What is your name and role within the band?
L. Ron Drunkard – bass/lead vocals/offending the easily offended
Andrew Whelan – drums/vocals/takin care of business
Diamond Dez – lead guitar/vocals/saying the right thing at the exact wrong time
Shaun Hamontree – rhythm guitar/vocals/dark arts
How did you start?
AW: I’ve been here since the start. I posted a Craigslist add when I moved to KC and fell in with L. Ron and the original guitar player Scot.
LRD: Red Kate formed in 2007 (Scot and I had been in a band in college called Wayback Machine). I had just moved back from California where I had played in Snubnose and Andy had just moved from St Louis where he had been playing with Pizzasaurus Rex and previously, Squadcar. We were soon joined by Brad (Truck Stop Love) on rhythm guitar. Scot left in 2012 and was replaced by Dez. Brad then left in the Summer of 2016 and we added Shaun (American Catastrophe) over this past winter.
We released our first LP, When the Troubles Come, in 2013 followed up by a split 7” with The Bad Ideas in 2014. In 2016, we released our second LP, unamerican activities, and just last month released a split 7” with Stiff Middle Fingers from Lawrence, KS.
DD: I saw Red Kate playing about 7 years ago at the old Czar Bar in Kansas City. I said “I wanna play with those guys”. A position opened up, I tried out, and here I am.
SH: I had designed the artwork for Red Kate’s “unamerican activities” LP. Shortly after L. Ron had asked me about needing a rhythm guitarist. Sounded like a fun gig so I threw my hat in the ring.
Where are you based?
Kansas City, MO in the Kingdom of Barbecued Meat (39.0997° N, 94.5786° W).
Please give an example of your music writing process?
LRD: I’ve written about half of our songs and usually bring them to the band as complete tunes. Dez has written a couple that way as well. The rest have been some sort of collaborative process wherein someone brings a riff, or a partial song and we hash it out in practices. I usually come up with some sort of melody right away and then months later finally finish lyrics for it.
SH: I’ll let you know. I’m still relatively new.
What are you working on right now?
LRD: A new single for a local label called Too Much Rock and releasing some local bands on our coop label, Black Site.
AW: About to start writing again I hope. With the addition of Shaun it should be interesting to see what comes out. He’ll probably make us burn black candles or something, which is a fire hazard.
SH: Red Kate, writing an opera for NASA and scoring a Horror film
What is your gear setup?
LRD: I’ve been playing the same gear for nearly 30 years – a 1970 Fender Jazz through a mid-70s GK 400B with two Ampeg 1x15s. I guess the bass is a “Geddy Lee” model, which, apparently, is something some people care about.
AW: 82′ Tama Superstars, Zildjian cymbals, Pro Mark sticks.
DD: Currently playing a Fender Hotrod Deluxe, Boss pedals, and Gibson 335 guitars. I also use Jaykco straps and Dunlop Tortex picks.
SH: Modified Fender Jazzmaster, 66 Gretsch Country Gentleman, VOX ac-30, TC electronics and Z-vex pedals.
What do you like to do outside of music and does it affect your music?
LRD: I’m a geographer at a local university and I’m involved in labor and community organizing with a couple of groups here. We have big campaigns this year to increase the State’s minimum wage, clean up our campaign finance system, and reverse the horrible anti-union right-to-freeload law that was just passed by our hillbilly legislature. These issues show up in the lyrics frequently, as has working on my old house (the song “Hole” on our latest 7”). But more importantly, how we approach social activism and justice informs our ethics as a band when dealing with other bands and the “industry”. We’re straightforward, honest and fair, and if you aren’t that way with us, we will not work with you. We have a very low tolerance for rock star ego bullshit (and general douchebaggery).
AW: I’m a dad and caseworker with the Social Security Administration. I play hockey which along with playing music serves as therapy for the first too. haha.
DD: I skateboard, ride motorcycles, and solve old house problems. Those things give me plenty of stoke and aggression. I also teach high school level drawing classes for the Kansas City Art Institute. Being in touch with the youngins introduces me to new music.
SH: I’m a full time artist in film and large structure. All of if stems from music.
How would you describe your music genre?
LRD: It’s just rock and roll, man.
AW: Self actualized rock n roll.
DD: Post punk and straight up rock n’ roll. Honest. Why does everyone need an angle?
SH: Post Punk steak smothered in Noise Gravy™
Do you know any music theory?
AW: I don’t listen to jazz.
LRD: I started playing trombone in grade school and bass in high school, so yeah, I know the basics.
DD: Enough to get by. I studied classical guitar for 4 years.
SH: Majored in composition and opera performance. I’ve played music since I was 7.
What are your plans for the future?
LRD: Keep on keepin’ on. We’d like to go to Europe. Get a couple more releases out on Black Site. Work on my house. Keep up the fight against fascism. Ya know, small stuff.
AW: Keep at it with red Kate and try to help some bands with our label Black Site.
