Red Eye Nine
Most groups nowadays have a similar approach to music making. They lay a
simple pop formula as a foundation and then see how far they can tweak it
and bend it into something a little more unique, twisted and original.
Red Eye Nine seems to take the reverse approach. Guitarist/vocalist Eric
Waxwood assures us that "we start out pretty bent to begin with; we then
see how we can shape something coherent out of the original warped
foundation." One listen to this up and coming Boston trio's debut disc
Standing On Ceremony (out this month on Lunch Records), and it is easy to
see the spectacular results of this composition style.
Red Eye Nine may have only just released their first full length album, but
the group is no stranger to Boston's music scene. Over the past four years,
despite lineup changes, Eric Waxwood and his cohorts have taken their unique
brand of rock music to many a New England stage, all the while maintaining
an individual and ever-evolving sound. That sound is still changing and
moving into exciting uncharted musical territory.
The roots of Red Eye Nine begin in 1995. Formerly of the band Puzzlehead,
Eric Waxwood and bassist Chris Fournier formed Red Eye Nine with the idea of
doing something different. Along with a drummer named Dave, the trio's
first collaboration together yielded some very uptempo melodic pop punk.
This lineup was captured on tape and featured on the short-lived Fat Baby
Records' compilation From Under You, which also featured another up and
coming trio called Vic Firecracker.
With the acquisition of a new drummer, Fernando Medina, the group's sound
became more complex and aggressive. The so-called "Red Tape", a 3 song
promo which the group circulated around Boston, caught the attention of
several Boston music papers. The group's live appearances became more
frequent. Personality differences, however, forced Eric and Chris to part
ways with Medina and the group was once again drummerless. An ad placed by
Waxwood was eventually answered by Dan Gold, formerly of Talking to Animals.
This time, the group new they had found a perfect match.
The entrance of the solid, thick style of Gold ushered in a more heavy and
groove-oriented sound to Red Eye Nine. Excess was trimmed and songwriting
and performance became tighter. The group's new songs reflected this
startling growth. The group set about to capture these performances on tape
for a full length album. Red Eye Nine entered Fort Apache Studios and set
about to record with the great Bob Weston (ex-Volcano Suns, current member
of Shellac, producer of countless indie rock titans, Polvo, chief among
them). Satisfied with the results and eager to embark on a performing
spree, the group's momentum was suddenly derailed by the departure of Chris
Undeterred, Waxwood and Gold continued composing songs while searching for
the missing bottom end. Brian Church, recent arrival from New Jersey and
veteran of several groups (notably the late, great AKU) stepped into
Fournier's formidable shoes in October of 1998. Much rehearsal ensued, as
well as, composition and soon the new lineup of Red Eye Nine made its debut
on Mikey Dee's On The Town radio program on WMFO in January of 1999.
With the new release of the Weston-produced recordings and slew of upcoming
live appearances (as well as a backlog of promising new material), Red Eye
Nine appears to be the band to watch in 1999.
On paper, a description of Red Eye Nine's music doesn't sound much different
from those of other groups; pop punk songs with an edge; melodic and
rocking; a power-trio instrumentation. However, RE9's music is very
distinct and individual.
Eric Waxwood's guitar playing is at the center. Using a combination of
aggression strumming and nimble arpeggios of unorthodox chords, Waxwood is
able to achieve the width and depth of multiple players from one guitar.
Effects are minimal, carefully chosen and tastefully used. Sonic color and
melodic beauty are achieved even in the most warped chord positions. Eric
Waxwood is truly one of the more unique guitarists in Boston today. More
remarkable is the fact that he is able to sing over this guitar deluge. And
sing he does with remarkable presence, engaging lyrics and a both subtle and
powerful delivery. It is a voice that channels the swirling kaliedoscope of
instrumental sound with consummate ease.
Dan Gold has never been about showing off. You won't find 100mph 16th notes
or double bass pedal flourishes with him. Instead you'll find groove, taste
and solidity. Gold's restraint keeps Waxwood's soaring guitars from zooming
off into the stratosphere. His tasteful approach is a fresh relief for
those who tire of the speed metal/hardcore drumming frenzy that is all chops
and no soul. Dan Gold's drum episodes are wholly unique and rock-steady.
His immense stoicism also belies untapped power.
Rounding out the ensemble is bassist Brian Church. Doubling as both a
rhythm instrument to Gold's hypnotic beats and as an accompaniment to the
demented slicings of Waxwood, Church's bass occupies a seldom-explored
middle ground. Eric's spacious guitar frees Church to lock in with Gold,
adding an extra heavy groove. Other times, Gold's rock-solid poundings free
Church to add further color to Waxwood's six-string tapestry. The result is
bass playing with a twist. Brian Church is picking up the reins from where
the talented Chris Fourier left off, but at the same time, he is leaving his
unmistakable fingerprints on the group's sound.
An examination of Red Eye Nine's recorded output (from the Fat Baby comp.,
the "Red Tape", a 1996 7" up to the new Standing In Ceremony) reveals a
progressive evolution. Eric Waxwood calls the new album "the History of Red
Eye Nine up to this point." The record is a series of wonderful snapshots
of the group's blossoming songwriting style.
But the band is already looking ahead; looking ahead to further explore
musical avenues; looking forward to re-enter the Boston scene in this new
lineup; looking forward to recording its recent output (10 new songs and
counting); looking forward to leave its mark on audiences everywhere with
its exciting live show...
Its unique approach, ever-evolving musical stance, promising CD debut and
spectacular live presentation indeed mark Red Eye Nine as a band destined to
make a big impact.
******** the following is an update as of 09-12-00 ********
Red Eye 9 played their final show in May 2000 following a strong
appearance at 1999's WBCN Rumble and a twice extended hiatus. The group
mutually parted ways. Dan Gold is working on recording and possible drum and
bass projects. Eric Waxwood continues to sing and play guitar for Auto
Interior (formerly Kilowatthours). Their debut recording, produced by Bob
Logan, is expected to be available in the fall. Brian Church formed Tristan
Da Cunha with ex-AKU mate Ernie Kim and ex-Spineless guitarist Steve Budney.
Look for shows and recordings in the upcoming weeks. He also continues to
play in New York with Monkeys Writing Shakespeare.
Written By: L. Jones