Red Dress, Part 4 (in a series of TBD)

Posted: August 7, 2011 in Red Dress

Pete Pendras plays guitar opposite John Olufs.  Pendras had been a regular player in bar bands before joining Red Dress, and that experience became repetitive and boring.  Playing with Olufs presented an entirely different experience.  “When we play, we are constantly interacting,” Pendras explains.  “He’ll be doing something and I’ll do something else.  It’s not something that’s gonna be exactly freeze-dried.  In fact, we have some songs where we make a point of not playing them the way we played them the last time.  Just, you know, [sometimes I’ll] leave [the song’s direction] up to John.  Like, ‘Okay, John, you’ve got the intro.  Whatever you’re feeling like doing today, go ahead and do it.’  And then he’ll launch the song and we won’t know what we’re gonna get until he launches the song.  And then we have to come in and kinda–on the fly–commit to that approach.”

A band’s rhythm section always determines how tight, loose, and powerful it sounds.  For a band as interpretative, dynamic, and integrated as Red Dress, the bass player and drummer become even more critical.  Without a strong backbone, Gary, John, and Peter’s improvisation could have sounded sloppy and muddled.  Fortunately, Red Dress had Bill Bagley on bass (and keyboards) and Bill Shaw on drums.  Shaw loved the challenge of playing in off-time signatures and possessed the ability to master it.  Bagley, meanwhile, also brought a powerful songwriting approach.  “Bill Bagley,” says Minkler, “was…[an] extremely important component to the music that bridged me…from being non-musical into musical.

“He had the ability to arrange tunes really well,” Minkler continues.  “When I wrote a song, the arrangement was really up to the band to find and to play with and—they were constantly changing [it].  But when Bagley wrote a tune, his arrangements were so good [they] couldn’t be improved on.”

  1. Awesomehawk says:

    So where is Bill Bagley?

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