TRACK PREMIERE: RICHARD ROSE “RED TELEPHONE”
So Richard Rose comes walking into town like a stranger in a spaghetti western, all silhouette and mystery and a little menace, too—not one man but five, with only one named Richard. He’s backed by Thorne on bass, Bag on drums, Gravy on sax and portentously “vibe” and finally Thomas, who brings his guitar and his surname Rose. (Jerry played drums on their coming album; no word if Weird, Gilly or Zoothorn are out there somewhere.) If you don’t know who any of these people are, that only helps the vibe here. (Thanks, Gravy.) Like some unknown punk 45 fished out of a bin of sanded-down purple-label Capitol singles at a flea market or a private-press shred-rock acetate peeled off the cold concrete floor of a delinquent storage unit, Richard Rose is a band that thrives on its iffy-at-best connection to place and time. They came from nowhere, and they brought nowhere with them—and if you feel like you might be going nowhere, they’ve got a song for you. (Sure, they’re actually from Muldoons, CA, but … close enough for all parties concerned.)
“Red Telephone”—not at all the excellent and lately all-too-relevant Love song, although it might share a little of that edge-of-the-end-of-the-world spirit—opens Rose’s coming LP on In The Red, following last year’s self-titled EP. It’s on fire from the first instant with a 197X Detroit-derived rock sound one generation removed from slash-and-burn guitar antiheroes Ron Asheton and Fred “Sonic” Smith. Reviewers then (and ideally reviewers now, too) reverently called this “high energy,” and to describe it otherwise violates all responsibility to scientific precision. Destroy All Monsters’ ferocious charisma and livewire Deniz Tek-style guitar leads light up this hard-boiled story of life on the distant border of law and order, where it doesn’t matter if you’re gunslinger, test pilot, cloak-and-dagger operative or die-hard rock ‘n’ roller because at the end it’s always you against the world. Says singer/lyricist/point man Richard Laurence:
“’Red Telephone’ is the first song on our debut album. Lyrically its about a lost weekend in Vegas at a fleabag motel called Arizona Charlie’s. The red telephone in the security office was ringing off the hook that weekend, and by the time we left on Sunday we may have been asked not to return. Thomas Rose puts the nail in the coffin on this apex jammer with some guitar work hotter than the Vegas sun.”
Unprompted, Rose et al remark that there may (“MAY,” they said”) be some visual or sonic links between them and contemporary smashers/sludgers like XCult, GØGGS, Snooty Garbagemen, Insect Warfare, Barbed Wire, OBN IIIs, Vile Nation, Hooveriii, and Grave Flowers Bongo Band. But that’s like calling a UFO a light in the sky—not wrong, but not complete. With a band like this, all that matters is what’s over the next horizon, and the only way to find out is to follow them back out into the desert.