On a cold night in Taylor, Michigan, the Red Light Saints rolled into town and heated things up with their blistering live show. On April 15th, 2014, these guys put on an outstanding in-your-face rock â€˜n roll show at the Perfect Pitcher. The band played their hearts out to the 150+ crowd gaining a slew of new fans along the way!
Red Light Saints consist of Travis Schinke (vocals), Lane Bashaw (lead guitar), Andy Nader (bass), Luke Heckel (drums), and Teddy â€œO.P.P.â€ Opperman (touring rhythm guitar). Opperman is filling in for Ben Kurowski is currently on hiatus for just having a child.
The band unleashed a dynamic set of high energy rock â€˜n roll with a set that intermixed songs from their debut EP, The Legend of Jasper Pipestone, with a few unreleased songs and an incredible rendition of Man In The Box by Alice In Chains.
Their setlist included: On The Pavement, Let It Go, Ur Not The One, The Plan, Long Way Home, Dag Bag, Long Night, Man In The Box, Anything Anymore, and Say What You Will.
Schinke took no time introducing himself to the crowd while belting out â€œItâ€™s Nice To Meet Youâ€ with On The Pavement. Schinke is a very energetic frontman who appears to truly love what he is doing. Backed by heavy instrumentals and mammoth drumming, this was the perfect song for them to open up their set with.
Heckel shined during The Plan showing that he is an amazing drummer who has the capability to play alongside seasoned drummers who have been in the business twice as long as him.
The band seemed to really find their â€˜grooveâ€™ during Long Way Home (a personal favorite of mine). Bashaw and Opperman played off each other during this song. Opperman was all â€˜smilesâ€™ and would engage with the audience when he caught them singing along to the chorus.
During Dag Bag, both Nader and Bashaw, smiling and laughing, appeared to have fun playing their guitars while leaning on each other during this song. It was as if they were both trying to support holding each other up.
The guys were â€˜spot-onâ€™ with their rendition of Man In The Box. This was an excellent choice for them as a cover song. They played with the same power and passion that Alice In Chains put into the original version making it a highlight for many who were in attendance.
They ended their set with their recently released single, Say What You Will. This song has a â€˜punchâ€™ to it. It is a great song for them to release as a single. With its overall aggressive vibe, it makes a statement to the listener as if saying to them, â€œHere We Are!â€
There was a small crowd up front when the band started their set but most everyone had made their way up to the stage as the area was full to capacity by the end of their set. Red Light Saints found new group of fans this night here in Taylor, Michigan. The band came back, later in the night, to play with Faster Pussycat on the song Pretty Fucked Up. The crowd absolutely LOVED it! Together, these two bands had hit a home run.
After having recently reviewed The Legend Of Jasper Pipestone EP, and really enjoying it, I was looking forward to checking out their live show. These guys did not disappoint me in the least, and made it worth the two-hour drive it took to see them. Red Light Saints play like seasoned musicians and appear to be in it for the long haul. After watching their performance, I see them only getting bigger and bigger. I am definitely looking forward to seeing them on their next tour.
Red Light Saints opened for Faster Pussycat that night at the Perfect Pitcher in Taylor. National Rock Review reviewed and photographed their show. You can read this article here: Faster Pussycat concert review and photographs
Red Light Saints concert images:
Photos by Thom Seling
After the show, I had the honor of sitting down with the guys to ask them a few questions. Here is that interview:
NRR: When I listen to Red Light Saints, Faster Pussycat doesn’t necessarily come to mind. You touring with them kind of surprised me. How did this tour come about?
Well, our first tour with them came about because we had the opportunity to do a handful of shows with them when they were in our hometown area of Wisconsin. So, our promoter got them our stuff and they (Faster Pussycat) came back to us and asked us if we wanted to do more of the run? We said yes. They then came back to us and asked us if we wanted to do the whole tour? We said “hell yes” and we did it.
At that point, before the first tour, we had done some Midwest runs but we had never done anything that was a full-fledged national tour. So, we did it and, honestly, when you have 13 people on a bus for 6 weeks at a time, you either love each other or you hate each other or maybe a little bit of both. They (Faster Pussycat) became, well their not even friends at this pointâ€¦ their family. We had Thanksgiving at a couple of their houses with their families.
