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Red Flag (band)

Red Flag is a synthpop band founded in 1984 in San Diego by brothers Chris Reynolds and Mark Reynolds (vocals).

Considered to be one of the most successful and widely known synthpop bands hailing from the United States, Red Flag has proven to be one the most enduring, most prolific, stylistically varied and most influential electronic bands from America.

History

After growing up in Liverpool, the brothers, following their father's itinerant job, moved to locations such as Montreal and Seattle; in 1979, the family settled in California, arriving first in Los Angeles, then San Diego. The brothers first started playing electronic music in 1982, when Mark Reynolds bought a Roland Juno-60 synthesizer over a guitar on a trip to a music store. The first song they recorded, "Distant Memories", under the name Shades of May, was selected for a compilation album, Local Heroes, by San Diego radio station 91X in 1984. Shades of May subsequently received offers to play live, and the brothers began to study music and computer technology seriously in turn. In this interim, the band also changed its name to Red Flag; later, the name would frequently be associated with the red flag iconography of the Soviet Union, though the band insisted that it was taken from a warning signal used in surfing.

Later, in March 1988, they performed at a party for Resource Record Pool, a record pool based in Southern California, at the Mannikin club in Pacific Beach. There, the band was noticed by Synthicide Records (a subsidiary of Enigma Records) head and producer Jon St. James; after their demo tapes were reviewed the following day, the band recorded their first single, "Broken Heart" (as well as its B-side, "Control") at St. James's recording studio, Formula One, a week later. St. James, best known for his work with singer Stacey Q, co-produced the record with her; she also provided backing vocals and coached Mark on his singing.

"Broken Heart" was released in July 1988; the single was printed on 12" clear red vinyl, and received airplay on both 91X and the influential KROQ-FM. That month also saw the band play at larger venues, such as Videopolis at Disneyland. Their first album, Naïve Art, was released in 1989 under label Enigma. Released at the time of seminal synth pop group Depeche Mode's greatest success, it drew comparisons as being stylistically similar to that group's recordings, featuring extensive use of synthesizers and dance beats, and vocals that were generally deep and gloomy in mood. Several singles from the album charted highly on the US Billboard Hot Dance Music/Club Play charts, such as "Russian Radio" (#11) and "If I Ever" (#12). Red Flag went on to appear on American Bandstand, and the video for "Russian Radio" was played by MTV's 120 Minutes. Notable producers who worked on Naïve Art include Paul Robb of synthpop band Information Society and Joseph Watt of remix service Razormaid. Naïve Art remains the only full album Razormaid ever produced.

Red Flag toured frequently, playing at first as opening act to New Wave and synthpop artists such as Devo, Thomas Dolby, Book of Love and Real Life.

In 1991, Enigma Records closed, and the duo signed on with I.R.S. Records and released "Machines" in 1992 before leaving the label in 1993. The brothers then founded an independent record label, Plan B Records, from which they have released all their subsequent recordings. Red Flag tracks have appeared on numerous compilations, including several put out by Razormaid.

By 2000 and the release of the highly acclaimed dark album, The Crypt, the brothers were performing with European electropop and futurepop bands like Dance or Die, Melotron, Mesh, T.O.Y., and De/Vision.

On May 17, 2002, Red Flag performed for an audience of nearly one thousand at a concert at the Museum of the Nation in Lima, Peru.

Mark Reynolds committed suicide on April 7 2003.

In 2007, Chris Reynolds relaunched the band's official website, announcing plans to record a new Red Flag album solo. The newly released album, titled Born Again, which marks Chris Reynolds debut as vocalist, has captivated fans in the dark industrial and goth genres. Chris Reynolds also revealed plans for a winter 2007 release Christmas-themed album and possibly a best of album in the coming year. Red Flag's comeback tour will be kicked off by shows in Chicago and will include festival performances at Dark Arts Festival 07 and Gothicfest 07 and Gothic Cruise 08.

