- 16 Aug 07
Owing their name to a chance encounter with a German bum, Red Kid explain how Euro-busking made them the force they are today.
The maxim ‘you make your own fortune’ is especially true when you’re starting out in a band. Realising that A&R folks wouldn’t get into any catfights over them after their very first gig, Red Kid cut their teeth on the European busker trail.
“John came from a busking background and we enjoyed doing it,” says Ronan Turner tells me from his Shankill residence in Co. Dublin. “So when we got asked to play a city in Europe – usually Germany, Italy or Switzerland – we’d stick around for a couple of weeks, gigging at venues, bars or on the street.”
He adds: “We never made a loss. We always managed to pay our own way through playing and selling our CDs.”
Not only did the trips allow the band to clock up performing hours for their brand of retro pop, but it also gave them a worldly-wise view of music.
“We noticed that Germany and Italy were hard because they have pretty strict rules in place against street musicians. But Spain was good fun because they’re used to buskers. There’s a good attitude there towards music.”
The tour around Europe affirmed the band’s raison d’être: “The only reason why we play this music is because we enjoy it,” as Ronan puts it. “We’re not manufactured – we came together as a group of people who share the same philosophy of life and want to share that with as many people as possible.”
But the stints also led to some cultural misunderstandings. Playing at a political youth event in Switzerland, the strange reception they received was afterwards explained to the Wicklow/Dublin foursome.
“Apparently most people who came thought that the ‘Red’ in Red Kid showed a socialist allegiance. So they expected us to be waving flags and playing some really serious music. When we started our set with its breezy pop, they were really taken aback!”
So where does the name come from?
“Primarily, it came from a night I had in a German pub when a bum came in and was trying to flog this 3ft Native Indian statue – a red kid. He started at €20, I got him down to €8 and a pint, so I spent the rest of the night boozing with this weird statue and a German bum.
“Red Kid’s a name we’re happy with though,” he continues. “In our rehearsal space in Shankill, I recently found old beer mats with all the other suggestions we had. Like 2,000 Monkeys, which has to be the worst band name ever. What were we thinking?”
With the name agreed on and their line-up (John Wright – guitar; Keet Murdiff, guitar; Liam Murphy – bass; Ronan’s brother Dan – drums) in place since the start of this year, the band have a busy summer ahead, playing festivals that are a few rungs up on any band’s career ladder.
“We’ve just played Castlepalooza, but we’ve got the Bundoran Ocean Festival and Electric Picnic to come, among others.
“We’re glad to be playing bigger and bigger festivals all the time,” he enthuses. “Especially because the bigger stages mean that I have a good run around the place. On the flipside, it also means that when I jump off the stage, it gets a lot harder to get back onto it. I have to work on my spring-jumping skills!”
After this, their game plan is to release a single – probably ‘No Reason’ in October – to capitalise on their summer appearances. But though their debut album is done and dusted, they’re reluctant to let it loose just yet.
“Once you put it out there, you can’t take it back. We’ve had some interest but we want to get even more before we release it. We’ve got to be sure the world’s ready for it!”
‘Tangerine’ is out now. Red Kid will play a number of dates this summer including Chasing Bull, Bundoran (15 August); Electric Picnic, Co. Laois (7 September) and Crawdaddy, Dublin (8 September). See www.myspace.com/redkidtheband