When it came time for us to tour again, we had our publicist put some feelers out for us and Faster Pussycat said “come out with us?” We said “hell yes”, again, because we seriously love these guys like family. We know that their audience isn’t necessarily 100% our demographic or listening to new modern active rock radio but we had so much fun with them the first tour that there was no way we could say no. So that’s how we ended up on this tour. It’s a way for us to get out nationally and hitting some of the same venues again, or at least hitting some of the same markets again, and just getting our name out there so we can hopefully get a little name recognition for the next time we come back through.
This tour also really helped us spring-board some of the stuff that we needed to do such as playing some show cases for labels as well as some media, like rock publications or blog writers. It got us out there, to put our show out there to get people, like you, to review it and tell people about what we’re doing. Because, us, we believe in what we’re doing.
LANE: And it seems like a few other people do too with the reviews that we are getting and the really good response from them.
LUKE: I’m really proud of the response we are getting from people who aren’t necessarily there to see us or who aren’t even really into the new modern rock sound.
TRAVIS: My favorite thing is when people who don’t know who the fuck we are see us for the first time. Their standing there in the back then halfway through the show their saying “who the fuck are these assholes?” and then their scurrying up toward the stage and then we’re all friends and we have drinks with them.
LUKE: That’s true. You might think that this isn’t necessarily the right crowd for us to play to but we have made so many genuine friends on these two tours that we will know these people for as long as Red Light Saints is around.
TRAVIS: But, what’s the right crowd? People are people everywhere. I like all kinds of genres of music. I like country and pop and all kinds of crazy music. People are going to like us or they’re not going to like us.
LUKE: In all sincerity we are just playing rock ‘n roll and if people are liking Faster Pussycat’s brand of rock ‘n roll then we hope they will like ours as well.
LANE: I have to share the best thing that has happened to me on this tour. A few nights ago there was this 12 or 13 year old boy there with his father because his father obviously grew up listening to Faster Pussycat. Here this father brings his kid with him to his first concert and the kid loved us. He came back to our booth at least ten times to hang out. That took me back to when I was a kid just getting into music and going to my first concert. And, believe it or not, those early bands that I listened to I still love now. Hopefully this kid will love our music years from now.
Yeah, this kid’s father put a post on our Facebook wall and it really meant a lot to me. It is something I will never forget. This is from Raymond. This is from Ohio. He said, “I was at the show with my sons. It was the first concert for my 15 year old. You guys rocked us. Kick ass show. We got you to play one more and you didn’t disappoint us one bit. You guys are going places. We love the CD and thanks for signing it for the boys. You guys are all class acts on and off the stage.”
That last sentence really got to me because we’re all good old boys from Wisconsin. We play for the hard working families. We’re all hard working guys. We all have jobs at home. The best thing about all of my favorite musicians is that you can talk to them. And that’s me. I want to be that guy that you can come up to and talk to. This is the kind of stuff that I live for. Dave Grohl is my favorite musician. I want people to think of me as they do of Dave. He is the nicest guy in rock ‘n roll making him the coolest guy in rock ‘n roll.
LUKE: If you give us an audience, we would like to think that we are going to do something to make you feel what we are feeling.
NRR: For me, you did that with Long Way Home. That song is awesome.
LUKE: Yeah, that one always makes me happy.
TRAVIS: That’s a song from the heart. It might be simple and easy to sing along to but it comes from the heart.
LUKE: That’s the song when we were out in Los Angeles driving down the highway that we would catch ourselves singing along to. Here we are, driving down the highway with the windows down wailing along to the song at the top of our lungs, just having fun.
NRR: Long Way Home kind of reminds me of a song similar to that of which I could see Pop Evil having done, especially with the vocal harmony.
LUKE: Absolutely. We’ve had the opportunity to have played with them a few times. We like them. We got along with them really well. Our set meshed extraordinarily well with theirs because they do the heavy thing, the fast thing, the powerful thing, the melodic thing and then all of a sudden they’ll throw in a heartfelt acoustic rock songâ€¦ And, people love that. They can latch on to it. They can sing along to it. They can relate to it.
NRR: You have your new EP coming out right now. Did you self-release it?
