Red Wanting Blue on why “the fucking road deserves the reverence of The Beatles”

We recently had the pleasure to bounce some “Qs” off of Scott Terry – lead singer of the Ohio-based roots rock band, Red Wanting Blue. The band has been touring relentlessly for 10 years now and their latest release, “These Magnificent Miles,” is a collection of engaging tunes centered loosely around life on the road.

Q: I’d like to get started with the band’s name: Red Wanting Blue.  Is this a political reference – your wanting a traditional red state, like your home state of Ohio perhaps, to become blue, or what?

A: Despite popular opinion … no, it is not a political reference. The whole red state vs. blue state started by the news stations during the Bush/Gore election. We came before that. The name came from my early writing …and far too often we’ve been finding ourselves riding red, wanting blue… a bit of an existentialist outlook on living. The grass is always greener, if you will. If we were characters of Greek mythology, we’d be Sisyphus pushing the stone up the hill only to have it roll down again. And I always liked that red and blue are both primary colors. One may never be the other, but it doesn’t stop us from trying. Our name represents our struggle. It is our mission statement.

Q: Your new record is called “These Magnificent Miles,” referencing your life on the road for the past ten years. Tell us what led you to document the touring experience in this way.

A: Hmm. Well, I would like to say that it was never my intention to try to document the touring experience. That just came as a side note, I suppose. I was writing songs about my relationships with my family, my lover, my career … you know, my life. I never set out to make a road record. I write about what I see and what surrounds me, and it just so happens I have been on the road for over 10 years.  After that long, it just sort of becomes part of you. I don’t know if it’s to be worn as a crown or a scarlet letter, I just know it must be worn. I hope I wear mine like calloused fingers. Does that make any sense?

Q: I really loved the record – the songs are earnest, vibrant, and have hooks that sink in quickly. Has this always been the style of music you’ve wanted to play, or did it come about after a long evolutionary process?

A: Well, I don’t think I was ever too far off from where I started, in regards to the style of music we play. I grew up a child of the radio and always hoped to hear myself on the radio. I’ve always had that “pop” sensibility. However, I would certainly say there has been a strong organic shaping, or maturing, of our sound over the years and – as I touched on in the last question – I think the road has a lot to do with that shaping. I believe the more you see and experience out there, the richer your content will be.

Q: Who are some of the musicians/bands that you would say have been a major factor in shaping your sound?

A: This is always a tough question for me. Everyone in the band has their own inspirations, so I can only ever speak for myself. It wouldn’t be fair otherwise. And even still, there is so much music I love! Every day there’s another song, or artist, or cup of coffee, or film, or whatever that may launch into my life and it’s so beautiful because once it’s there, it can’t go away. You know, I owe as much homage to coffee and cigarettes as I do to Simon & Garfunkel? My many previous part-time jobs deserve the same recognition as Willie Nelson. The fucking ROAD deserves the reverence of The Beatles! And on and on, and so on and so forth! For me, this question is like asking a painter, “What’s your favorite color?”  I would hope their response would be, “I love them all! That’s why I’m a painter!”

As far as what we are listening to RIGHT NOW, I just picked up two Townes Van Zandt albums on vinyl. I’m kind of in love with “Our Mother, the Mountain.” In the bus, we’ve been hearing some Dr. Dog, some Dawes, some Josh Ritter, and always a lot of the trench bands we play shows with – some of the places we play we refer to as being in the trenches! – which reminds me to advise all reading this to be informed about what is going on locally. “Don’t disregard the music in your backyard. Listen to local.” I really oughta coin that phrase. Ha!

Q: I read that your life on the road is also the subject of a documentary film – could you tell us more about that project?

A: Sure. A company called Davenport Theatricals (NYC) is making a documentary on the band, chronicling our endurance over the last few years and our fight to stay alive as an indie band for over a decade. I haven’t seen it yet. I’m not sure what they’re calling it either. I suggested “Finger In The Air,” but I don’t think that they went for it.

Q: Your band has been playing night after night for over 10 years without support of a major label – you guys are truly an inspiration to the others out there fighting the good fight.  How were you able to pull this off?

A: Honestly, I don’t know. I thought I was ¾ of the way across the pond like 10 years ago. I guess you just have to commit to giving everything you can to keep it alive, you know? As I look back, I realize I never saved any energy to make the swim back across the pond. It’s always sorta been “Do or Die” for me.

Q: Could you pick a favorite track from “These Magnificent Miles”?

A: Hell no, man. Those songs are my kids: you gotta love every one of them the same. Even though some may be better to me than others, you can’t stop loving a kid just because he’s not good at kickball. It usually makes you love them more.

Q: I thought one of the coolest twists on the record was the closing track, “The Band.” I figured this would be another tune about the guys in Red Wanting Blue, but it is about a proposal – a band of gold.  Did it work?

A: Well, there still is no band of gold on her finger, but she still has her “rolling stone in a band on the road”. So, the fact that she’s still here with me makes me say, “Yeah, it worked!” I hope to make an honest woman of her one day. Lord knows she deserves it! She’s a survivor, like me. We’re hanging in for the long haul.

Q: When not on the road, Red Wanting Blue calls Columbus, Ohio home. How would you describe the music scene there and are there any bands fans of Red Wanting Blue should check out?

A: As I touched on earlier, listen to the music in your backyard. Ohio is our backyard and yeah, there’s some great stuff growing in the garden.  Check out Matthew Hoover’s “Talking To Ghosts.” Great stuff. Real Ohio.  Also, a young up-and-comer named Mr. Tom Evanchuck out of northeast Ohio. Check out “Historians” out of Columbus. Really great. I better stop before I leave somebody out. I can’t just be giving shout-outs all day long!

Q: What can fans expect from Red Wanting Blue in the near and distant future?

A: Hopefully a new record within the year, and a lot of touring. And how we’re planning to do both – I have no idea! Hopefully, our lil’ circus will be in your town soon!

More Red Wanting Blue at: www.myspace.com/redwantingblue

These Magnificent Miles