Red56 - 10 Questions Music Interview
Updated: Dec 4, 2020
Was there something (an experience) or someone in your life that was the "catalyst" for you to start writing music? Tell us about it.
With regard to Red56-type material, I would say that there was a defining moment when I realized I could write like that. I was living in Los Angeles and had mostly played hard rock and heavy metal music up until then, But I somehow got an opportunity to play in a 70s Disco cover band and I really embraced that style of bass playing. Around the same time I met Danielle Gorre (Red56 singer) through a mutual friend and we started writing songs together. Along with drummer and multi-instrumentalist Mike Kent, we came up with the first few songs that are now on the Eminence Funk record: "It's All Right," "Mother Earth," and "Salvation." I was lucky to find myself among fellow musicians who embraced this writing/playing style that I was exploring: a mix of by hard rock/heavy metal background merged with what I was learning from the Disco cover band, which was that the bass, not the guitar, could be the dominant, driving force in the music.
Let's get this out of the way. What is the CRAZIEST thing that has ever happened to you in your music career?
Probably playing bass in Quiet Riot with all of the other Metal Health-era musicians: Kevin DuBrow, Carlos Cavazo and Frankie Banali.
What has been the high point of your music path?
Two high points have certainly been playing bass for Quiet Riot and also Widowmaker, a band that featured Twisted Sister frontman, Dee Snider and music industry giants Joe Franco (drums) and Al Pitrelli (guitar). Those were absolutely formative experiences for me when I was in my 20s. But releasing Eminence Funk by Red56 is the culmination of these experiences and fulfills a decades-long desire to release the music I was writing and hearing in my head. I was lucky enough to meet Danielle Gorre (Red56 singer), who intuitively seems to get where I'm coming from. We don't talk much about our collaborations. I come up with the riffs and song ideas and she comes up with the lyrics and the melodies for the most part. It's as natural as I could ever imagine a creative collaboration to be.
So, how do you approach songwriting or what is your creative process like?
Songwriting is equal parts inspiration and labor. Usually, ideas come to me within a few minutes of picking up a bass. I really see it as, "The ideas come to me," rather than "I come up with ideas." It's about being open to receiving them. They're all around us. That said, sometimes an entire song will come together quickly and effortlessly. Other times, a song will require a concerted effort to complete. Either way is fine, it's just mostly about having the tenacity to stick with something that doesn't come together quickly or the diligence to get something recorded quickly if it happens to come together fast. There's nothing like capturing that inspired moment!
What do you see as the biggest challenge facing Indie Artists today? Or, if you could ask the music industry to change one thing, what would it be?
I think the greatest challenge for an indie artist is being seen/heard. It's great that we can all make and release our own music nowadays, but it's hard to compete with the marketing dollars of a record company. It seems like the industry has shifted from making money from record sales to making money from the artists themselves, because now the indie artist, though s/he has access to recording, manufacturing, releasing and promoting their own records, also has to pay up front and out-of-pocket for that privilege. It's a challenge!
If you could share the stage with one other artist or band, who would it be and why?
Red56 would love to play with Brand New Heavies, No Doubt, Jamiroquai, Red Hot Chili Peppers, etc. Any band that straddles the line between funk and rock gets folks out of their seats and dancing!
What are your rehearsals generally like? Or, how do you prepare for a live show?
Well, we haven't done any live shows yet! LOL! This was a recording project first, so we wrote and recorded the songs, then released the CD, then the pandemic hit! So, I guess we'll have to answer this question, band-wise, another time. Personally though, preparing for a live show requires steady work but also the willing ness to avail oneself to the moment and accept the unexpected things that are bound to come up during a live performance. No show is going to be 100% perfect or free from mistakes. You just have to be willing to accept that kind of stuff and see it as an opportunity to learn and grow and not get too hung up about it.
Pick one song that was your greatest challenge to write. Tell us about it!
Probably stuff I'm currently working on, but the truth is some songs, like "Funky Attitude," come together really quickly and effortlessly, while others, like "Eminence Funk," seem to require a longer gestation period and input from other songwriting partners. The initial opening groove for that tune was around for a long time, but I never seemed to be able to finish it. Harris G. Thor, who plays guitar on the record helped flesh that one out, musically-speaking.
What's coming up in the future?
In addition to working on material for another record or EP, we've been putting together quarantine videos since the pandemic started. Here's "It's All Right":
Tell us where fans can access your music?