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original site launched April 1, 2004, .com relaunched October 1, 2004
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|Peter and the Wolf Takes to the Sea
by Leanda Quinquet
Red Hunter is a born traveler and performer. It’s in his blood. This heavy-booted, dusty-haired, belt-buckled man, has to keep moving, spreading his infectious, folky, spiritual, glory from coast to coast.
Red is founder and front man of Austin, TX’s finest new export, Peter and the Wolf. The band is a newer project for Red. He first caused a buzz with his original band Order of the Owl, a group that gained cult popularity due to the fact that their shows were held in some pretty obscure, non traditional venues; under bridges, in abandoned buses, on remote islands and many other hard to get to, secret places.
Who doesn’t like an adventure? Music and adventure go hand in hand and Order of the Owl managed to provide a healthy, eclectic helping of both. The new project continues to push boundaries in regards to what constitutes a band, and also continues to challenge the concept of performing shows in traditional music venues.
Red is now in the midst of his North American summer tour with his band of colorful music makers, sometimes numbering in their fifteen to twenties; he is taking to the roads, highways and even the waterways to bring you some truly beautiful and heartfelt music.
Red recently released a 12 track CD on his own label, Whisky and Apples. The record is home to a sharp shooting, collection of sweet songs. Crisp and clear in production, featuring simple guitar and brilliant vocal harmonies provided by the man himself, and his banjo playing chanteuse friend, Dana.
I caught up with Hunter, and his adopted band for the evening, a young buck of a banjo player, and two wild haired, sprightly female singers who bused all the way from Montreal, to perform as part of the band for the night. We managed to have a chat before their show at Toronto’s Tranzac club. Over a pint and a game of Scrabble, Red talked about life on the road and the ever changing collective known as Peter and the Wolf.
Leanda Quinquet – How you doing?
Red Hunter – Good…
LQ - We’re drinking and playing scrabble…chatting between sups of beer…all very serious and quiet. So, where did you just come from?
RH - Oh, Montreal…
LQ – How was that?
RH – Super alright, super good.
LQ – You’re based in Texas, how’s that?
RH – It’s really hot there now, so that’s why everyone in Texas goes on summer tours.
LQ – Peter and the Wolf is a newer project for you. How did you get it started?
RH – Ummm…I guess it’s probably been a year and a half or two years at this point. I don’t know, I knew this girl named Dana, and we were singing scary songs together, and I thought that "Peter and the Wolf" would be a good name to describe it. Because it’s really gloomy, and foresty.
LQ – You released an e.p on your own imprint Whiskey and Apples, Experiments in Junk. Tell me the story there, where was it recorded? Did you produce it?
RH – Experiments in Junk was just me and a bunch of people, we’d get together at my house or at a studio, and I’d play the song and everyone would clank on trashcans, and junk metal, and sing and stuff like that. That’s kind of like what the shows have been like on this tour. People get on stage and don’t know what we’re about to do, and then we do it, and then they don’t know what we just did…
LQ – (laughs) So everyone can get involved and have a part…that is wicked! There was a video I saw on your site, it was great too. Who did that?
RH – That was for "How I Wish," my friend Clem animated it. He’s awesome. He really took his time, and drew these elaborate city drawings that were just like city ruins, they were stills and he animated….what’s the name for that animation style? Where it’s like a picture that’s frozen and something is moving through it?
Red looks around the table for a response…nobody knows…
RH – It’s something like stop animation, but it’s not that.
LQ – You’re near the end of your tour, how’s it been going so far?
RH – It feels like I’m about halfway through. Six weeks on the road, with another six to go. It’s cool, it takes a while for your body to get adjusted to tour, if you drink a lot or something, and don’t eat well your body doesn’t handle it like every night for a while. But then your body rebuilds, and all of a sudden you can drink and eat bad everyday. You’re fine.
LQ – I can’t imagine! I was talking to Ray of Castanets about that, learning to look after yourself on the road. He was also saying you get used to it…I don’t know…I love my sleep! Tell us about this boat tour you have coming up, how did you hook that up?
