“He Speaks Red” R.I.P
April 30, 2010 § Leave a comment
So on Friday, April the 23rd, 2010 I got the privilege and the honor to play with a band called “He Speaks Red” during their final performance. It was amazing.
It’s taken me up to this moment to really understand how much this band really meant to me. Although I may not have been in the latter half of their journey, this band will forever be remembered for me as a definitive chapter of my life. This blog entry is going to be about the beginning and the end of my time in “He Speaks Red“.
Now, I’ll give you a little “He Speaks Red” history lesson. About 5 years ago I meet 2 guys who would forever change my life, completely change my perception of music and become some of my best friends. These men were Drew Mckay and, Dan Galano. We became really close and spent almost every night possible at the 12 shack (1212) which is located in Meadow Woods Apartment Complex on Clearbrook St. nestled nicely between Columbia Bible College and Matsqui Recreational Center in Abbotsford B.C. I was currently in a band when I met them called “Albedo” which consisted of myself and my cousin and good friend Chris Spletzer.
Now after some time -roughly about 6 months- I had to move to Edmonton Alberta because of the lack of steady work I was able to nail down in Abbotsford. So “Albedo” had to dissolve and my solo project “A Praying Hope” came into fruition.I went to school in Edmonton for Pre-Apprenticeship Carpentry at N.A.I.T a.k.a waste of my effing time. Now when I moved to Edmonton I moved into a house with 2 of my best friends but I missed the 12shack crew more than I thought I would and for sure shed some tears over them. I had no idea when I would be able to see them again. I did that for 7 months, moved to Prince George B.C to be a cabin leader at Ness Lake Bible Camp for a month or two then moved back to Edmonton for about 5 months. Now during the last 2 months I got super depressed in Edmonton…NEVER MOVE THERE, it’s a complete poo hole in my opinion. If you do, you really need to know the right people.
A Dream becomes Reality:
Anyway, it was during this time that Drew Mckay began talking to me about the possibility of one day starting a hardcore band involving himself, Dan, and I. Of course at this point it was still a dream, but we began talking about band names over msn during our frequent late night conversations. These conversations were mostly about music and a girl named Kira. One day Drew mentioned to me that he had a friend –Jacyln Roste– that was going to Hot Sole Music Studio’s to become an audio engineer and he mentioned that she had to do an end of the year project which was to record about 3-4 songs of a full band. Now this is when we really started pumping out name idea’s and the idea of us actually starting a band was becoming very much a reality even though 1/3 of the band was in Edmonton at the time…me.
I remember where I was, how I was sitting and my current mood at the time when the words “He Speaks Red” appeared on the screen as me and Drew were pounding out names over msn – I could probably find the msn conversation in my computer if I tried hard enough-. This name was shortly agreed upon by both Drew and Dan. Drew’s criteria was if the name sounded good in a cheer format and “He Speaks Red” certainly does. Now, Drew Mckay, Dan Galano, and myself are all Christians. This band name was derived from our faith. Here is the explanation of the name “He Speaks Red”
In some translations of the Bible the words that Jesus Christ spoke are highlighted in red. These highlighted words are often referred to as the “red letters“. We are all firm believers in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and we wanted to represent what we believed with all our hearts. That in a nutshell is why we named the band “He Speaks Red“.
The recording of “Robot Compute”:
So now we had a band name, it was awesome. We also had recording time at “Hot Sole” with Jacyln Roste. Only problem was I wasn’t able to practice with them so Drew sent demo’s to me of 2 of the 4 tracks we were to be recording as well as the lyrics. These songs were called “My White Rose” and “Diaries of the Dead“. I would sit behind my desk in my room practicing singing along to the demo’s with the lyric sheets in front of me. I was ecstatic.
I remember flying back to Abbotsford for the recording, I remember that giddy feeling. The first night I got there -Drews place- Drew, Jaclyn and myself went for a walk to a school so I could practice “My White Rose” for the first time with Drew while he played acoustic guitar. It was the next day we were going into the studio. I was terrified and excited.
