IF YOU GO
Who: Red Wanting Blue
When: 10 p.m. Friday
Where: Cedars, 23 N. Hazel St., Youngstown
702 Steel St., Youngstown
By GUY D’ASTOLFO
Red Wanting Blue has long been considered one of America’s best unsigned bands.
But you can’t call them that anymore.
After going it alone for more than a decade, the Columbus-based rockers recently signed a contract with Fanatic Records (EMI/Caroline) of New York.
On Tuesday, the label re-released RWB’s most recent album, “These Magnificent Miles” (2008).
The relentlessly-touring band will return to Youngstown on Friday for a show at Cedars — one of its first since the re- release. In advance of the show, The Vindicator posed five questions to Scott Terry, RWB’s frontman, about what the record deal means to the band.
Q. Red Wanting Blue took pride in not compromising its vision — a decision that kept the band independent for a long time. How does it feel to finally sign a contract?
A. For the most part ... it feels pretty good. Our relationship with our label is still in its infancy, you know? Our role and the label’s role are still in the process of being defined. We’ve been able to do everything up to now “our way,” and now we need to make room for another group’s perspective as our world is beginning to widen. Fortunately, our label is very cool, and in support of how we run our little circus. They just want to sell more tickets to the show.
Q. When did you sign with Fanatic Records and why?
A. We signed with them during South By Southwest music festival this spring down in Austin, Texas, after playing their showcase. We’d been courting for about four months before ultimately taking the plunge. We chose them for a few very good reasons. First and foremost, they believe in our band. They weren’t interested in trying to change us. They like us just the way we are, which is really comforting. They are a new label, making them hungry to prove themselves to the rest of the industry. I like that. They are also a very “artist-friendly” label. Our deal is structured much more like a partnership than the old “we own you now”-style record deal, or the new “we really own you now” 360 deals that the major labels are trying to push on bands. Fanatic Records has structured their label in a way that (I hope!) might be considered as the new paradigm of music’s digital age. They’re pretty hip dudes. As far as sharing common goals? I’ll put it this way: We’d both like to be each other’s “little engine that could.” The sky’s the limit.
Q. Does the re-released “Magnificent Miles” CD include any new songs? Is there anything else different about it?
A. It does not include any new songs. Both the label and the band feel confident that the album was a moment in time, and should not be tampered with. However, the label has issued a limited run of “TMM” on vinyl which is super-rad! And that comes with a digital download of the album, and will also have some future freebies such as free songs that have been unreleased. We wanted to do something for our fans to say thank you for supporting us, but without compromising our album to all who haven’t gotten to hear it and experience it yet. So, we are focusing on getting in to record a new album this fall, and giving our fans sneak peeks of that music. And maybe some other stuff just for fun.
Q. What is next for the band? Will there be a re-energizing because of the record contract? Maybe even a new tour bus?
A. I sure hope there is some re-energizing! We are really excited about touring in new markets, and want to push on making that a priority. As far as the bus — well, I love our bus. I hate the thought of ever leaving her. She’s been really good to us, so things would have to be going really well for us to ever take her off the road and put her in the pasture. Lord knows she probably deserves the rest. She’s gone over a quarter of a million miles with us in the last four-odd years! But for now, she’s our Bessie. And she purrs like a big kitten.
Q. RWB’s show Friday at Cedars will be the band’s first weekend show since the re-release of “These Magnificent Miles.” Does it feel right to celebrate the occasion on what is basically the band’s home turf on a Friday night? What can we expect?
A. I think it feels very right to celebrate this occasion in Y-Town this Friday. We’ve come a long way over the last decade, and I’m happy to know that we’ve endured through it all, especially in Youngstown, which, as you know, was one of our very first stomping grounds. As far as expectations go, don’t hold your breath for seeing us in rhinestone suits or anything. Right now, the only thing I’d say you can count on is a hefty dose of very honest, sweaty RWB, illuminated under a veil of crappy Christmas lights. And I think that sounds pretty awesome.