The Californian desert is vast, wild and untamed. Even on its distant edges, where its barren sprawl meets the outposts of civilisation, there still crackles a certain unhinged, primal power.
Listen close to the debut album by RedRacer – recorded at Rancho De La Luna studio, located in Joshua Tree, on the very frontier of that desert – and you’ll hear that energy crackling beneath the muscular riffage, coursing through their anthemic tunes.
But while RedRacer share the desert rock vibe and admirable hunger of other notable desert spirits, they don’t hail from the west coast. They’re not even from America. No, this group’s roots can be traced back to the altogether less romantic environs of Tooting – but theirs is a tale that sweeps us from the lowly back rooms of South London pubs, to the stomping grounds of rock ’n’ roll millionaires, to the desert vistas of California – and back again.
It’s also a tale of deep bonds of true friendship by, and between, founding members John Hogg and Sean Genockey, and recent addition, but long-time friend, Jesse Wood. All 3 have a rich musical history together of writing, recording, playing live gigs, touring across the US and hitting Britain’s radiowaves, at one point or another.
Now, they are RedRacer, a band reborn in the Summer of 2012 at Rockfield Recording Studios in Monmouth where Jesse Hughes – the wildcard firebrand who leads Eagles Of Death Metal – was filming an episode for Marshall Headphones: On The Road. “Jesse and I had been discussing plans, for years, for him to record his next album in the UK,” says Michelle Sadova-Harris, honcho of Dissention Records, and Hughes’ long-time friend. “We introduced Jesse to Rockfield, so when finally able to all meet up there during the Marshall shoot, we did, and Sean happened to be finishing a production job. It was Jesse who made it clear to me that he wanted to work with Sean at some point.”
After official introductions by Rockfield’s leader, Lisa Ward, and many discussions around the influence of surroundings on the recording process, Michelle agreed to send Sean and John out West to explore their desert demons. While at Rancho, they were joined by other luminaries of this particularly vibrant west coast underground rock community who stopped by to party, but then found themselves joining the sessions. The likes of QOTSA’s Joey Castillo, Masters of Reality’s Chris Goss and Abby Travis and Hayden Scott of Spinnerette also lent their talents to this electrifying debut.
In 7 days, Sean and John managed to write and record an entire new album of songs – songs like the decadent, party-damaged drone of How Does It Feel, the laser-guided, glam-edged sleaze-pop of Shotgun Suzie, and the motorik rush of Define, which draws into sharp focus the group’s serrated punk edge.
But RedRacer is no mere celebrity jamboree, and by the time John and Sean had cleared customs back in the UK, they sought out Jesse – whose CV includes stints with Reef, Mick Jones’ Carbon/Silicon and his dad’s Ronnie Wood Band – to play bass.
The RedRacer sound is unique – it has a gift for honing classic rock muscle for a post-punk, futurist era, while having vulnerability among the riffage, which is compelling. To top it all off, for their gigs, John is planning to both sing and play the drums, delivering a live assault that will be unforgettable.
MONDAY 03 NOVERMBER
Wapping Road, Bristol BS1 6UA
Ages 16+ (under 18s to be accompanied by an adult)
Advance tickets available from:
Bristol Ticket Shop
0844 871 8819