The story of RSP begins just south of Detroit in 1997. Longtime friends Jeff Howey (Guitar) and Darrell Robertson (Drums) found themselves in the midst of putting together a new music project and searching for a vocalist with a powerful and distinct voice. At just about the same time, longtime friend Rick Stafford returned to Detroit from several years in San Francisco, where he had honed his skills to become just the throat that Jeff and Darrell had in mind. The three had been friends as children, growing up and playing together in the actual "Ray Street Park" located in Riverview, Michigan, and now found themselves using that common bond as the starting point for something that would eventually become far greater than each individual had ever dreamed.
Adding female vocalist Schell Robertson and bassist Tom Jeffers, the band known as Ray Street Park went on to release their self-titled debut in 1999, which sold more than 1,500 copies. Performing steadily as both an original band and a four set a night cover outfit, the band had grown leaps and bounds by the end of 2001, when they decided to part ways with Schell and pursue a more balls-out, powerful sound that had thus far eluded them.
Emerging from Pete Bankert's infamous Rock City Studios in the winter of 2002 with their sophomore release "Lubricated", Ray Street Park had finally become the mature, emotion-laden, power-packed ball of thunder that the three founding members had envisioned six years before. Backed by sales of over 2,000 copies of "Lubricated", the band had to yet undergo one more major change, and the addition of bassist Terry Alan Martin, formerly of the well-known Detroit band Vinyl, has today cemented the outfit as a true force to be reckoned with when you talk about hard music in the Motor City. Terry decided to step aside for personal reasons at the end of 2010.
Now sporting a 2004 Detroit Music Award Nomination for "Outstanding Live Performance" and 2005 nominations in the "Outstanding Live Performance", "Outstanding Hard Rock/Metal Band" and 2008 “Outstanding Hard Rock/Metal Band” “Outstanding Hard Rock Record” categories, RSP is charging forward into the future led by vocalist Rick Stafford and his masterful stage presence and powerful throat. He is the frontman's frontman, and leads a Ray Street Park audience with the same panache that only a young David Lee Roth once possessed.
Guitarist Jeff Howey is a diverse and schooled player with a flair for grinding crunch and an incredible command of his sound. On guitar, Jeff can do it all, and as the heart of the RSP sound, he truly gets a chance to.
A new era begins for RSP with the addition of Veteran Bass player, Dale Ratliff. Dale now adds a new element to the band that we hadn’t had before. The band now has the 3 part harmonies that had been sought out for some time. Dales playing is much more of the direction that RSP has been striving in for some time with a much more deep and heavy foundation in both tone and writing. The future is bright with this line up.
That bedrock is drummer Darrell "Rockquake" Robertson, a man possessed by the need to punish drum heads and pummel senses with his rhythmic assault. Robertson is an extraordinarily powerful player with an uncanny knack for nuance. He is foundationally strong and, with stunning ease, lays down the deep groove that RSP has become known for.
Confident, mature and ready to take the next step, RSP has now released 3 CD’s and is now finishing writing for the next assault on Detroit with their always loved Hard Rock style. Look for the RSP live show to be one of power, conviction and energy as the band brings a sonic assault on the senses that has allowed them to hold their own on the stage with any national act, having appeared on shows with touring acts including Disturbed, Slipknot, Slayer, Saliva, 7 Mary 3, Soil, Mastodon, DragonForce, Drowning Pool, Killswitch Engage, Corrosion of Conformity, Prong, Kings X, Brand New Sin, Mushroomhead, Stephen Pearcy of Ratt, Sponge, Stryper, Darren McCarty's Grinder, Magna-Fi, The Dirty Americans, Slaughter, Warrant, Great White and many more.
Adjectives and hip slang aside, WRIF 101.1 (Detroit) fm personality Doug Podell sums it up best when he says, "These guys are setting the standard for what Detroit rock is all about."