The next few days would be filled with late night’s and early mornings in an attempt that we could get as many songs as possible. We had 5 Tracks to record on our first e.p which would later be named “Robot Compute“. Here was the track list.
- Unicorns of Doom
- My White Rose
- Southern Tongues
- Diaries of the Dead
I remember writing the prayer for “Unicorns of Doom“, I remember walking into the studio nervous as I’ve ever been and standing behind that microphone trying my best to scream which in all honesty at the time I wasn’t very good at all. I got huge headaches cause I was screaming wrong. I also learned how to stretch my voice. There is a video somewhere of me trying to do the chorus of “Diaries of the Dead” and my voice flipped into falsetto in the most awful way. Hilarious. Drew Mckay and Dan Galano in my eyes at the time were some of the best song writers I’ve ever met and I still consider this to be true. I remember Dan, Drew and I getting on the mini moog for the ending of “Unicorns of Doom” transitioning into “My White Rose” and just going crazy on that little keyboard. All three of us twisting and turning every knob possible. I remember that feeling of happiness, of brotherhood.
Side note: Robot Compute was the name of record because one night while Drew Mckay, Dan Galano, Kayla Lockhart, Rebecca Clark, Chris Spletzer, Stephanie Otterbein, and Myself were all in Save-On-Foods on South Fraser Way and Steph picked up a robot in one of the isles and it became her name. Robot. We all found it pretty funny and it just sort of stuck with us for a really long time. Dan would say to her “Robot Compute” and she would then spit out some sort of dirty phrase or word usually around the lines of “wiener” or “dirty bum”. Hence the name of the first e.p.
Now after the recording was done, I had to go back to Edmonton Ab. I had to find a viable reason to move back to the lower mainland to continue on with “He Speaks Red“. So while we were recording at Hot Sole Studio’s I had asked some questions to Jaclyn Roste about the audio engineering program or -A.E.P- and I decided that I really wanted to take the same program. Not only would I be moving back to the lower mainland but I would be getting even more involved in the music industry.
Now in order for me to move back plenty of things had to fall in place in a very unique order. First I had to get my parents to agree to pay for this program as well as help with living costs. Find a new room-mate to replace me in my current house in Edmonton, find a place to live in the lower mainland, and get a vehicle. So I had very little hope of being able to move down in time for the summer program for the Hot Sole A.E.P summer program. But God had my back. I had got all 4 conditions taken care of within 2 weeks and I was off. I had found a replacement room-mate, my parents were behind me to get into the A.E.P program as well as help with my living costs and they had sold me their old van for 50 bucks. So I flew back to my parents and drove the van from Houston B.C to Edmonton AB to pack up my stuff then from Edmonton to Surrey. I remember the drive from Houston to Edmonton, I remember arriving at Edmonton at 3:30am on an empty tank of propane in minus 30 weather. Driving from Edmonton to Surrey with a van that was so packed I thought it would burst. Having my tire burst at the Hope snow sheds. Driving through Abbotsford at 11pm trying to make it to Surrey. Arriving at the Mckays and having Drew and Kayla greet me as I got out of the Van. A new chapter was about to begin. One that would consist of many ups and downs, 3 am hot dog runs to 7-11, watching the t.v series “House”, and the movie “The Replacements”. This was the beginning of a chapter I will not soon forget.
So I was back, I was living at The Mckay’s, I was going to school in Coquitlam, and I was loving life again. Now we had a small problem, we had a drummer/vocalist (Drew), a guitarist (Dan) and a lead singer (myself). But we had not a bassist. This was a problem.
One day I remember coming to the door of the Mckay’s and this skinny blonde dude with a pair of glass’ was standing there….I was confused, mystified, and intrigued all at the same time. Then he spoke…it was probably something along these lines “Hey I’m Jeremy” and my life was forever changed from that moment on. This was my first interaction with Jeremy Pue, or at least the first interaction that I distinctly remember. Apparently I had met him once while I was living at the 12 Shack and I do remember a little bit of it but not much. Anyway, he came into the band to strum the bass and life got awesome. We also had Grant Klassen come on and play 2nd guitar for us at a few shows.
