RED’s Randy Armstrong talks about album “Of Beauty and Rage”

Over the last decade, RED has emerged as a career artist.  The three piece band is honest about who they are and what motivates them as a band. The group’s latest album “Of Beauty and Rage” is based around suffering and finding the beauty within. Media Mikes spoke recently with the bands bassist Randy Armstrong about the band returning to their roots during the creation of the album, the albums first two singles and the bands tour plans over the next several months.

Adam Lawton: Can you tell us about the bands new album?
Randy Armstrong: The new album is called “of Beauty and Rage”. We started working on it this time last year up in Maine which was like being in a polar vortex. (Laughs) We actually got stuck there as it was around -40 degrees and you just couldn’t go outside. It ended up being the perfect opportunity for us to listen to some music and go through old demos that we had. We got inspired and talked about what we wanted to do with the album. Ultimately we wanted to go back to the sound that made us popular. We decided to put everything else aside and just really focused on making songs that people would love.

AL: Aside from returning to your original sound did the band set any other goals that you wanted to accomplish with this record?
RA: Our fans sort of let us know they weren’t fond of what we did on our fourth album. We were trying to get back to rock radio with that album and we stripped down the songs quite a bit. We wrote songs specifically for radio. Fans were taken back by that change and they certainly let us know it. We have always been hands on with our fans and while we were in Maine we decided that we were going to go where we were wanted and not necessarily where we wanted to go. That was something that we all had in the back of our minds.

AL: Does working like that make it hard to keep things fresh for the band as musicians?
RA: We have our core fans who expect certain things from our albums. They expect a lot of emotion, production and symphonic elements. We wanted to make sure that we pushed those things and get very cinematic with the record. We wanted this album to be one that you had to listen to the whole way. We wanted to display all the things we have learned making records over the last 10 years. When you get to the end of this record you can feel a resolution. Along the way we wanted to have people feel things they hadn’t felt before. I think our writing has definitely matured and we wanted to keep challenging ourselves to continue down that path. I think we did that and accomplished something that had yet to accomplish.

AL: Can you tell us about the two singles you have released?
RA: We always find a song during the recording process that encapsulates the entire emotion of what we are looking to get with the album. The song “Darkest Part” by sheer coincidence was the first fully completed song we heard. When we all heard that first time we couldn’t believe what we had done. When the label heard the album they wanted to go with the song “Yours Again” as the single. We hadn’t written any of the songs with the intention of going to radio so it was a bit difficult to decide. “Yours Again” is a very spiritual and emotional song and after some talking and several listening tests it was decided to release both of the tracks as people really liked both of them.

AL: Can you tell us about the bands upcoming tour?
RA: The first tour of the record is always very exciting. The first week of this tour the record won’t even be out yet. We will be selling the album early at those live shows which will give fans that come out something to take home with them. This is going to be one of the longer tour runs we have done as we will be out for about 6 weeks this time around. When this run is done we have a week off and then we head to Australia. We come back from that and have some time off while our singer Michael’s wife has a baby and then were off to Europe for another 6 weeks.

Blu-ray Review “Rage”

Starring: Nicolas Cage, Rachel Nichols, Peter Stormare, Danny Glover, Max Ryan (I), Michael McGrady
Director: Paco Cabezas
Rated: Unrated
Studio: Image Entertainment
DVD Release Date: August 12, 2014
Run Time: 98 minutes

Film: 3 out of 5 stars
Blu-ray: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 2 out of 5 stars

When I see that Nicolas Cage is in a film, I just immediately need to watch it. I find that he is either love him or hate him with fans. I have always loved his work, especially his over-the-top roles…and “Rage” is one of those. I do feel kind of bad for him since we are used to seeing Nic Cage in theaters but this really is a direct-to-video entry for his career. I hope he hasn’t feel below that radar that denies him theatrical releases for future films. I can see why “Rage” was released this way but it is also not a terrible film. It is violent as hell, delivers us another crazy performance from Cage and packs a solid surprise ending.  If you are a Cage fan, I would recommend checking it out since it is definitely at least worth a rental.

Official Premise: Paul Maguire (Academy Award® winner Nicolas Cage, “Leaving Las Vegas”) is a respectable businessman and loving father living peaceful life…until his violent past comes back to haunt him. When his teenage daughter is taken from their home, Paul rounds up his old crew to help him find her…by any means necessary. His search for justice leads Paul down a dark and bloody path of revenge, betrayal and long buried secrets. Danny Glover (“Lethal Weapon” series), Rachel Nichols (G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra) and Peter Stormare (Fargo) co-star in this heart-stopping thrill ride that shows no mercy.

Cool fact about “Rage” is that it was shot by Andrzej Sekula, who also was the cinematographer on films like “Reservoir Dogs” and “Pulp Fiction”. The 1080p transfer here looks decent and works well with the action scenes. It doesn’t have the charm of Sekula’s previous work but it is decent. The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track also packs a nice punch especially with the film’s third act. The special features are a let down. There is “The Making of Rage”, which is a three part collection of short featurettes including interviews with director Cabezas, Cage, Glover, Nichols, Stormare and others. Lastly there are five deleted scenes including an alternate opening and ending for the film.