RED and 10 YEARS
Over the last decade, RED has emerged as a career artist. Their honesty and transparency about who they are as human beings, what motivates and inspires them, and what they aim to accomplish with each step forward has established an army of loyal fans.
The band’s success emerged through a pure emotional connection with their audience, the power of their live performances, and most importantly, the passionate, honest dedication of band members Michael Barnes, Anthony Armstrong, and Randy Armstrong. Michael offers, “There is a certain ache in the melody and passion of our music. I feel it can reach emotionally into the soul of the listener and open up places in their heart they didn’t know existed. We wear our emotions on our sleeves, and are OK with who we are and telling others about the struggles we are facing.” Anthony adds, “We deliver our music and message aggressively using themes of theatricality and delving into the darkest parts of our lives in order to bring out the good. We are relentless and will stop at nothing to deliver great music that will inspire and bring the best we’ve got in our performances.
The band’s new album of Beauty and Rage is “about suffering and finding the beauty in that,” says vocalist Michael. “No one in this world likes to suffer, myself included, but we only become the strong individuals we are today from the trials and hardships we faced in the past. I remember meeting a teenager on Winter Jam 2013 who had terminal cancer. He wanted to meet us because we were his favorite band. In a sense, you might consider this a tragedy since his life was going to be taken away from him at such an early age. What I saw was beauty in the way that he handled his illness. The teen was full of hope and spirit, and even in his last days he was encouraging others and wanting to give of himself to make a difference in this world. To me that is a testament of the Beauty that can be found in the Rage of life.”
To Randy, “RED has always tried to challenge listeners to be real with themselves and confront their struggles head on.” Anthony adds, “Our struggles as humans are the catalyst for us to experience both the beauty of life and the difficult times that bring rage and confusion. One can’t exist without the other. It’s okay for us to descend into the darkest parts of our souls to recognize and learn how to draw the beauty out of difficulty and character flaw.”
The band’s new repertoire captures this theme with intensity. The track “Part That’s Holding On” represents the pain in losing a loved one or a relationship abandoned, exploring the feelings of grief alongside the beauty of memories that were shared, and holding on to that ideal utopia that was. “Darkest Part” dives into the emotions driven by a person needing salvation from the suffering of a deep seeded struggle within and the feelings of shame, guilt and rejection one might face when opening up to another individual. Anthony offers, “It’s simply about being vulnerable. When you trust someone and show the demons you have hidden away in your life, there is a fear and likelihood of scaring someone away.”
The song “Yours Again” exudes with emotion as Michael sings of reconciling again with what he once loved but lost, “Open up my eyes… I’m yours again.” In the song “Gravity Lies” Michael offers, “This is a song of self discovery in the ‘truth’ that you always believed about yourself due to the opinions voiced by others, yet that ‘truth’ does not really speak into who you are in God.”
For Randy, “Darkest Part,” “Shadow and Soul” and “Part that’s Holding On” most represent the realization of these recordings. “They are the most truthful dives into the human spirit we have ever attempted. As a band we have never been about pulling punches and these three songs are a punch in the throat. In the end we all have to find a way to hold on to what is right and what delivers the best version of ourselves.”
Amongst the personal favorites for the band members, Michael points to “Shadow and Soul” which he offers was “the most challenging and satisfying song on the record. The ache and yearning in this song wrecks me every time.” For Randy, “‘Part That’s Holding On’ is a song that moves me just a little more than the others because it reminds me to hold on to that strength inside that is what keeps me from falling into darkness.” As for his brother Anthony, “There isn’t a single track on this record that isn’t my favorite. They are all sacred to me in what they stand for.”
There is a brotherhood – literally and figuratively – that has kept the band together for the past decade. Each individual contributes to the collective, broader vision of RED. Randy reflects, “We have been friends for 27 years and this is what we have always wanted to do. When we were kids we shared the same favorite bands. They moved us, they challenged us, and ultimately encouraged us to make change. That is our goal as a band. Music is for everyone.” For Anthony, “We’ve been together for so long. Of course, sharing this experience in music with your twin brother is pretty incredible. We push each other and it’s a juggernaut when it comes to being passionate about every aspect of our career as artists.”
