video title:
Rhythm School Interview 8/9/2013
video link:
video source:
published on YouTube on updated August 10, 2013

more info:
John David Pride
duration 8:11 minutes

The Return of Rhythm School "Video of the Day" review by Alex Cosper on August 10, 2013

Rhythm School was an early reggae/ska band in Sacramento in the 1980s. They started out as The RPMs, founded by singer/songwriter Sean O'Callaghan. He is featured in this SacTV interview, talking about the origins of the band and the philosophy of the songwriting. The band got back together for a reunion show on August 9, 2013 at Old Ironsides. The band opened with the song "Background Noise," which is featured in this video after the interview, which was conducted before the show.

The band is very lyric-intensive, as well as a solid dance groove party mover and shaker. The songs tap into truth and consciousness about world and crowd unity. Sean made his lyrics available to the crowd with booklets that contained all the songs performed at the reunion. They also brought back vinyl copies of their 1980s album Movement, which is available on eBay. Vinyl records have been making a comeback in recent years, at least with indie fans who shop online or at lost record stores.

"I've always been 100 percent original," asserts Sean. "I've never done the cover thing for money. It was never to make money. It was always about doing your music and being able to say something." Sean writes songs that have positive motivational songs that help create the fun carefree vibe among fans in the crowd. One of their biggest inspirations was Joe Strummer of The Clash, who they met in their early days when the British band visited Sacramento. Sean and his band were introduced to Strummer by a mutual friend.

As for songwriting philosophy, Sean says, "I've always been concerned with the mechanics of the human condition. And so the songs are basically what life is - why life works a certain way and why things happen the way that they do." He likes to write about human situations and what is good or bad about them. He says reggae and ska are about unity, truth, what is right and oppression. These are the main themes that shape the spirit of the communal dance music that comes from Jamaica and the U.K. Some of Sean's other early favorite bands of this sound was The Specials and The English Beat. Part of the reason Rhythm School opened for so many acts was they always made themselves available to take last minute slots when other bands backed out.

Since Rhythm School, Sean has worked as an engineer for other bands, including Filibuster back in the 90s during their days as a rising ska band. Rhythm School was well received at their reunion show, playing one powerful dance song with conscious lyrics after another. Sean's vocals were distinct like a storyteller, one of the keys to creating a timeless musical experience. Other local 80s artists who played at the Old Ironsides show included The Features, Numonix and Thomas Bix. The event packed the house with patrons of the 1980s Sacramento music scene.

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