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The best kept secret in music


"Hilo Hawaii Tribune Herald 8-9-01"

Redd Dirt is very much like the Puna soil the band is named after - volcanic and fertile, sprouting with raw, untamed energy. Like the substandard subdivisions in Puna, Redd Dirt's music is the culmination of a dream.

The alternative rock band is getting airplay islandwide on K - Hawaii for their debut CD "Anaphylaxis" and that plus several live gigs, including their recent CD release party at Fiasco's and two "Pohaku Rock Festival" appearances outside at CD Wizard, have gained them both a following and some controversy, as well.

"We want our music to be aggressive, but we also want to touch all aspects of the musical range," drummer - vocalist Matt Lewis - Rolland said at a recent rehearsal session. "We're still young, and we know we have a lot to learn."

All four members are between the ages of 20 and 22. Lewis - Rolland and his brother, guitarist - vocalist Jeanot Lewis - Rolland, did the majority of the talking during the session at the Puna bungalow of a friend, artist Robert Arthurs Jr.

Guitarist Chris Meier and bassist Jackson Cooper round out the band. Cooper is a new addition, replacing Chris Berryman, who is on the CD.

"To be artists, you have to have a dream to keep you focused," Meier said.

"Jackson fit right in immediately," Jeanot Lewis - Rolland added. "He shares the same vision we do, and there's no cynicism, just positive energy."

"Anaphylaxis" was recorded at The Studio in Mountain View with Tyler Hatelid engineering the instrumental tracks in warm and fuzzy analog. The vocals were digitally recorded by Dave Millington, who did the mixdown and mastering, as well.

"We formed the band, wrote all the songs and got the CD recorded within six months," Matt Lewis - Rolland said.

"The most amazing thing to us is how the songs came to life in the studio," Jeanot Lewis - Rolland said. "When we wrote 'The Dark,' it was completely instrumental. But when we played it live for people, something wasn't quite right and it never seemed to get much response.

"But you get into the studio, things are intense and you're under the gun. The clock is running and time is money. There's major pressure.
There are about six sets of eyes looking at you and six sets of ears hearing every note that you screw up. We ended up ad - libbing a lot of the words to the song."

"We put up this big red Celtic design curtain and created a zone for us and let it all rip," Matt Lewis - Rolland added. "It's different playing live, because there's energy being fed to you from the audience. But in the studio, you have to create the vibe yourself."

There is an obvious team mentality and collective atmosphere at work here, and it lends itself to the creative process of songwriting. All nine songs on the CD are originals.

"We never really keep tabs on who writes individual songs," Matt Lewis - Rolland said. "There are songs that one person writes about 80 percent of the riffs, but it all equals itself out over the CD."

"It's a collaboration of four minds," Meier added.

"The way we write songs is on the fly, which makes it a more original mix," Matt Lewis - Rolland replied. "But we don't worry about the words at all. Phil Collins is a creative genius because he just mumbles over riffs until words come to him. The last gig we had, there were about five songs I hadn't written words for yet. I just mouth sounds that hopefully sound cool if I don't have words."

"This guy is a master of saying nothing. It sounds like he's saying something when he's not." Ah, Cooper finally speaks.

"The Dark" is the song that has been garnering the most radio airplay. It is dedicated to a friend of the band, Curtis LaForge, who committed suicide.

"We just sat down and said whatever comes out it's for him," Jeanot Lewis - Rolland said. "It's really spooky the way the song turned out, so eerie, but it was all inspired by him. He really loved our music a lot and we had an intense feeling about him and about doing the song for him. It took us about two days to write."

"Most of our songs take us about two days to write," Matt Lewis - Rolland added. "We jam one day and then we let it breathe and come back to it. We always see things a little differently the second time we jam a song. We put little riffs and effects here and there."

It's not always easy to tell where the band gets its inspiration. Another song receiving some airplay, "C4," sounds as though it was named for a plastic explosive.

"The cool thing is that it's our most explosive song, but we wrote it in Hawaiian Acres on roads C and 4, so there's a double meaning there," Matt Lewis - Rolland said. "Our friends know, but most people only make the connection with plastic explosives."

Both Lewis - Rolland brothers and Meier said that "Anaphylaxis" has surpassed their expectations.

