Red Engine Nine Biography
The Toms River foursome is re-igniting the circuit that launched Bruce Springsteen in the '70s and Bon Jovi in the '80s by closing out the '90s with an alternative approach to rock 'n' roll that has quickly made them the region's hottest young band.
RED ENGINE NINE combines the big pop hooks of Fuel, the anger and social commentary of Live and the street wise singer-songwriter sensibility of Billy Joel on their Origin Recordings debut, Color of the Day. Produced and engineered by Mike Ferentino and Andres Karu of Warner-Reprise's Love in Reverse, Color of the Day showcases the urgent diversity of a band set to bring its escalating regional following to a national audience.
Playing with national acts is nothing new for RED ENGINE NINE. Within a year of its 1997 formation, the band began opening for major label mainstays such as Bruce Springsteen, The Verve Pipe, Nada Surf, Bare Jr. and God Street Wine. And demand has only intensified. RED ENGINE NINE earned those honors by consistently giving captivating live performances with songs that were embraced by local radio and online subscribers to Billboard Talent Net, who voted RED ENGINE NINE into the Top 10 five times in 1998.
"We are what traditional rock 'n' roll should be," says singer-songwriter Domenick Carino, whose thought-provoking lyrics and melodies define Color of the Day. "We're easy to relate to -- a believable band with no gimmicks. It's purely about enjoying what we're doing, playing live and writing good music."
RED ENGINE NINE was signed to Origin Recordings in November, 1998, immediately after label executives heard the band's six-song, self-titled EP. The EP was released the previous summer to meet fan demand and sold 700 copies in two months. And that was after a two-song CD had sold out all 300 copies in early 1998.
Color of the Day contains newly recorded versions of the six EP songs and five other new tracks. It's a lyrically heartfelt and emotional album, brimming with tension-building drama.
"Color of the Day is really about life and the different experiences we all go through," says Carino. "It's about looking at things from different perspectives.
"I write a lot about people who aspire to do things and never do, who live through other people's eyes and lives. I write a lot about hope -- how life can get you down, but how hope can get you through and make you stronger."
"Tennessee," with its shimmering guitars and anthem-style propulsion, surveys the curiosity among people to experience each others' differences. The catchy pop of "Lucky Red" carefully examines non-achievers who look back with regrets and wonder what might have been. "The Tree Song" sublimely explores the realities of being involved in a clique.
"Anybody can understand where the songs are coming from," says lead guitarist Gary Smith. "It's not self-indulgent music."
Further examples of RED ENGINE NINE's diversity are the hard rock of "Wicked Waltz," with its screaming guitars and vocals, and the rich and soulful texture of "Sunday." Color of the Day immediately draws in listeners with the sweeping hook of its opening track, "Disease."
RED ENGINE NINE was born in 1997 after Carino was encouraged by bass player Pat Schick, a fellow Toms River native, to stop performing as a solo acoustic act and get a band to prop up his provocative song writing.
"I had never met Pat before," recalls Carino. "But I was playing a show at an Open Mike Night at the Saw Mill in Seaside and I was watching him look at me while I was on stage. Somehow, I just knew he was going to ask me about forming a band."
Once Gary Smith (lead guitar) and Steve Kustyn (drums) were added, RED ENGINE NINE hit the venerable "Asbury Circuit" and rapidly gained a substantial following in towns like Asbury Park, Long Branch, Seaside and New Brunswick. In short time, RED ENGINE NINE became one of the most popular bands played on WRAT-FM's local music show. By the fall of 1998, RED ENGINE NINE began charting high in Billboard Talent Net as one of the first bands asked to participate in Billboard's Internet showcase for new and developing artists.
It didn't take long for RED ENGINE NINE to be considered one of the top bands at the Jersey Shore, a feat made even more remarkable by the short time the band has been on the scene.
With its first U.S. tour scheduled for the spring of '99, RED ENGINE NINE is fired up about bringing its head-turning appeal to the nation's stages and redefining what "New" Jersey rock is all about.