Red Light Driver records new album, discusses Scientology with producer Paul Mahern


Valentine’s Day is just one of those days. If you have a Valentine, the pressure’s on to deliver something that’s way beyond your budget. If you don’t have a Valentine, well, things can get a bit depressing. 

So, hoping to put a new spin on the holiday, Indianapolis upstart Indy Uprising! is putting on a fun Valentine’s Day event at Spin Nightclub called Angels and Devils. The concept is to wear either white if you’re an angel or red if … well, you get the picture. Of course, the correct color to wear is black, which encompasses both white and red. Not that black will win you the costume contest, which will probably favor those that stick to the theme.

Angels and Devils will feature a performance by Indy combo Red Light Driver. Currently in the studio with Paul Mahern, the RLD boys are putting the finishing touches on 12 songs that should provide a rocking, yet danceable soundtrack for the upcoming Indiana summer.

In the studio

I recently got to hear some rough tracks and speak with Red Light Driver lead singer Derek Osgood. One song in particular, “The Long Face,” is a grand, bubbling slice of jangling guitar, garage thump and anthemic vocals that evokes Midnight Oil, R.E.M, The Kinks and, above all, The Stone Roses. If the rest of the album is anywhere near as good, it’s sure to be a local classic.

“It’s been a deliberately slow and careful process making this record,” Osgood says. “A lot of thought and a great deal of work have been put into it. I think it’ll show. We recorded it live and you can feel that sense of urgency.

“Mahern hasn’t had to change many of the ideas that we have brought him, so that tells me we’re on the right track,” Osgood continues. “It’s been a joy working with him. We’ve told many stories and we’ve heard many stories, most of which won’t leave the studio.”

Osgood laughs, then affixes me with a serious look. “Lots of talk about Yacht Rock, Gorgeous Tiny Chicken Machine Show and Scientology, though,” he confides.

Producer extraordinaire

Paul Mahern has had a hand in most classic local punk and rock albums released in the past two decades. In addition to working with RLD, he’s recording with Creepin’ Charley and the Boneyard Orchestra at a restored 19th century church (next to an actual boneyard).

Mahern had this to say about his recording session with RLD: “It has been a great pleasure to sit in the room with these guys and see/hear them perform live for the record. In this day and age of cut and paste record-making, it is quite refreshing to work with such a tight unit.”

Mahern also worked with RLD on their 2007 album Drinks for the Delayed, which contains two of the year’s best singles in “Lights” — which won a recent music video throw down — and “Sleep It Off.”

After steadily gigging for the past year, Red Light Driver is poised to make something happen. Osgood and bassist Mike Shimmercore make for a dynamite front duo, while Drew Reed is a solid drummer who can lock a groove with the best of them. Jon Harmon makes it all sound pretty with a guitar sound that shimmers and radiates.

With a couple years of muscle, awesome tunes and a producer who is also a yoga instructor and lead singer for the Zero Boys, jump on the RLD bandwagon while there’s still room.

Also on the bill are Fishers, Ind.-based R&B siren Lynda Sayyah and alt-rock band Mardelay, who have been doing some recording of their own.

Other Valentine’s Day events

All events fall on Thursday, Feb. 14, the bewitching day.

Anti-Valentines Day and Plush Love

• Committed misanthropes out there should make their way to the Third Annual Anti-Valentine’s Day Event at The Melody Inn (3826 N. Illinois St.), which will feature plenty of dance music and another instalment of the annual spoken word contest “How I Got Fucked Over.” Special guest Martin Atkins (formerly drummer for Nine Inch Nails and Public Image Ltd.) will be joining DJs Rony, Hearsay and Copper Top Caroline on the turntables. Doors open at 10 p.m. and $5 gets you in. (Also, from 7-9 p.m., Atkins will be conducting a free seminar based on his book Tour:Smart, a weighty compendium detailing the dos and don’ts of touring with a rock band.)

• Chocolate the Freaky Afronaut returns to performing after nearly a year off the dance floor, and DJs Deanne and Jared Curry venture into new territory for Valentine’s Day Plush Love at Therapy Nightclub (605 E. Market St.). Chocolate, aka Brandon Kaye, has performed since the early ’90s, but has taken time off recently because of hearing concerns: His last gig was at a Plush event May 10, 2007. Deanne and Jared are mainstays at Talbott Street Nightclub, but Thursday’s event marks the first time they’ve played together outside of their stomping grounds. DJs Jackola, Bryan Luellen, Fate, Pixie and Johnny Utah round out the bill. Plush is free until 11 p.m., when the club side opens and a $3 cover will be charged. “This event encompasses our ultimate goal for Plush, to bring the gay dance scene and electronic scenes together,” DJ Jackola says.

—Scott Shoger

Love is like jazz

Here are some opportunities for jazz fans to spend their holiday with a truly special love.

• What better way to spend a luncheon Valentine’s Day date than with the romantic jazz baritone voice of Everett Greene? The singer will be joined by his Friends for a free Art & Soul concert at the Indianapolis Artsgarden from 12:15-1:15 p.m.

• The Indianapolis Jazz Orchestra will perform a “Big Band Valentine’s Concert: An Evening of Romance” at the American Cabaret Theatre at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 at the door. (Students $10 in advance, $15 at the door.)

• The Jazz Kitchen will feature the mellow guitar sounds of Bill Lancton & Friends from 6-10 p.m. Kitchen chefs have prepared a special Valentine’s Day menu, and pre-paid reservations are required at $15 per person.

—Chuck Workman