EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW with Corky Gainsford of Code Red Riot

Code Red Riot have released Mask, their debut album. I caught up with front man Corky Gainsford at their album release show at Backstage Bar & Billiards to discuss their current album, upcoming tours and some extra flavor of the music scene of Las Vegas.

MRM: How long has Code Red Riot been together?

Corky: Well, it’s funny, John, Taz and myself is like the front line of vocals, Bass and guitar. We’ve been together since this thing got put together, which is at this point in time, it was about a year and a half ago. The drummer situation has been a revolving door of a different situations because of both availability, not the right fit, not the right style. All that kind of stuff. It feels very Spinal Tap, the drummer chair keeps changing. Tonight is actually our first show with the drummer that’s doing this run with us, we’re hoping it can be a longterm thing. I wrote and played all the music on the record, like the drums, bass and rhythm guitar parts. Taz did the lead guitar and all the Solos and all the cool stuff because that’s way out of my league. But finding the right drummer is interesting because I’m literally looking for someone that can get into my head space and play the songs, how I envisioned them.


MRM: What is the idea behind the name of the album MASK?

Corky: Well there’s a lot of songs on the album that are about, how you go out in public and essentially have a mask on that you tend to hide behind for just general appearances, um, how other people perceive you and it’s basically the lyrics are about taking that mask off and revealing your true self. And I felt like that was, I’m a pretty solid metaphor for the fact that I’ve spent my entire life behind a drum kit, uh, having someone else out in front saying words that are or are not from the perspective of the drummers own headspace. Uh, and this album was about taking off that mask and actually saying what I feel.


MRM: Where did you guys record the album?

We went through a process of recording and rerecording to get the right vibe on this, but we ended up doing the record with a guy named Shawn Mcgee who lives on the west side of town and recorded it in his house. He had a drum room in his garage, I played the drums out there and then, did the rest of it in his house with the, with the guitar, bass and vocal. So it was actually quite simple and easy and comfortable. Really cool partnership, he and I ended up co-producing the record together, so that’s cool.


MRM: What are, what are some do’s and don’ts that you find with touring?

Corky: DON’T expect to be comfortable. I always say the only way you’ll make it on tour is if you are comfortable being uncomfortable because nothing’s ever the same and there’s always something going wrong and it’s always things that you’re adapting to and fixing and all that kind of stuff. Whether it’s stuff at the venue, stuff with the record label stuff with your vehicle as you’re traveling, any of that stuff. I’m more things go wrong on the road then go right. It’s just a matter of you being able to adapt to the situation and getting through it. It’s definitely trial by fire. I guess I never realized until Otherwise about six months on the road, I realized how many venues and radio stations we would play over and over and over again because the first time through every venue is new and it’s your first time there and you’re like, okay, that was cool. So the DO is be cool to the crew, be cool to the clubs and be cool to the radio stations and learn people’s names because it’s a very small community and you will see all of those people again.


MRM: Who inspired you to start drumming or doing music in general?

Corky: Well, my dad was in bands when I was born and they, the band rehearsed at our house. So when I was two weeks old I was around band rehearsals. So my dad has always number one. Then, as I started getting more and more into music is funny, like the first drummers that I, that I looked up to were like Tommy Lee, you know, because Motley Crue was actually my first concert and he was up there on a drum set like going over the crowd and doing all these crazy stunts that he does and I, you know, my first concert ever had the drummer doing the craziest shit that anybody does, you know. I grew up in Seattle and was around the whole grunge thing. So I was learning music to both Guns N’ Roses and Pantera while I was also learning to Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Alice In Chains and Soundgarden. So all those guys were, were an influence growing up. Then like Chad Smith from Red Hot Chili Peppers and Chad Sexton from 311 and like all these guys that had very cool and interesting group. So I just tried to take bits and pieces of all of that and, it’s all influenced both how I drum in, how I write songs.


It was a great time sitting down with Corky, make sure you catch Code Red Riot out on tour now with Gemini Syndrome. Jul 17 – Guitars – Joplin, MO
Jul 18 – Aftershock Live Music Venue – Merriam, KS
Jul 19 – Sunshine Studios Live – Colorado Springs, CO
Jul 20 – Herman’s Hideaway – Denver, CO
Jul 21 – Launchpad – Albuquerque, NM
Jul 22 – Club Red – Mesa, AZ
Sep 08 – The Rock Box – San Antonio, TX
Sep 09 – Jake’s Backroom – Lubbock, TX
Sep 11 – Pub Rock Live – Scottsdale, AZ
Sep 18 – El Corazon – Seattle, WA
Sep 22 – Sunshine Studios Live – Colorado Springs, CO
Oct 04 – The Empire Concert Club & Bar LLC – Akron, OH


About Jesse Lambert