Dismantling The Red Robot
Fans of popular Redding band prepare for its untimely end
There’s a certain romance to the story of Redding noisemakers The Red Robot. Members break from former bands at the same time. Form The Red Robot. Create massive local following. Release long-awaited full-length album. Disband at pinnacle of popularity.
News that The Red Robot was indeed calling it quits actually hit in late May, leaving in its wake a collective disbelief among those who spent their nights screaming and thrashing about at Redding music venues The Space and Serendipity Coffee House. A comment posted on the band’s MySpace account from someone who goes by the name Mr. Clean sums it up best:
“NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!! Best of luck to all of you in the future, you guys seriously rocked my socks every time I saw you play. The Red Robot is one of my biggest musical, social and mental inspirations. I love your music and I’ll never forget about you guys. Thank you so much for truly sharing your hearts with me and the rest of your fans, in Redding and elsewhere. You have no idea what a phenomenal impact your music has made in my life. Whatever all you guys end up doing with your lives, never stop rocking.”
The voices of guitarist/vocalist Mat Calderon and drummer Noah G. Prado echo through a speakerphone as they explain how Redding scenesters were anticipating the arrival of The Robot before it was even assembled.
Calderon and Prado, along with guitarist/vocalist Tatton White and Prado’s cousin, bassist Adam Prado, broke from their previous bands in late 2002, and as soon as they did so there was a buzz about a new band. The four musicians formed The Red Robot—yanking elements from Fugazi and At the Drive-In to create their own garbled yet polished rock vehicle.
It wasn’t long before the band became known for epic performances in which audience members were as much a part of the show as the musicians themselves. The band released its first EP, Grun-Tu-Molani, in 2003 and toured with local band The Americas that same year.
Calderon and Prado have many stories to tell as they look back on The Red Robot in the rearview mirror—like when Caldron accidentally knocked an audience member out with the headstock of his guitar four songs into a show in Salt Lake City, or playing a show minus clothing—to which Calderon answers my inquiry, “Again, totally sober.”
The Red Robot entered the studio in February 2004 to begin recording its latest self-titled album. The record was produced by Zeke Rogers at Black Lodge Studios in Chico over a nine-month period, in what Calderon explains was a slow, somewhat painstaking process.
“At times he [Zeke] was the only reason we continued,” confesses Calderon.
Now the countdown begins as fans and band members brace themselves for the imminent end. The Red Robot will play four more shows, including one at Fulcrum Records, before making its final trip to the stage at The Space on Aug. 20, a little more than a month after the release of the new album.
Calderon and Prado admit that they were taken aback when White informed them earlier this year that he would be leaving the band to attend Humboldt State University.
“I didn’t believe him,” Calderon said. “I thought he was joking.”
And of course the cursory follow-up question—will The Red Robot ever get back together?
“We’re all open to that,” Calderon said, “but I doubt it will happen.”