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The Riptones

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Biography

Melding rockabilly, retro-country, and blues styles into a rollicking dance-friendly cocktail, the Riptones are one of the more traditionally oriented bands on Chicago's wild-and-wooly alt-country scene. Led by guitarist, singer, and songwriter Jeb Bonansinga, the band formed in 1990, with Bonansinga joined by his brother Tod Bonansinga on vocals and rub board, Earl Carter on bass, Andon T. Davis on guitar, and Tom Harmon on drums. After several years of steady gigging around Chicago and building up a loyal following, the group recorded their first self-released album, Cool Hand, in 1994; the same year, a track by the Riptones appeared on the compilation Insurgent Country, Vol. 1: For a Life of Sin, the first release from the influential Bloodshot Records label. In 1996, the Riptones recorded a second album on their own dime, World Renowned, before they signed on with Bloodshot in 1997 and released their third album, Extra Sauce. 1999 found the Riptones stripping back their style to a leaner and more rocking approach, while paring the lineup down to a trio; Tod, Andon T. Davis, and Harmon all left the group, and Kurt Wiesend came on board as drummer. (Davis, however, did make a guest appearance on the Riptones' 1999 album Cowboy's Inn.) In 2001, the band unveiled their fifth album, Buckshot, and another new lineup; Wiesend bowed out and drummer Perry LaFine stepped in to replace him, while Michael Krasovech joined as lead guitarist. In 2003, the group was putting the finishing touches on Slant 6, an all-instrumental album.