Today’s Feature: December 9th-10th, The Red Carpet Rats

December 11, 2007 at 1:14 am (Today's Feature)

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Take a look at the Red Carpet Rats and a variety of judgments may jump into your head. If your mind works nearly as rampant as lead singer Uni’s does, you might think “U2/Velvet Revolver hybrid” or “That’s a lot of hair,” but what you’ll learn is that this band is more than the latest rock-pop group to hit the circuit. They are here with obvious ambition, a principle held up by sharp lyrics, memorable rifts and unparalleled style.

While Uni, McCabe, Doc and Tige always seem to have a good time, the Red Carpet Rats know when to get down to business – hell, they made the move to Nashville because they knew it was the “songwriting capital of the world!” And now they’ve put their writing skills to work on their upcoming release, “The Big Picture.” The record is a prime of example of what upcoming bands should strive to create – a collection of songs that are individually capable of standing on their own. And the Rats have learned to mix it up when necessary – like throwing in a reggae beat in the middle of a song like “Photographic Memory.”

This kind of praise isn’t new to the Red Carpet Rats. You’ve probably already heard of them, considering they’ve garnered startling reviews and airplay from radio frequencies around the nation. Brad Westmar of the KCHost Radio Netowork calls their sound “a refreshing burst of rock energy, melody, and intelligence that promises to knock your socks off!” Even in Canada, Rich Rev of Revolving Doors Radio claims it’s “Catchy hook-driven pop… here’s an energetic upbeat band with some purpose!” These opinions are appreciated, but perhaps the words of Chris J. of Nashville Elementary School rings with the most admiration, “In my opinion, as good as Aerosmith.”

The band will be out on tour supporting the new album, so get out and find a show. Keep an eye for their Red Carpet Rats comic book as well (who knew??). Now jump into the XXQ’s.

XXQs: Red Carpet Rats

PEV: Where is home for you?

Uni (RCR): Home is Nashville, Tennessee.

PEV: How did the Red Carpet Rats first form as a band?

Uni (RCR): Interestingly enough, the guitar player, McCabe, and myself, we’re actually from the Northeast and we moved down here just as songwriters basically. From here we put feelers out to get other players and … found a drummer and then a bass player, and we’re making our home base out of Nashville here.

PEV: Was there a certain point that you said, “Music is going to be my career. It’s not just going to be a hobby?”

Uni (RCR): Absolutely. We came to Nashville because from all the things I have read and research I’ve done, it’s really a songwriting Mecca and we consider ourselves songwriters first and thought no better place to go than the songwriting capital of the world, as they say.

PEV: Growing up, what kind of music were you listening to?

Uni (RCR): I want to say a little bit of everything but it was actually just what my parents were playing and I heard from my sister, so you’re talking everything from Neil Diamond to Aerosmith to David Bowie to Frank Sinatra.

PEV: What was it like the first time you guys performed together as a band?

Uni (RCR): I’ll tell ya, it’s one of those things, I feel this every time I get on stage with these guys, is that all the work and everything that we put into it, it’s worthwhile when we get onstage and that’s kind of the way it was from the first time. I felt like wow, I’ve been playing with these guys forever and it’s almost like I knew them all along so that’s kind of what it was like.

PEV: What can people expect from a live Red Carpet Rats performance?

Uni (RCR): High energy. A lot of movement. Humor. Definitely we’re making an effort to put on something reminiscent of the big show. Kind of what bands were doing in the 70s and 80s, just big, even though on a limited budget. We’re still trying to do things like smoke and this and that.

PEV: Can you go into detail about the time you received a letter from the White House?

Uni (RCR): I wrote a song after 9/11. We recorded it and sent it around to different stations and what have you, and actually got some mainstream air play on it and then sent it in to Armed Forces Radio and just through different channels one day I get a letter addressed to myself from the White House. It was a letter from the vice-president that it was a patriotic statement and just congratulations for taking that initiative.

PEV: That’s a pretty nice thing to receive. What’s it like when you check the mailbox and you look at the return address and it says “White House”?

Uni (RCR): Honestly, my first impulse was “what did I do?” It’s funny. You’ve been looking a mail your whole life but when the return address, and I mean that’s all it said was “The White House” it was like Whoa!

PEV: I read an article you had in ACED magazine. Is writing something for a magazine or editorial style something you always wanted to pursue and you will do in the future?

