This Philadelphia band's first album on A&M, entitled The Reds, is a ferocious attack, total and relentless. It's textures are dense with electronic chaos brought to the edge of madness, then resolved into piercing clarity. The album showed the band's most impressive achievement -- a sound that blends Rick Shaffer's guitar and Bruce Cohen's keyboards into an interestingly textured drone, short guitar and keyboard figures, rising then disappearing back into the drone, while Shaffer's voice provides the punch and definition for the overall sound. The album was supported with live appearances with such diverse acts as The Police, Joe Jackson, The Psychedelic Furs, and Public Image.
The Reds was followed by an A&M released EP featuring The Doors song, Break On Through which suggests some of the band's roots. After leaving A&M, The Reds went forward with two independent albums, Stronger Silence and Fatal Slide. These two records continued The Reds sound, receiving critical acclaim internationally, and were supported with extensive tours.
They next recorded a tense and powerful album for Sire/WB entitled, Shake Appeal, produced by Mike Thorne (Blur, Soft Cell, Wire). This forcible record led the band to work with director/producer, Michael Mann. Mann incorporated numerous Reds songs into episodes of Miami Vice, and was so impressed with the impact of the songs that he hired Shaffer and Cohen to write songs and score for two motion pictures, Band of the Hand (Tri-Star) and Manhunter (De Laurentiis), based on the novel Red Dragon. Soundtracks from both films were released on MCA. Shaffer and Cohen also contributed a song, Terror In My Heart, to the film Nightmare On Elm Street 2 (New Line), directed by Jack Shoulder.
Solo projects at this time for Bruce Cohen were writing score for the following productions, Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde and Down The Road at Philadelphia's Walnut Theatre; The Speckled Band, starring Quentin Crisp, and Charles Busch' play, Vampire Lesbians Of Sodom for NYC's Pulse Theatre Company; and a forty minute electronic film noir piece for Goodbye Johnny Staccato.
While solo projects for Rick Shaffer included recording guitar tracks on a Marianne Faithfull album (Island); Hilly Kristal's, Mad Mordechai (Stereo Society); Peter Murphy's, Holy Smoke (Beggars Banquet/BMG); and Marc Almond's, Fantastic Star (Some Bizarre/Mercury).
Their next album, Cry Tomorrow (Tarock) reunited The Reds with British producer Mike Thorne. It captures the driving intensity of earlier albums and the ambient, atmospheric feel from their film scores, resulting in a stark, surreal album, with a sense of mood and mystery. The pulsing opening track, Terror In My Heart, the bone crushing title track, Cry Tomorrow, the searing non-stop groove of the Stones' Gimme Shelter, the introduction of various percussive elements and a diversity of background vocals, all create an experimental and manic energy that reaches inside your head and won't let go.
In 2004 Rick Shaffer was recruited again by director, Michael Mann, to write and record, Looking For Right, for the film, Collateral.
Their critically acclaimed album, Fugitives From The Laughing House (Tarock) was released in 2007. Written and produced by The Reds, the ride starts from the street fighting Wild and Little Cisco, through the hypnotic stroll of Ringing The Bell and Dum Dum Dice . . . and does not let up until the end with the grinding Dub laced Gunn's Suicide, and slow death burn of Can't Bring You Back, which feels like a dying man's last breath. Fugitives From The Laughing House is a straight forward raw nerve reflection of life in America. In 2008, Lethal Dose (track #10) inspired British director, Peter McAdam, to shoot an independent film short, also entitled Lethal Dose.
The Reds February 2009 release, Early Nothing (Tarock) was also written and produced by Shaffer and Cohen. Created over a period of time to develop a hypnotic quality, that leaves the listener free to let their subconscious play itself out, no matter where it goes, maintaining the simplicity of the moment. If you thought The Reds couldn't get any heavier or darker . . . . you've been warned.