September 23, 2008
The powerful and ambitious hard rock band RED from Nashville will share its metallic riffs at the Northwestern Oklahoma State University Red Riot Concert Wednesday, Oct. 1, at 8 p.m. in Percefull Fieldhouse.
RED has earned radio success, widespread acclaim and even a Grammy Award nomination. The band’s release of “End of Silence” brought them the Top 10 smashes “Breathe Into Me,” “Let Go” and “Already Over.”
RED’s non-stop touring has drawn in a fervent fan following with which the band maintains a close-knit bond. With “End of Silence,” the band offers an explosive sonic assault tied to a potent and positive personal message.
“It’s about where we’ve been,” said guitarist Anthony Armstrong. “The roads we’ve gone down, the bridges we’ve crossed. If there’s a theme running through our songs, it’s finding a way out of a painful situation. There’s a redemptive quality to all of our songs. I think that’s what people really cling to.”
Friends and band mates since childhood, Armstrong, his bass-playing identical twin brother Randy, and classically trained singer Michael Barnes grew up and played together in a small town near the western border of Pennsylvania. Upon returning home from college in 2001, the trio headed to Nashville to further pursue their musical dreams.
To make ends meet, the three musicians took retail jobs in a local mall, which is where fate intervened. Also working odd jobs were Chicago-raised audio engineer/guitarist Jasen Rauch and native Nashvillian drummer Hayden Lamb. The five became fast friends and soon united their disparate musical influences – spanning Pantera, Nine Inch Nails and U2 – into a singular songwriting approach.
In addition to their musical ambitions, RED’s band members all were moved by a common belief that rock ‘n’ roll is a profound tool for confronting life’s greatest struggles.
“We were all so inspired by music growing up,” Armstrong said. “Music changed all of our lives, and we just wanted to turn around and do it for the next generation.”
In June 2006, RED unleashed “End of Silence” and immediately hit the road hard. The band became true road warriors, playing more than 250 shows in 2007 alone, headlining countless dates, as well as sharing stages with such like-minded acts as Three Days Grace, Breaking Benjamin, Flyleaf, Buckcherry, Sevendust and Seether.
“We did everything backwards,” Armstrong said. “We didn’t have a fan base, per se, when we released the record. Then, we started building a small army, show by show. We paid our dues and worked our way up.”
Audiences nationwide fell in thrall to RED’s passion and power. Heart wrenchingly intimate yet also intensely universal, songs like “Breathe Into Me” and “Lost” touch upon such common themes as love and loss, rebirth and redemption. The intermingling of stirring emotional content and inventive, dynamic hard rock sets RED apart from bands that wallow in the darkness without offering any chance of escape.
“A lot of heavier music has a very dark subject matter,” Rauch said. “There’s a lot of anger, and it’s very aggressive. The thing that turned us off to a lot of it is that there was nothing positive, nothing redemptive or influential about it.”
RED’s provocative hopefulness has invited in a faithful following. The band takes great pride in its relationship with its intensely loyal audience, always taking time to interact with their supporters at gigs and online via its official MySpace page, www.myspace.com/dropofred.
“We get e-mails from kids, from adults, from every age group out there that’s listening to music,” Armstrong said. “It’s so powerful hearing how our music has impacted them in some way.”
Lit by the popular success of “Breathe Into Me,” the band’s CD rocketed into the Top 10 on Billboard’s “Heatseekers” album chart on its way to the Billboard 200. In 2007, mere months after the album’s release, the band received a weighty honor in the form of a Grammy Award nomination.
“It was amazing,” Armstrong said. “Six to eight months after releasing our first record, to get a Grammy nomination. It’s things like that that drives home for us that we’ve done something great. That we’ve got people’s attention and made them think about things.”
Tickets for RED’s show in Alva are on sale for $10 in Northwestern’s Alva and Enid business offices and at the Woodward campus administrative offices. Tickets may be charged by phone at (580) 327-8534. Ticket sales are by cash or credit card only.
Seating is limited, so concert organizers are encouraging everyone to purchase their tickets early.
Doors will open at 6:30 p.m. Anyone charging tickets may pick those up at the Will Call window in Percefull Fieldhouse at that time.
Northwestern’s Student Government Association and R-Unit are providing this concert for the Northwestern community, as well as for those in the local and surrounding areas, as a part of Red Riot Week at Northwestern.
Other sponsors include the Alva Tourism Committee, Farm Credit of Western Oklahoma, the Army National Guard and Champs Restaurant.
For more information on the band and the concert and to listen to their music, visit www.nwosu.edu/red-riot-concert. Questions may be directed to David Pecha, vice president for administration, at (580) 327-8528.
Posted on Tue, September 23, 2008
by Valarie Case