Jump to Content

Welcome! You’re browsing the No Depression Archives

No Depression has been the foremost journalistic authority on roots music for well over a decade, publishing 75 issues from 1995 to 2008. No Depression ceased publishing magazines in 2008 and took to the web. We have made the contents of those issues accessible online via this extensive archive and also feature a robust community website with blogs, photos, videos, music, news, discussion and more.

Close This

Not Fade Away - Reissue Review from Issue #44 March-April 2003

Green On Red

Self-Titled (Restless)

After relocating from Tucson in 1982, Green On Red joined the Dream Syndicate, Long Ryders, Bangles and others in a Hollywood scene soon to be dubbed the Paisley Underground. The first three releases in that era have been dusted off and reissued: 1983′s Gravity Talks arrived in January on Wounded Bird, while its self-titled 1982 EP predecessor and its follow-up, 1985′s Gas Food Lodging, are cobbled together in a February release on Restless.

While Green On Red’s compatriots were relatively quick to hone their (sometimes painfully derivative) sounds — the Dream Syndicate mined the Velvet Underground, the Long Ryders offered a Byrds/Buffalo Springfield amalgam, the Bangles did a girl-pop update of Nuggets-era garage rock — Green On Red took longer to percolate.

Their 1982 EP, issued under the guidance of the Dream Syndicate’s Steve Wynn on his Down There Records, captures what is only a semi-realized swath of lo-fi neo-psychedelia, colored mostly by Dan Stuart’s nasally, indie-flat vocals, Chris Cacavas’ keyboard swirl and the 4/4 chug of bassist Jack Waterson and drummer Alex MacNicol. Interesting and energetic, but not really there. Hearing it twenty years later, the song remains the same.

The group graduated to then-coveted Slash Records for its full-length debut, Gravity Talks, available on CD for the first time here with the extra track “Alice”. GOR also gravitated further from its hodgepodge of ’60s grooviness to more of a folk-rock style. More importantly, songs began to take on some real shape, including the raucous “Abigail’s Ghost” and the anthemic “That’s What You’re Here For”. Better playing and production helped the cause. But worthy of revisiting? Only if you want to go the distance.

However, Gas Food Lodging is the right place to start, be it again or for the first time. Originally released by Enigma in 1985 as most of GOR’s paisley compatriots had graduated to the big time — to wit: Dream Syndicate were working with longtime Blue Oyster Cult and one-time Clash producer Sandy Pearlman, the Bangles with a guy named Prince — Gas Food Lodging finds the group finally finding itself. Ample credit goes to new arrival Chuck Prophet, whose sharp and soulful fretwork pulled the band’s sound from the psychedelic ghetto into a greater multi-dimensional vein. The San Francisco transplant was also credited, according to the reissue’s liner notes, with teaching the others a thing or two about arrangements.

It shows. Gas Food Lodging is a confident, picturesque effort plucked from the Neil Young school of edgy, loose-limbed rock. Frontman Stuart compounds the comparison, coming off as Young’s younger, drunker and wider-eyed brother, complete with warbly notes perhaps not meant for the squeamish. The album is essentially a road document — “Black River” and the manic “Hair Of The Dog” consider indie-rock touring and the booze that enhances it, respectively — but its real resonance is in its sense of the restlessness and dissolution experienced by many in the Reagan era. Still, songs such as “That’s What Dreams Were Made For” and “We Shall Overcome”, the latter a cover of the famed protest song that succeeds against all odds, sound perfectly applicable again here in 2003.

That Gas Food Lodging is coupled most jarringly with the ’82 EP is a bit of an oddity — a random result of a record label having the rights to both releases but none other. While it would have made more sense for the EP to tag along instead with Gravity Talks, take it for what it is — a curious bonus that shows how far Green On Red came.

Enjoy the ND archives? Consider making a donation with PayPal or send a check to:
No Depression, 460 Bush St., San Francisco, CA 94108

Discuss

Did you enjoy this article? Start a discussion about it, or find out what others are saying in the No Depression Community forum.

Join the Discussion »

Find out what's going on in roots music. Share concert photos and videos, learn about new artists, blog about the music you love.

Join the No Depression Community »

Originally Featured in Issue #44 March-April 2003

Buy our history before it’s gone!

Each issue is artfully designed and packed full of great photos that you don‘t get online. Visit the No Depression store to own a piece of history.

Visit the No Depression Store »


From the Blogs

  • SummerTyne Americana Festival #9 - Jumping Hot Club Stage (Gateshead, U.K. - July 18-20, 2014)
    Wow, it’s taken nearly two weeks for me to get my breath back after another frantic and wonderful SummerTyne Americana Festival. As I say every year, the crowds turn up not knowing anyone on the Jumping Hot Club Outside stage and go away with their favourite new artist of the year. Starting at noon on Friday, the outside stage hosted seven local acts, all wi […]
  • What Happens When a Band on the Rise Finds Out Its Name Is an Obscure Racial Stereotype? Meet Parsonsfield (Formerly Poor Old Shine).
    For Poor Old Shine, it started with a song… a traditional prison work song of the American South, called “Ain’t No Cane on This Brazos.” It’s been interpreted by everyone from Dylan and the Band, to the Low Anthem, Lyle Lovett and the Wood Brothers. And it was the song in one of the great scenes in the movie “Festival Express,” as a completely blotto Rick Da […]
  • Getting to Know Wendy Cahill -- Falcon Ridge Emerging Artist
    Wendy Cahill has a voice.  She’s got a voice that is captivating and beguiling.  She’s got soul.  And like I said above, man-oh-man, she has got a Voice.  It’s raw and powerful and is definitely meant to be heard! Wendy Cahill is one of 24 Emerging Artists chosen for this year’s Falcon Ridge Folk Festival.  The Emerging Artist showcase is always one of the h […]
  • The Post-Newport Earthquake: Watkins Family Hour
    Did you feel it? That's what everybody in Los Angeles asks each other whenever a shake or quake rattles and rolls through the valleys and flatlands. Sometimes there's just a release of pressure beneath the crust, and other times it's an up and down jolt that lasts only a second. And then you forget about it. Until the next time.  Sunday night […]
  • Johnny Winter - True to the Blues: The Johnny Winter Story (Album Review)
    “This music proves that a white man with white hair can really play the blues,” Pete Townsend says in the booklet that accompanies True To the Blues: The Johnny Winter Story, the four-CD box set retrospective of Winter's career just out on Columbia /Legacy. But age had nothing to do with Winter's look or sound. Due to his albinism, Winter's ha […]
  • Americana Music Show Episode #200 Tribute to the Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill music scene
    On episode 200 of the Americana Music Show, I pay tribute to local bands and songwriters in the Carrboro, Chapel Hill, Durham, Raleigh NC area.  This week features over 30 local artists from the area including John Howie Jr. and the Rosewood Bluff, Lyn Blakey, Jefferson Hart and Ghosts of Old North State, Mandolin Orange, Jon Shain, Radar's Clowns Of Se […]

Shop Amazon by clicking through this logo to support NoDepression.com. We get a percentage of every purchase you make!


Subscribe To the No Depression Newsletter

Subscribe to the No Depression Newsletter