They Came From Vegas: Getting To Know Sin City Desert Rock Trio, Detective Frog

Three Strangers met by chance at a desert crossroads on a sanguine night. The resulting jam session became the humble beginnings of the greatest garage rock trio the world has ever seen. Ricky Business, lyrical genius and drummer extraordinaire. Bill Lizard, a guitarist so good they made him play bass. Jacob Riddle, writer of songs, shredder of axes, and vocalist renegade. Their powers collided to create a perfect storm of catchy riffs, harmonic melodies, progressive rhythms, and unbridled human coolness. Also they’re really hot.


I’ll give you guys a choice: either introduce each other or just introduce yourselves.

Jacob: “Well shit, you guys wanna just do each of us ourselves, or do you wanna introduce each other?”

Ricky: “I'll just go for myself. Ricky, nice to meet you. I'm the drummer in the band. Me and Jacob started this thing almost two years ago. I have a background in creative writing, and I do a lot of the lyric work in the band.

“Shit, what else to say about me? I was relatively new to Vegas. I've been here for about two years. I just realized I'm not very good at talking about myself.”


So that’s Ricky - Jacob, on to you. 

Jacob: “Yeah, so on the subject of humility, I have none - I am Jacob Riddle. I’m the lead vocalist and guitarist for the band. I do a lot of the riff construction on the music side of things. I’m also new to Vegas. I am originally from Fairbanks, Alaska. Came down to pursue a career in music because there isn't really much opportunity for that up north.

“Met Ricky at work, also met Bill at work, and yeah, we were off to the races. Yeah, all the same company, same team. It's pretty serendipitous how it all worked out. 

“I would also like to note that I am the tallest member of the band.”


How tall are you?

Jacob: “Six five.”


Fuck off - six five?

Jacob: [pause] “Nah, my license says six two, but I'm probably six one.”


All right. On to you, Bill. 

Bill: “All right, my name's Bill. I'm the most recent player in the band. I've only been playing with them for three months.

“Yeah, and playing bass is something that's a little bit new to me. It's kind of new territory being part of the rhythm section. But having a lot of fun with it - it's given me more opportunity to be creative in ways that I haven't previously been able to.”

Jacob: “He's an extremely adept guitarist.”

Ricky: “That's why he plays the bass.”

Bill: “That's why I play bass.” 

Have you ever played music in any form, capacity, and if so, for how long? 

Bill: Growing up, I started playing guitar at like, I would say six or seven. And all throughout school I did music and stuff, like viola throughout middle and high school. Got way too into music theory and… yeah, I've just been kind of doing music all the time.


How do you know you've gotten too far into music theory? 

Bill: “I was really only into, like, technical and progressive-type music.”


Are we talking like tech death metal or tech prog?

Bill: “Oh, a little bit of everything. But I found myself only listening to those genres where technical proficiency is like the whole thing. And so the past few years I've been trying to branch out.”


Alright, let's talk road trips. Three albums that all three of you can agree on to pass the time on a long drive. Go.

Jacob: "Songs for the Deaf" by Queens of the Stone Age, for sure.

Ricky & Bill: "M-hmm."

Jacob: “And Wish You Were Here by Pink Floyd?”

Bill: “I'm more of a Dark Side of the Moon guy myself.”


So how would you guys reconcile that? Two Floyd albums?

Jacob: “Probably flip a coin. I'm definitely a Wish You Were Here guy.”

Ricky: “I'll go with that.”

Bill: “I'll concede, for the sake of peace.”


Bill, any must-haves for you?

Bill: “I like various rock stuff, hard to pick just one.”

Ricky: “This is seriously a tough question.”

Jacob: “What about Rust in Peace by Megadeth?”

Bill: “Not familiar with that one.”

Jacob: “Well, then what about an ABBA greatest hits compilation?”

Ricky: “Sure, I'm in.”

Bill: “Alright, if you say so.”


Fascinating. Now, if you guys had to give an elevator pitch for your genre, what would it be?

