Scene & Heard

Ready to Rock ’n’ Roll Rumble

After eight nights of competition, the 24 bands in the field of the 35th Rock ’n’ Roll Rumble have been narrowed down to three finalists. On Friday night at T.T. the Bear’s, the tuneful heavy rockers Await Rescue, the synthy punks Petty Morals, and the melodic hard-rockers Goddamn Draculas will vie for the title of this year’s most promising New England band. We asked the three bands to introduce themselves and their music, and size up which of them would win an an actual rumble if it came down to it.

Goddamn Draculas


  • Members: J. R. Roach, drums; Bice Nathan, bass and vocals; Chris Duggan, guitar and vocals; Dennis Carver, guitar; Jeff “Chip” Nicolai, keyboards and vocals

  • Years together: 3

  • Home base: Cambridge

  • Recent release: “We just released a song called ‘Jenny,’” Duggan says. “It’s going to be on our first release which will be called “Don’t Be Afraid” and should be out this summer. If anyone is interested in listening to it, we have a 3-song disc that we have at our shows, or you can hear or purchase it online. Or, you can call me and I will sing it to you.”

  • Genre: “I think we would say we are straight-up rock ’n’ roll. I know that’s vague as [expletive], but we try our best to write songs that are crunchy, catchy, that make you want to drive to Nantasket Beach going 110 mph, that make you want have a beer, hopefully not while driving to the beach, and make you feel good.”

  • Best song: “Either ‘Jenny’ or ‘Don’t Be Afraid.’ I love ‘Jenny’ because it’s the most fun song to sing that we have written so far. Singing the three-part harmony with the boys is one of the best feelings in the world. When we are all on point, and it hits just right, it’s impossible for us not to get a smile.”

  • Most memorable Rumble moment: “Some jerk went into the bathroom
    right before me, seconds before we were supposed to go on. He said he’d just be a second, but after a couple minutes, I began to get slightly annoyed. I checked
    the door handle and it wasn’t locked, so I pushed it open. All I can say is, I don’t know if it was allergies, or perhaps a nose bleed, but he definitely wasn’t pooping.”

  • Band you are surprised you beat to make it here: “All the bands we played against so far, but especially Tigerman WOAH! and When Particles Collide. Both bands completely blew my mind. We have played with Tigerman before so we knew they would bring it, but I’ve never seen Particles before. Holy [expletive]. One of my new favorite bands I’ve ever had the pleasure of playing with. So good.”

  • Prior Rumble experience: “For both J. R. and myself, this is our third time. For Dennis and Chip, their second. Bice is a Rumble virgin, as well as one in real life. None of us have ever made it to the finals so we are all pumped. I have a funny feeling sleeping might be hard this week.”

  • Most interesting band member day job:  “J. R. works for the Supreme Council of the Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite of the Northern Masonic Jurisdiction, USA. Basically, he works for the Masons.”\

  • Actual rumbling skills: “My lawyer has advised me not to answer this question.”

Jessica Armendariz

Await Rescue


  • Members: Johnny Cutulle, guitar and vocals; Andrew Morse, guitar and vocals; Corey Fyfe, bass and vocals; Matt Morse, drums

  • Years together: 2006, current incarnation 2 years

  • Home base: Charlestown Rehearsal Studios

  • Recent release: “Everyone You Know”

  • Genre: “We are a rock band through-and-through,” says Andrew Morse. “We try to take the choruses from a band like the Foo Fighters and put them together with the intensity of bands like Every Time I Die or Dillinger Escape Plan. It’s just too bad that we can’t play nearly as well as any of those bands.”

  • Best song: “‘Forms of Flight’ is our most recent single, and our intention is to use it to get a Kickstarter campaign rolling after the Rumble wraps up so we can track another EP.”

  • Most memorable Rumble moment: “Having our hearing absolutely destroyed by Summoner.”

