Bunny Gets Paid (2015 Reissue)
Label: Jealous Butcher
Catalog #: 4024397
From Jealous Butcher:
Chicago rock ensemble Red Red Meat hit hard with 1995’s Bunny Gets Paid. Arguably the band’s most complete album, the record pairs Stones-indebted blues-rock roots with beautiful songs, sounding miles removed from the era’s grunge and radio-friendly alternative rock tropes.
Recorded at Idful Studios in Chicago’s Wicker Park by producer Brad Wood (Smashing Pumpkins, Liz Phair, Tortoise), Bunny Gets Paid finds Red Red Meat’s core members, Tim Rutilli, Brian Deck, Ben Massarella, and Tim Hurley, straddling the line between their most accessible set of songs and a desire to explore a kind of “alternate fidelity,” employing layers of distortion, natural reverb, and room ambience.
“At the time, I felt like we’d made a classic rock record,” Rutilli says. “I was like, ‘This is our Astral Weeks.’” But listening back 20 years later, Rutilli recognizes the band’s ambition, a desire to break songs down to their barest, most primitive elements to “see what survives.”
“I think it was about testing the melody, how strong a melody was,” Rutilli says. “It was loving pop music and classic rock songs, but also loving noise…the slow burn of actual sound.”
Drummer Brian Deck, who’d go on to work on records by Modest Mouse, The Fruit Bats, Iron and Wine, and others, recalls the band’s 1995 Sub Pop debut, Jimmywine Majestic, making “this promise of a rock revivalist band.” With Bunny Gets Paid, the band “went in a different direction from that.”
“To a certain extent we were just punk asses,” Deck says. “We wanted to do what wasn’t expected of us. We wanted to do something new.”
The record features some of Red Red Meat’s best-loved songs. Opener “Carpet of Horses” pulses with restrained energy under a pastoral shuffle, while “Chain Chain Chain” imagines RRM as a pop act, with crashing drum fills and a surging chorus. “Gauze” sits in the middle of the record, a gorgeous droning ballad with languid guitars that give way to the band’s most anthemic chorus. The record closes with a reading of “There’s Always Tomorrow,” as featured in the Rankin/Bass Christmas special Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, and the song fits magically and without irony, a downcast but hopeful sentiment.
“They were ahead of the time,” producer Brad Wood says. “People say that about bands all the time, but it certainly felt that way to me with this particular band.”
“As Red Red Meat progressed you see them abandoning traditional song forms, experimenting with the sounds of things -- basing songs on sounds and grooves,” Wood says. “More than just about any band I ever worked with, Red Red Meat digested their influences.” On Bunny Gets Paid, blues and classic rock and roll sounds are transmuted; the record is the sound Red Red Meat finding unique creative footing.