We chatted with Alfred Howard of The Redwoods, a San Diego record label, talking about San Diego bands and what his dream show would be like.
How did the Redwoods Revue get started? Who’s idea was it?
The label came out of three of us watching the Muscle Shoals documentary the same evening. We weren’t even together, but sometimes Netflix knows you well and suggests exactly what you need (other times it’s a litany of unappealing options like Subway). We were already members of bands with overlapping players, so we decided to just go all the way with it. The revues came out of sharing a backing band, it seemed like a logical to throw a party and invite all our friends.
You work with a lot of great San Diego bands, were you friends with them beforehand or how did they join The Redwoods Collective?
I had a brief foray into music writing and Birdy Bardot was my first interview. Through the years I’ve progressed from superfan to friend. I worked on an album with Rebecca Jade before the redwoods label came about. I met Shelbi, Matt and Dani at Cow Records. I tracked Dawn down after hearing her beautiful voice on the radio. I imagine it was like Avengers or something, just without the budget. I’ve known all the core musicians for years, seriously, some of those cats have seen me in a rap rock band with dreadlocks down to my shoulders, thankfully before the Internet documented everything. The thing that makes this work is we’re all friends. We all hang out in pockets outside of playing. We break bread together and it feels like family. When you feel good about who you work with it’s not work.
Are you planning on adding more bands to your current roster of musicians? If so, how can they contact you?
We’re a very hands on label. We’re also members of every band thus far and it takes a lot of energy to involve yourself in both creative and managerial aspects. I think the goal is to sign more artists but for now, we want to learn how to manage what we have without our heads exploding. For me as I writer, I’m always looking for a unique voice. If a voice really moves me, I’ll make time. We’re reachable at firstname.lastname@example.org
You’ve thrown a bunch of awesome shows in the past and even a little tour, what was your favorite?
I had a great time at the casbah revue. My mom was in town and she had never seen any of the bands I wrote lyrics for and she was really blown away. Prior to that, every Christmas my mom would send me some khakis cause she thought I should get a real job. After the revue, she either accepted that I was beyond repair or she understood that it was a real job and I didn’t need tan pleated dockers to rock the fuck out.
If you could book a show at your dream venue with The Redwoods crew, where would it be and why?
There’s a small town on the edge of Yosemite called El Portal. My old band used to play there, in between songs the mics on stage pick up the hum of crickets and frogs. There’s a waterfall in the close distance. And the air reminds me of a long gone time. I’d love to play there and share it with my friends. And the people of that town were so gracious and appreciative of music.
The Redwoods are putting together an awesome New Year’s Eve Masquerade Bash at The Lafayette with a stacked local lineup – how did you decide on the lineup and who are you most excited to see?
We just picked the bands we would want to see. We tried to get bands with a strong visual element. And bands who write great songs. I’m playing in 4 bands so I probably won’t get to see much. But the New Kinetics are my favorite band in San Diego and their live show is fire!
Where can we purchase tickets to the show?
The internet. https://www.eventbrite.com/e/nye-at-the-lafayette-psychedelic-masquerade-tickets-28877367985 They are also available at the venue. 2223 El Cajon Blvd.
What can we expect next from The Redwoods?
We’re working on a number of new albums right now. But I want you folks to be surprised. Cause how often to you get surprised in life. That and the last big surprise I got was super shitty, so we’re gonna try to balance it out with some good surprises.