LUKE: Yes, we did release it ourselves. We hadn’t put out anything professionally yet so it was time.
TRAVIS: We’ve had some offers now since we’ve been out on tour but nothing that we are willing to take.
NRR: How long have you been out on this tour?
TRAVIS: March 20th was the kick off for the CD release. We did our first show with Buckcherry and then we met up with Faster Pussycat in Denver. We’re going to be out with them until April 26th.
NRR: Do you have any plans on going back out with anyone after this tour ends?
LUKE: We’ve had a couple of offers but we haven’t decided which direction or avenue to follow.
TRAVIS: We have an offer from Ted Nugent but we don’t know if Uncle Ted is going to love us or hate us?
NRR: It’s really not a bad offer, especially in the Midwest. He still has quite a draw.
TRAVIS: I think to look back in 10 or 15 or 20 years from now and say “Hey man, I played with the fucking Nuge.” That’s going to be cool. It’s a story to tell the grandkids.
NRR: He’s an icon, no doubt.
LUKE: Yeah, we have a couple of options and we are just trying to decide which one is the route to go.
LANE: I just can’t help but think that we need to get with a band that’s a little more, like, now.
NRR: And, the CD hasn’t officially come out yet, right?
LUKE: True, our album doesn’t officially come out until Thursday. In two days.
TRAVIS: So, nobody has even really heard it. They’ve gotten one track that we released as a single. We did get some pre-release copies to sell on this tour and we’ve already sold out of them.
LUKE: Yeah, we already sold 100 copies which I didn’t expect.
LANE: Being that we did it on this tour is pretty cool.
NRR: How long have you guys been together as a band?
LUKE: The band started in 2010. Well, Lane, Ben and I have been playing music on and off for over 10 years. We found Nader in a band with a previous singer a few years ago and he’s been the bassist for Red Light Saints for around 2 years now. We found Travis about a year and a half ago.
TRAVIS: On the internet!
LUKE: Red Light Saints, itself, has been in existence for about 3 years now. We remembered Travis from a previous band that we had played with and when things weren’t working out with our other lead singer, Lane contacted Travis through the internet. So, Travis has been in the band now for about a year and a half.
NRR: So, you (Luke) and Lane are really the beginning of the band?
LUKE: The two of us and the other guitarist (Ben Kurowski) who isn’t on this tour with us because he just had a baby a couple of days before the tour started.
LANE: Ben is actually our lead guitarist and I am the rhythm guitarist.
LUKE: Since Ben couldn’t do this tour, we found O.P.P. (Teddy) to fill in on rhythm guitar while Lane moved up to lead guitar.
LANE: Yeah, so Luke, Travis, Ben, Nader and I are the actual band with O.P.P. helping us out for this tour.
LUKE: When we found Travis everything really started to click. We always had really cool ideas and we had some good songs with a really good local following but we wouldn’t be doing what we are doing right now if it wasn’t for Travis.
LANE: Yeah, Travis is a really pushy son of a bitch! We love him and hate him so muchâ€¦ that it works.
LUKE: We just clicked. When we found Travis we started writing music that was satisfying to us and also accessible to others. We complimented each other.
LANE: We jammed with Travis on a Wednesday. He played his first show with us on a Friday. And then we were like, you’re in the band!
LUKE: Because it worked â€˜like that.’ Then when we started writing it was so easy for us to write together.
LANE: We would have the basic first part of the song written within 15 to 20 minutes. We were like, wow, that’s going to be a song. We just had to put the finishing touches on it.
TRAVIS: Yeah, all of the songs we wrote probably only took us an hour each to write. Here we are, five guys sitting in Ben’s basement drinking some beer on a Sunday afternoon and we were able to write out a batch of songs together that we were really excited about.
LANE: We all came from different areas and ended up living in Green Bay and here we are at the start of something that I felt could be really good.
NRR: Travis, what was the band you were singing in before Red Light Saints?
TRAVIS: It was a band called Seed.
They [Seed] played right before us [Luke & Lane] on a show with Pop Evil when we were in a band called Eyes of Claire
. That’s how we first found Travis.
