The Rhine kicks off first Salone benefit (39 photos, video)

Senior Bill Grundler is the main singer of The Rhine, a new band that performed recently to raise money for Schools for Salone. Photo by Heather Luscombe/The Foothill Dragon Press.

Heather Luscombe

Senior Bill Grundler is the main singer of The Rhine, a new band that performed recently to raise money for Schools for Salone. Photo by Heather Luscombe/The Foothill Dragon Press.

Fame and fortune aren’t local band The Rhine’s top priority. Though it would be nice, they are more concerned about raising money to help build a school in Sierra Leone.

The Rhine, a symphonic/progressive rock band, had their first show Friday at Rock City Studios in Camarillo. According to Foothill students attending, the new band was well rehearsed and had adequate stage presence.

“They bonded pretty well for their first show,” stated senior Danielle Saleh.

 They’ve only been together since August but they’ve got senior Loren Hansen convinced that they have “cohesiveness.”

Foothill seniors Bill Grundler and True Randall play guitar, bass, and supply the vocals for the band. They decided to put together a series of benefit shows for their Senior Hero Project, a community service requirement for every Foothill senior.

Like dozens of others at their school, the two have joined forces with Foothill for Africa in an effort to build a school in Lungi, a small village devastated by the Sierra Leonian civil war between 1992 and 2002. Foothill students are hoping to reach a goal of $50,000 raised by this April, and The Rhine hopes to contribute $5,000. 

The Rhine has also recorded an EP with Tim Frantz, dedicating it to Salone, which is the Krio word for Sierra Leone. They will be selling copies of it for five dollars when they officially release it in November. Grundler and Randall are hoping to host their biggest benefit concert at Epic in Ventura on December 4.

“It’s more about the exposure for (the project),” says Grundler, “We hope to bring Schools for Salone into the music community.”

So who are these guys anyway?

According to their Facebook page, Bill Grundler was a professional circus animal before he joined The Rhine and his hobbies include hunting bears with his bare hands, riding ostriches, and causing avalanches. Before True Randall joined The Rhine, he was a competitive sauna sitter. He did a short stint herding alpaci in Argentina before he began throwing boulders for sport.

Andrew Laubacher, who plays drums for the band and goes to Ventura College, is a Spartan, and his primary method of attack is the hair-whip. He hopes to attend his own Viking funeral. Foothill senior Michael Huang plays keyboard for the band and “enjoys silence.” Friday’s performance was Michael Huang’s second performance in front of an audience; his first was at Air Guitar last May. He feels that the show went the way that they expected, which was “pretty good.”

Foothill senior Kassra Rafiee joined the band for a song and played his bassoon, a unique touch to an already unconventional band.

Friday’s performance was just the beginning for this group.

“I had a really good sweat going, I glistened,” Laubacher said of the show, “We will do better, because that was our first show.”

“No; I actually think we were better when we first started,” Randall contradicted him jokingly.

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