Lunchbox Promotion Draws Attention To Rare Americans launch.


By Keith Sharp

Launching yourself as a new band in the current social media environment is always a tricky business but Vancouver’s Rare Americans came up with a novel approach to debuting the self-titled album debut in August 2018.

Original members James Priestner and guitarist Lubo Ivan designed about 300 lunch boxes emblazoned with their distinctive artwork style with contents including a corkscrew, cannabis grinder, chocolate, gum, unique playing cards, two promo cards containing a band biography and a Q and A on the band plus a copy of the band’s debut and mailed them out to prospective industry contacts in the Vancouver area.

Rare American Lunchbox
Rare American Lunchbox promo emblazoned with their distinctive artwork style

“We researched all the key radio stations and other media, and a few of them paid off,” allowed Priestner on the phone from Vancouver before the band heads East for dates in Toronto (two at the Velvet Underground March 25/26) ) plus Ottawa and Montreal before heading over to Europe on an extensive tour (see dates below). ”Vancouver Province writer Stuart Derdeyn was one of those contacts who received the box, and he thought it was a novel new to promote the release, and so he wrote an article about us saying he thought it was a unique way of getting noticed.”

A song-writing session between Priestner and his elder brother Jared, written during a retreat to the Caribbean Island of Bequia, ended up being the core of their debut album. James’ senior by 11 years opted to act as the band’s business agent.

With heavy use of videos and other social media content including a creative website, Rare Americans have created a responsive global image. “The plan was always to have a band, but the initial goal was to reach as many fans around the world as possible, so our focus was on creating quality music and videos and promoting them online so at the beginning, it wasn’t crucial to have a touring band.” Priestner noted. “But as the project grew, we brought on band members Jan (Bongo) Cajka (bass) and Duran Ritz (drums) and we’ve all been together for the past four years. So far, we have worked independently, we all wear 50% music hats and 50% business hats, we operate like a label, Crooked City Records, we do everything ourselves, marketing, promotion, accounting, the socials, you name it.”

Prolific songwriters who have just released a new EP; “Songs That Don’t Belong” with a new album `Jongo Bongo’ set to go in the near future, Rare Americans already have five previous releases to their credit and their proficiency was recently rewarded with their nomination for a `Breakthrough Artist’ Juno Award (losing to Montreal duo Banx And Ranx).

Described in their bio as a punk-alt band compared to Offspring and Cake, Priestner is flattered when told the band’s sound is reminiscent of vintage Green Day, “I will take that comparison all day long,” Priestner beamed. “I’m a 90’s baby, I grew up listening to Green Day, Billy Joe Armstrong speaks to my generation. He isn’t afraid to be honest and upfront and, musically, they are interesting for a punk band, they aren’t afraid to try different styles, songs like “Time Of Your Life”, “When September Ends”, even “Hitchin A Ride”, they take a lot of risks which is cool for a genre that isn’t noted for taking risks.”

Although much of Priestner’s lyrics are based on personal, romantic subjects, their latest EP shows he can stretch out and be controversial. One song in particular; “Rambo” takes the viewpoint from the perspective of a police dog. “His master is a dirty, racist cop and time after time this dog witnesses the debauchery of what this police officer is doing, finally the dog can’t take it anymore, snaps and attacks his master instead.”

On the lighter side, Rare Americans show a humorous side with “Tremendous”. “Coming back from COVID, when people started interacting again, kids were confused how to communicate,” Priestner noted. “ A handshake, a fist pump, an elbow shake, this kid hadn’t had a date in two years and didn’t know how to talk to a girl and keeps putting his foot in his mouth. I tried to summarize what we could all relate to.”

According to Priestner, the band’s name Is derived from the idea, “We are the cool neighbours to the North, yet for the most part, Canadian artists don’t get the credit they deserve. We are the friendly neighbours – who are kicking ass but not getting credit for it.”

Rare Americans have toured the U.S. twice, once to Europe and have played select Canadian dates previously. “For the longest time, Canada was one of our slowest markets, but even they are starting to come on board,” citing the band’s recent Juno nomination. “Our objective is to go Global as much as possible, and spread the word, and that’s been coming to fruition. People may have viewed us as an internet band, but our shows are very energetic and interactive, we talk to our audience a lot, and we are reaching kids who have done a deep dive into our discography.”

For more information on Rare Americans,
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Mar 03 – Edmonton, AB, Canada – ALL AGES

Mar 04 – Calgary, AB, Canada – 18+

Mar 18 – Vancouver, BC, Canada – ALL AGES

Mar 22 – Montréal, QC, Canada – ALL AGES

Mar 24 – Ottawa, ON, Canada – ALL AGES

Mar 25 – Toronto, ON, Canada – ALL AGES

Mar 26 – Toronto, ON, Canada – ALL AGES (2nd added show)

Mar 30 – Bratislava, Slovakia – 16+ (under 16 w/adult)

Apr 01 – Warsaw, Poland – ALL AGES

Apr 02 – Prague, Czechia – ALL AGES

Apr 04 – Berlin, Germany – ALL AGES

Apr 05 – Frankfurt, Germany – ALL AGES

Apr 07 – Rennes, France (Mythos Fest)

Apr 08 – Paris, France – 16+ (under 16 w/adult)

Apr 09 – Schijndel, Netherlands (Paaspop Fest)

Apr 11 – Hamburg, Germany – ALL AGES

Apr 12 – Amsterdam, Netherlands – ALL AGES

Apr 13 – Cologne, Germany – ALL AGES

Apr 15 – Munich, Germany – ALL AGES

Apr 16 – Zürich, Switzerland – 16+ (under 16 w/adult)

Apr 18 – Antwerp, Belgium – ALL AGES

Apr 21 – Bristol, UK – 8+ (under 14 w/adult)

Apr 22 – London, UK – 14+ (under 16 w/adult)

Apr 25 – Manchester, UK – 8+ (under 14 w/adult)

Apr 26 – Glasgow, UK – 14+

Apr 28 – Birmingham, UK – 14+ (under 16 w/adult)

Apr 30 – Dublin, Ireland – 14+

Grab the merch –

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