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'Red' bandmates (from left) Jasen Rauch, Randy Armstrong, Michael Barnes, Anthony Armstrong and Hayden Lamb, hit No. 1 on the Radio and Records' Christian Rock Chart with their first single 'Breathe Into Me,' from their new CD, 'End of Silence.'

“It’s really amazing; we’re a brand new band and nobody ever heard of us. For a new band to have a No. 1 record five weeks after it is released is pretty exciting.”

That’s how Michael Barnes, formerly of Linesville, described his band Red’s reaction to the success of its first single, “Breathe Into Me” from its new CD, “End of Silence.”

Barnes, in a phone interview from Idaho, said the band members watched the charts for a couple of weeks.

The song started about 29 of 30 on the Radio and Records’ Christian Rock Chart and then rose pretty quickly to get to the top five.

“It sat there for a while,” Barnes said, and then got closer and closer until it hit No. 1.

Band members include Barnes and brothers Randy and Anthony Armstrong, also former Linesville residents. The three played in the Linesville High School Band together before moving to Nashville three years ago to pursue their dream of a music career.

The band didn’t form until about a year after moving to Nashville when Barnes, Anthony (guitar) and Randy (bass) met Jasen Rauch, a guitar player from Chicago, and Andy Hendrix, a drummer from Nebraska.

The name Red came from the fact they had a pretty heavy sound and Barnes thinks of angst as being the color red. The color also symbolizes the blood of Christ, he added.

The band isn’t sure yet which song from their CD will be released next. It will be up to the label, Essential/Sony BMG, Barnes said.

The band started touring nationwide in January and the release of the disc has opened more opportunities.

Now on a Midwest tour, the band was in Boise, Idaho, last week and then went to Sacramento, Calif., before returning to Nashville for a few days.

Touring has its ups and downs, Barnes said, but the best part involves the excited fans.

“When people are anticipating seeing you live and come up and see you live, we’re happy to be there,” he said.

Audience members often share their Christian testimony or talk about how things are going in their lives and how the songs the band performs have helped them.

On the downside, Barnes recalled being ill for five days on the road when Red was traveling through the Mojave Desert in Phoenix and the bus broke down, overheating in the middle of the desert.

Although the music is “mostly our career now,” Barnes still works as a nurse when he goes home since the band hasn’t made enough money to rely totally on the pay from the music.

He said when the bus breaks down or they’re not feeling well physically or are really tired, they may question why they chose a musical career.

But then, “When we get to the show, talk to the kids about how they’re doing and how we’re making a difference in the kids’ lives, that makes a difference. We really feel called to minister to kids and to reach the lost, to reach the kids ‘on the fence,’ with questions about who God is.”

“The music answers the questions, builds relationships with kids and shows my faith,” Barnes said. “That’s what keeps us going.”

A review of the band’s performance notes that having personally dealt with many past mistakes, Red looks at real issues on the CD.

Rauch was quoted in a review as saying he hopes his past difficulties can have a positive impact on listeners.

“People are hitting on subjects that are deeper and darker,” Randy Armstrong says. “I think it’s just a sign of Christian music evolving. But at the end of the day, no matter what the message is wrapped in, the music is still about redemption. How people got out of their struggles and into their relationship with God.”

The review noted that “Breathe Into Me” perfectly sums up this approach. The song is a fierce lament about looking back and not liking what you see. It ends with a yearning, almost pleading cry for God to “breathe your life into me — I still need you.”

Red’s members are just excited to know others appreciate their music enough to give the band a number one single.



Learn more

For a tour schedule and other information, visit www.myspace.com/dropofred

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