Ryan Shupe and the RubberBand

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Mormon Ryan Shupe and the Band

Ryan Shupe and the Rubberband is a five-man band from Salt Lake City, Utah. They are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, sometimes casually called the Mormon or LDS Church. The group is energetic and presents a program that's diverse and ebullient.

Ryan is a fifth-generation violinist who has been playing since he could walk. He played with a group of children assembled by his father, called the Pee Wee Pickers. He played with bands throughout high school and college. He began forming bands, but hated it when musicians dropped out. He formed the RubberBand with the idea of drawing from a pool of musicians who could wander in and out. However, certain members seemed to stick, and the band soon became a cohesive unit. Most of the members had known each other from the area circuit before they joined Shupe in the RubberBand.

Banjoist Craig Miner first started playing music on a ukelele he bought at a garage sale, and from there added banjo, guitar, mandolin, and bouzouki. Performing with groups like Fire On The Mountain and Salt Licks, he had known Ryan for years before joining the RubberBand. Drummer Bart Olson grew up playing with his family’s band, the Olson Family Fiddlers, and at 12 picked up the drums. Focusing on jazz percussion, his interests soon broadened to include country, rock, funk, latin, ska, and blues and he played in various bands and with blues player Matt Harding before joining Ryan. Guitarist Roger Archibald has been playing guitar since he was 11, and actually played in a band that Ryan’s dad organized, String Fever, when he was growing up. (Ryan’s brother and sister also played in that band.) He worked as a regional musician in the same circles as Ryan for years before joining the band. Ryan Tilby also played in String Fever with Archibald before joining the RubberBand for the first time on banjo. After leaving the band, he attended Utah State University, where he studied jazz guitar. He obviously could not stay away for too long though, as he returned to the band in 2006 as the bassist (MormonMusic.org).

After becoming regional favorites, they signed a deal with Capitol Records, and cut an album in 2005 called "Dream Big." The title song became the theme song of Amy Grant's TV show, Three Wishes. They parted ways with Capitol Records and signed with Montage Music Group. Their new CD, “Last Man Standing,” is a progression from their previous albums. The RubberBand's music goes from ballads to rock. The music is complex, but melodic enough for those who just want to hear the tune and tap their feet to the rhythm. Says Ryan Shupe:

"If you’re a musician you like it, because it has complex arrangements and things that are different than what’s out there, because we’re pushing the boundaries a little bit, and doing a rock country hybrid with banjo and fiddle and stuff. But you’re still getting the songs that you’d like to hear played on the radio. I think we are able to be a great band live, yet also have solid songs people can relate to and enjoy. I want us to have songs that are great and mean something to people. We think it is the best sounding album we have to date.”

The group of guys who form the Rubberband are pretty fun-loving. For an example of what that means for a group of Mormon guys, read on:

"After decades of unspoken tension between Ryan Shupe & the RubberBand and the nationally acclaimed and award-winning a capella group T Minus 5, the gauntlet has finally been thrown down. On stage, both bands have proven to be masters of their genres, winning fans and sharing stages - but behind the scenes, they have been drawing invisible lines in the sand for years. You see, musicality aside, each group claims to hold the title for Musical Artist Ultimate Frisbee Champions of the West (MAUFCOW). MAUFCOW, as you well know, is the Ultimate Frisebee duel of doom that dates back to the early seventies, when the Osmond Brothers trounced the BYU Men's Chorus is a 17-0 shutout. And now the rivalry lives on. T Minus 5 has vowed to crush the RubberBand, and has even claimed repsonisibility for a late-night toilet-papering of the RubberBand van. The RubberBand has answered with this challenge: that the two bands meet in a public place during daylight hours to settle this matter once and for all - with a frisbee. The clock is ticking" (the band's official website).

More at MormonMusic.org