Michael offers a reveal of the greater concept at play thematically for of Beauty and Rage, sharing, “This record is very introspective, more than the last two albums, and it dives back into the days of our second album Innocence & Instinct. The concept for of Beauty and Rage is the dichotomy of good and evil, and finding Beauty out of things that we suffer within our lives. The visuals in the graphic novel and music video have these plague-masked creatures which represent the darkest evil that is inside of us trying to take us over.” Randy elaborates, “When you are trying to reach people you don’t do it with a match, you do it with the FIRE. With the visuals we came up with early this past year, we wanted to find a creative way to put the listener in a maze. The maze is this forest we found in Poland called ‘The Crimson Forest.’ The trees are black and the leaves turn red in the fall and drop to the ground leaving a blanket of red. It’s such a beautiful, serene world that anyone could see the appeal. We draw in the listeners with these beautiful moments all over the album in the midst of the rage that represents the things that can and always go wrong in life, then we throw in some monsters (whom actually are ourselves) and they are chasing us constantly. The chase is the battle we all fight against ourselves.”
As RED looks forward, Michael shares, “2015 will be a building year for us. I am feeling very confident in the music and hope the emotions in the songs will be realized and connect well with our audience and new listeners. My hopes for beyond would be that we would be able to show this record, in live set design, to its full capacity. We would love to maximize the world that we have created between the music, graphic novel, and bring it to the live stage. We want to put on a show that is unexpected and people will be talking about for years to come.” Randy offers, “My hopes for 2015 and beyond are just to continue to make music that people will appreciate their whole life – music we can always be proud of because we were real.”
Sometimes when band members reunite, it's as if no time has passed and nothing has changed. That couldn't be further from the truth for 10 Years. And, that's a good thing. When guitarist/drummer Brian Vodinh and guitarist Matt Wantland returned to the Knoxville, Tennessee alt-metal/post-grunge band for their eighth album and Mascot Records debut, (how to live) AS GHOSTS, they burst through their comfort zones to create something new. Something better. Something career-defining.
"It's funny, I named our last record, [2015's] From Birth to Burial, because I thought it was our final record because it just didn't feel like 10 Years without Brian and Matt. But having them back is really a reunion of the core writing team and this new record actually feels like a real rebirth for the band," says singer Jesse Hasek.
While Vodinh handled drums and guitar on the new album, he's switching to just guitar for the live shows, moving Chad Huff from guitar to bass, while Kyle Mayer stays on drums. "We're bringing it back the way they should be," says Vodinh, who left the band due to family commitments in 2013. "It feels great to be back with these guys and we're in such a better place musically and creatively than ever before."
That better place stems, in part, from a more collaborative writing process. "It used to be that just Jesse and I would write the full song, and the other guys would add a little spice to it. This time, we're starting the writing process as a full band. Sometimes it starts with a riff. Sometimes it starts with a vocal. Our formula is no formula, and it kind of works. And, we work together in a more constructive and healthier environment now," explains Vodinh.
The sixth collaborator was Grammy award-winning producer Nick Raskulinecz (Alice in Chains, Foo Fighters, Deftones). "Nick made us step outside our comfort zone," explains Hasek. "It made for a different sounding record. The one thing we never wanted to do is recreate the same thing over and over. We have always been musicians that love to explore and venture into new horizons."
It wasn't easy, the band admits. "Nick threw us curve-balls and challenged us to re-write stuff and do things we normally wouldn't have done. He helped us cut away the fat and really get to the meat and potatoes of each song. He pushed us and was challenging at times, but it helped us grow."
