El Riot & the Rebels were a relatively short-lived early-'60s band from Birmingham, England, who were far more important than their relative obscurity would lead one to believe. Within the ranks of the six musicians who made up their lineup were Ray Thomas on lead vocals and harmonica, Mike Pinder on keyboards and vocals, and John Lodge, on bass (originally guitar) and vocals, each of whom ended up either co-founding or playing a key role in the Moody Blues. El Riot were heavily influenced by the sounds of Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Gene Vincent, and wore Mexican outfits and had a stage act that was good enough, along with their sound, to get them onto a midlands television music showcase called Lunchbox. The band was popular in their hometown, but broke up in the wake of an offer in early 1963 of some gigs in Hamburg, Germany -- only Thomas and Pinder wanted to go, and they formed a new group called the Krewcats. The other members were Brian Betteridge (guitar, vocals). Mike Heard (lead guitar), and Bob Sheward (drums), who subsequently played with Lodge in the Carpetbaggers.