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about High Class Riot

When mild-mannered IT genius Ryan Pettigrew found himself writing countless hook-filled, anthemic pop-punk songs, he didn’t quite know what to do with them–he didn’t have a band to play them, he didn’t have time to start one, yet here the songs were, begging to be played. Fortunately, his longtime friend and writing partner Charles Macak happened to be an award-winning producer and owner-operator of one of Chicagoland’s best recording studios. Armed with nothing but mutual respect, great songs, and a world-class recording studio in Macak’s Electrowerks, the two have holed up intermittently since 2013 and meticulously crafted the songs into something much larger than either of them had expected. Something loud, something raucous, something…well, riotous.
With Macak behind the boards and Pettigrew on guitar, the duo recruited bassist Mark Harrison (The Graven) and drummers Jake Knewling (Tiny Kingdoms) and Jon Lewchenko (Mighty Fox) to fill out the sound, with Starkill’s Parker Jameson lending his mind-bending guitar skills to the mix as well. However, the stadium-ready pop-punk singalongs still needed someone to give them voice–and the pair’s elegant solution would elevate the project from friendly studio collaboration to something truly befitting the name High Class Riot.
Tapping some of the best pop and rock vocalists in Chicago, Transitions is more than a debut EP, it’s a living testament to the immense talent the city has to offer. Featuring The Sky We Scrape’s Ryan Steel, Flight Plan’s Mike Morrissey, Letlive’s Jeff Sahyoun, Nick Astacio of Lionfight and Vicegrip and Travis Brown of Split Habit and LVRKERS, each track is a distinct of its respective vocalist, yet the core duo’s sonic identity remains unmistakable. Led by the single “Waste My Time”–a fist-in-the-air rabble-rouser with more hooks than a fish’s worst nightmare–the EP is a powerful sonic statement, an homage to a beloved genre, a tribute to the city that made it all possible.