Jacob: “Imagine if Queens of the Stone Age, White Stripes, and the Misfits had a mutant offspring.”

Ricky: “With a touch of Ween in its DNA.”

Jacob: “Think of it as a caveman hopped up on Baja Blast, thrown a thousand years into a dystopian future. That's us.”


Best moment as a band so far?

Ricky: “Our first show as a trio, no question about it.”

Jacob: “Agreed. It felt like everything came together perfectly.”


Bill, was that your first live performance in a while?

Bill: ”It's been seven or eight years, yeah.”


Remember what the venue smelled like?

Jacob: “Cigarettes. Lots of them.”

Ricky: “A smoking bar, probably Marlboro Reds.”



Jacob: “Budweisers all night.”

Ricky: “Good old Bud heavies in a bottle.”


What was the venue? Double Down Saloon, you said?

Jacob: “Yeah. Not a country bar, very punk rock. Broken toilets and wall stickers, the whole deal.”

Ricky, what brought you to Vegas?

Ricky: “I toured the west coast after the army, found Vegas intriguing. My wife got a job here, and we moved just before the pandemic hit.”


Jacob, could you tell me about your background in Alaska? You were born and raised in Fairbanks, correct?

Jacob: “Well, I was born in Fairbanks. Our house burnt down when I was pretty little, so we moved to Montana. Spent quite a bit of my formative years there before moving back to Juneau, Alaska. I didn't really have anything going for me, so I took odd jobs like roofing or maintenance. Then I was on the phone with my mom, and she told me I had some scholarships at the university up there. Got about halfway through a marine mammalogy degree, got promoted at my job as a material estimator at a lumber yard. When the boss pulled me up for a meeting, it kind of scared the shit out of me, so I decided to go back down south. I had to decide between Los Angeles, Nashville, Austin, and Vegas. I ended up choosing Vegas because it wasn't too oversaturated. I moved here almost two years ago.”


So Jacob, you were the last to arrive in Vegas among the three of you, correct?

Ricky: “I think so?”

Jacob: “Oh yeah, yeah, I'm the newest addition to Las Vegas.”


Bill, what was it like growing up in Vegas? Spent a lot of time in casinos, I assume?

Bill: “Most locals avoid the casinos, the strip, and all the touristy spots. Growing up here was kind of boring. There's not much to do unless you're over 21. I'd just play music with my friends or play video games.”


I heard someone mention Mormonism. What's the story there?

Jacob: “Mormonism? Oh, yeah. Bill used to be Mormon.”

Ricky: “Who used to be Mormon? Grew up Mormon. Bill, you grew up Mormon?”

Jacob: “Yeah, Bill grew up Mormon.”

Bill: “Yeah, I was supposed to go do, like, a Mormon mission when I turned 18 after high school. But I had a faith crisis. I'd saved up a decent amount of money to go do this mission, but instead got a motorcycle.”


So, why did you choose to buy a motorcycle?

Bill: “Because they're cool. 

“I mean, you can't not look at a motorcycle and say it's not cool. And like, motorcycles are a symbol of freedom, if you will.”


What drives you as a band musically?

Jacob: “I think the cornerstone of Detective Frog is that you know, it doesn't have to be especially musically sound as long as it fucking rips

We’ve got a list of core values. We read these off to Bill when he joined the band too when he was sort of established very early in the band. It's like kind of a corporate core value statement. 

#1 being: ‘ripping it.’”

Ricky: “#2 is getting top. So as long as we're abiding by those two. It doesn't have to be in that order either.”

Jacob: “We just believe that one helps with the other in whichever order you put it.”

Ricky: “Core values, man.”

Jacob: “It's a business at the end of the day, right?”


So what would be your mission statement? 

Jacob: “See values for our mission statement.”


Okay. What about vision statement? 

Jacob: Whichever one is, I think they're all -wait, okay. Mission, vision, and values. Yeah, it's all three. All three of those are the same.

detective frog