Rick Shaffer • Bruce Cohen • The Reds®
The Philadelphia, PA band's first album on A&M, entitled "The Reds," is a combination of textures dense with electronic chaos brought to the edge of madness, then resolved into piercing clarity. The album, produced by David Kershenbaum, showed the band's impressive sound . . . a blend of Rick Shaffer's guitar and Bruce Cohen's keyboards into an interestingly textured drone, short guitar and keyboard figures, rising then disappearing back into the drone, while Shaffer's voice provides the punch and definition for their overall sound. The album was supported with live appearances with such diverse acts as The Police, Joe Jackson, Blondie, The Ramones, The Psychedelic Furs, and Public Image.
"The Reds" was followed by an A&M EP, featuring The Doors song, "Break On Through," which suggests some of the band's roots. After leaving A&M, The Reds® went forward with two independent albums, "Stronger Silence" and "Fatal Slide" (Stony Plain/RCA), that continued The Reds® sound, receiving critical acclaim internationally.
They next recorded a tense and powerful album for Sire/WB entitled, "Shake Appeal," produced by Mike Thorne (Blur, Soft Cell, Wire). This forcible record led the band to work with director/producer, Michael Mann. Mann incorporated numerous songs by The Reds® into episodes of Miami Vice, then hired Shaffer and Cohen to write songs and score for two motion pictures, "Band Of The Hand" (Tri-Star) and "Manhunter" (De Laurentiis), based on the novel "Red Dragon." Soundtrack albums from both films were released on MCA, and a “Manhunter” CD (with an added Reds® track, “Jogger’s Stakeout”), was released by Intrada Records, March 2010.
Solo projects at this time for Cohen were writing score for the productions, "Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde" and "Down The Road" at Philadelphia's Walnut Theatre; "The Speckled Band," starring Quentin Crisp, and Charles Busch' play, "Vampire Lesbians Of Sodom" for NYC's Pulse Theatre Company; and a forty minute electronic film noir piece for "Goodbye Johnny Staccato."
While solo projects for Shaffer included recording guitar tracks on a Marianne Faithfull album (Island); Hilly Kristal's, "Mad Mordechai" (Stereo Society); Peter Murphy's, "Holy Smoke" (Beggars Banquet/BMG); and Marc Almond's, "Fantastic Star" (Some Bizarre/Mercury).
In 2004 Shaffer wrote and recorded, "Looking For Right," for director Michael Mann"s film, "Collateral."
The Reds® next album, "Cry Tomorrow" (Tarock) reunited them with British producer Mike Thorne. It captures the driving intensity of earlier albums and the ambient, atmospheric feel from their film scores, resulting in a stark, surreal album, with a sense of mood and mystery. The pulsing opening track, "Terror In My Heart," was featured in the film, "Nightmare On Elm Street 2" (New Line), directed by Jack Shoulder. Along with the bone crushing title track, "Cry Tomorrow," a searing non-stop groove of the Stones' "Gimme Shelter," the introduction of various percussive elements, and a diversity of background vocals, all create an experimental and manic energy that reaches inside your head and won't let go.
In 2007, the critically acclaimed album, "Fugitives From The Laughing House" (Tarock) was released. Written and produced by The Reds®, the ride starts with the street fighting "Wild" and "Little Cisco," through the hypnotic stroll of "Ringing The Bell" and "Dum Dum Dice," and does not let up until the end with the grinding Dub laced "Gunn's Suicide," and slow death burn of "Can't Bring You Back Again," which feels like a dying man's last breath. "Fugitives From The Laughing House" is a straight forward raw nerve reflection of life in America. In 2008, "Lethal Dose" (track #10) inspired British director, Peter McAdam, to shoot an independent film short, also entitled, Lethal Dose.
The Reds® February 2009 release, "Early Nothing" (Tarock), was also written and produced by Shaffer and Cohen. The album has a hypnotic quality, that leaves the listener free to let their subconscious play itself out, no matter where it goes, while maintaining the simplicity of the moment. With the release of Early Nothing, The Reds®, shamans of dark, brooding, loud rock continue to explore and define their sound. This album newly inspired McAdam to create a film short of "So Long."
Bruce Cohen's first solo album, "One BC" (Tarock), was released August 2009, and contains all atmospheric, ambient instrumentals in the tradition and style of Brian Eno and Peter Gabriel. And, in a totally different genre side project, Bruce, along with Rik Myers (guitar), and Brandon Cruz (drums), formed a heavy, psychedelic, Hammond organ jazz trio, called Big Fun 3. The Miami based group is signed to Ropeadope Records, who released their first album April 2010.
Cohen’s 2011 solo venture, “Two BC” (Tarock), expands on his earlier ambient themes, yet are even more experimental, and danceable. The album contains tracks that go from spacial, lush, ambient soundscapes, to metal space funk, with every track receiving the special Bruce Cohen treatment.
Rick Shaffer’s first solo album, “Necessary Illusion” (Tarock 2010) is a ten song neo-sixties, garage blues excursion, with a Joe Meek and Excello Records production style. The album’s sonic signature is a raw, swirl of distorted guitar, atmospheric percussion, stark droning hill country blues, in a mix of “Excello Records” style reverb.
Shaffer’s second solo venture, “Hidden Charms, continues, expands, and nicely follows-up the feel of “Necessary Illusion.” The sonic blueprint is a proto–garage rock/blues, distorted guitar, with melodies buried beneath a mash-up of unadulterated garage vibe. Inspired by Link Wray’s Swan Singles Collection, early Stones, and heavy doses of Mississippi Hill Country Blues Bop. The basic track sound is a simple, but steady primitive hypnotic beat and percussion, ultra distorted guitar, and aggressive raw vocals with intense personal lyric content. Director, McAdam, again contributed by creating a video of “Buy And Sell,” shot on location in the UK.
Tarock Music • email@example.com • TheRedsMusic.com