New Strings For Old Puppets
LP - $14.00
REALLY RED was the backbone of Houston's underground from the early punk era clear through 80's hardcore. Like The Dicks in Austin, they directly challenged an insanely violent policed department at no small risk to their own lives. Their sound itself had more art and post-punk elements then most, with a musical and lyrical depth on par with bands like Mission of Burma, Wire, or Dead Kennedys. This collection presents the sound better then it has ever been, so hear them again for the first time - or the first time EVER.
Virus 456 "Volume 3 "News Strings For Old Puppets" could be the best of the bunch! Here in one place are all the highly sought after REALLY RED 7"s, plus more from the early days that's never been released in ANY form until now.
Starts with the KBD cult classic "Modern Needs" and the even rarer "Crowd Control" singles, followed by an unlikely punk cover of Petula Clark's "Downtown". Finally seeing the light for the first time is "Little Death", the song Jello wanted for the Alternative Tentacle's compilation "Let Them Eat Jellybeans", that only survived on a cassette he found in his vaults.
Then it's on to the hardcore era and the "New Strings..." EP itself. Then a final rewind to the live songs originally released as the "Official Bootleg". Despise Moral Majority". The sound is dramatically improved, and it ain't a muddy bootleg anymore!
This is one kickass album that holds together remarkably well, lovingly curated and re-mastered by Biafra with part 3 of David Ensminger's (Left Of The Dial) extensive interview with vocalist Ronnie Bond.
"What's amazing about Really Red in retrospect is how sharp they were. They were so keenly attuned to everything that was going on in punk around America that they uniquely blended every element into the perfect combination.
Ultimately, what the three reissues show the most is a band that represents a very specific point in Houston musical history, if not punk-rock history itself. Really Red were not so much a product of a scene around them, but a product of a scene outside of themselves which they absorbed like sponges. They were ultimately so diverse, and so brilliant, because they heard things going on outside their world and decided to introduce it to the one they lived in.
Even without that context, though, Really Red staked their claim in punk history much the way their contemporaries did: by writing damn fine songs that hold up even when put on a series of reissues more than 30 years after their release. Punk rockers never meant to establish or inspire all these sorts of retrospectives and thoughtful insights, after all. They wanted to rock out and inspire a generation to be revolutionaries. The revolution may never have happened, but Really Red still really rocks, even after all these years."
- Houston Press
"Now, this is a reissue of necessity if there ever was one! REALLY RED was a band from Texas that didn't achieve such infamy as fellow statesmen BIG BOYS, DICKS and MDC. Possibly the band's most notable moment came with a track on the infamous 'Let Them Eat Jellybeans' comp. That's a shame because the band's 1981 debut album, 'Teaching You The Fear' was a wonderful mix of politics and edgy, arty Hardcore.
This is a double CD set (or three separate vinyl albums if you prefer) that compiles that album, the follow-up, 'Rest In Pain' from 1983 and all the singles, compilation tracks and even some unreleased demos. It's a bit of a lame comparison, but there is a distinct BIG BOYS vibe here, but the Funk is replaced with something approaching Jazz, a grating and relentless guitar and angst-laden, volatile vocals.
Highlights? Well, there are 44 tracks here and, bar the closing track, all make for essential listening. Look out for 'Starvation Dance' though - my personal fave.
Packing is great with an interview by David Ensminger with guitarist U-Ron, lyrics, flyers and photos. Highly recommended stuff, especially for those with an eye on quality Punk and Hardcore of yesteryear."
"From Houston, Really Red was four guys who could not only snarl-they could skronk just as good as they walk, mutating over the inconsiderable span of two albums and a handful of other recordings into the first Texas punk band to make any stir outside the Lone Star State. Windbags fond of claiming U.S. punk wasn't just as polluted by Eighties leftist politics as its Anglo cousin seriously dislike having joints like "Starvation Dance" and "Youth Culture for Sale" pounded through their ears like Van Helsing's stake, but that's no reason not to do it to them anyway. Band members were older than average and mainman U-Ron Bond had priceless experience with the MC5 and the 13th Floor Elevators playing in front of his face. At their very best, RR was as focused and compulsively listenable as the Minutemen, but their critique much sharper and-unlike the Clash-they weren't being cute about their politics. True to the name, Really Red was far too unironically left-wing and liberationist not merely for MTV, but for even the narrowest-gauge Eighties rock stardom. And the band, to their everlasting credit, appeared not to give the first fuck for any of that. That more than any other reason is why part of the secret history of American hardcore-the one as yet unwritten by fanboys and pop-narcs-is right here on these 44 tracks, with some ace liners to prove it. Included are lyrics so that no point may be missed."
- LA Record
"I love Really Red. Teaching You The Fear was a mind-bending eye-opening album for lil' Mark Arm. It was punk rock. It was hardcore. It was so much more. It didn't easily fit into this new, increasingly inflexible, form. Teaching You The Fear was a litmus test for punks. If you dug Really Red, chances are you were smart and cool. If you didn't, you were sheep, a chump or a chump sheep.
Really Red was one of the very few bands that dealt with politics in a meaningful way. They didn't just yell a bunch of cheap slogans. They never talked down to their audience. Most importantly, they knew what the hell they were talking about. This was a huge contrast to the generic "political" hardcore bands highly touted by the likes of Maximum Rock 'n' Roll. The band's righteous anger was infectious. At least it infected me.
I'll never understand why Really Red wasn't huge in the same way Black Flag and the Dead Kennedys were (or at least better known than schmucks like MDC or Suicidal Tendencies). They were worshiped by my small circle of friends. My first band, Mr. Epp, got to open for them once when they came to Seattle. We felt like we'd made it. It was a great show. We finally got to see Really Red and they were on fire! I love Really Red."
- Mark Arm, MUDHONEY