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Red-hot rock


Photo: Jason Tanaka Blaney

When Ohio rock act Red Wanting Blue got booked to play Norman Music Festival this past spring, the band members worried about whether they’d be able to impress the crowd.

“These people have seen everything,” lead singer Scott Terry said.

“I’ve never been close to a tornado, but most of these people have seen one with their very own eyes. We were like, ‘How are we supposed to match that?’” The band met the challenge, and Norman Music Festival has been a major highlight in a banner year for Red Wanting Blue.

“My personal favorite moment was standing backstage, rubbing shoulders with Other Lives with [The Flaming Lips’] Wayne Coyne hanging around,” Terry said. “It’s a great scene. We are musicians, but we are also music lovers. To get a chance to be a part of that, but also get to witness something like that, is such a great feeling.”

The last two years have found Red Wanting Blue doing increasingly cool things like NMF, after more than 15 years of touring the country as independent artists, supporting groups like 311 and O.A.R.

“Not to say that I didn’t have far-reaching goals, but at the end of the day, the most important thing was surrounding myself with people who loved music,” Terry said. “There are people who get into music for a lot of different reasons, but for us, it’s because we didn’t know what else we could even do.”

Labels called throughout those years, although they fell on weary ears.

“I don’t know how many times there were great bands I knew that signed a deal and were never heard from again,” Terry said. “I’ve heard so many horror stories: They make a record; it gets shelved; they get released from the contract and can’t find another label to release the album, all while incurring tons of debt living on credit cards. I didn’t ever want to do that.”

It was only in 2010 that Red Wanting Blue inked its first deal, with EMI’s Fanatic Records. Fanatic re-released 2008’s These Magnificent Miles that year, followed by From the Vanishing Point this past January.

“They believed in us and what we had done on our own. We partnered up and we’ve been able to accomplish a lot more since,” Terry said. “We were the underdogs for so long. Now, we’ve got a legitimate team. I used to say, ‘Fuck all that,’ but as much as you like to say you can do everything yourselves, there’s a reason why these people do the job they do.”

The partnership has been a fruitful one, with things like an appearance on Late Show with David Letterman popping up since.

“That was huge for me,” Terry said. “To be able to do that for the people who have been following us for so long was so great. It was like, ‘We didn’t screw it up.’”

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