Volume 92, Issue 24

Friday, October 16, 1998

arresting developments


Underground sound

By Anthony Turow
Gazette Writer

Listening to the album The Fantabulous Mushman by Halifax group Red, would lead one to believe all they want to do is rock out and have some fun in the process. Ask lead singer and lyricist Alan Glen what the band is seeking to accomplish and the answer is unexpected, to say the least. "World domination," he states.

And he's being serious. Sort of.

The songs seem innocuous enough, but look past the infectious arrangements and you'll find no more than mere bubble-gum pop. "We grew up with bands likes the Clash, the Jam and Elvis Costello," Glen explains. "It was real punk that had something to say about society, not like a lot of the suburban punk you hear coming out today."

Glen, however, does not have any misconceptions about what Red's priorities are as a band. "It's always been our policy to put the music first. You know most people aren't listening to your lyrics. They have to appreciate the band first. Hopefully though, they'll eventually read the lyrics and go, 'Wow, that's pretty cool.'"

Touching on issues which range from overpopulation to poverty, Red likes to comment on issues which affect everybody. "We live in a welfare state, whether we like to admit it or not," Glen comments. "We like to try and say something in our music, although we'd rather not become preachy. There's not a whole lot of people saying stuff in music today."

Touring overseas as front man for the now defunct Celtic-rock outfit Visce Beatha, certainly opened Glen's eyes to how the other half lives. Witnessing hardship and squalid living conditions in many European countries had an impact on his songwriting, which could be described as a personal reaction to the universal. It also opened his eyes to the insignificance of atrocities in North America's myopic and media-obsessed culture.

"There's a war going on in Kosovo," Glen ruminates. "And we hear nothing about it. If I had children today, I'd be terrified for them."

This is not to say Red wants to change the world, they just have a strong opinion about it. "[Our ultimate goal is to] sell out any club or bar we play in the world," Glen says. "We want to play our music for anyone who wants to listen to us."

You can take the opportunity to listen to Red this Saturday night at Call the Office, when they open up for Woebegone. As for world domination, we'll just have to wait.

To Contact The Arts and Entertainment Department: gazette.entertainment@julian.uwo.ca

Copyright The Gazette 1998