Rock ‘n’ Roll Rumble

Question: Who are some of the bands to have won the Rock N Roll Rumble.
Local music is a linchpin in any thriving art scene.  Boston has long had a thriving art scene, a scene that has embraced and promoted local music.   A cornerstone to the local music community in Boston is the Rock N Roll Rumble.   Begun in 1979 and eventually sponsored by two of Boston’s legendary radio stations, WBCN and WZLX, the Rumble has been a showcase every local band wants to be part of.  The bands who did not win are almost as impressive as those that did.   Bands who have not taken the winners bow include legendary Boston acts like The Del Fuegos, The Dogmatics, O Positive, Treat Her Right, Bim Skala Bim, Letters To Cleo and Morphine.  Collectively, the Rock N Roll Rumble might be the greatest collection of local bands any music scene has ever experienced.
Through the years, the Rumble has taken over local haunts such as The Rat, The Metro, The Paradise, The Middle East, TT The Bear’s, and most recently the ONCE Ballroom.  Steve Morse, music critic extraordinaire of The Boston Globe, called the 1979 debut competition “nine nights of exhilarating grass-roots rock.”
Today, the Rumble begins in April with six preliminary rounds of 24 acts.  Each night, four bands perform a tight, thoroughly rehearsed set that is judged by some of the luminaries of the Boston music scene.  A winner is selected from each preliminary round and two wildcards are selected as well.  These eight lucky acts move onto the semi-finals.   A special guest, typically a national act, headlines the finals and performs while the judges make their cases for a winner.  Some of the national acts to have headlined the Rumble include Peter Wolf, the Alarm and Joan Jett.  In recent years, the Rumble has brought back past participants to headline the finals, including acts such as The Gravel Pit, The Dogmatics and The Neighborhoods.  Today, the Rumble is hosted and produced by Boston DJ Anngelle Wood, host of Boston Emissions.
The Rumble has become a legendary event.  When it comes to the Boston underground rock n roll scene, there are certain people, places and things that everyone who has been involved in one form or another looks back upon with reverence and fondness – The Rat, The Channel, The Noise, WFNX and The Rumble …It is in the DNA of every band to come up through Boston and something that the fraternity of bands to have performed at the Rumble can look back on …win or lose, the bands that got a chance to Rumble will never forget it.
(by Chris Hinckley)

Published on October 21, 2021

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