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"You want road stories?" says Alfie Lucero, lead singer and bass player in the six-year-old Phoenix rock band Redfield, sharing some after-work drinks with the rest of the quartet at the George & Dragon pub on South 48th Street. "Oh, man! Where do we begin?"
Mike Sandoval, the big, hulking guitarist everyone calls Big Mike, begins with a classic drunken-roadie story, a tale of one 18-year-old party monster named Flip, through whose exploits Sandoval (the only married member of the group) admits he lives vicariously.
"It's his first night in Vegas," Sandoval says, "he's chokin' down drinks, gambling, having a great time. He comes up to me and says, 'Mike! This is my night! I just won 67 dollars! I'm takin' this town!'"
"By four o'clock in the morning," Lucero interjects, "he's broke, begging people for 50 cents. Asks a guy if he wants to party. Eats leftover room service food off the floor in the hotel hallway. And we find him the next morning, wrapped in toilet paper under the sink!"
Lucero and the rest of the guys, all in their late 20s, and all, except for Chad Kinney, sporting long hair and tattoos, erupt in wild gales of laughter, drawing the eyes of a couple of young girls at the bar, whom Lucero nods to as evidence of what he said earlier: No matter what they say, chicks still dig guys in rock bands.
"As much as they deny it," Sandoval adds, "girls like guys with long hair. My wife, on the other hand, hates it."
Again with the laughter. For a heavy rockin' punk-pop band that's titled its new CD Feeding the Dead(its first full-length album for local indie Grave 9 Records), and packaged it in a frighteningly bitchin' CD cover by Spawn comic book artist Jay Fotos featuring a hellish mosh pit of damned souls, the four guys in Redfield are relentlessly cheery, smiling constantly and infectiously.
"Actually, the name Feeding the Dead came to me and Chan [Shulman] when we were flying out to L.A. to meet our lawyer," Lucero says in a voice that's tonight two parts David Lee Roth and the rest Budweiser Select.
"We wanted to come up with a really cool album name, like Appetite for Destruction. And we thought, you know how you hear a lot of people nowadays saying that rock is dead? Well, if rock is dead, we're gonna keep on feeding it!"
Even the comment itself is quaint rock 'n' roll dogma. But the guys in Redfield actually seem to be living the classic rock 'n' roll life, whether they're recording their new album on a Mardi Gras blowout in New Orleans ("boobs, liquor -- everything I thought it was gonna be, only better," says Lucero), signing up with Budweiser for a second year of tour sponsorship ("free beer at all the shows," winks Kinney), or meeting their heroes along the way ("I met Motörhead backstage," says Sandoval, "and Lemmy was like, 'You guys know where a good strip club is? Wanna drive?' It was awesome!").
"We're trying," Lucero says. "We always wanted to be a rock 'n' roll band. We're all about drinking and girls and rock 'n' roll."
"People forget that rock 'n' roll was dangerous," Sandoval adds. "You get all these bands here now where everybody wears designer clothes --"
"Hair by Toni&Guy," continues Lucero. "I love all the bands that are getting signed now, but they're not scary. I think about my old Guns N' Roses poster, with them all drinking Jack Daniel's, and my dad coming in and saying, 'What's that you have on your wall, some degenerate alcoholics?'"
Of course, living like Guns N' Roses can be hard when three out of four band members (only Sandoval is temporarily unemployed) are all still working like Dilberts and Miltons.
"We definitely live double lives," says Kinney, who works as the audio/visual manager at north Scottsdale's Four Seasons resort, overseeing a team of convention room projectionists and sound engineers by day and sometimes traveling back and forth to California, Nevada or New Mexico to play gigs with Redfield by night.
"The worst thing is when you just finished opening for another band," he says, "and you're listening to their set while you're ironing your shirts, getting ready for work the next morning."
"Where we're at right now, we can't afford to quit our jobs, we can't go out on tour for four months straight," says daytime graphic artist Chan Shulman, who grew up on Phoenix's Redfield Road, winning the sweepstakes in the band's private contest to name themselves after a neighborhood of their youth.
"So we'll get done playing a California gig at midnight, drive all night to get home at, like, 6:30 in the morning, and I'll have to be at work by 7."
Sometimes Chad and Chan will stumble into work bruised and bleary-eyed from their adrenaline-drenched performance the previous night -- they call their music "action rock" -- feeling like Edward Norton dripping blood on the copy machine in Fight Club.
"I was in a big meeting the other day with the president of the company," Shulman says. "And my shirt sleeve was caught up just enough to show my tattoo -- which I always keep secret, 'cause you never know if people will be cool with the fact you're in a band. And right away they start asking me, 'Are you in a band? So is this going to affect your work?' Little do they know I haven't slept for 48 hours!"