Interview with Anthony Armstrong of RED October 25, 2011

October 27, 2011 by: admin

October 25, 2011


Anthony Armstrong (Guitar)

Nashville, Tennessee

By: Shauna O’Donnell

RED out of Nashville, Tennessee has spent the majority of the year on the road in support of their latest release titled Until We Have Faces. In November, RED will bring the loud to Christian music’s biggest annual tour, the ‘Winter Jam 2011 Tour’. RED will team up with tour founders NewSong and acts such as Newsboys, Matthew West, Kutless and Fireflight to take Winter Jam to the West Coast for the first time ever. The band has had a big year with the release of the album, the tours and appearances on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno as well as Conan. Next year we can look forward to the next leg of the ‘Kill the Machine Tour’!!

Thanks for talking with me today. How have you been?

We are good. We are home for the day. We have a show tomorrow in Atlanta, but we are taking the day off here in Nashville.

Tomorrow marks the last day of the ‘Kill The Machine Tour’. How did the tour go?

It was amazing. We had a really good time and the package of the whole group of bands was really good. The support bands were really awesome, so it was a blast. It was fun being out with Brian “Head” Welch again. He and his band are all really cool. The shows were really good and there was a great response from the crowd.

You had just come off the ‘Rock Allegiance Tour’ so you have been on the road a while.

Yeah and we only have six days off in between this next tour coming up too, so we have been back to back to back. It has been busy.

Do you usually feel sad when a tour is over or is it more of a relief?

It just depends on the tour. If it is a really long grueling tour, then sometimes it is nicer to know that something fresh or new is coming up and we are moving on to the next thing. Some tours get pretty miserable because at the end of the tour you don’t want to say goodbye to anybody because you had so much fun together. It’s a traveling circus for three to four weeks and you really get to know people and you have good times.

Like you said, you will be taking six days off and then you will be hitting the road once again on Christian music’s biggest annual tour ‘Winter Jam 2011 Tour.’ It kicks off November 3rd in Denver, Colorado and winds down November 20th in Ontario, California. This will be the first time this tour will hit the West Coast. How many years has this tour been going?

I think the tour has been going fifteen years. This is the first time in fifteen years that it has actually gone out west. We do really well out west, so I think we will be a good addition the Winter Jam Fall leg because we get a really great response out there.

I wonder why the tour hasn’t come out this way before.

There is another tour that goes out there called The Rock & Roll Road Show. They do the West coast and Winter Jam is always on the East coast. They’re both going to swap and try each other’s markets. We will see how it goes. Winter Jam is such a huge tour.

It looks like you will be heading home for the holidays after that.

Yeah, well we finish Winter Jam and then we go to Germany. We have about a week in Germany and then we are home for the rest of December and then we are going to take January off before we start touring again in February. We will start doing some writing for the next record cycle and stuff like that.

A lot of bands love Germany. They say it is a great place.

Yeah, actually anything overseas is really good for an American band, especially the way things are with music. The saturation over here is pretty insane, so you go over to Europe and people are very respectful and they are very thankful and excited that you are even there playing music for them. We just got back from Amsterdam and it was one of the coolest shows that we have ever played in our career. It is a pretty exciting time to be overseas and doing stuff like that.

I was talking to Chris Henderson from 3 Doors Down and he was saying there is a train system over there that allows fans to be able to follow the tour around.

Yeah it is pretty wild. It’s the way it should be for fans. Back in the day, it seemed like fans did everything they could to follow around their favorite bands and now with the way things are it has changed a lot. The accessibility of the bands has changed a lot on the internet and there is not that mystery anymore. On the internet there are so many things that people can learn about bands. Over there they have the internet and stuff, but there is something that just hasn’t died over there as far as how excited fans get about a traveling band, especially if they are from America. They travel with them everywhere they go, so it’s pretty wild.

Some bands will tell me that attendance is way down at shows here in the States. People would rather stay at home in front of their computers instead of going to live shows. I’m worried that is going to cause bands to not want to tour anymore.

I think it is causing a lot of bands to not want to tour, but I don’t think it is because they don’t want to. I think it is because they can’t. They are not making enough money to be on the road. Red has been blessed. We made the cut just before it started getting crazy with how things are with music, live shows and the downloads. A lot of things have changed monetarily for the business of music and in order to put on a great show you have to have the fans fill the seats. If they don’t fill the seats, then the show has troubles because they can’t give them the crazy light show or the really big, huge production. It’s give and take in a lot of ways. Most of the time fans are taking. People that used to be music buyers are now just music pirates. Bands, when running their business is concerned, are going by the wayside because of stuff like that. We have been able to sustain a really cool career and have the right amount of what we need to make the shows happen.

You also have the bands out there who don’t like to tour during winter because it is too cold.

That is just an accident waiting to happen with a big tour bus and a 15,000 lb. trailer being towed behind it. Getting out west, especially going through the mountains is not easy, so a lot of bands choose to calm it down a little bit. When the holidays hit there is a lot of holiday music on the radio charts and everything changes. It’s just kind of crazy. If you think about it, there are a lot of things that happen during the holidays, even the rock charts go down as far as plays because they are playing more holiday programming and stuff.

On February 1, 2011 you released your third album titled Until We Have Faces. It has been charting really well.

