Red Kate is a no bullshit, class conscious punk rock & roll band from Kansas City, MO. For more than a decade the band has expressed its DIY ethic through multiple LP and 7” releases and by touring across the Midwest, going so far as to create a not-for-profit record label cooperative, Black Site, to help other bands produce vinyl records. With authoritarian narcissists, white supremacy and plain ol’ hate and prejudice again on the rise worldwide, Red Kate’s hard, fast and angry polemics on our current state of affairs are, as the “only band that ever mattered” once put it, a public service announcement…with guitars!
While Red Kate’s lyrical themes may be serious, the band has always believed a message is best received while having a good time. Singer/bassist L. Ron Drunkard and drummer Andrew Whelan lay down solid, danceable grooves and catchy hooks, while guitarists Shaun Hamontree on rhythm and Mike Campbell on lead maintain that classic fierce tube-driven tone that tips a cap to the beer soaked barroom floors of 70s British Pub-Rock, Australian proto-punk and modern post-punk noise that has since taken root in Midwest dive bars and basements. Hard working both on and off the stage, the band’s locale has lent its perspective in sound, lyric, and work ethic. Straight off the factory line, Red Kate hearkens back to a time when musicians played hard, stayed up late, and carried a union card.
“Shut It Down”, the first single off the band’s upcoming third album, Exit Strategy, is a blistering, no-holds-barred call to action for the oppressed, marginalized and working class. Written by the band’s former guitar player, Desmond Poirier, “Shut It Down” reminds us that when push comes to shove, the one power the powerless still have is to SHUT! IT! DOWN!
Red Kate released its debut LP, When the Troubles Come, in 2013 on Replay Records in Lawrence, KS. A mix of ‘70s political punk and sardonic “love” songs, the red vinyl pressing with hand-printed and letter-pressed cover art designed by muralist Dave Loewenstein put the band on the map. While recording the album, original lead guitarist, Scot Sperry, left the band and Desmond Poirier stepped into the role. Fan favorites, “Pink Sweater”, “Sooner or Later” and “Union Voice” still frequently make it into the band’s set and are sure to get asses shakin’ on the dance floor.
When the Troubles Come was quickly followed up with a 7” split EP with fellow KC punks The Bad Ideas in 2014. The “wall of fuzz” single “On My Mind”, which would appear on the next album, was sidled up next to a cover of the Naked Raygun classic, “New Dreams”, featuring original guitarist, Scot Sperry, on slide guitar.
In 2016, Red Kate released the critically acclaimed sophomore LP, unamerican activities, the first on its nascent cooperative label, Black Site. The album (and label) name, plus the “redacted” artwork theme by as-yet-to-be guitarist Shaun Hamontree, reflects how daring to question the authority of the social, economic or political hegemony can be considered unpatriotic and disloyal to God and country (and even the corporation). Kicking off with the defiant “You Don’t Speak for Me”, songs from the album ranging from the Pub Rock stylings of “Better” and Nick Lowe’s “Heart of the City” to the old-school hardcore of “I Want You” and “Waited” formed the mainstay of the touring set for years. “You Ought to Know” (about the police killing of Michael Brown) and “Take It Back” (inspired by the story of Mouseland) became the go-to closers to bring the house down.
A 2017 split 7” with Lawrence, KS punks, Stiff Middle Fingers, saw the band push new speed and rhythmic boundaries with the hardcore “Urban Church” and post-punk “Hole”. Later that year, original rhythm guitarist Brad Huhmann departed for greener pastures (seriously, he has goats) and Shaun Hamontree was lured out of musical retirement to take his place.
Shortly thereafter, in 2018, Red Kate issued its last release until now, an old-school 45 rpm ripper, on Kansas City label Too Much Rock. The seventh in the Singles Series paired “Iraqi Girl”, a grinding statement on American foreign policy, with a cover of TSOL’s “American Zone” – a frank indictment of how we treat those sent off to impose that policy. It’s as relevant today as it was in 1984.
After surviving the pandemic and yet another lineup change (Chris Kinsley stepping in for Desmond Poirier), Red Kate returned to the studio to finalize what had now become a years-long project, a new album. Recorded at the band’s mainstay studio, Weights and Measure Soundlab, engineer Duane Trower pulled together tracks recorded over several years, multiple guitar players and two studio locations into the band’s best, most adventurous outing to date.
Barring any further collapse of society (or uprising of AI chat bots), Exit Strategy will be released in the Fall of 2023 on Black Site.
The third LP from Kansas City's no-bullshit, class-conscious punk rock and rollers is an unapologetic sonic blast of truth into the disinformation soaked wall of noise that deafens and numbs us constantly. While it's natural to ask "How did we get here?" Exit Strategy asks the more relevant question, "How do we get out?"
Critically acclaimed sophomore LP from KC's hardest working, most unapologetic rock and roll band.
"...an outpouring of pent-up political frustration and good old-fashioned punk rock that combine together for catchy-yet-unrelenting rock that checks all the major boxes for an incredible album." - Mills Record Company
"...the noise we need to hear. The reactionary force to the bullshit of everyday life." - I Heart Local Music
Eight minutes of tight chaos packed onto 7 inches of virgin black vinyl from two of the Midwest's finest punk rock bands. If this record doesn't make you move, call an ambulance. You may be dead. This release marks Stiff Middle Fingers debut on vinyl.
Latest release in the Too Much Rock Single Series. This old-school, 45 rpm ripper contains one original track and one cover selected by the label. Side A, Iraqi Girl, is a grinding statement on American foreign policy, while side B follows suit with a cover of the TSOL song, American Zone.
Fast paced, wild as hell rock and roll with snarling vocals and squealing guitars. Straight up, no bullshit punk rock the way it’s supposed to be – fast, loud and gritty. This release marks The Bad Ideas debut on vinyl. SOLD OUT!
Limited edition debut album on red vinyl with hand printed covers and artwork by Dave Loewenstein.
"…socially conscious and politically driven...a swingin’ rocker that will have you moving quick. This record is tough as nails in more ways than one…clever and sarcastic… A commentary on the unfair and unjust, but it’s not a whine or a sob. This is a scream.” – I Heart Local Music