Ruby was a UK/US band consisting of Scottish singer Lesley Rankine and American producer Mark Walk, formed in Seattle, Washington in 1994. Their music styles expanded across the genres of electronic, trip hop, noise, industrial, even jazz, among others. The band released two studio albums and three remix albums from 1995 through 2001, and singles into 2002. The name for this group came about because Rankine and Walk both have maternal grandmothers named "Ruby".
Rankine then moved to New Orleans, Louisiana, USA. The stay would be only six months due to events including a rash of car-jackings and hold-ups in the surrounding areas, and culminating with the murder of a woman in the garden across from her. When Rankine learned the killer had deposited the victim's clothing in her garbage as they left the scene, she left New Orleans within five days for Seattle to start recording Ruby's second album with producer Mark Walk.
Most of Short-Staffed at the Gene Pool would be finished by August 1998 and nearly completed by Rankine in her native Scotland throughout 1999. Rankine would spend the year 2000 dealing with the old contracts with labels WORK and Creation, and setting things up with Wichita in the UK, with the band's final two albums out in 2001. For a short time Ruby continued to collaborate with former Creation label members Mark Bowen and Dick Green, but as of March 2008 no further recordings have been released. Rankine has since taken a break from recording, returning to her home country.
For more information see main article: Mark Walk
Ruby's first album, Salt Peter, was released November 1, 1995. The album would produce three singles, all of which would chart in the UK. It was made almost entirely using computers and without a band. The album's songs have been described as being driven by loops of drums and repetitious guitar/bass riffs. Rankine explains the approach and reasoning:
Salt Peter's first single was "Paraffin", released on November 7, 1995. The compilation New Voices vol. 3 from Rolling Stone Magazine had this song as its second track. It was followed up with Ruby's best known song, "Tiny Meat", which was also released in 1995. It would be the only song by the band to chart in the United States, reaching #22 on the Modern Rock Tracks list. This song was also included in the compilation MTV Fresh 2. Another single, "Hoops" came out in early 1996. Later in that year the promotion-only single for the track "Swallow Baby" was put out for radio play. An up-to-then unreleased song called "This Is" was on the soundtrack to the film The Cable Guy in May 1996. The CD single for the song "Paraffin" included a remix called "Harpie Mix" which was also on the soundtrack to the 1997 movie The Beautician and the Beast. All of Salt Peter's singles had music videos made for them.
On April 8, 1996 a remix album called Revenge, The Sweetest Fruit: Salt Peter Remixed was released in the United States, followed by the UK version Stroking The Full Length on October 29, 1996. The third track from Stroking... is a "Ceasefire Remix" of the song "Flippin' tha Bird" and this version was part of the movie soundtrack to the 1997 film Nowhere. The Japan release of Stroking... was out on September 1, 1996, and came with an extra track the other remix albums of Salt Peter do not have. It was the "Mark Walk Mix" of the song "Tiny Meat."
During and after the tour in support of Salt Peter, the duo began early work on their next album; however several events would push it's release well into 2001. Among these issues the largest were internal problems in the studio and the struggle then eventual folding of Ruby's label Creation Records in 1999, when the band (as with most of Creation's artists) was meshed into the parent label, Sony. Rankine described the situation and time frame in an interview from August 8, 2001 by Holly Day:
The album Short-Staffed At The Gene Pool would be the result, released on April 23, 2001 in the UK, and a day later in the US. It was on new labels for the group, Wichita Recordings and Thirsty Ear Recordings. The album produced three singles; "Grace" (released March 20, 2001), "Beefheart (July 31, 2001), and "Lamplight" (released in 2002), all of which had music videos made for them. Ruby's last album to date (as of March 2008) was Altered and Proud, the Short Staffed Remixes, which came out on July 17, 2001. Neither the studio album Short staffed..., the remix album Altered and Proud..., or any of their singles would chart in the United States.
|September 16, 1995||"Paraffin"||UK Singles||United Kingdom||#81|
|February 24, 1996||"Tiny Meat"||UK Singles||United Kingdom||#96|
|May, 1996||"Tiny Meat"||Billboard Modern Rock Tracks||USA||#22|
|June 8, 1996||"Hoops"||UK Singles||United Kingdom||#102|
|May 11, 1996||Salt Peter||Billboard Heatseekers Albums||USA||#14|
|April 20, 1996||Salt Peter||UK Artist Albums||United Kingdom||#96|