Rights of the Accused (or ROTA) for short were a hardcore band from Chicago. The band featured Michael O’Connell (not the same person as my good friend, Mr. O from DG), Anthony Illarde, Jay Yunger, and a couple other fellows whose names escape me right now (the record is at home and I’m not). Before they put this out, they put out a couple of cassette demos (which I would LOVE it if someone has them and could copy them for me), and were on the Middle of America compilation put out by WNUR. This 7″ was put out on the label that belonged to one of the Stepe brothers, who was living in Peoria at the time.
The music was straight up hardcore and they had a humorous side to them much like Negative Element. They played shows all over the city and were a mainstay in the Chicago punk scene for quite awhile. Shortly after this record was released, Wesley Kidd from Political Justice? joined the band as a second guitarist. Not much later still, Brian St. Clair would become their new drummer.
After that they put out an album, Dillinger’s Alley, which was the last of their punk material before they went off in a more rock direction like Kiss. They put out a couple of records after changing their sound and then called it quits, occasionally getting back together for a rare live performance.
As to where they are now? Mike works at Liar’s Club here in Chicago as a bartender. He at one time said he’d get in touch and would dig up some old punk stuff for me but sadly that never happened. Anthony still resides in the city as well. Jay ended up moving to New York and played in White Zombie. I’m not sure of what happened to the other guys who played on this fine record.
The record came with a couple inserts, one of them being a 1 Million dollar bill. There were 2 different covers, both featuring the same artwork but one was all black ink on white cardstock and the other had black and purple ink (the band drawing was in purple).
As always if you were a member of ROTA and/or you have any additional information, please get in touch.