∎ The Philadelphia band’s first album on A&M, self entitled THE REDS, produced by David Kershenbaum, showed the band’s impressive sound — a blend of Rick Shaffer’s guitar and Bruce Cohen’s keyboards into an interestingly textured drone, short guitar and keyboard figures, rising then disappearing back into the drone, while Shaffer’s voice provides the punch and definition for their overall sound. The album was supported with live appearances with The Police, Joe Jackson, Blondie, The Ramones, The Psychedelic Furs, and Public Image. An EP, GREEN WITH ENVY, followed featuring The Doors song, “Break On Through,” which suggests some of the band’s roots. (Universal Music digitally re-released The Reds, and Green With Envy, August 2012.) In 1980 A&M released a compilation album, Propaganda, that included tracks from The Reds, The Police, Joe Jackson, The Granati Bros, Bobby Henry, Shrink, David Kubinec, and Squeeze.
∎ After leaving A&M, The Reds® went forward with two indie albums, STRONGER SILENCE and FATAL SLIDE (Stony Plain/RCA), that continued The Reds® sound, receiving critical acclaim internationally. They next recorded a tense and powerful album for Sire/WB entitled, SHAKE APPEAL, produced by Mike Thorne (Blur, Soft Cell, Wire). This forcible record led the band to work with director/producer, Michael Mann. Mann incorporated numerous songs by The Reds® into episodes of Miami Vice, then hired Shaffer and Cohen to write songs and score for two motion pictures, Band Of The Hand (Tri-Star) and Manhunter (De Laurentiis), based on the novel “Red Dragon.” Soundtrack albums from both films were released on MCA, a Manhunter CD, with an added Reds® track, “Jogger’s Stakeout”, was released by Intrada Records (2010), and Universal Music digitally released both albums (2012).
∎ During this time, solo projects for Cohen were writing score for the productions, “Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde” and “Down The Road” at Philadelphia’s Walnut Theatre; “The Speckled Band,” starring Quentin Crisp, and Charles Busch’ play, “Vampire Lesbians Of Sodom” for NYC’s Pulse Theatre Company; and a forty minute electronic film noir piece, “Goodbye Johnny Staccato.” While solo projects for Shaffer included recording guitar tracks on a Marianne Faithfull album (Island); Hilly Kristal’s, “Mad Mordechai” (Stereo Society); Peter Murphy’s, “Holy Smoke” (Beggars Banquet/BMG); and Marc Almond’s, “Fantastic Star” (Some Bizarre/Mercury). While Shaffer wrote and recorded, “Looking For Right,” for director Michael Mann”s film, “Collateral.”
∎ The Reds® next album, CRY TOMORROW reunited them with British producer Mike Thorne. It captures the driving intensity of earlier albums and the ambient, atmospheric feel from their film scores, resulting in a stark, surreal album, with a sense of mood and mystery. The pulsing opening track, “Terror In My Heart,” was featured in the film, “Nightmare On Elm Street 2” (New Line), directed by Jack Sholder, along with a searing non-stop groove of the Stones’ “Gimme Shelter.”
∎ In 2007, FUGITIVES FROM THE LAUGHING HOUSE was written and produced by The Reds®. The album is a straight forward raw nerve reflection of life in America. The Reds® February 2009 release, EARLY NOTHING, was also written and produced by Shaffer and Cohen. The album has a hypnotic quality, that leaves the listener free to let their subconscious play itself out, no matter where it goes. With the release of Early Nothing, The Reds®, shamans of dark, brooding, loud rock continued to explore and define their sound.
∎ At this point in time, both Shaffer and Cohen began releasing solo albums. Bruce released ONE BC in 2009, and Rick released NECESSARY ILLUSION in 2010. Although they have been recording separately, a new album by The Reds is still a possibility as soon as Shaffer and Cohen can be in the same location at the same time. To read more about the solo albums of Rick Shaffer and Bruce Cohen click on their individual sub-tabs from the ARTISTS tab above.