Red Money emerged as an acoustic band in January 1990. Originally performing as a larger line up, fate stepped in to change both the format and sound of the band. Booked to play their first gig of the year at the Fulham Greyhound in London, various members then dropped out due to other commitments. Rather than cancelling, founder founders Richard and Jules hastily arranged a stripped down set and took to the stage with saxophone player Roz Bateman (who played on the single).
Because of the starkness of our acoustic sound, I remember thinking it was like opening a guitar case on a street corner, singing your heart out and hoping for the best. Jules
It paid off – the new Red Money acoustic sound was showcased to a full audience and got a great reaction. Amongst the crowd that night were various music company professionals, including BBC DJ Gary Crowley. Red Money got the thumbs up.
With the start of a New Year and renewed interest in the band, this acoustic sound became the new way forward! Red Money continued as an acoustic duo with Roz accompanying on saxophones. Next stop for the new project was a single, which was made as a promo and sold independently.
My Erstwhile Companion, originally recorded in Croydon, was cut at Abbey Road which was a real boost for the band and the launch of the single. A series of gigs followed that spring at the Acoustic Room, Mean Fiddler; the leading venue for acoustic indie singer/songwriters at that time. The record got some airplay and interest from major record labels.
There followed a round of record companies visits and search for band management, along with memorable shows at The Aztec Room, The Moonlight Club, The Fresh Club and the 100 Club in Oxford Street, as well as The Orange in Kensington.
Red Money also became involved with the London Songwriters Showcase and played at the Café de Piaf on Waterloo Station.
Following further gigs in 1990 and early 1991, Roz got married and moved to the north of England. Founder members, Jules and Richard went back into the studio for a set of new recordings. In comparison to the stripped back acoustic sound of the first single, the production level was now much higher. A great deal of pre-production work was done with good friend Woodie Taylor (Morrissey, Drive, Comet Gain) and the session was engineered by Paul Simm, (Sugarbabes, Neneh Cherry, Amy Winehouse) who played trumpet and piano on the tracks.
One of the tracks recorded was Swerve which was considered for the follow up single. Several mixes were made but put on hold while Red Money returned to perform live at the Acoustic Room. For this outing, and several others, the boys were accompanied by a new saxophone player and Yvonne Webley on backing vocals.
Red Money continued working with collaborators until 1993, and returned to play another series of London Songwriters Showcases; this time Upstairs at Ronnie Scott’s. Paul Simm was instrumental in introducing new ideas and the band experimented with sampling and even dance and dub mixes on recordings that year.
More Red Money demos and recordings took place into 1994, now working with bass player David Levy and drummer Richard Newman with some lively shows taking place at the Acoustic Room, Mean Fiddler and the Orange in the Spring.
Around this time the band were approached by an independent record company in London’s West Hampstead with a view to record a possible first album. Despite numerous meetings and much excitement the project did not come to fruition.
Richard and Jules continued to write new songs together until Jules, having started a family, left London to move to Cornwall. Ideas continued to flow between the duo, while at the same time continuing to pursue other musical outlets; Rick writing music for documentary films and Jules presenting a weekly community radio show in Cornwall.
In January 2012 an interesting blog link about Red Money came to light. So Jules and Richard contacted Uwe and Olaf at Firestation Records in Berlin to thank them for their kind words and let them know they were still alive and kicking. After the exchange of e-mails, MP3s and CD, Firestation decided that would like to put out a Red Money retrospective!! The album is due for release this Summer.
So watch this space. Or better still .. subscribe for updates!
WOW, WOW, WOW, that’s what i thought when i first heard the band’s 7“ single, My Erstwhile Companion. I have to think of early Aztec Camera, The Man Upstairs, The Trash Can Sinatras or The Man From Delmonte while listening to their songs.
Fateful last words of Firestation Records before finding themselves releasing a retrospective of Red Money!