Music

Naïve Art, Red Flag's first album, was acclaimed by critics as a mixture of classically oriented melodies, driving dance beats and, industrial sounding samples and fills. The successful album was even sold as an unreleased Depeche Mode album by european bootleggers.

The 1994 album The Lighthouse stood out as being stylistically unlike any of the band's prior or subsequent recordings, with highly ambient, tranquil melodies.

The 2000 release of the highly acclaimed and dark album, The Crypt, marked a new darker and more industrial style for Red Flag. Though often compared at the time to some of the music hailing from Europe's futurepop movement, Red Flag's music has been characterized by a unique style set apart from any other electronic music; distinguishing Red Flag in terms of melodies, vocals, and an expertly crafted electronic style all their own.

The releases of both Fear of a Red Planet and The Bitter End were harshly criticized by critics in the synthpop genre, who were unaccustomed to and unaccepting of Red Flag's increasingly dark style, lamenting what they considered the gloomy and dark aspects of these albums compared to Red Flag's earlier synthpop works. Only in later years were these two albums noticed anew in the Goth and Darkwave genres, by both fans and DJs, where they are enjoying a resurgence of interest and airplay.

Codebreaker t133 fared no better in 2003, with synthpop adherents than preceding albums. The uptempo album with all songs set to a beat of 133 per minute was more danceable than some prior Red Flag works but the album failed to catch on.

Red Flag's 2002 remix album, Who are the Skulls?, featured other synthpop artists such as Information Society's Paul Robb, Cosmicity, Provision, and Rob Rowe of Cause & Effect. The concept of the album was to organize a project in answer to the many requests from other remixers to work with the band.

In 2007, Chris Reynolds resumed recording as Red Flag and released the exceptional album Born Again to acclaim among the gothic community.

Concerts

  • Sep 21, 2008 Gothic Cruise - Tampa, FL
  • Dec 08, 2007 Synthetic Snow Festival V - Moscow, Russia w/Clan Of Xymox, Assemblage 23 & Altera Forma
  • Oct 12, 2007 Gothicfest
  • Oct 13, 2007 Record Bar - Kansas City,
  • Jun 22, 2007 Necropolisfest, Tijuana, Mexico
  • Jun 09, 2007 Dark Arts Festival-Salt Lake City, UT w/Machine Gun Symphony
  • Jun 08, 2007 Green Dolphin Street Club - Chicago, IL
  • Jun 07, 2007 Club Anything - Milwaukee, WI
  • Jun 30, 2002 Synthpop Goes the World - Toronto, Canada
  • May 17, 2002 Lima, Peru
  • May 23, 2002 HullyGully - Los Angeles, CA w/Shades of Grey, ROOM 1202, Provision,
  • May 12, 2002 Club XANTH - San Diego, CA
  • Apr 13, 2002 Canes -San Diego, CA w/Daniel Ash
  • Mar 16, 2002 (DADA X) Mexico City
  • Mar 15, 2002 Synth Organization Club - Guadalajara Mexico : w/Seven-o-Seven 707, Nexus8
  • Dec 29, 2001 Troubadour - Los Angeles w/ Room 1202
  • Dec 07, 2001 AREA 51, El Paso TX
  • Nov 17, 2001 Double Door, Chicago, Illinois
  • Nov 06, 2001 CASBAH, San Diego CA w/ ElectroCrypt, Creepy Creeps & Cattle Decapitation
  • Oct 26, 2001 Club USUAL - San Jose, CA
  • Oct 07, 2001 The Church/Lizard Lounge - Dallas, TX
  • Oct 05, 2001 Cardi's - Houston, TX
  • Oct 04, 2001 Underworld Nightclub - Houston, TX w/Provision
  • Oct 04, 2001 Numbers - Houston, TX
  • Sep 03, 2000 Playroom - Hollywood, CA
  • Nov 17, 2000 Coyote Wells- El Centro, CA w/Anything Box
  • Sep 22, 2001 Chaser's Nightclub - Scottsdale, AZ
  • Jun 22, 2001 The Catwalk -Seattle WA
  • Jun 23, 2001 The New Paris Theatre - Portland OR
  • Apr 27, 2001 Markthalle Theatre - Hamburg, GERMANY w/ De/Vision, S.P.O.C.K , Toy
  • Mar 25, 2001 The Warehouse - Cincinnati, OH
  • Mar 24, 2001 BATCAVE - New York, NY w/MESH
  • Mar 23, 2001 Chasers - Chicago IL w/FAITH ASSEMBLY
  • Mar 22, 2001 The Drink - Chicago IL w/MESH, FAITH ASSEMBLY
  • Mar 03, 2001 DADA X - Mexico City, MEXICO
  • Feb 18, 2001 The Rage Nightclub - Sacramento, CA
  • Feb 16, 2001 DreamStreet Theatre - San Diego, CA w/Fallen 019, Call Me Alice, 1volatile1
  • Jan 15, 2000 AREA 51 - Salt Lake City, UT
  • Dec 18, 2000 Dreamstreet Theatre - San Diego CA w/Voz Frontera, Fallen 019, Call Me Alice
  • Nov 17, 2000 Blanc Image Coyote Wells - El Centro CA
  • Sep 03, 2000 PlayRoom - Hollywood CA
  • Aug 12, 2000 TIVOLI Festival - Helsingborg, SWEDEN w/Dance or Die, S.P.O.C.K., Melotron
  • Aug 24, 1995 The Edge - Palo Alto, CA
  • Mar 1995 Sacramento,
  • Mar 03, 1995 Synthpopaluza 2, Dallas, TX
  • Aug 25, 1995 San Francisco,
  • Nov 18, 1995 Provo, Utah,
  • May 02, 1989 Katz - Huntsville, TX
  • Feb 10, 1989 Numbers - Houston

