Sunday, August 2, 2009

Hard-riffing rock with Red

Hey, everyone! Here's a story/interview about one of my favorite bands: Red. Hope you enjoy it! (Originally published in the Gannett Lansing State Journal.)
Red rocks with Christian edge

Anne Erickson

When the guys of hard rock band Red found themselves in a highway van crash in 2007, they probably never figured that a brush with death on tour would end up inspiring them to push even further with their music.

"It changed us," guitarist Jasen Rauch said, chatting from the road in Ohio. "We have yet to write a song specifically about that event, but having a near-death experience like that gives you a different lens to look at life through."

"When we were writing this new album, I think that experience allowed us to revisit some of the issues on our last album from a new perspective."

That new album is February's "Innocence and Instinct." A follow- up to their Grammy-nominated "End of Silence" debut, the new disc pulls no punches and shows a heavier, more mature Red. The title represents the struggle within us: the fight between morality and the temptation of human instinct.

"There's a good side and a bad side to all of us. Like the devil on your shoulder," Rauch said.

"The record is bipolar in nature."

The guys of Red - who open for Saving Abel at Common Ground on July 9 - first got together in Nashville in 2004. After taking two years to write and record a demo, the band generated enough fans and online buzz to get label interest and quickly inked to Sony Music.
At the heart of Red's music is a deep, honest faith. Each of its members is Christian, and the band is a regular on Christian rock playlists and at faith-based music festivals. Even so, it's hard to tell the band's Christian roots by listening to their music. Heavy and primed for secular radio, Red makes fierce, emotional music filled with loud-soft dynamics, lurching riffs and angst-fueled vocals.

Themes are universal: fear, anger, loneliness.

"Keeping certain things ambiguous is always a priority for us," Rauch said. "Not that we want to mask what we are talking about, but we want the songs to allow room for growth in the listener."
"People come up to us and say our song 'Pieces' got them out of depression or stopped them from killing themselves. But then, someone else will say they wanted that song played at their wedding. Those are two very different perspectives."

Right now, rock radio is all over the band's single, "Death of Me." When Red breaks into the hard-riffing song at shows, fans sing along and cheer so loudly you can hardly hear the band.

"I think originally, the song started as just a jaded song against people who burned you or used you in the past," Rauch said. "But it morphed and matured into this song about your own inner demons and inner struggles."

" 'You'd be the death of me,' you're saying to yourself. It's that demon you keep fighting over and over again, that you keep struggling with but are also at the mercy of this thing."
In the end, camp Red - which includes Rauch, Michael Barnes (vocals) and brothers Randy Armstrong (bass, piano) and Anthony Armstrong (guitar) -- is all about staying connected with the fans."

"Being close to our fans is something we always wanted," Rauch said.

No comments:

Post a Comment