  • Band you are surprised you beat to make it here: “We were honestly surprised to beat any of the other bands, because they are all really rad and we never even expected to make it into the Rumble to begin with. But we were most surprised that we made it past Tigerman WOAH! They were everyone’s pick to win it all from the start, and we all thought for sure that we had no shot of making it to the Rumble finals as the wildcard knowing that they were also in the running for the wildcard spot.”

  • Most interesting band member day job: “Our bassist Corey is a straight-up scientist. Dude works on developing cutting-edge pharmaceuticals all day and then comes down to dingy rehearsal space and shreds lead bass.”

  • Prior Rumble experience: “Nada. Unless, of course, you count showing up uninvited to prior Rumbles and getting drunk.”

  • Actual rumbling skills: “Johnny once saw an audience member getting a bit unruly and endangering others, so he decided to take matters into his own hands. He hopped off stage, neutralized the would-be perpetrator, and returned to the stage stealthily under cover of darkness and got back behind the mike for a minute. The show was called off moments later for ‘reasons unknown.’ ”

Joshua Pickering

Petty Morals


  • Members: Chrissy Vaccaro, guitar; Chrissie Tierney, bass; Tai Heatley, vocals; Lauren Recchia, drums; Helen McWilliams, vocals; Allison Sigrist, keys

  • Years together: “The band formed in December 2012,” McWilliams says. “Band practice was originally just an excuse to get out of shoveling snow that winter.”

  • Home base: Salem

  • Recent release: “The Lemonade EP”

  • Genre: “We call it synth-punk dance-rock. It’s basically the intersection of ‘squeedly-squee’ and ‘work it.’ ”

  • Best song: “Our newest song, ‘To the Edge,’ is our current favorite, because it references both Willem de Kooning and GG Allin. Also because there’s a lot of shouting in it and we like shouting.”

  • Most memorable Rumble moment: “Right at the start of our preliminaries set we all realized what an awesome, supportive crowd we were playing for. As Chrissy stepped forward to play her first guitar solo, the crowd seemed to erupt in cheers. It felt like having a few hundred strangers shower us in hugs and pizza. We also have to shout out to our amazing ‘competitors.’ Duggan and J. R. tossing a drumstick back and forth, without looking, during Goddamn Draculas’ preliminaries set was legendary. And our biceps are still sore from fist-pumping to Await Rescue’s killer rendition of ‘Kashmir.’ ”

  • Band you are surprised you beat to make it here:
    “All of them. There has been a moment, with every single band that we’ve played with so far, when we looked at each other with cheerful resignation and said, ‘Welp, that’s it, they just won this thing.’ That’s why we always scream at each other when we make it to the next round, we are trying to comprehend what just happened.”

  • Prior Rumble experience: “Chrissy V played in 2012 with the Grinds, while Tai played with Cult 45, and Lauren and I played with Tijuana Sweetheart in 2011. This is the first time any of us have made it past the preliminaries.”

  • Most interesting band member day job: “This might be a six-way tie: Lauren travels the world for PUMA, Chrissy herds nerds at a big-shot law firm, I’m a video game designer, Chrissy V works for the government saving sea turtles, and Allison is some kind of computer genius. She’s tried to explain her job to us but it’s hard to pay attention after the third Big Gulp of Franzia. No one knows what Tai’s job is, but she often shows up to practice carrying an aluminum briefcase, so we just assume she’s a secret agent of some sort.”

  • Actual rumbling skills: Have you seen the muscles on LoWreck’s [Recchia’s] arms when she plays? They look like loaves of challah high-fiving each other. In fact, she used to be in the Boston League of Women Wrestlers (BLOWW) and her signature move was called ‘the Pummel Horse.’ She’s probably the deadliest among us, but all of us can scrap. So you better come to the finals and cheer for all the awesome bands playing — or else.”


  • With Goddamn Draculas, Petty Morals, Await Rescue, and special guests The Information At: T.T. the Bear’s, Friday, 9 p.m. Tickets: $12. 6174923278,

Luke O’Neil can be reached at
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