Familiar band plays Fat Jimmy’s

Matthew Carroll

Credit: Ben Breier

Red Wanting Blue

Where? Fat Jimmy’s

When? Wednesday, Sept. 7 at 9 p.m.

How much? $8 (21 and over) $10 (18 to 20)

Matthew Carroll

Daily Kent Stater

If lead singer Scott Terry has anything to say about it, you now have one less excuse to skip out on seeing Red Wanting Blue on Wednesday.

For those who think Wednesday night is better spent attending that Seven Ideas review session or getting a head start on that English term paper, Terry had just one thing to say: “It’s the beginning of the year, you have plenty of time to make it up.”

Kent State students may already be familiar with the name Red Wanting Blue. From bulletin boards to building signs, their posters have been displayed on nearly every piece of university property imaginable. This brand of in-the-trenches self-promotion is more necessity than choice for an unsigned rock band.

“It’s really essential,” Terry explained. “It’s up to us to make sure people get the information.”

Red Wanting Blue (Terry – lead vocals, Epp – guitar, Mark McCullough – bass, Mark Stepro – drums) started their journey together in Athens, Ohio, nine years ago. During that time, their marriage of music and passion has given birth to six independently released albums and countless tours across the Midwest and the country.

After a brief summer hiatus, the band is hitting the road for a fall tour that will take them through some familiar territory. Aside from their Kent date, they will yet again grace the Cleveland House of Blues stage on Sept. 22 when they host An Acoustic Evening with Red Wanting Blue.

“(Songs like) ‘Spies and Lovers,’ ‘Pride and the Lonely Blanket’ are acoustic in nature,” Terry explained. “People that like our band get a big kick out of seeing us acoustic.”

When a band is a self-promoting act, every tour comes with the same goal in mind.

“It’s just a matter of getting our name out,” Terry said.

The band is still touring in support of their most recent album, last year’s Pride: The Cold Lover. Even though it was their sixth album together, their approach to recording Pride was different than any previous efforts.

“Unlike the rest of the records, it was written in the studio,” Terry said. “There wasn’t a lot of time to hug these songs as we slept. It has a genuineness and a rawness to it.”

The band also has had some new experiences outside of the recording studio.

Last fall they performed at a rally for presidential hopeful John Kerry. In July, the band performed at the Bowery Ballroom in New York with The Verve Pipe’s Brian Vander Ark. Terry called it a “milestone” for Red Wanting Blue.

He also recalled another proud moment for the band that happened last fall on a trip out west. The band broke down in Jackson Hole, Wyo., on its way to a show at Montana State University. Instead of canceling the show, they met some people in town and hitched a ride to the show nearly 300 miles away.

While the burden of driving oneself to every gig can be taxing on the sanity of any rock band, that’s not the way Terry sees it.

“As a struggling band you get to see the real things: real people, real places,” he said.

The band has a grounded attitude when it comes to signing that elusive major label contract. While Terry admits they have talked to a number of people since the release of their latest album, he stresses that the band will not sign a contract just because someone offers it.

And he is quick to add that there are perks to the do-it-yourself approach.

“It’s the only time in your life that you have a say in what you do,” Terry said.

Privileges such as choosing album artwork, order of songs and marketing are all things that would be the final decision of the record label and not the band should they decide to sign.

In the meantime, Red Wanting Blue will continue to get its name out by playing as many shows as it can wherever possible.

So what is a Red Wanting Blue live show actually like?

“Honest and energetic,” Terry said. “Our energy is without a governor. We’re a real honest band.”

Contact ALL correspondent Matthew Carroll at [email protected].