Arts & Entertainment

Press Pass: Red Wanting Blue

When organizing a flow chart depicting the most important member of Columbus, Ohio-based band Red Wanting Blue, you could start with the rhythm section of drummer Dean Anshutz and bassist Mark McCullough. You could also point to the importance of the straight-up rock and roll strings strummed by guitarists Greg Rahm and Eric Hall. There’s no doubt you’d want to find a place of prominence for frontman Scott Terry with his powerful baritone behind the mic. But for this mid-western group, the most important man may not be any of its five members.

When organizing a flow chart depicting the most important member of Columbus, Ohio-based band Red Wanting Blue, you could start with the rhythm section of drummer Dean Anshutz and bassist Mark McCullough. You could also point to the importance of the straight-up rock and roll strings strummed by guitarists Greg Rahm and Eric Hall. There’s no doubt you’d want to find a place of prominence for frontman Scott Terry with his powerful baritone behind the mic. But for this mid-western group, the most important man may not be any of its five members.

Meet Brent McCain, the mechanic for Red Wanting Blue.

Such is the value of a man who can help keep a band that spends about two-thirds of the year on the road, well, on the road. You need someone who can fix up your ride, when it’s stolen by a drunken concertgoer (as it was this past January) and keep the band’s wheels rolling.

And when you’re gone for so long, there are bound to be headaches.

Just last week McCain was tuning up the band’s tour bus for an upcoming swing that will take them through Chicago, North Jersey, into Virginia for a pair of shows at IOTA Feb. 11 and 12 and wind up in Nebraska this April. Only problem was, the repairs needed weren’t going to be completed in time to make that first show in Chicago. So, McCain attached the band’s trailer to the back of his own ride and drove to the Windy City himself.

“How great is it that our mechanic is willing to drive his own vehicle to Chicago in order to make sure we get to our show?” Terry says. (A few minutes later, Terry received a call from McCain saying the band’s trailer was causing his ride to shake violently and he had to turn around. But it’s the thought that counts.)

But McCain is just one of several supportive souls helping one of the hottest under the radar bands to reach new heights. In April of 2010 the band signed a three-album contract with Fanatic Records under the EMI/Caroline umbrella. It’s a union that Terry believes will be mutually beneficial to both parties, with a young band tethered to an upstart label.

“We’re both happy but hungry,” Terry said. “I think we’re hoping that Fanatic can be our ‘little engine that could’ and they’re hoping we can be their ‘little engine that could.'”

At any rate, the engine of Red Wanting Blue has been generating some serious steam of late, with their hit release These Magnificent Miles in 2008 and re-released nationally last July after signing with Fanatic. The album a classic compilation of no-frills, mucho-chills rock and roll, was produced by Jamie Candiloro (Ryan Adams, REM, Willie Nelson). Now in the early stages of recording their next LP, Red Wanting Blue is back with Candiloro to work on the as-of-now untitled album tentatively scheduled for a summer release.

“This is the first time we’ve used the same producer from the previous album,” Terry says. “It’s nice because we’ve gotten all the social niceties out of the way. We don’t have to worry about making each other feel comfortable, we can just get to work.”

And from there, they’ll be able to get back to doing what they do best – hitting the road to tour. Well, with a little help from Brent McCain.

Red Wanting Blue plays IOTA Club and Café in Arlington Feb. 11 and 12 with Honor By August at 9 p.m. Tickets are $12. For more on Red Wanting Blue, visit myspace.com/redwantingblue.