It has done really well for us and we look at it from the whole grand scheme of things. The way music is now, to sell a million records now is unheard of. A lot of kids are on the internet buying single downloads and records are not being sold in hard scans anymore. To sell the amount we sold the first week and then sustain a constant measurable buying market for our record this time around has been awesome. Each one of our records has progressively out sold the last. It has just been awesome for us and it is keeping us on the road out there playing shows.

Well you have a really strong fan base. A lot of that has to do with your loyal fans calling those stations and requesting the songs.

We have a lot of very, very loyal fans. That has been the key to all this stuff. If fans aren’t loyal and checking out everything the band is doing, then the band is going to go away pretty quick. We are thankful.

Has any of the music been used in TV or movies?

Yeah, we have a cut from our first record, a song called “Pieces” that was in the Blindside trailer. We have been up for several movies. Our new song “Lie To Me” was up for the new movie Real Steel. They bought the licensing for it, but they ended up never using it. We didn’t make the cut, but it is always cool to do something like that.

You are a really good looking guy. Have you ever thought about acting?

(Laughs) Are you sure you know who you are talking to? I don’t know. No, I’ve never really thought about doing anything like that. The first acting thing that we ever did was for the video for “Feed the Machine.” We wanted the video that we did to be a movie because they don’t play videos on MTV or VH1 anymore. We have the opportunity to do whatever we want on the internet, so we wanted to do what we wanted to do. We took the money that we got towards the video for this record and we made this small movie, this epic thing. We wanted to give people more than they bargained for. It’s funny because we got the final cutback and there was so much more that we wanted to do with it, but it ended up turning out amazing. It was fun to do that one.

Speaking of videos, the video for “Lie to Me” came out amazing.

Yeah we did them back to back in four days. We did both videos at the same time. The location for the beginning of the “Feed the Machine” video was underneath our feet in the lower levels of that iron spot that we were at where we played “Lie to Me.” Literally the shot of the first scene in “Feed the Machine” was underneath where we were standing for the “Lie to Me” video. It was pretty cool.

I watched the “Faceless” fan video. It came out cool. How many picture submissions did you end up getting for the video?

We got thousands. People got kind of upset. We threw them all into a generator to make that mosaic poster that came out with everybody’s face. You know those magic eye looking posters or whatever? We threw one of those in with all of the different faces in it and it made a picture of us, so it was really cool. Some pictures actually got used more than once. I guess the computer decided that the color make-up of the individual pictures worked for the picture better. There was a little bit of repetition in some of the pictures, but some kids pictures didn’t get used, so they got pretty upset. We put out a couple of different versions to make sure everyone was happy. It was kind of silly to be upset about it. There was only so much we could do. We can never anticipate how many kids are going to want to do that. We got thousands of submissions, but we used a good amount of them though.

Earlier this year you guys were on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno and also on Conan.

Yeah that was really cool and a very exciting time for us. The record got released that week and we played Conan I think four or five days later. A week later we played Leno, but the two hate each other, so we were like “How did they book us for both?” They are in competition with each other and they can’t stand each other, so how would they book us both? We were like “Whatever, we will do it. We don’t care.” It was really cool. We weren’t even going to ask questions. We were like “We will do it!”

The band got to be the Grand Marshalls of a parade in Linesville, Pa this year. How cool was that?

I had to miss it. I actually flew home from the tour at the time because we had some contract stuff going on with our new record and stuff like that. One of us had to go back, so they picked me. I went back and did all that stuff. That is a town where my brother, Michael and I all grew up in. It’s almost like that American Idol thing, you come back and everyone knows who you are and you are this big deal.

In the video, your babysitter even talks about you.

She has actually been a good friend now since we have all grown up. She is the sister of one of my good friends. We showed up there and we were the only ones that look the way we do now. They are all just country bumpkins. We are pretty humble guys and it was something that we looked forward to doing. We are just small town boys that have done some cool things so far. They are all in support of us.

What are your plans for the New Year? Will you continue to tour?

We have four or five shows from December 26th all the way to the end of the year. We are going to do some New Year’s Eve shows and stuff like that. We are taking all of January off so we can have some time at home. We will work on getting the new set ready for the next leg of the ‘Kill the Machine Tour.’ It is actually going to be pretty intense and in February we go back out on that. We are going to be writing for the new record now even though we are a year out from the next record release. We always do that to make sure that the next record is just as good as anything else we have done.

Thank you so much for the interview. Before I let you go would you like to add or say anything?

We would like to point everyone to our website because we run it. A lot of bands’ labels run their websites, but we run all of our own things.

They can hook up with us on Facebook. Every Saturday we are on there for a couple hours answering any questions that anyone has. We try to stay in touch with all of our fans.

Winter Jam 2011 Tour Spectacular

RED, Fireflight, Kutless, Matthew West, Newsboys and NewSong

Thursday, November 3 – Denver, Co.

Friday, November 4 – Albuquerque, Nm

Saturday, November 5 – Phoenix, Ariz.

Sunday, November 6 – Las Vegas, Nev

Thursday, November 10 – Boise, Idaho

Friday, November 11 – Portland, Ore.

Saturday, November 12 – Tacoma, Wash.

Thursday, November 17 – Bakersfield, Calif.

Friday, November 18 – Sacramento, Calif.

Saturday, November 19 – Fresno, Calif.

Sunday, November 20 – Ontario, Calif.

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