Ruby Lynn Reyner, star of Playhouse of the Ridiculous created Ruby and the Rednecks. Playhouse of the Ridiculous was the first theatrical performance group to utilize Rock and Roll. The Silver Apples, performing with the Playhouse, was the first band to use a synthesizer in live performance. Ruby Lynn Reyner, star actress for Playhouse of the Ridiculous and singer for the Silver Apples, went to the Mercer Arts Center to see the New York Dolls in 1971 and thought "I could do this". She then went to the musicians from the Playhouse and asked them if they wanted to start a band. Ruby then went back to the Mercer to see if she could book the act and was told there were no openings. As she was leaving, she ran into her friend, New York Dolls drummer Billy Murcia. Billy asked "why are you here"? I told him "we have a band and we want to play." Billy said, "no problem, you can open for us." This was the debut of Ruby and the Rednecks at the Mercer Arts Center.
Their first album, From the Wrong Side of Town, was produced by Peter Crowley, (talent coordinator for Max's Kansas City). The studio was one of the last analog studios in Greenwich Village. When Ruby and her band showed up to record, they walked through the rubble of the World Trade Center 911 attack.
In 1972, the Broadway Central Hotel Collapsed. The retaining wall was attached to the Mercer Arts Center. THe Mercer had to be demolished. The truth be told; it never collapsed, it was condemned. With the Mercer gone, the void for Glam Rock was filled by Max's Kansas City and CBGB's. Bands like the New York Dolls, Dead Kennedy's, Suicide with Alan Vega, Television, the Senders, the Dictators, and the Ramones! All performed at Max's Kansas City, booked by Peter Crowley. Thus started the Glam Rock or Glitter Rock movement which morphed into punk.
Hilly Kristal opened the iconic club CBGB's in 1973 to showcase his favorite music which was Country Blue Grass Blues, thus the name CBGB's. It was to his surprise that it became a punk mecca because the first band he booked was the Ramones and then continued to book punk bands because of the draw. Ironically, Ruby and the Rednecks weren't just classic punk, they were a tad country, rock and roll. Ruby and the Rednecks played CBGB's in the early 1970's and opened for bands like the Talking Heads. Word was that Ruby and the Rednecks were Hilly's favorite. Ruby and the Rednecks continued to play at CBGB's until her last appearance, recording her second album, Live Again at CBGB's in 2006, Emceed by inimitable Jane County. CBGB's had a recording studio in the basement so Live Again at CBGB's was the last live recording of a CBGB's performance. This historic event was also a fundraiser for Ruby Lynn Reyner's HBO documentary Finishing Heaven.
The photo of Ruby on the left, was taken on the stage of Singin' in the Island in June of 1996, a musical comedy written by and starring Ruby Lynn Reyner, and featured Ruby and the Rednecks. It was a huge hit at La Mama Galleria. This was the second in a series of musical comedies by Ruby, that include Ruby and the Rednecks on stage. The next show was Christmas in the Island which premiered at Cafe La Mama. Voidville 2 came third, and was a revival of a show Ruby presented in the 1970's (Voideville 1). She co-wrote it with her writing partner, Gordon Bressack and it was performed live at Theater for the New City featuring Ruby and the Rednecks. The fourth and most recent show is Singin' in the ER, which was performed at Theater for the New City as a reading with music by Ruby and the Rednecks in 2018 and then developed into a full musical comedy production in 2019 with a 3 week run at TNC. Singin' in the ER includes music by Ruby and the Rednecks as well as the full cast singing back up, with new dance choreography. The play was well attended and received great reviews!
Ruby and the Rednecks has had many musicians over the years. Ruby Lynn Reyner lead singer and songwriter, John Madera guitar and song writer, George Basley on drums, Ralph Czitron on bass, Danny Couse on bass and keyboards, Susan Lampert on keyboard, Augie Sabini on sax, Bobby Kent on drums, Emma Cha Cha Channing on back up vocals, Mary Rodriguez on drums and bass, Steve Greenfield on keyboard and sax, Kevin Shaw on bass, Wally Griffith on guitar, Billy Thompson who substituted for the late John Madera, Bill Tello on bass, Mike Garner on fretless guitar, Ron Salvo on drums and the list goes on... Stay tuned!
Ruby and the Rednecks has shared the stage with many influential bands including: the New York Dolls, Patty Smith, Talking Heads, Lou Reed, Dead Kennedys, the Senders, Magic Tramps, Eric Emerson, Jackie Curtis, Queen Elizabeth, Allen Ginsberg, the Dictators, Waldos, New York Junk, Brats, Sea Monster, Puma Perl, Rousers, Invaders, Stumblebunny, the Hudson Dusters, the Victims, Cheap Perfume, Freddy Frogs, Tuff Darts, Modern Lovers, Tom Murren, the Fast, Television, Donna Destri, Alison Gordy, Tish and Snooky , Joy Rider, Ondine, and the list goes on!
Ruby and the Rednecks have a history of live performances that have spanned from the early 1970's to present. The band has released two cd's that are available digitally on Amazon and Apple Music. You can also purchase hard copies of both cds from rubyandtherednecks.com.