Raise the Red Lantern

Contrary to popular belief, playing in a touring rock band isn't all luxurious tour buses, free beer and crowded bars. For Chicago's Raise the Red Lantern, a tour bus isn't quite in the budget yet, which is not to say they aren't moving up to bigger and better. "[Our old van] is no longer with us. I had to lay her to rest a week before the tour started," vocalist/guitarist Kris told Noisecreep. "But she lived to the great old age of 316,000 miles. That's pretty unheard of. Therefore, now we are riding in luxury in a 2009 Ford Excursion. This thing has all the little tricks that a fine luxury car would have, which none of us would really know about. It's a rental, so we have to be fairly gentle with it. But there is no worry that it will leave us stranded, and that's half the battle."

If getting to the show is half the battle, the other half might be figuring out what to do when you arrive and realize you have several hours to kill before load in. Raise the Red Lantern have that one figured out, too. "Killing time on the road is our specialty on this current tour," explained Kris. "At home we are all part of bowling leagues and are all pretty avid bowlers, so we basically threw our bowling balls in the back of the tour vehicle and try to hit up as many old school bowling alleys around the country. It is a perfect way of killing a good amount of time before load in. Also, we like to stop and see the sights along our travels. It adds a new appreciation to the tour, being out in the thick of it."

Road warriors that they are, RTRL are not only crushing bowling pins, but crushing audiences with their devastating blend of frenzied metal that is showcased on their brand new self-titled sophomore release. Obvious influences are hard to pinpoint, but it's clear they take their cues from the more aggressive side of the musical spectrum. "Heavy is the ultimate influence for us, music that can take hold of your senses and leave them in exhaustion and ruin," said Kris. "There is just something about down-tuned guitars shaking the earth around you and the chest crushing drums which give the music its own life-like pulse. I could ramble off a few bands that we may draw influence from, but it kind of takes some of the sincerity and element of surprise away that I personally adore when it comes to new music."

Even when RTRL are not making music, they are making noise in the Chicago music scene and beyond, albeit indirectly. Three quarters of the band are involved in making the highly-regarded Emperor Cabs, with a growing list of big name bands using the custom built speaker cabinets. "Originally we made the first cabs for our band at my last job," explained Kris. "A couple of us were doing road cases for a few years, when that job went south we kept on making cabs. We have been lucky enough to have so many great bands come on board since then. I think a lot of the success comes from being in the city of Chicago. Locally we have had great support from the scene."

Raise the Red Lantern's is on tour now. Their latest record is now available from Seventh Rule Recordings.