The result is 10 Years' most dynamic and multi-dimensional record to date. Raskulinecz encouraged the band to strip away some of the vocal production they've grown accustomed to in order to reveal a more intimate side of Hasek. "Historically, we like to orchestrate a lot of vocal parts. We'll have harmonies and layers. This time around, Nick had us strip a lot of that away. There are a lot of moments where the only vocal is just Jesse, and not this big freaking epic thing. It makes Jesse more human. And I think the more human Jesse comes across, the more relatable his lyrics are," says Vodinh.
Raskulinecz also helped Hasek be more straightforward in his lyrics and message. "In the past, I've written a lot of songs that were pretty ambiguous. But on this record, I'm more comfortable being direct and talking about things that are important to me. I'm older and find myself reflecting on the world more especially after having traveled the world and talk to people and really see what's going on," says Hasek.
The title track, "Ghosts," is one such song. "After traveling the world and seeing all the political, social, and religious turmoil, it had me thinking about how many people are judging and preparing for death, but are actually missing life. And, instead of using spirituality for good, a lot of people use it to point fingers and judge. Instead of worrying where we end up in the end, we need to focus on the now and the humanity."
"Burnout" is another observation on mankind. "It's about a person that's right there in the limelight, has every opportunity to see the greatest things in life that are right in front of them, but they are too inside themselves to see it," says Hasek.
"Blood Red Sky" was originally from a solo EP Vodinh had recorded. "The song grabbed my ear the first time I heard it because it had such a different vibe," says Hasek, "but I had a different vocal idea for it so we changed it up. It's about the struggle of maintaining everyday life and how fast your existence just flashes before your eyes. But, it also says that we are surviving and will make it through — that we will always fight through."
On the first single, "Novacaine," Hasek looks inward. "Six albums and a hundred songs in, I wondered if I've already written my best stuff," he admits. "But at some point, you start to get real adult problems. Life has such a numbing to it. You see people go from such optimism in their 20s to having life just beat them down later. I think we all kind of get desensitized and numb to life on some level. That's what this song is about."
10 Years has come a long way since their inception in 1999. The band landed a deal with Universal/Republic Records on the strength of their two independent releases, 2001's Into the Half Moon and 2004's Killing All That Holds You. Their major label debut, 2005's The Autumn Effect, debuted at No. 1 on Billboard's Heatseekers Album chart thanks to their breakthrough hit, "Wasteland," which topped Billboard's Modern Rock Tracks chart, and "Through the Iris," which hit No. 20 on Billboard Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks.
The band followed that success with 2008's Division, featuring co-production work from Rick Parashar (Alice In Chains, Pearl Jam). The album peaked at No. 12 on The Billboard 200 and spawned the hit "Beautiful," which reached No. 6 on the Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks. The momentum continued with 2010's Feeding the Wolves, which was produced by Howard Benson (My Chemical Romance, 3 Doors Down) and bowed at No. 17 on The Billboard 200, while the single, "Shoot It Out," peaked at No. 6 on Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks and spent 25 weeks on the chart.
The group, which toured the world with such rock greats at Linkin Park, Korn, and Deftones, went back to their indie roots with 2012's Minus the Machine on their own Palehorse Records, which was part of Warner Music Label Group. The album debuted at No. 2 on the Hard Rock Albums chart, No. 8 on the Top Rock Albums chart, and No. 26 on The Billboard 200.
"We self-produced our last few records, so it was good to give the reigns over to someone else for the first time in awhile. We had to really let go and trust and I think in doing that, it opened us to new ideas and helped us stretch creatively," says Hasek.
(how to live) AS GHOSTS might be the band's 8th album. But, to them, it feels like a new start. "There was a heavier, darker tone to our last record because we weren't in a good place," adds the singer. "Ghosts has a brighter side to it because we're all in a really happy, optimistic, and excited place about music and life. We're ready to see how the world embraces it."
- Thu, October 19, 2017 - 6:30 PM Add to cal
- Thu, October 19, 2017
Doors - 6:00 PM
Concert - 6:30PM
- $20.50 ADV / $23.00 Day of Show
- 18 and over admitted / 21 to drink