brothers were a well known band in the 60′s in the Tulsa area called, The Shipman Brothers. They were a core part of what we refer to as the Tulsa Sound. They were a big part of that scene. Played with guys like, J.J. Cale and Gary Busey,” said Gregg.
Jennifer Shipman, Bixby- Lead singer and keyboardist
Jennifer grew up in Jenks and says that she has been married to Gregg for about ten years.
According to Gregg they’ve been together for 13 years.
For years, Gregg and Jennifer were in several bands that mainly played covers.
“Being able to perform and sing and play is a stress reliever and it’s important for balance in your life to be able to express yourself in that way,” said Jennifer.
Chris Holt, Stillwater- Drummer
Chris grew up in Stillwater and had a drum set in his room when he was a little kid.
“The musical influence came definitely from my dad,” said Chris.
His father wrote for the Stillwater newspaper and was also a drummer, who opened up for the likes of Roy Orbison and Hank Williams, Jr., back in the day when they were just starting out.
Chris, Jennifer and Gregg had been friends for years, so playing together in a band only seemed like a no brainer.
Then, the search began for a bass player.
“We tried out a lot of guys to find people who were the right fit. Chemistry is as important as talent,” said Gregg.
Kelly “Kritter” Deere, Tahlequah - Bass and vocals
“Kritter” studied and graduated from Okemah High School. He now lives in the Tulsa area.
He runs a Facebook page called Oklahoma Musicians Wanted.
“They wanted a bass player and I said, ‘Okay, I’ll try it,’” said “Kritter.”
Gregg says that “Kritter” beat out about 6-7 bassists.
“Fast forward to summer of 2021 and we decided most of my demos were best suited as a two guitar band, so we began interviewing guitar players,” said Gregg.
Stephen Morgan, Claremore - 2nd lead guitar
Stephen is the youngest of all the members.
“I’ve never really fit in with musicians my own age, because I grew up on classic rock. Blues and Clapton. That’s all I’ve ever known as a kid. All my friends didn’t like it. I get to be myself and play what I like,” said Stephen.
Stephen has created a studio for his band in his mom’s bedroom in her old house that she grew up in. He has turned that space into a control room.
The Riverside Rebellion band lineup was solidified in July 2021.
The band members describe the dynamic as like a family, with no drama.
“We’re a rock band. [Our sound] is a sum of all of our influences. There’s a lot of Southern rock in our music, there’s a lot of Blues, Americana and more than a little bit of country. It’s sort of a hodgepodge of different influences. There’s a lot of singer-songwriter influence in it as well, " said Gregg.
The pandemic has widely impacted the music business locally and across the globe.
“Having to take a whole year off from being able to perform, it did give us an opportunity to be able to start focusing on our original music,” said Chris.
The band has just released their very first single, “Blood Moon”. Jennifer and Gregg wrote the lyrics right at the beginning of the COVID-19 shutdown.
“[We] worked through some lyrical ideas to go with some music that I had already been working on and it just fit perfectly. The mood of the music fit the lyrical idea,” said Gregg.
The song is inspired by Jennifer’s cousin Todd who struggled with an opioid addiction and who passed from a heroin overdose.
“This guy was a beautiful soul and was literally the guy who would give you the coat off his back. There’s a reference in the song to a time when he gave a homeless man his coat. It was cold. And somebody asked him why he did that and he said, ‘He needed that worse than I did’,” said Gregg.
Todd had been clean for about a month or two leading up to his passing. According to family members Todd had made a decision to turn a page in his life and start to work toward making his wrongs right. Todd had even planned to check into a rehab center once a bed was available.
The day after his passing his family received the call that a space had finally opened up in the program for him.
Writing this song gave Jennifer an opportunity to heal.
“The emotions that we all feel when we’re playing, as we’re recording these songs, like ‘Blood Moon’ have great meaning,” said Jennifer.
Riverside Rebellion will be performing at Neff Brewing, at 321 South Frankfort in downtown Tulsa, on March 4. The show begins at 7 p.m. and admission is free.
“We will be celebrating the launch of “Blood Moon” and announcing our next single release of a song called “Aces & Eights”, a driving rock song about the murder of Wild West icon “Wild Bill” Hickock,” said Gregg.
The band has ten original songs to date.
“Our plan is to release one every month,” said Chris.
Riverside Rebellion’s music is just beginning to emerge within the Tulsa music scene.
Gregg hopes that five years from now the band will still be cultivating their own signature sound and collaborating musically as Oklahoma artists.
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