RH – I was talking to Jana Hunter (no relation) about doing it in a bar, and Jana just by coincidence found a guy that she knew that was interested in getting a sail boat. He was going to get it a year from now, but when he heard about our tour he got it this summer, so we could do this. He’s pretty awesome, his name's Dan, he’s a guy we know from New York.
LQ – Where’s it starting and where’s it going?
RH – We start in New York City and we have like eight or something shows over a two week period and it just goes down to Norfolk, but it takes its time getting there.
LQ – So how many people are going to be Peter and the Wolf at that time? Hey…it’s your time to shine with your scrabble skills! What word are you going to put together?
RH – Ummm….it’s a top secret word I’m working on over here, but ummm…
LQ – I can give you a moment.
RH – No, no! The boat tour is going to be myself as Peter and the Wolf and Ray [Raposa] as Castanets and Jana Hunter as herself. But we’re all going to play music with each other on the tour. So they’ll be my band, I’ll be their band and all that.
LQ – Sharp, sharp…did you find a word yet?
Red studies the Scrabble board intensely…
RH – I have a word, I’m just looking for the best place to put it.
LQ – I can’t believe we’re playing drinking Scrabble, this is great. The pressure is on for Red, he’s trying to find a special place for his secret word.
RH – Yeah, somebody else should talk while I do this.
I turn to chat to a scruffy bearded, kerchief-clad banjo player that Red has brought from the states to play with him in Canada.
LQ – You are now a member of Peter and the Wolf, tell me about yourself!
E – My names Eric, I’m from Boston, MA. I make T-shirts. I met Red at a show a few weeks ago and we’ve been really good friends ever since, and now we’re together and it’s really great!
LQ – That’s brilliant! How we doing over there Red?
RH – I thought I had a good word, but I can’t place it, so I have to do something else now. I’ll just go with this word…which is…wait, no! See we have to get 15 points, and then everyone else gets to drink.
The ladies start muttering amongst themselves…Red laughs.
E – We should make it 11 points instead of 15!
RH – I just want to put my F on a triple letter score.
LQ – Why are the F’s worth more than other letters? Why?!! What have we got so far? "Bar," "mix," "risk," we got "disc," we got "doubt" and we have... "reef" from Red… good stuff! What can people expect from a Peter and the Wolf show?
RH – Lately it’s been that they can expect to leave going, “Was that serious?” Lately the theme of the show is that people come up to me afterwards and go, “Are you serious? Is that serious?” They ask that constantly and I’m like, “What are you talking about? This is my life, I’m living my life. What are you doing? Are you serious? Are you serious about asking me if I’m serious?!” and that’s how it’s been.
LQ – (laughs) Yeah?
RH – I think people think I’m joking about on stage or something.
LQ – Wow, well, I can’t wait to see you tonight now.
RH – Well, I’m very serious about what I’m doing!
LQ – Yep, it’s how you do…
RH – Yeah, it’s very serious art.
LQ – Where can people find out more about what you do and your serious deals?
RH – Whisky and apples dot com
LQ – That’s the name of your label, where did you get the name?
RH – It’s my favorite snack.
LQ – (laughs) I love it!
RH – I’m serious. You drink a shot of whisky then you have an apple slice.
LQ – Yeah?!
RH – Yeah, that’s what I serve people.
LQ – When they come to your house?
LQ - You’re based in Texas, is that where you’re from originally?
RH – No, my dad was in the Navy. I’ve lived in every Navy town in the country.
LQ – Wow…that’s mad…Okay, so what’s the plan for Peter and the Wolf for the rest of the year? We do this boat tour and then what?
RH – I stop for two weeks, and then my first record comes out on a label, not my own label. Workers Institute, it’s a small label that’s putting out the new Sigur Ros record, and my record comes out late October on that. So then I’m going to go right back on tour with that and promote it.
LQ – Do you like touring?
RH – Yeah, I would like to just live on the road and not have to stop.
LQ – Yeah, that would be nice.
RH – I don’t like having stuff, possessions, or clothes or any of that shit.
LQ – I hear you…cool. So, you’re all set. You’re doing alright then?
RH – Yeah, how you doing? You alright? Everybody alright?
Red looks about the table smiling… everybody’s doing just fine.