Circumstances might be strange, but thankfully the music is not

In an Auburn basement that doubles as a jam room, four guys who met just over a year ago, create music as The Repeat Offenders.

Nick Racioppi of Auburn (vocals, guitar), Byron Malcom of Brunswick (bass), Ben Williamson of Brunswick (guitar), and James Sheller of Auburn (drums) hadn’t known each other before answering the ads each of them had placed on Craigslist looking for other musicians. It wasn’t long after that they realized they all shared the same goal when it came to music: to create music that people can enjoy and have fun doing it.

The four agree that music is like therapy to them. Whether coming up with a riff to a new song or playing from their growing repertoire at a live show, it’s all about having a good time.

“We put everything we have into everything we do,” said Sheller.

The band has an impressive following, playing regularly at places like Sea Dog Brewing Company in Topsham and Crazy 8s in Paris, and at venues in Northport, Maine, and Wachusetts Mountain in Massachusetts.  

“People like to dance to our music,” said Racioppi.

Many of their first fans know each other and it’s the music that brings them
together for a fun evening; whenever and wherever the band is playing. Their fan base
is definitely eclectic; a good mix of older and younger generations.

The writing process is a mix of individual ideas and pulling riffs from jam sessions. Creatively, they each contribute ideas that eventually take shape in their music. Their first CD, “Strange Circumstance,” was released in July and is getting favorable reviews. Repeat Offenders’ music stands out from some of the other local music, providing a different edge. 

“If Sublime and The Chili Peppers had a baby, we would be it,” said Malcom. 

Part funk, part rock, that analogy is pretty much dead-on. Racioppi’s vocals and Malcolm’s bass lines certainly lend to that impression, especially on “When I Awake,” “Got the Stuff” and “DFM.” Funk is by far the most prevalent sound on the entire CD. “I’m No Bum” is reminiscent of the Stray Cats; it’s like an unexpected auditory treat between intensely groovy tracks. Hands down my favorite song — one I listen to on repeat, is “Footprint.” Love it. The beat and tempo changes are addictive to me; I haven’t tired of it yet.

It’s not just their fans who dig the music. When each of the guys heard the first mix down of their CD, they said it was incredible. Playing it, or hearing a quick recording they made themselves couldn’t begin to compare to the sound on the CD. 

“It was like, wow,” said Racioppi.

“It was really cool to hear a high quality reproduction,” said Malcom.

This band is at its best live, so anyone who wants to dance and enjoy really good music is missing out if they haven’t seen The Repeat Offenders yet. The one thing the group hopes people do after seeing them is tell their friends about it, and bring them the next time.

“We hope that they have a really memorable, fun time,” said Sheller.

Visit for more about the band and for upcoming shows, like Sept. 5 (9:30 p.m.) at Andy’s Pub in Portland. 

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