Uni (RCR): Absolutely. I’ve always enjoyed writing, be it lyrics or creative writing or what have you, and I had the idea to do that and I pitched it to a few different magazine publications and ACED was nice enough to dig the idea and just kind of let me run with it and I’m having a great time. Definitely would love to keep doing it in the future.

PEV: You’re putting out a comic book as well?

Uni (RCR): Yes. We’re actually in the beginning stages now of having our own Red Carpet Rats comic books.

PEV: What are people going to find in that?

Uni (RCR): Well, I don’t want to give too much away at this point, but one of the guys in the band, Jock, is a huge, huge comic book fan and he is really helping out with that and we’re just looking to make something cool and a little edgy and ultimately entertaining.

PEV: What can people expect from “The Big Picture”, your album that’s going to be coming out?

Uni (RCR): The Big Picture. Let’s see, well, we’re almost finished with it now. We’re kind of in the mixing stages and I want to say it’s pop rock. I believe it’s fairly melodic. What we tried to do was write songs, every song, keep it separate. This is our feeling this. this is our feeling on this, this is our feeling on this. Even musically a lot of times too we tried to jump here or there. Which we sometimes we even do in the middle of a song. We have a song on the record call “Photographic Memory” and in the middle of the song we kind of jump to this little reggae beat in the middle. Just kind of mixing it up. Keep you guessing is what we’re trying to do.

PEV: How is this different than your past writing and your past music?

Uni (RCR): I think it’s more focused. I think that we had a clearer vision of what we were trying to do and by that I mean I think that we’re really understanding who we are as a band and the kind of band that we want to be. I think every day as time goes on we just get closer and closer and it’s a development. It’s a work in progress.

PEV: In all your travels, what is your favorite city to perform in?

Uni (RCR): My favorite city to perform in. I would have to say New York is my favorite city to perform in. I have a lot of family there. It always feels good to know that you have some people who have seen you since you were a little boy doing this. You can see it in their eyes and you can see it in their faces that they got your back and they’re proud of you. I think for that reason I like playing in New York so much.

PEV: Is there a certain up and coming band right now that you think we should all be looking out for?

Uni (RCR): Up and coming band? Honestly, we have been so focused on just doing our record I have really, in the past few months or what have you, I really haven’t have enough of a chance to really get out there and see anyone. I’m looking forward to doing that because I think that’s a real fun thing, to discover bands that you hadn’t heard of and they’re your own little finding. I love that. I’m definitely looking forward to that but as of right now I really couldn’t say.

PEV: When you aren’t performing and aren’t working on the record, what can we find you doing in your spare time?

Uni (RCR): As a 24 carat work alcoholic, I will probably be writing. Either writing, working on some RCR, maybe some magazine ideas, or something like the comic book or something like that. I’ll probably be doing some kind of creating in that way.

PEV: When you sit down to write, either for the comic book or for the editorial magazines or for music, what kind of environment do you like to surround yourself in?

Uni (RCR): For me, it’s consistency. I have a desk that I always write at and I try to keep everything the same. If I can do that then it frees up my mind to just be creative whereas if we’re out of town or something like that, I find it more difficult. I know that’s going to pose a problem the more and more we’re out of town, but nevertheless, I do try to surround myself with as many comforts and things I’m used to as possible.

PEV: What’s one thing that fans would be surprised about the guys in Red Carpet Rats?

Uni (RCR): Are little kids going to be reading this? No, I don’t know if this would surprise anybody, but we are a family and as with any family we fight and we argue and we’ll kick and scream. We have our dysfunctions just like anybody else but at the end of the day we consider each other brothers, really. We are as close, or sometimes even closer than our own family members so that’s really what it is. So it’s, I don’t want to say more than a band, but it has that element of family.

PEV: That’s cool. I like that attitude. What one word best describes Red Carpet Rats?

Uni (RCR): Entertainment.

PEV: Finally, what’s next for you guys?

Uni (RCR): Well, we are at completion of the record. Mood is still touring. I’d really like to work this as long as we can. I believe that playing out live is essential and is really instrumental in the growth of a band, and that’s really what’s next. We’re going to hit the road.

PEV: I’m looking forward to seeing you come back east. I’m over in Baltimore so I’m hoping to catch a show.

Uni (RCR): Yeah. We’ll hook you up.

For more information on Red Carpet Rats, check out www.RedCarpetRats.com

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