Ramping the Fusion of Rock & Hip Hop to Fresh Heights

Posted In: Arts & Entertainment, Artist Feature,   From Issue 868   By: Robert E Martin

27th September, 2018     0

With commitment, persistence, and passion all qualities that Chris Redburn embraces and integrates deeply into both his music and lifestyle, the last three years put both his patience and fortitude to a test when in 2011 he was diagnosed with a brain tumor that temporarily derailed his accelerating musical career.

Propelled by the success of his breakout CD release Rock Hop, which earned eight trophies at the 2015 Review Music Awards, including Best New Artist of the Year, Best Hip Hop Performer, and Best Songwriter, Redburn was riding high on his successful musical fusion of Hip Hop and Rock styles, touring across the country, and breaking fresh musical brand with his band.

Having made it through this arduous rabbit hole of physical challenges, Redburn is now poised to propel his life, music, and talents to an entirely new level.  A few weeks ago he signed a major management deal with Michael Barbee of Dovetail Entertainment - the man responsible for articulating the game-plan that took hometown heroes Greta Van Fleet into the international spotlight - and now he is busily focused upon driving the power of his unique rock-hop sound into new depths and dimensions.

According to Redburn, the genesis of his signing dates back to 2015 when he performed at the Review’s 29th Music Awards Ceremony and shared the bill with another then unknown band named Greta Van Fleet.  “I was coming off tour where we had played 17 cities in 25 days and the band was in full-throttle,” he explains. “Michael was very impressed with our show and the impact led him to keep an eye on us.”  “It’s because of the Review Music Awards that I signed Redburn,” confirms Barbee. “I was blown away by their performance and since that night, I’ve been following them closely because I liked what they were doing and the way the sound was going. It blew me away.”

But then just as all the parts were coming together, fate threw a monkey wrench into the mix.  “I left the band in 2015 because I was diagnosed with a brain humor and was overwhelmed,” explains Chris. “I was dealing with a lot of symptoms - anxiety, depression, no management - and had too much on my plate,  so took a break for about a year.  In 2016 I did a couple shows here and there, but the tumor that I was diagnosed with fortunately sat on the pituitary gland, not on the actual brain. There are two classes for this tumor - functioning and non-functioning - and 99 percent of them are benign.  Mine was non-functioning, but eventually it grew big enough to hit my optic nerves and affect my vision, plus it depletes your testosterone Once I had the tumor removed, I suddenly felt like I was 21 again.”

With his new signing by Barbee, Redburn is visibly excited at how things are quickly coming together where he left off when he took his two year hiatus.  “We’ve got the original band back together, which consists of me handling vocals and emcee duties,  Steve Kinzer on vocals, Todd Vesey on drums, William Hysted on lead guitar, Dion Mason on keys, and David Danger on drums & guitar.”

“We are currently working with Ennix Buchanan on pre-production for our new CD here in Saginaw,” explains Red, “and then we plan to go to a bigger studio in Detroit and record/mix our first 4 songs for an EP release. Michael Barbee’s aim is to record at a yet to be determined studio in the Detroit area and we will bring Ennix along.  The difference in the music this time around is that it will be all reproduced with each individual live instrument, producing a bigger sound.  In Hip Hop most of the production is sampled, or producer placed. But we want that big live sound we produce on stage to happen on our records.  Ennix is the guy because he knows the music and the sound and he’s very talented. He’s the most experienced producer I know in this area.”

“We’re getting the shows ramped up again, because the guys haven’t play in awhile, so we want to perform as much as possible, starting with some of the familiar local venues,” he continues. “Our next show is Friday, October 19th at the Hamilton St. Pub. Doors will open at 9 pm and it will feature two  opening bands.  After that we’ll tour out of state and also try to hit The Machine Shop and clubs in Grand Rapids and Traverse City, where national names are flown through.  That’s where we belong at this point, and Michael tells me this route is a rite of passage to the national venues. With everything I’ve done in music, from promoting to booking shows since 1999, with Mike as our manager, I feel that I’ve found the missing link.”

“To my mind, these guys are a mesh between Lincoln Park, Eminem and Staind,” states Barbee, “so we’ll follow that circuit and try to play Detroit clubs like The Shelter.  We’ll be looking at starting these shows in 2019 and start recording in October. Ennix Buchanan is the perfect producer because he’s humble and easy to work with and in tune with his vision, which has gotten national attention.”

Since guiding Greta Van Fleet upon the road to success, Michael Barbee says the biggest lesson learned from his experiences working with Greta is to never give up. “When I first started with managing Greta I knew I had something special, even when many doubted us,” he explains.

“Another major thing I learned working with them is the circuit - how do you take a band that’s local and get them on a national stage. Once I got them to the right people, it generated a lot of moving parts and wasn’t as much involved as I thought it would be. It’s more a matter of attaching certain names as you go along and realizing the importance of fans. If you can link the band with a producer like Al Sutton, who’s worked with Bob Seger and Kid Rock, that creates kind of a tunnel out of the Midwest. You’ve got to go to Detroit to get out of Michigan; and to get outside of Michigan you have to map out a circuit, because you don’t make it by just playing in Michigan.”

In addition to Redburn, Barbee says he is also working with a band called Lovely Sand Dunes that he caught performing as an opener to Robby Krieger from The Doors when they were performing Los Angeles.

“To me the golden ticket to Greta Van Fleet’s success is how popular Classic Rock still is to people,” notes Barbee. “All references aside, if Led Zep hadn’t existed to influence both Greta and their fans, it’s hard to say what would have happened. The linkage between the two is the craziest and weirdest thing I’ve ever seen. As their fan base was building you would see kids coming to their shows along with people with walkers.  But what Greta did was take an established sound and introduce a new sound with it. They were raised on that sound, so they were in the pocket, getting new fans that were already classic rock fans as well as kids that were not so familiar to that classic sound.”

REDBURN will be performing at ‘The 1st Halloween Costume Party of the Year’ on Friday, October 19th at the Hamilton St. Pub. Doors open at 9 pm and the show is only $5.00 for 21 & Up.








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