Green on Red was an American rock band, formed in the Tucson, Arizona punk scene, but based for most of its career in Los Angeles, California, where it was loosely associated with the Paisley Underground. Earlier records have the wide-screen psychedelic sound of first-wave desert rock, while later releases tended more towards traditional country rock.
The band began in 1979 as The Serfers, a four-piece made up of Dan Stuart (vocals/guitar), Jack Waterson (bass), Van Christian (drums, later of Naked Prey) and Sean Nagore (organ), quickly replaced by Chris Cacavas. In the summer of 1980, the Serfers relocated to Los Angeles, where they changed their name to Green on Red (after the title of one of their songs) to avoid confusion with the local surf punk scene. Christian returned to Tucson and was replaced by Lydia Lunch sideman Alex MacNicol.
The band issued an overtly psychedelic, self-released red vinyl EP, sometimes called Two Bibles, though its first widely available record was an EP issued in 1982 by Dream Syndicate leader Steve Wynn on his own Down There label. Green on Red followed the Dream Syndicate onto Slash Records, which released the album Gravity Talks in the fall of 1983. San Francisco-based guitarist Chuck Prophet joined for the 1985 Gas Food Lodging (Enigma), after which MacNicol was replaced on drums by Keith Mitchell (later of Mazzy Star). In 2006 ‘Gas’ was performed live in its entirety as part of the All Tomorrow’s Parties-curated Don’t Look Back series. Also in 1985, Stuart collaborated with Steve Wynn as “Danny & Dusty” on the album The Lost Weekend (A&M).
A major-label deal with Phonogram/Mercury followed, with the 7-song EP No Free Lunch released in summer 1986. A strong country music direction was evident, which music critic Ira Robbins remarked “should finally erase the group’s original misassociation with the dreaded paisley underground”. The album The Killer Inside Me came next, produced by Jim Dickinson at Ardent Studios in Memphis. The band split up afterwards; Cacavas began recording albums under his own name. When Stuart returned to recording, with the 1989 Here Come the Snakes, it was essentially as a duo with Prophet, using hired backing including Christopher Holland on keyboards. Three more albums were released before the pair called it quits, after the 1992 Too Much Fun.
Post Green on Red, Stuart recorded the album Retronuevo with Al Perry in 1993, and solo effort Can O’Worms in 1995, and then essentially quit the music business; Prophet maintains a career as a solo artist and semi-celebrity sideman.
However, in September 2005, the band reformed in its “golden era” line-up of Stuart, Cacavas, Prophet and Waterson, with Daren Hess filling in for Alex MacNicol (who had died in the meantime) to play a one-off show as part of the celebrations for the 20th anniversary of Club Congress in Tucson. This was followed up by a show in London on 10 January 2006 (ostensibly to complete their aborted 1987 European tour).
In 2007, Stuart and Wynn released their second studio album as Danny & Dusty, Cast Iron Soul, which was released on Blue Rose Records. Danny & Dusty followed up in the same year with Here’s to You Max Morlock—Live in Nuremberg, a live double album and DVD.
Dan Stuart formed The Slummers in 2010, with JD Foster, Antonio Gramentieri, and Diego Sapignoli. They released their debut album Love of the Amateur and toured Europe a year later.
In 2012, Dan Stuart reemerged in Oaxaca de Juarez, Mexico, and released a new solo record, The Deliverance of Marlowe Billings. (wikipedia)
Desert rock or alternate country or cow punk or even roots rock, Green On Red’s Time Ain’t Nothing (from 1985’s No Free Lunch) continue to leave a lump in the throat for those who were young and floundering but found a point of reference or even solace in the song. That’s what country does to you.
Green On Red’s “Gas Food Lodging” LP had just been released, one the finest albums recorded in the ’80s. What a freakin’ great band – 45-min time slot, so essentially zero breaks between songs – who needs ‘em?! Maybe GonR shoulda done more afternoon gigs as this is phenomenal, but in ‘85/86 there weren’t many better bands touring. (BigO Magazine)
From the collection of KNEES. Thanks to Les_Mountain for sharing the show at Dime.
Recorded live at the La Primavera de Bourges” Festival, in Bourges, Cher, France;
April 7, 1985. Very good mono soundboard.
Chris “Chez” Cacavas (keyboards, guitar, vocals)
Dan “Big Daddy” Stuart – vocals, guitar, vocals
Chuck “Billy The Kid” Prophet IV – guitar, vocals
Jack “Jake” Waterson – electric bass
Alex “Big Dog” MacNicol (drums, percussion)
01. Intro 0.28
02. We Shall Overcome (Hamilton/Cazawan/Seeger/Horton) 2.18
03. Keep On Moving (Prophet/Cacavas/MacNicol/Waterson/Stuart) 4.05
04. Sea Of Cortez (Prophet/Cacavas/MacNicol/Waterson/Stuart) 5:39
05. Hair Of The Dog (Prophet/Cacavas/MacNicol/Waterson/Stuart) 2.14
06. Gravity Talks (Stuart/Cacavas) 2.16
07. 5 Easy Pieces (Stuart/Cacavas) 2.27
08. Sixteen Ways (Cacavas/Prophet/Stuart/Waterson) 3.17
09. (Gee Ain’t It Funny How) Time Slips Away (Nelson) 2.53
10. Cheap Wine (Stuart) 3.18
11. Down To The Bone (Stuart/Wynn) 4.05
12. The Drifter (Prophet/Cacavas/MacNicol/Waterson/Stuart) 3.10
13. Snake Bit (Stuart/Cacavas/Waterson/MacNicol) 6.40