We kind of found Nader the same way. We had to play a gig. We needed a bassist. Our singer, at the time, said I know a guy. And, so we called him and said, hey, can you play a show on Friday? And, he said yes. We probably jammed with him for about an hour before the show then played this three hour show with him. So, an hour of the show he kind of â€˜knew’ but then we just winged it for the other two hours. When we got done playing, Lane was like, what do you think of Nader? And, I was like, He’s in the band. I want him. I want him, now! As a drummer, I am really particular about the bassist and then the bassist is probably the same way about the drummer and we just clicked immediately.
NADER: At that time I was in a band called Playbox but also played with anyone as much as I could. I’d do open jam sessions, variety bands and would just play all that I could. That’s how these guys found me. I was just hanging out one night playing.
TRAVIS: I had almost given up on music the first day Lane got ahold of me. I went back to college and was studying to be a chiropractor. I was married.
LUKE: We ruined his life!
TRAVIS: Yeah, this band has ruined my life, ha ha, but I’m such a better person for it because I found brothers who share my passion for music. I love everything that we are doing.
LANE: Even when Travis was in the band Seed, I could tell he was a really good singer. He sang this song Retribution and I fell in love with it the first time I heard it. This was a great song. In our area, there’s talent everywhere. We have musicians with amazing talent.
LUKE: In Northeast Wisconsin, you’re never going to be discovered because it’s Northeast Wisconsin. That being said, the quality of musicianship you find is absurd. It’s through the fucking roof. There are so many amazing players where we come from. We travel all around. We go to Vegas, L.A., New York, wherever, and the players who come from our area will play the pants off any of the studio musicians from those other areas.
LANE: We have a honey pot of amazing musicians and it just helps us step up our game.
LUKE: I’ve always been really comfortable playing with Lane and Ben because we grew up playing together. We then find Nader who we just really clicked with immediately. And, then we find Travis who is really good with lyrics and melody. You put it all together, and it’s really easy. Don’t get me wrong, we fight all of the time but we work really well together. We click. We all click together really well.
TRAVIS: Luke and I tried to strangle each other in a cab ride while we were making the record but then the next day we are best friends again hanging out at the beach together.
LANE: True story. I was there.
LUKE: Yeah, we actually tried to strangle each other right during the time we were making the record. So, yeah, the ideas for the songs and the songs themselves were pretty much flushed out but they became what they are because of our experience in L.A. when we made the record. We worked with an up and coming producer named Paul Pavao at the Mix Room.
TRAVIS: Paul is an amazing guy. He’s assisted in working on many great bands like Breaking Benjamin, Red, Fuel, and Daughtery and even helped mix bigger acts like Lady Gaga.
LUKE: The Mix Room is kind of a big deal for bands to record at. We met with a couple of producers (Brian Virtue, Steve Albini, and Mark Holman) that had produced some bigger name bands who were interested in working with us. They were all great. You could tell that they were all really knowledgeable but when we sat down with them it just didn’t necessarily click. But, when we met Paul, we were all like, he’s just as big a dork as the rest of us! It’s going to be amazing! And, he’s the guy!
TRAVIS: Because he gets us. He gets our personalities. I think that’s what really made the record ‘Pop’.
LUKE: Paul’s done a lot of stuff but he isn’t this big L.A. name yet so he’s still really grounded. He’s a hidden gem.
TRAVIS: Paul is a genius. He’s going to be really big someday.
LANE: Paul helped us put the record together in six days. I don’t know if you know anything about recording but nobody puts a record together in six days.
LUKE: Yeah, it was that fast. We said we wanted to make a record and that we only had one week to do it in.
LANE: We seemed to just get it done right the first time around. There were a few times we would do a take or two but it just seemed that everything just clicked.
LUKE: Yeah, we said we just wanted to do something where we could release a song or two so we went in hoping we could get two or three songs done. But it was so effortless with Paul. We clicked so well together that we were able to bust through even more songs.
TRAVIS: I think it was the Trader Joe’s cookies. Those pistachio nut ones, Pinachios, are amazing. That and pinot noir were the fuel for the record! They go great together, hand in hand.
