A R T I C L E
Band Family Tree: Rumpus Room
by Ian Duggan
Rumpus Room are a Hamilton indie-rock band celebrating 20 years of existence this year! So who better than them to be the subject of our second Band Family Tree?!
If you missed the article on our Inchworm family tree, ‘Rock Family Trees’, as they are commonly known, were the invention of English rock journalist Pete Frame, whose first trees appeared in his own magazine, Zigzag, in 1971. What the trees basically do is chart changes in bands, or whole music scenes, by constructing ‘family trees’ based upon the interrelationships of members among bands. While our trees now number a couple, Frame has to date created at least a couple of thousand.
Our second tree centres on Rumpus Room, whose 20 year existence has (understandably) resulted in a number of line-up changes, though the core of Scott Newth, Andrew Newth and Greg Page has remained solid. Members of the band are the descendants of several others, and in turn they have spawned offspring of their own; obviously, not all related bands could be shown! I had always planned for Rumpus Room to be my second tree, but a comment left on our webpage following the publication of our Inchworm tree by drummer Greg Page sealed the deal; “love it. do rumpus room! pweeeeaaase”. Nevertheless, when I first mentioned I wanted to do a Rumpus Room tree to Scott, he commented, “Seriously? That's not going to be much of a tree. A shrub at best”. (continued below)
Working with several members or related musicians in developing the tree, it was clear that remembering the history of your bands can be difficult. As Andrew Newth noted, “This is fascinating for me, as I can't remember anything”. However, as we discussed various dates a number of memories of associated bands came out. For example, of the name change from Love and Violence to the short-lived Fallen, the direct major antecedents of Rumpus Room, Scott noted; “That was really a late decision that we probably shouldn't have done. My fault. I just thought the new material was just so different to the first Love and Violence album, and we were not playing any old stuff by then. There was a whole new album in the works, but only two songs were completed before the [Zoo] studio went belly up. The whole project got too hard to do live and losing our recordings was a blow and then the Contact/UFM saga ruled my life for a good time after that... The name change came about around the same time we stopped”.
And, to the most recent offspring, Scott noted: “Kent, Andrew and I are in a band now called System Corporation with Ben [Cole] and Phil [Buscke Somervell] from the Datsuns, but we haven't released anything yet. But soon. First single out later this year and an album in production”. Watch this space!