By Al Kaufman
Red Wanting Blue is five bearded guys from Columbus, Ohio who believe in the no-frills pop-rock thing. There will be no costume changes during their shows. They may get a little rootsy on you, or bring in a bit of a ‘70s groove, but that’s because they like those sounds, not because they’re looking for a gimmicky single. They sound like every good local bar band across the country that plays for the love of playing (and for the free beer). They bring this love to Vinyl on Thursday, November 29th.
After a few self-releases, the band put out this year’s From the Vanishing Point on Fanatic Records. Band leader Scott Terry talked about the band and the record industry in general, as well as what it is like to be a band from a swing state during a Presidential election year.
Why do you guys have so much facial hair?
Ooh, straight out the gate with a good one. Well, let’s see. You know I’ve always looked at shaving like a chore, and it irritates me that it seems to be the norm of the working class. To be clean-shaven, I mean. So, I guess on some level we take pride in our facial hair. They’re like trophies that represent surviving in the 21st century without a real job. But mostly, we are just pretty lazy when it comes to man grooming.
You’re a straight ahead rock band in the vein of Pearl Jam, yet you can whip out the mandolins, ukuleles, and banjos for songs like “Walking Shoes” and “Cocaine.” Where does that side of you come from?
I think that much of our “rootsier” sound comes from being kicked around the mid-west for as long as we have. I grew up on the east coast and rock ‘n’ roll, and hoped that my music was gonna rub off on what I saw as “my present day” music scene. And you know, somewhere during all of my trying, I guess the mid-west rubbed off just as much on me. When I was a kid, I dreamed of wearing black leather pants like Bono, and red hair like Scott Weiland. Nowadays, I’m more interested in Bruce Springsteen’s jeans and Tom Waits’ hat.
You hail from Ohio, one of the infamous swing states in the last election. Were you happy to be on the road while all that was going on?
Surprisingly, it didn’t really have that much of an impact on us this election. I would have rather watched the debates on television than listen on the radio in the bus, but that’s about it. We didn’t run into too much trouble this tour. Having a name like Red Wanting Blue and coming from the big swing state’s capitol city, we’ve had a lot of people take us as a political band over the years. People in San Francisco thinking we were sent from the Young Republican’s Party to convert the liberals. Folks in Maryland who thought we were gonna burn presidential masks on stage and warp the minds of the youth. Yeah, we get it from both sides.
Springsteen and Jay Z were campaigning for Obama while Kid Rock and Meat Loaf were on Romney’s side. Do you get involved in politics as a band?
Not really. We have our own political beliefs, but for the time being we have no plans to use our stage as a political platform. I don’t want to alienate anyone out there from singing along with one of our songs. For now, we are Switzerland.
You put out a few self-releases before putting out From the Vanishing Point on Fanatic Records. Many artists are moving away from record labels. How has the experience been for you?
It’s been a real blessing for us. To make it clear, artists are moving away from the big labels and finding themselves being better represented by the smaller labels. It makes sense. They can move quicker and have far less bureaucracy to deal with. Artists actually have a chance to develop on the smaller label. Fanatic Records shares our Mom and Pop approach to the business side of the music industry. They have done an amazing job for us. My favorite thing about Fanatic is their passion for our band. They really believe in us, and it shows in the progress we’ve made since signing with them. You want my thoughts on labels? Well, here it is. Go find someone who believes in you. That’s worth more than any tour bus, signing bonus or record deal advance. At the end of the day, it’s what really matters. This industry is a shitstorm, kids. So as far as Red Wanting Blue is concerned, Fanatic Records has the best umbrella.
Red Wanting Blue play with Crowfield at Vinyl, Thursday, November 29th.