I remember the first show, the pre-show jitters hit me hard. I remember jumping up and down in the green room at “The Basement” in Langley Evangelical Free Church feeling like I was about to throw up. I had never done anything like the before. I have played in front of a crowd before, but I had never played hardcore. When the show began, everything became a blur. A whole new side of me came out, one that when I get the chance to release on stage I get this feeling of euphoria, or pure joy. Being on stage with my best friends and all of us having a collective voice that was able to be heard was something that felt so right, so pure. I couldn’t tell you who we opened for or any of the other bands who played with us. All I remember was that I was the happiest I had ever been.
Some of the bands we played with while I was in the band were “Glory Nights“, “Counting Heartbearts“, “Against Grey“, “Kiros“, “Death Pop“, “Red City Breakout ” and many others. One of these bands -“Against Grey“- would prove to play an instrumental part in “HSR“.
There was a point somewhere that our style musically changed drastically, it began to get greasy, southern, and a little dirty. Most of it I think was coming from listening to bands like “Every Time I Die” and “He Is Legend“. We began writing new material and songs like “Maybe You’ll Just Bounce” and “Bang Bang Dead Bug” started to materialize. We were getting ready to record our 2nd E.P at Hot Sole Studio’s as my end of the year project. This e.p would be named “We’re Not in Arkansas Anymore“. Now before the recording of this e.p my scream changed dramatically, listening to the difference between the 2 E.p’s it’s very interesting. I finally figured out how to scream properly by listening to a band called “Gwen Stacey” who at the time of me of first hearing them were unsigned. Now they have a new screamer and are on solid state. Anyway, sorry for that little tangent.
The Beginning of the End:
So as some of you may know I eventually was asked to leave “HSR” and for good reason. After about 8 months into it I began to become very egotistic, arrogant, and emotional. Classic front man syndrome. I began to mix up my priorities. I let other things overtake “HSR“. After I had finished my schooling at Hot Sole I made a very silly decision, I moved to Abbotsford from Surrey for a girl. Now for some people this works out, but I’m telling you right now if I’m ever asked about my opinion on moving to a different city for a relationship I will straight up say “if you do that you’re a retard”. But that’s just me, other people may and probably are different. Anyway, so how this happened is I felt I had to make a choice between the relationship I was currently in or the band. Now, I should have chosen the band because that was what God was telling me to choose, but I thought that by staying in this band I wouldn’t be able to further the relationship. So I told God that if being in the band meant I couldn’t continue this relationship and bring it to the “next level” that I would rather be in the relationship. About 5 months after that happened I was asked to leave. Funny how that works hey? I was forced to make a choice and I told God that I didn’t want what He had planned for me if it meant I couldn’t have what I wanted…so He took it away, and rightfully so.
So as the dust settled, and I shed my tears, I was forced to deal with the decision’s I had made. Relationships I had with all of the band mates suffered. I had lost my best friends because I had become a stubborn, arrogant, emotional basket case and I had played a part in taking away something that I loved from myself….music.
So time has passed, relationships have healed and friendships have come back from the dead. Looking back on those decisions I had made, I can see that they played a huge part in why I am the way I am right now. I never thought that “HSR” would have had as big of an influence as it did on me. Playing with them again for the first time in over a year this on April 25th of 2010 was amazing and I love each and every member of the band with all my heart. One of the most influential songs or even lyrics for that matter comes from their song “Destroyer“. I will leave you with this lyric.
“I’ll find no comfort here, till I speak loud and throw up my arms, saying…Lord take me I am Yours”
To Drew, Dan, Jeremy and Luke…you are all amazing human beings and I love each and every one of you. Thank you for all the memories and your friendship.
With Love: Josh.