House of Red has a long and interesting history. All the members come from different places. Keyboardist Sasi Shalom is from Israel, guitarist Ben Butler hails from Australia, bassist Richard Hammond is from New Zealand, drummer Steve Hass is from Greece, and singer Ann-Marie is from the States. Most of the group's members met while attending the Berklee College of Music in Boston, but they did not form the band at that time. Instead, they went their separate ways, ended up in New York City as session musicians and made their respective livings recording music for commercials, theater, and other industry related projects. But after playing on and off together for quite some time, House of Red was officially formed a little over a year and a half ago. "It's the first time since most of us were teenagers that we are in a 'real' band," Butler explains. "It was just the right time and the right group of people."
The bands' long-term history is what gives House of Red such a cohesive feel when they play for Inappropriate, even though none of the music they are playing during the evening is their own. Even though the score of Inappropriate is not exactly House of Red's kind of sound, playing in the show is not just another gig to this group. "We certainly relate to the emotions in the show," Butler comments. "I look back on my youth and of course there was a certain amount of rebellion in all of our lives. But music is what kept me out of getting into real trouble!"
And in essence that is what Inappropriate is doing for its young cast members. Through their energy and creativity, they are able to adhere to a schedule that would exhaust most people! The student performers are tutored during the day, and perform the show at night and on weekends, where the eight cast members dance, sing, and cry their hearts out. Afterwards a van whisks them back to Jersey, where they are temporarily being housed, for more education and discipline.
Although the members of House of Red do not exactly recognize their pasts in the lives of these incredible adolescents, they are often inspired by working with these special kids. In fact, House of Red draws its various inspirations from everywhere--from life, to nature, to the Internet. A tragic story about a little girl dying of cancer that was passed around online inspired "Slow Down", a lyrical song about spending more time actually living. "Have you spun the bottle / and taken every dare / Is it enough you're standing still or do / you need to get somewhere?"
The song titles on the group's self-titled CD seem simple: "Falling Down", "Life", "Us", but they are deceptively so. Ann-Marie is more of a poet than a lyricist; her lyrics are driven by emotions and full of intricate descriptions rather than empty, exploitative sayings like many contemporary rock lyrics. The music is mostly written by Ann-Marie, Butler, and Shalom, although the entire band contributes, and ranges from folk to funk, with everything in between. In fact, the members' extensive musical training and industry history have given the band a solid base. They are capable of every style, and the CD displays immense versatility and a wonderful eclectic quality. That's why a gig like playing for Inappropriate fits right in with House of Red's diverse background.
This month House of Red plans to return to the studio to start on its second album. In the meantime, every member of the band has various outside projects, but they are all committed to returning to the band. House of Red is their home, a place for them to create and explore their musical and artistic instincts with absolutely no boundaries.
House of Red's CDs can be ordered through CDBaby.com and www.billboardtalentnet.com.