New old stock is hidden treasure from a beloved era. As hungry rock n’ roll fans sift through this current wave of classic rock, wouldn’t it be cool to find a new old stock rock n’ roll band? A group forged from the glory days of rock n’ roll, but making new music, bursting with anthemic hooks, crunchy guitars, searing yet singable guitar solos, soulful lead vocals and dreamy harmonies, and feel-good lyrics?
Introducing real-deal rock n’ roll sextet, JD & the RetroRyders, an arena-ready band living in Huntington Beach, California, and consistently releasing prime modern vintage rock n’ roll. “We sound like the older bands because we’ve lived this music—it’s in our DNA,” RetroRyder founder, lead singer and songwriter, co-producer, and rhythm guitarist Joe “JD” DeMeo says.
The six-piece band specializes in the fine art of “don’t bore us, get to the chorus” rock n’ roll in the spirit of Aerosmith, Jefferson Airplane, the Beatles, the Smithereens, and Cheap Trick. JD & the RetroRyders has been favorably described as “British Invasion meets American Garage Rock.” Each of the band’s songs wafts pure 1960s and 1970s rock n’ roll—you can almost smell the patchouli and naugahyde baked into the music—but each song is carefully-crafted to be a standalone A-Side smash single with lyrics that offer rock n’ roll transcendence. “We want to be happy pills and uplift people with rock n’ roll,” Joe says.
JD & the RetroRyders has garnered airplay on rock legend Rodney Bingenheimer’s XM Radio’s The Underground Garage show, and the band has taken its sweat-soaked live show throughout Los Angeles. JD & the RetroRyders has played The Mint, The Coach House, and the House Of Blues, and the band has held its own opening rock icons such as The Doors guitarist Robby Krieger and John Cafferty & The Brown Beaver Band.
JD & the RetroRyders feature tastefully virtuosic lead guitarist Al Lepson; drummer and co-producer Mike Wilson and bassist Adrian Sanchez, two top-tier stage and studio musicians; charismatic co-vocalist and harmony vocalist Alie Dikus; and secret weapon Wendy Nazaroff who deepens the band’s groove and textural palette with her percussion and keyboard skills.
Bandleader Joe is a hard-boiled New York rocker (just like lead guitarist Al Lepson) who has been in bands since he was 12. He was born and raised in Long Island but, like so many others, Joe ventured West in the 1980s, drawn to the balmy weather and the promise of the Sunset Strip rock n’ roll scene. But as it turned out, 2017 was the perfect time to start a rock n’ roll band as the music has been enjoying a rebirth with bands like Dirty Honey, Rival Sons, and Greta Van Fleet.
The genesis of JD & the RetroRyders is the stuff of rock n’ roll mythology. Joe was in the audience when Tom Petty played his second to last show in 2017—Petty died two days later—and his passing inspired Joe to put together his dream band. “It hit me how short life is, and that if you’re not doing what you’re meant to do, take a deep breath and figure it out,” he says. The week after Petty passed Joe put together JD & the RetroRyders from the cream of the crop musicians around town.
It might be hyperbolic to call the beginnings of JD & the RetroRyders a pass-the-baton moment, but it does have that aura. If any modern band were to be Petty’s successors, JD & the RetroRyders have the perfect pedigree. Like Petty who managed to be credible and have modern pop-rock hits, the sextet has just the right blend of classic and current. Half of its members started their rock n’ roll journeys when monster 1970s bands like Grand Funk Railroad and Heart packed stadiums nationwide, and the other half grew up yearning for that bygone bellbottomed era.
Up next, JD & the RetroRyders will continue organically growing its fan base through gigging regularly, releasing a steady flow of top-notch rock n’ roll, and setting its sights on the festival circuit. Along the way, the sextet is wowing anyone who has the good fortune to hear them on the radio or catch a live show. “What success means to me is getting onstage and watching people who have never heard us or seen us smiling, and grabbing their cellphones to take pictures and video the show,” Joe says. “I live for that feeling when we know we've connected with them!"