Dates unknown:

  • LimeLight Theatre New York NY
  • Roseland Ballroom - New York, NY w/ Thomas Dolby
  • RITZ Theatre - New York NY w/ DEVO
  • Wiltern Theatre - Hollywood CA w/Thomas Dolby -
  • Paladium - Tijuana Mexico
  • Galveston Galveston TX w/Book of Love
  • Lizard Lounge Dallas TX
  • SOMA San Diego CA
  • The Spirit Club San Diego CA
  • Club I.D. San Diego CA
  • BULK San Diego CA
  • Manikkin Club San Diego CA

Discography

Albums

Singles

  • "Broken Heart" (1988)
  • "Russian Radio" (1988)
  • "If I Ever" (1989)
  • "All Roads Lead to You" (1989)
  • "Count to Three" (1990)
  • "Machines" (1992)
  • "Time is Reaper" (2008)
  • "Halo" (2008)
  • "Once Past Twice Future" (2008)

Megablack series

  • "Disarray" (2000)
  • "Machines Limited" (2000)
  • "The Game" (2000)
  • "In My Arms Again" (2000)
  • "Goodbye" (2000)
  • "Curtains" (2000)
  • "I See You" (2000)
  • "Black Christmas" (2000)

Fear series

  • "Fear of a Red Planet" (2001)
  • "I Am the Wind" (2001)
  • "Cause & Consequence" (2001)
  • "On the Highway" (2001)
  • "So Lie with Me" (2001)
  • "Lullaby for a Restless Girl" (2001)
  • "Mathematics of Tears" (2001)

Box sets

  • Megablack (1999)
    • All the singles in the Megablack series, plus Prelude to a Disc, The Eagle and Child, and The Crypt
  • Fear Series (2001)
    • All the singles in the Fear series, plus The Spider and the Astronaut, Fear of a Red Planet, and The End Is the Beginning

Notes

References

External links

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