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Like a religion

Red Wanting Blues Scott Terry believes in his band, which hits the Grand Lodge Saturday night


by: COURTESY PHOTO - From David Letterman to Forest Grove: Red Wanting Blue plays at McMenamins Saturday, Jan. 26. Lead singer Scott Terry joins with Mark McCullough (bass, chapman stick, vocals), Greg Rahm (guitar, keyboard, vocals), Eric Hall (guitar, lap steel, vocals) and Dean Anshutz (drums, percussion).After 15 years together, Red Wanting Blue is doing better than ever. The Columbus, Ohio, band recently appeared on VH1's morning show, “Big Morning Buzz Live,” and last summer performed their hit single, “Stay On The Bright Side,” on the “Late Show with Dave Letterman.” The track was also a daily download at “Rolling Stone.” Still, on a misty, gray afternoon in Portland, lead singer-songwriter Scott Terry is standing in a hotel parking lot, exhausted after another long day of travel and wondering, “Do you really want to do this?” Reality for most rock bands is not filled with glamorous parties and money and jet travel, said Terry, 36. “I have had no cable TV for 12 years. My house is a giant post office box that I open when I pass through town. I clear up my mail, wash clothes and move on.” His refrigerator is never well-stocked with food. He eats out too much. If he stays in one place too long, he feels like he should be somewhere else. His girlfriend of 13 years is a saint for staying with him. But yes, he really wants to do this. “It's my calling,” Terry said. “It's what I do and what I want to do. I believe in this band like a religion.” Red Wanting Blue is on tour again after releasing its first corporate record, “From the Vanishing Point” — a title inspired by all the time spent in the band’s bus, driving down the road toward the horizon.

Terry said he knew “From the Vanishing Point” would be the most far-reaching album the band has ever made, designed to keep core fans along for the ride as well as appeal to new folks, but never abandoning their history for what's hip. That history started when Terry graduated from Ohio University WHEN? with a degree in Theater Performance and a dream to make music and start a band. “When you're young and looking for inspiration and life experience, you write about what you want to know, not about what you know,” said Terry, known for his passionate, poetic songs and baritone voice.

Tries to be honest But at some point, he said, in the midst of getting older and gaining life experience, “There is a shift. You stop writing about aspirations and you start writing about what's real in your life.”

In his songs, Terry tries to be as honest as he can about that reality. An early notebook filled with lyrics and poetry inspired the name of his band, which includes “Far too often we find ourselves riding red, but wanting blue,” Terry said. In other words, we often go after something that we are not designed to do. “But it's the human condition to try anyway.” Terry’s own life is an example. Doing what you love to do every day can be exhausting, he said. “It's like running a little baby circus, rolling out of venues, driving hours on end, being around the same people, leaving the people you love most behind, having little privacy.” When all the dust settles, Terry said, “I am red wanting blue. I am still a kid going after something I am probably not designed to be.”

The band plays in the Compass Room of McMenamin’s Grand Lodge at 7 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 26. The concert is free and open to all ages.




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