1995 Third Outing from Tim Rutili's Pre-Califone Project Available on Vinyl for the First Time in 20 Years with 8 Bonus Tracks!
In Chicago in the early ‘90s, combustable rock outfit Friends of Betty, led by songwriter Tim Rutili, collapsed and reconfigured itself as Red Red Meat. Over the course of its career, Red Red Meat would twist and expand its sound on a series of records for Sub Pop, eventually morphing into experimental outfit Califone. The band hit hard with third full-length effort, 1995's Bunny Gets Paid. Arguably their most complete album, the record pairs Stones-indebted blues-rock roots with beautiful songs, sounding miles removed from the era's grunge and radio-friendly alternative rock tropes.
Recorded at Idful Studios in Chicago's Wicker Park by producer Brad Wood (Smashing Pumpkins, Liz Phair, Tortoise), Bunny Gets Paid finds Red Red Meat's core members, Rutilli, Brian Deck, Ben Massarella, and Tim Hurley, straddling the line between their most accessible set of songs and a desire to explore a kind of "alternate fidelity," employing layers of distortion, natural reverb, and room ambience. "At the time, I felt like we'd made a classic rock record," Rutilli says. "I was like, ‘This is our Astral Weeks.'" But listening back 20 years later, Rutilli recognizes the band's ambition, a desire to break songs down to their barest, most primitive elements to "see what survives. I think it was about testing the melody, how strong a melody was. It was loving pop music and classic rock songs, but also loving noise...the slow burn of actual sound."
The record features some of Red Red Meat's best-loved songs. Opener "Carpet of Horses" pulses with restrained energy under a pastoral shuffle, while "Chain Chain Chain" imagines RRM as a pop act, with crashing drum fills and a surging chorus. "Gauze" sits in the middle of the record, a gorgeous droning ballad with languid guitars that give way to the band's most anthemic chorus. The record closes with a reading of "There's Always Tomorrow," as featured in the Rankin/Bass Christmas special Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, and the song fits magically and without irony, a downcast but hopeful sentiment.