The Rebel Rousers are:
(L-R: Jerry lee Conrad, Al Simon, Jumpin Jeff McDermott, Paul DiMatteo)
Al Simon, lead singer and rhythm guitarist, was born and raised in
Columbia, South Carolina. Son of local T.V. legend, "Smilin" Sam Simon, who
hosted the popular local dance show, "Cotton Pickin' Hootenanny", Al had
the opportunity to meet many of the famous rockers of the mid-fifties.
Recalling those years back, Al says "those guys were real nice and always
eager to show me a lick or two....except for Gene Vincent. he was kinda
creepy and was always hittin' on my ma"!
Paul DiMatteo, lead guitarist and founding member of the Rebel Rousers, is truly
a Chicago icon. Born of the mean streets of Northwest Chicago, his teenage years
were spent as an apprentice musical assistant to the seminal 50's-60's Chicago
greasa rock band, the Gargoyles. Paul's parents, concerned about his health and
safety, sent him to live with his aunt in Memphis. It was there under the tutelage
of several aged and retired former Sun Studio session guitarists that he
honed his legendary rockin' style.
"Jumpin" Jeff McDermott, drums and backup vocals is the second half of the
Rebel Rousers rhythm section. A classically trained percussionist with the
Peoria symphony, Jeff came to rockabilly in an unusual manner. It was after
a night of bad liquor and a woman of questionable repute, he wandered into the
Death Delay Club, in the red light district of Peoria. There, he witnessed
Danny Devil and the Delinquents, the primal rockabilly act of Southern Illinois.
The spirit came within and he was never quite the same. Soon after, he hooked up
as drummer for Hi Fi and the Roadburners, then ultimately with the Rebel Rousers.
God bless his soul!
The Slap-happy sound of "Smilin" Jerry Lee Conrad, Born and raised in the
same streets of D.C. that brought us Robert Gordon and Danny Gatton....came to
the Great Windy City to ply his plethora of playful tricks on a plywood upright bass.
Not that he was a bad kid but "Mom and Dad couldn't handle me mussin' up the
furniture for musical purposes", he says. "I had birthday parties and I'd invite the
kids on my street and play piano for them, but things got outta hand when I set the
piano on fire".