Interview: Red

Jason Bullinger for Alternative Revolt

Nashville, Tennessee hard rockers Red have been on an amazing run dating back to the early 2000’s. The band has sold over two million albums, won a number of prestigious awards, and toured the world for fans in 25 countries. So what is next? Red has become independent and created a new company (Red Entertainment) in which will help the band surge forward. Having just released a new song and video (“The Evening Hate”), bassist Randy Armstrong was kind enough to talk with Alternative Revolt and discuss many things including the new single, an epic video, a new business entity, and their breakthrough album ‘End of Silence’ turning 13.

Alt Revolt: Congrats on the new song and video for “The Evening Hate”!

Randy Armstrong: Thank you! I appreciate that!

Alt Revolt: How does it feel to have an overwhelming positive response?

Randy Armstrong: It feels good! We are always curious as to what people think. This is the first time in quite a while that we have received a huge response.

Alt Revolt: Do you think this new song circles back a bit to the sound on ‘Of Beauty And Rage’?

Randy Armstrong: We used some of the same production as we have in previous albums. They could be compared. We were a different band when we made ‘Of Beauty And Rage’. We were in a dark place. The songs came from that place and time. Each album is a snapshot of where the band was at that point and what was going on in the world. In that respect, the production elements are the same.

Alt Revolt: Where did you find the inspiration for the song?

Randy Armstrong: I was watching a movie. I heard someone say the term “The Evening Hate”. It caught my ear. I looked it up and it made a reference to the trench soldiers from World War I. There were other references to “Morning Hate” and “Afternoon Hate” but “The Evening Hate” struck me as a Red thing to do. We always dive into darker territory. Hate is a big topic right now. Whether you think the news is fake or not, the video is telling a different story. Hate is a universal thing everyone deals with. The song recognizes that hate exists. But as humans we must rise above it.  We need to crawl out underneath it and press on.

Alt Revolt: I think the theme runs parallel to what is happing in this country right now. Was that a conscious effort on your part?

Randy Armstrong: It is not intentionally a political song. We are trying to keep our nose out of politics. Nobody wants to hear what a band has to say about what is going on in the white house. I think it is a snapshot of how things have been since 2016. There is a lot of dissention and disagreement. There is a civil unrest that I have not witnessed in my lifetime. I was too young back in the 80’s when it was going on. It just seems to be on a different far extreme level. I have told people before that love exists if they didn’t experience hate. You wouldn’t experience true love if you never experienced hate. It is like Batman and the Joker. Batman would not exist without the Joker.

Alt Revolt: Can you talk about the concept and production of the video?

Randy Armstrong: We sat in a meeting with our management and radio team. We discussed what song we were going to release. We all agreed and landed on “The Evening Hate”. We all felt we could make a killer video for the song. We have this trilogy of videos that are somewhat warlike and it would be a good opportunity to pick up where those left off. After that meeting, I went home and wrote the screenplay and treatment for the video. I started making phone calls putting together a film team and production crew. We wrote, directed, edited, and released the video in three weeks.

Alt Revolt: That is crazy!

Randy Armstrong: Yes. It was a grueling and exhausting process. We always know how we want our videos to look and where the story goes. Anthony and I co-directed and edited the video for “Darkest Part”. The stories have all branched out from that with the videos all connected. “The Evening Hate” was fertile ground for a lot of visual representation of the music. If we had a shot of pulling off the video in three weeks, this is the song we could do that with. We called a construction company and they dug us some holes here in Nashville. In a four-day process, we filmed all the shots and went straight into editing.

Alt Revolt: Congrats on the final product! It is a powerful piece of art.

Randy Armstrong: Thank you. I appreciate that.

Alt Revolt: Do you enjoy that part of the creative process?

Randy Armstrong: Yes. I really do. Anthony and I used to make videos in college. He had a class that required him to make a video every two weeks. We would reproduce SNL skits and others based on the Matrix movie. The software is incredible today. When we release the “behind the scenes” video, you will see how much went into how we colored the video. I learned so much in being the full writer/director for the video. The process will go even smoother the next time around. I may have found a new niche for myself.

Alt Revolt: Can you talk about the creation of Red Entertainment?

Randy Armstrong: We started our own label/entertainment company. We became an independent band and had to file for our own publishing and royalties etc. We had to create a business entity that everything streams under. Red Enterprises Incorporated is what we are on paper. But Red Entertainment encapsulates the videos and music which will be pushed out from now on. It’s all paperwork but once we are established, we now have a landing pad where everything is released from.

Alt Revolt: Do you have any tour plans for the rest of 2019?

Randy Armstrong: We are going to doing a short run in October with a couple bands. We have not announced that yet. It will only be about nine or ten days. We were planning on doing a 20th Anniversary run of ‘Innocence & Instinct’ but with new writing and recording, we could not put together a tour. The plan is to go hard in 2020. We hope to bring aboard people as hungry as we are. We established a new booking agency and radio team so we could get a fresh perspective in hopes of getting a new resurgence. It has been a lot of work. We have spent a lot of money on writing and recording and starting Red Entertainment. We thought “The Evening Hate” was perfect launching point for us and what fans can expect to come.

Alt Revolt: Can you believe ‘End of Silence’ just turned 13?

Randy Armstrong: It’s hard to believe. It’s even harder to believe the band has been touring for over a decade. There are a lot of bands out there that have more touring experience than we do, it’s hard to make it in this business! We are very fortunate!

Alt Revolt: As you reflect back on the time you created “End of Silence’, is there anything that stands out to you today?

Randy Armstrong: I live in the area where we recorded that album. I’ll drive by the house we wrote the lyrics to “Let Go” in. I remember the garage we wrote the song “Breathe Into Me”. It is a cool nostalgic trip. When we were making the album, we were young dumb kids. We had no idea what we were getting ourselves into. We loved music and we wanted to tour. The album sold like crazy and we ended up on tour after tour. We had been on the road for 300 days two years in a row. It smacked us in the face in good ways and bad. We survived and kept moving. We have a passionate fan base. They have supported us at every turn. This venture and opportunity is no different. They are letting us know they are still here.

Alt Revolt: Congrats again and look forward to seeing what comes next!

Randy Armstrong: I appreciate that. Thanks again for your time.

Red is:

Michael Barnes (vocals), identical twin brothers Anthony (guitars) and Randy Armstrong (bass), and longtime live drummer, now official band member, Dan Johnson

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