DD: Record and play with Red Kate and create some really good songs. Raise a child with my wonderful girlfriend. Keep my house from falling down. Skate and ride motorcycles until I’m 100.
SH: I haven’t earned tomorrow yet. So, I’ll let you know when I get there.
How did you get into music?
LRD: My family was not very musical but my parents listened to a lot of Neil Diamond, Kenny Rogers and Willie Nelson when I was young. I loved the soundtrack (and movie) to American Graffiti, and of all things, the Village People when they first came out. In the early 80s I discovered “classic rock” through FM radio and became a huge fan of AC/DC, The Who, Led Zeppelin, etc. Then, when I was 16, I found out about a place called The Outhouse in Lawrence, KS where “punk” bands played. I went to my first show – Fishbone and a hardcore band from Oklahoma called NOTA – and my life changed forever. I started playing in a band shortly thereafter.
AW: I’m a fourth generation musician. It’s in the blood. Luckily my dad had a great record collection!
DD: My mother got us MTV when I was 6 in 1982. I was mesmerized by seeing all the genres together. The Clash was next to Van Halen was next to Eddie Grant was next to the Talking Heads and AC/DC. Def Leppard and KISS blasting at the YMCA pool around 1983. Mom loved Chuck Berry. She was always playing his tunes.
SH: My parents were going through a rough divorce when I was 7. So they dumped me at my grandmothers in a remote town in Oklahoma called Canute. My uncle, who was 16 at the time, was in charge of me so he sat me down in front of a Sears console stereo with a stack of 8-tracks. (Diamond Dogs, Changesone by Bowie. Strutter and Hotter than Hell by KISS, Billion dollar Babies by Alice Cooper and Rod Stewarts Atlantic Crossing) was all I did for 4 months. My life was happily never the same again.
What are you listening to at the moment?
LRD: Moving Targets, Neon Piss, Red Dons, Bob Mould.
AW: A lot of regional and local stuff. I curate Black Site’s Spotify local band playlists called Black Site Radio, so I’m always on the lookout for new bands that live near us.
DD: Kadavar, Fu Manchu, Kendrick Lamar, Talib Kweli, Total Control, Graveyard.
SH: SQüRL, The Fall, Wovenhand, SWANS.
Who are your top 5 influences and icons?
LRD: The Clash, AC/DC, The Micronotz, Thomas Frank, Karl Marx.
AW: Bill Stevenson, Mitch Mitchell, Josh Freese, Brad Huhmann, Uncle Jesse.
DD: Chuck Berry, Brian Setzer, Angus Young, Ian MacKaye/Guy Piciotto, Bernard Sumner. Oops, that’s six!
SH: David Lynch, Patti Smith, Bauhaus, David Bowie and Michael Gira.
June 17 – Holy Cow Market and Music in KC, MO
August 11 – Record Bar in KC, MO
Working on some out of town dates in July but nothing confirmed yet. Will send them when we have them.
RED KATE is a no bullshit, class conscious punk rock & roll band from Kansas City. The band’s newest release, a split with Lawrence, KS punks, Stiff Middle Fingers, is eight minutes of tight chaos packed onto 7 inches of virgin black vinyl.
The split 7″ is a follow-up to the band’s critically acclaimed sophomore LP, unamerican activities, released in 20l6 on their coop label, Black Site. With the election of an authoritarian narcissist to the White House and white supremacy again on the rise, this hard, fast and angry polemic on the current state of affairs has turned out to be unfortunately prescient.
RED KATE formed in 2007 from the remnants of regional and national acts Truck Stop Love, Wayback Machine, Squadcar, and Goodpuss. A couple of lineup changes over the years brought in former River City Revelators guitarist, Desmond Poirier on lead, and most recently, American Catastrophe front man Shaun Hamontree on rhythm.
The band’s sound tips a cap to the beer soaked barroom floors of the 70s British Pub-Rock scene and the modern blues-punk sound 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.
RED KATE released its first LP, When the Troubles Come, on Replay Records in 20l3 and a split 7″ on Mills Record Company with fellow Kansas City punks, The Bad Ideas, in 20l4.
Select media links:
The Pitch – http://tinyurl.com/kefcceo
89.3-FM KCUR – http://tinyurl.com/j9pqtpu
Kansas City Star – http://tinyurl.com/hf9z8xw
Modern Vinyl – http://tinyurl.com/mrtpcyr
BLACK SITE is a record label cooperative created by Kansas City musicians interested in supporting regional punk and rock bands release their recordings on a physical medium. With the world around us becoming a deluge of digital l’s and 0’s, transient as a trust fund crust punk on a cross country excursion, tangible art is critical to maintaining connections to our past, our sense of place, and who we are as a people. Only WE can create the world we want to live in. Reciprocity and solidarity are the cornerstones of building long lasting, self-sustaining community power that pushes back against the commodification of culture. Music is not a business; Punk is not a brand, and DIY is not a lifestyle to be consumed. This is a way of life, and if we don’t hang together, we’ll surely hang alone.