Lucky breaks

Newish band Redcel is already playing with national acts

The members of Redcel demonstrate why they get so many women at their shows.

The members of Redcel demonstrate why they get so many women at their shows.

Photo By David Robert

Redcel’s new four-song CD, Volume I, will be available at a show Sept. 14 with Buckcherry and Lennon at the Little Waldorf Saloon, 1661 N. Virginia St.

For whatever reason, some bands are just luckier than others. Reno’s Redcel falls into this category.

Despite only playing together for 10 months and playing out for seven months, Redcel has already performed with national acts such as The Toadies, Clutch and Murphy’s Law. This month, they will also play with Buckcherry and Pete.

So what gives? Why does Redcel get to play with name bands, while many other Reno bands don’t? Lead guitarist Ben Perry says it all comes down to luck and timing.

“I don’t know how else to explain it,” he says. “It’s just happened.”

Redcel did have some history working on its side. Perry met Redcel drummer Pat Williams about eight years ago. They met through a mutual friend and played together one night at the now defunct Blue Lamp. Perry says there was strong musical chemistry up on stage that night. But the timing wasn’t right yet for them to start a band. Williams was in a variety of music projects, and Perry was studying music theory and writing music.

“Then we sat down one day and wrote three songs in an hour,” he says. “And I mean complete songs. Oh man, that’s something.”

Redcel brought in TJ Puliz to sing. TJ’s lineage is well-established in the scene, with his brother Kyle singing for Arch and his other brother singing for Livitz Livitz.

“He’s a natural,” Perry says. “Odds are, one of the brothers is going to make it. I’m hoping it’s our singer … with us.”

The only position left was bass. Redcel did have a bassist, but he moved to Brazil to teach. When they put up a “bass player wanted” ad, they only received one response from a 48-year-old man. While the guy was insistent, Perry said he wouldn’t work very well with the image of an alternative rock band.

Then, while out one night, Perry ran into Marcus Mayhall from Tasty Red Snapper, who said he was interested in the Redcel gig. Soon after that, the quartet was complete.

But things haven’t all been easy for Redcel. As one might expect, Redcel has received its share of criticism for playing with national acts. Other bands, Perry says, have talked smack about Redcel and called them “sellouts” without ever meeting the band or seeing them play.

One of the reasons that he thinks other bands don’t like Redcel, Perry says, is that Redcel stayed with promoter Robert Cherrie when many other bands in the city did not.

“Half the bands in the city had a falling out with him,” Perry says. “I didn’t know what was going on. I told him as long as he’s honest with us, we’ll back him.”

Perry says he just keeps his nose clean and hopes things work out well for Redcel. And he says he knows to take the good of the music industry with the bad. Sometimes, the music industry will show its appreciation, even in backhanded ways.

During a show with Clutch, Redcel had a good opportunity to have a lot of people exposed to their music. But Clutch “New Yorked” them, Perry says. “New Yorking” a band is when the headliner moves the opening band to the last time slot. After the headliner plays, the crowd leaves, and the “opening” band is left playing to an empty house.

“There were 350-400 guys [at the show], and we come on, and there are suddenly 15 women," Perry says, laughing.