"It was originally supposed to be a demo," Jeanot said. "But Dave (Millington) said, 'You guys would be insulting me if you called it a demo.' It took so much work to cut."

"I've cut demos before and this is an album," Matt Lewis - Rolland added.

No matter how popular they become here on the Big Island, the band realizes that there is only a small population base from which to draw fan support, and even fewer venues for them to play their music live.

"We're planning to move to Portland, Oregon, next spring," Jeanot said. "We've heard that Portland is an up - and - coming music mecca with a lot of clubs and independent record labels. Whatever competition we have there, it would probably give us inspiration instead of bringing us down."

"Anaphylaxis" is available at CD Wizard.

The band's Web site at has only been up a couple of weeks, but their guest book has already stirred up some controversy.

"We've gotten all kinds of feedback, from we're great, to we suck, to some really strange racist comments that I don't get at all," Matt Lewis - Rolland said.

"I don't mind the criticism," Jeanot Lewis - Rolland said. "That's all just a part of it. But for those people who say that we suck, they can e- mail us MP3 files of their music and show us what they've got. We're open to other people's music as well as ours."
- John Burnette

"Honolulu Star Bulletin 7-12-02"

FOR a while now that The Big Island has become the epicenter of mainstream rock in the 50th State, or at least the place where local rock bands are recording. Redd Dirt is the latest to step forward with an album of powerful original music (the press material reveal that the title, "a word so uncommon it causes a stir of thought and imagination," is the term for an adverse reaction to a foreign substance). "Anaphylaxis" has been percolating through the Big Island rock scene since last year but only recently reached Oahu. It reaffirms that fact that Hawaii's mainstream rock bands are the equal of their mainland counterparts.

The quartet presents a balanced collection of aggressive buzzsaw mosh music and brooding power ballads that put the ever-relevant topic of social alienation in sharp focus. "S.E.N.T." begins and ends with a crisp reggae-style guitar riff, a change of style that works well.

Redd Dirt is also the latest Big Island rock band to move to the mainland in search of bigger career opportunities. A new album, "Shades Of A Sphere," should be out this year.

- John Berger


One of the best bands I have ever heard. Everyone in this band can play! and I mean these guys got some out of this world serious tunes with some serious sound to back em up. Definately a band to see to beleive! S.S.
posted at 04:54 p.m. on 04-12-2003

Redd Dirt is one of the greatest bands ever, plain and simple. These guys are like an earthy hard rock band. Orrigional sound all thier own. You should go check them out. These guys make you loose yourself and find yourself all in one motion.
posted at 11:00 a.m. on 03-18-2003

Okay, guys, there are no if ands or buts about this. Redd Dirt is the best fucking band in Portland, (Shit the West Coast for that matter) and they need ALL your guy's support. They put on an awesome live performance and their music is one of a kind. Check them out, they are well worth it...
posted at 01:33 a.m. on 03-10-2003

If you weren't at the Paris Theater on the 15th of Feb, you are a loser with no sense of a good line up. Unless you were at the Whalers concert. But fuckin A Redd Dirt is one of the best bands in town right now PERIOD. If you havent heard them yet, see them. If you havent booked them yet you are seriously slackin. Step it up a notch and come see Redd Dirt
posted at 12:49 a.m. on 02-18-2003

Hey P-town....want something that doesnt sound like everyone else's crap...check these guys out...some seriously original shit going on here. These guys can reach a lot of people's audiences and touch on a bunch of different musical flavors.....You don't want to miss 'em. BASSHEAD
posted at 09:03 a.m. on 01-22-2003

- Anonymous reviews from fans


Raw, gutsy performance
There is a rawness to this music that wants to take me back to the 70's, but the lyric and rhythm are definetly from today. Adding to the feel of the record is the production, which itself has a rawness as if it were done in the acoustically reflective enclosure of a freight container. It makes the piece extremely intersting and although I'm not much of a dancer, I wanted to jump up and at least hop around the room.
- Reviewed by: swshurts from Bowling Green, Ohio


2001 LP- Anaphylaxis
2002 LP- Shades of a Sphere


Feeling a bit camera shy


Our music tells the story, please listen to it.