Abilene, TX modern metal act REAR NAKED CHOKE
came to life in 2009 when Mike Morgan
(the band's late lead guitarist) and original drummer,
Cody Henry and Mick Taylor got together. They knew
each other and were all a part of the local
and regional music scene and thought those
connections got together. Through a few line up
changes Chris Summers and Don Bruton came in to
fill their respective spots. In 2014 Mike Morgan passes away from his fight with esophageal cancer. He specifically requested that Josh Finch fill his spot in REAR NAKED CHOKE when he was no longer able to perform with the band. Shortly after the recording of the self titled album Henry left the band and Paul Kidd took over the drum duties.
The quintet's name comes from one of the most used Mixed Martial Arts moves, a sport which three of the band members – Mick, Chris and Paul – have all trained in different martial arts and trained with world champion fighters. "MMA training, like almost any sport, is pretty active and energetic," explains Taylor. So as a result a lot of our music really lends itself to high energy activities. Honestly if you're looking for some good music to get you pumped up and moving then we have that! We have some songs that are a little more somber but even in those there's some power that can pump you up."
The band's first Ep, 'The Prelims' was released in 2014 and served as the demos for five of the songs that appeared on their debut self-titled album, which appeared in 2018. Produced and engineered by Drowning Pool guitarist CJ Pierce and mastered by Otep's Ari Mihalopoulos, the debut album set the band on their way. "The album process really started when we played a show in Dallas with CJ Pierce's side project, As Above/So Below," explains Chris. "After we played he told us how much he liked what he heard and then a few months later he reached out to us and said he had some down time from Drowning Pool commitments and was wanting to do some producing and wanted to know if we would be interested in working with him. That was an easy answer and we jumped at getting things going. It was the first time many of us had been in the studio, at least on the playing side, so it was a lot of fun and definitely a learning experience."
For RNC's second Ep, American Screams the band set up shop at Fire Ant Studios in their hometown of Abilene TX. Due to commitments with Drowning Pool at the time, CJ Pierce was unavailable to oversee 'American Screams' but offered suggestions and acted as an advisor on the record which was engineered and recorded by Collin Bryson and co-produced by the band and Collin and mastered by Collin and guitarist, Chris Summers.
Tracking for American Screams began in late 2022. Two days after the main guitar tracks were done Chris broke and dislocated two fingers on his left (fretting) hand. It took about 5 months for him to recover from the injury and there was fear he may not get 100% use back in those fingers. Thankfully everything healed and he quickly returned to full use of his hand. Summers reflects, "so I wish I could say that I injured them doing something epic like stage diving or rock climbing or MMA training, but it wasn't anything cool at all. I was working on putting up some fencing and I was using a post driver to pound in some T-Posts. Well, the post driver caught the top edge of the post and twisted around and the weighted top slammed down into my fingers. It broke my ring finger (spiral break) and dislocated my middle finger pretty badly. All good now though, luckily and thanks to some good doctors and therapists. Real rock n roll, huh?!"
American Screams is the band's first effort to include the major songwriting contributions of guitarist, Josh Finch and drummer, Paul Kidd. Both have brought some new elements into Rear Naked Choke and while the distinct RNC sound is present there is no denying that the additional influences and personalities have added a new dimension to the mix. "Josh and Paul have really brought some different influences into the band, having had much more involvement in the riffs and structures that ending up being the basis of several of the songs," Summers adds. "The title track, "American Scream" is a prime example. Josh came up with the main riff and was messing around with it at one of our practices one day and it was a good solid heavy riff. Eventually Paul picked up on it and he started adding in some drum beats with it and that's really where the whole thing became something special. Paul's sense of rhythm isn't what I'd call your typical metal drumming. While he can 100% play that way his phrasing and rhythmic sensibilities definitely pushed the song in a direction that took it to a more interesting and compelling sound. Josh is also amazing at creating harmonies and keeping things sonically interesting without being distracting. So the 2 of them have really helped to push us all into being better song writers and musicians."