The Definition

Dollar Store Riot

At the dawn of the 21st Century, four former New Yorkers transplanted themselves into the sleepy New Jersey suburbs where child-friendly jam bands and cover acts smothered the music scene with competent predictability.

Brian Boehm (bass/vocals), with his Melvin’s sensibilities, and Paul Haley (guitar/vocals), with his hardcore punk and Brit/power pop pedigree, came together seeking something more.

Will Kramer (drums) and Paul stumbled upon each other at a PTA wine and cheese event. They drunkenly didn’t see exactly eye-to-eye on politics, but they found common ground in their musical interests.

Soon the trio gathered in Will’s basement, where original songs quickly came to life. A couple of band name changes later, Dollar Store Riot exhaled its first collective breath.

The music was coming together but something was missing with the main vocals. As luck would have it, Brian and Thea Kearney had kids in the same class and one thing led to another when Thea talked with Brian’s wife about the Sex Pistols at a first grade gingerbread cookie party. A singer/songwriter in her own right, Thea brought powerful vocals and additional guitar leads that gave Dollar Store Riot the extra boost it was looking for. 

Over the next five years, the band consistently played shows in Brooklyn, Manhattan, and New Jersey as well as recording in various studios, while holding down the responsibilities of jobs, families, and suburban lawn care. A recording of their original song, “The Proof” was included on The Rent Party 5th Anniversary Collection CD in 2014.

Fast forward to July 2016, when the band had a line-up change after  successfully playing at Maplewoodstock, a popular local music festival that has hosted The Smithereens, The Wailers, and Joan Osborne among many other well-known acts. After seeing Dollar Store Riot’s set and Brian Boehm announcing his departure to start a new musical venture, John Ramsburg expressed his enthusiasm for becoming the new bass player. Without a hitch, Dollar Store Riot was back in business.

The five song E.P. “Tiny Dirty Houses” that was recorded with Brian Boehm on bass in 2016 was released along with promotional videos in early 2017. Dollar Store Riot continues to play live shows and plans to record and release more original music. Check back soon for updates to the Dollar Store Riot story!

Dollar Store Riot 2017

Paul J. Haley–Guitar/Vocals
A nice/mean guy with a loud guitar and mouth to boot, Paul would be permanently adrift if it weren’t for such bands as the Smiths, Buffalo Tom and Sick of it All, among many others. Once an “unofficial roadie” to Buffalo, NY bands who partook in many “Interstate 90” weekend tours, Paul surprisingly did not pick up and learn a guitar until he was 21. This is thanks to his two Dead Head dorm-mates who heard just about enough and let him borrow their axes from a safe listening distance.

Thea Kearney–Vocals/Guitar
Grew up in Brooklyn, NY and spent the better part of her teenage years hanging out on The Lower East Side attending CBGB’s Sunday Hardcore Punk matinees. Later attending college in Amherst, MA watching Dinosaur Jr. and Phish get their start playing in local colleges and bars. A self-described “metal head” she now balances roles of musician, visual artist, and suburban mom.

Will Kramer–Drums
Attended high school and college near Boston and Seattle listening to Mission of Burma, Morphine, and Nirvana. Takes a grumpy, simple approach to life and drumming that helps drive the band’s melodic wall of noise.

John Ramsburg–Bass/Vocals
Life changed at age 13 when heard The Clash’s “Combat Rock.” A veteran of the post-alt NYC rock scene, seeks out new styles while reveling in the past. Lives happily with his beautiful wife, adorable kids, and a demon cat.

Former Members:

Brian Boehm – Bass/Vocals

Dollar Store Riot Biography & Header Images Photo Credit: Tracy Sham of Tracy Sham Photography