LUKE: Yes! But, in all seriousness, Paul was amazing. He took what we had and said, this is really good, can you do this one little thing?, like this instead?, or can you cut this section?, or make that section a little longer?, but, this one here a lot shorter? He made me simplify some stuff. He was like, play less, but I don’t want to play less, but I did it and I listen back to it and it made all of the difference in the world.
LANE: Long Way Home is a prime example. We didn’t change much but we did change the chorus just a slight touch from the way it was.
TRAVIS: There used to be a really ripping guitar solo in it too but it’s gone.
LANE: Yeah, it was kind of like a Journey thing. An 80’s Journey sounding guitar solo.
LUKE: The guitar solo was probably something like six minutes long. There was also a whole other verse in there that we took out and the chorus was longer. Paul really helped steer the ship and give us what we needed. It’s only an EP but I’m really proud of it.
TRAVIS: Me too. I’ve never worked so hard on anything like that before in my life.
NRR: How did you guys decide on releasing Say What You Will as the first single?
TRAVIS: Our publicist, Ryan, really steered the ship on that. The guys from Faster had a lot of input. Especially Chad Stewart, the drummer from Faster Pussycat, he was really behind it. Our buddy Cutter, from Razor 94.7, helped.
LUKE: And, in all honesty, Travis did a lot of leg work so kudos to him. Once we had the rough mixes back, he (Travis) would go out in our hometown region and he would pop that disc in the bar’s cd player and yell out, “Hey, everybody pay attention to what song you like the best!”
TRAVIS: Yeah, I’d buy everybody a drink in the bar so that they would listen. Then I’d ask them what your favorite song is? It got down to two songs. Then the next time I’d play the two songs and ask what their favorite one of the two was? The overwhelming response was Say What You Will. We really did our homework and believe we put out the right song for us as our first single.
LANE: We also believe that Long Way Home is a hit, we really do, but that wouldn’t be a good first release for us. It’s a cross-over song.
NRR: Say What You Will has more of a punch to it. It says, “Hey, where here!.”
LUKE: Right and it’s more representative of the genre of rock that we play.
TRAVIS: I think our first inclining was to release On The Pavement as our first single. In the chorus it says, “It’s nice to meet you.” We thought it seemed legit but it doesn’t have that â€˜snap’ like Say What You Will does. It’s a punchy rock song. It’s in your face. It’s a great song to open up with. Especially for people who haven’t seen us before. It’s like, “Hey, well ok, it is nice to meet you.” Somebody wrote that. I can’t remember who. Was it you? Yeah, it was you.
TRAVIS: Ha ha, I knew it. See, you get it. Alright. That’s cool. I remember that.
LUKE: Say What You Will, specifically the bridge, is just really big and bombastic. It has all of those harmonies. It has guttural screams. I think it just has everything in it that we wanted to use when putting our first foot forward.
NRR: What’s your favorite venue to play at?
LANE: A full one. You know, one filled with people, ha ha.
I like the Meyer Theatre
in Green Bay. We’ve played there with a couple of different bands but the most memorable was having the opportunity to open up for Ed Kowalcczyk who is the lead singer of Live doing an acoustic tour. We got a call six days before the show asking if we wanted to open up for him as direct support.
For me, growing up, Live was and still is my favorite band and Ed is my favorite front man, ever, so I fell on the floor then freaked out then passed out then said yes! We had six days to take the show that you just saw, and figure out how to make it an acoustic one. We were going to be playing a few shows with Ed that would literally be sit down shows at dinner theatres and wineries.
LANE: There was the Meyer Theatre, the City Winery in Chicago, and the Dakota Jazz Club in Minneapolis.
LUKE: The first show was the Meyer Theatre. We spent six days trying to figure out how to take our set, which is very rock n roll, very high energy jumping off of bass drums, or whatever, and make it acoustic. Make it classy. So, we re-worked it and we did it. We didn’t really know what to expect but the response was overwhelmingly positive. And, then Ed invited us to join him on a few other shows. That’s kind of the thing that kick started us on deciding to make the jump to tour nationally.
NRR: So here you are, then, taking it one day at a time, trying to take your career to the next level?
NRR: Well guys, thanks for your time. It was an honor speaking with you.
TRAVIS: Thank you man, for coming to the show and for everything else.
Red Light Saints interview images:
Red Light Saints online: