A brief biography of Rust Belt Music
Starting with the steel production of the Industrial Revolution and accelerating with the birth of the automotive industry, cities in the Northeastern and Midwestern United States established themselves as industrial meccas, compelling many to move from the South and elsewhere with the lure of good-paying jobs and a growing manufacturing economy.
1999: John Lindenbaum, Chris Cortelyou, and Laurin Askew decide to move to California and form a band. John leaves Indiana in a very old Volvo.
Beginning in the 1960s, these cities experienced a decline in economic vitality and population as manufacturers moved their plants to the Sun Belt, Mexico, or overseas while the United States transitioned to a service-based economy.
September, 2001: Chris and Laurin drive to San Francisco from Ohio and Virginia.
November, 2001: Keyboardist Micah Weinberg makes the ill-fated decision to join the band. Hilarity ensues.
December, 2001: The guys kick John's computer out of the band and move Chris to drums. They begin playing in a remote practice space in the God-forsaken SF Excelsior District. Rust Belt Music records the Glory in Excelsior Demo.
January, 2002: Rust Belt Music plays its first public show on a Tuesday night at a Local Band Showcase.
By the 1970s, former industrial centers such as Detroit, unable to successfully shift to a non-manufacturing economy, were abandoned as rusted husks; the middle and upper classes fled to the suburbs and remaining corporations moved their operations elsewhere.
May, 2002: Rust Belt Music plays its 12th show at the Hotel Utah Saloon.
June, 2002: With 20 shows under its belt, Rust Belt Music records Deborah, its first full-length album.
July-August, 2002: Jobless and penniless, Rust Belt Music tours America.
October, 2002: Laurin leaves San Francisco for Boston, and "Lefty," Micah's left hand, inherits the bass playing duties. The band begins playing Bay Area shows with the more synthy three-man line-up.
While some cities, like Pittsburgh, have been able to recover by emphasizing their role in research and development and finance, others, like East St. Louis and Gary, remain crime-filled with few jobs and sparse economic development.
March, 2003: Rust Belt Music records the Dodge EP.
May, 2003: After shows at the Make-Out Room and the Last Day Saloon, Micah leaves San Francisco for North Carolina.
February, 2004: With Andre and Jason on board, RBM plays its first Noisepop show at the Make-Out Room.
In recent years, the big city populations in the Rust Belt are decreasing. According to the 2000 U.S. Census, Detroit, Flint, Cleveland, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Erie, Buffalo, Akron, Toledo, Syracuse, Youngstown, Milwaukee and many more are some of the fastest-shrinking big cities in the US, despite attempts to revitalize their downtown areas.
October, 2004: Rust Belt Music plays its final full-band show (for now) at Fort Oregon. Finger on the Pulse airs a retrospective of its final concerts.
June, 2006: RBM releases The Company Town LP.