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Butch Rillera

Redbone's third drummer

Butch played drums on Wovoka and Beaded Dreams Through Turquoise Eyes. Butch replaced Arturo on drums from 1973 to 1976. he continued to collaborate with his cousin, Tony Bellamy, through the '80.

Butch Rillera’s musical background is a story in itself. His older brothers, Barry and Rick, had a band in Orange County, California in the 50s called The Rhythm Rockers. One of their lead singers was Richard Berry, who wrote the enduring classic party song “Louie Louie.” Berry, who was African- American, got his inspiration for the song from a song The Rhythm Rockers used to play called “El Loco Cha Cha Cha by Rene Touzet. Barry Rillera worked as a furniture mover with a guy named Bill Medley, who eventually started singing with The Rhythm Rockers. Bobby Hatfield, who was attending Long Beach State with Barry, invited Barry to play at a fraternity party at the school. Barry brought Bill Medley to sing and Butch played drums. That was the night Bill Medley and Bobby Hatfield, later to be known as the Righteous Brothers, first sang together. Butch and his brothers played on the Righteous Brothers first album called “Right Now” on the Moonglow Record label. The Rillera Brothers played and recorded with the Righteous Brothers throughout the 60s. However, they didn’t play on the Phil Spector singles such as “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’,” where Phil used his “wall of sound” studio players. Butch also played with Bill Medley and Bobby Hatfield individually, after the two broke up and went on to solo careers, and then again after they reunited with their hit “Rock and Roll Heaven.” Before joining Redbone, Butch had a band called Fatback and later played about a year with White Trash with Jerry LaCroix, after Edgar Winter left. Butch Rillera first met Pat and Lolly in the early 60s when he played a surf concert in Fresno, California with a band called the Lively Ones. Pat and Lolly’s Crazy Cajun Cakewalk band were also on the bill, with The Beach Boys headlining.

The Bim Bam Band with Tony and Butch

Butch did a lot of touring with Redbone between 1973 and ‘75. In Europe, they performed in Holland, France, Germany, Sweden, Norway, and Spain. They shared the stage at various times with Dr. Hook, Albert Hammond, and others. Highlights on U.S. tours include playing at Carnegie Hall in New York with Argent and Kiss, opening for Marvin Gaye at the Forum in Inglewood, California, sharing the bill with Parliament Funkadelic in Philadelphia, and playing with Steely Dan at the Convention Center in Las Vegas. They also played with Graham Central Station at Howard University and the J. Geils Band and Tower of Power at other venues. Butch left Redbone in 1975 because he was unhappy with the business arrangement.

Together with his cousin Tony “T-Bone” Bellamy they formed Bim Bam “a Big Bad Band”. It was one of the hottest local bands in Orange County, California. It was a 14 piece R & B band that drew massive attention every Monday night at Medleys (Bill Medley's club in Fountain Valley).
Butch Rillera in the seventies
Butch Rillera in years 2010