- Jeff Jaworski—vocals/guitar
“Toxic. Wasted. Noncomplacent”. That could very well be Red Tape’s mantra. It’s a genuine message encased in loads of feedback, harmonic distortion, and robust, anthemic sing-a-longs. On its Roadrunner Records debut, Radioactivist, Red Tape proves to be cut from the same abrasive cloth as genre re-definers like Black Flag, Refused, and A.F.I., coupled with the grit ’n girth of early Motorhead.
Immediately before the inception of the band, Red Tape singer Jeff Jaworski, enlisted in the army for 2 years because he hated his surrounding society. But for his entire life, he’s remained deeply passionate about the Northern California.
“I played music and was going to punk shows since junior high,” recalls Jaworski of his band’s incarnation, “seeing bands that made people start a pit—it looked like fun! It was just a matter of time to start my own band cuz I was broke and couldn’t play guitar.”
The singer/guitarist purchased a 4-track, made a demo, and recruited bandmates. The original bass player was named Chuck Berry
Berry was replaced by Twig Von Wussow, a local punk icon, described by Jaworski as having been in punk bands since birth. Twig had done hard time in The Deseptikons, Spinach, Angora Machinegun, Fatso and countless others. He was a perfect fit for Red Tape, given his gritty punk history, his DIY ethic, his know-how, and his contacts. “We instantly turned into a real band,” admits Jaworski regarding Twig’s assimilation into Red Tape. “He also added the back-up vocal aspect.”
Local axeman Mark Meraji was added as a second guitarist. Since Jaworski plays with harmonics and tunings non-traditional to punk rock, it was hard to find someone whose style meshed. However, Mark was destined to be the man. “He was a huge influence on me in his old band Double Think, and now I get to play with him!” laughs the singer. Drummer JD had been in bands with Twig, but had quit playing music altogether in order to settle down with this family, but the vinyl collector was soon bitten by the need-to-play bug. “We asked him to join on a Tuesday and he played a show on Friday! He learned 8 songs in 2 days because he was already a fan!”
With line up firmly in place, the band entered the studio with Amir Derakh (Orgy, Coal Chamber, System Of A Down), who became interested in the band after hearing their self-released EP, Constructivism. “We did a five-song demo with him that got into the hands of Roadrunner A&R rep Mike Gitter,” says Jaworski. “He came to see us play at Westcoast Worldwide, and offered us a deal a few weeks later.”
Radioactivist was recorded with Derakh and Matt Thorne. While one might raise their eyebrows at the notion of this former glam metal guitarist working with such an indie spirited band like Red Tape, Jaworski defends his work on the album, saying, “Amir is like a gearhead! He’s got tons of gadgets but it’s old vintage stuff that you can’t find at Guitar Center! It’s the real stuff that rockers used in the 80s. We used a mixture of his gear and our gear to enhance our guitar tones.”
Radioactivist holds steadfastly to a cool revolutionary vibe “We’re thrash-punk” says the singer. “The term ‘hardcore’ has changed. We’re hardcore in the early 80s sense. If it were 1986, we’d be a hardcore band. Nowadays, the meaning has changed.”
“Divebomb” is a ‘signature’ Red Tape tune. “It has that mid-tempo Black Flag beat,” Jaworski explains. “I call it the Neurosis beat, actually! It’s like Pain Of Mind and the guitars have a lot of harmonics.” Lyrically, the song is just a big play on words. “I ingest everything around me and then spit it out,” Jaworski says. “It’s about being alive, doing your thing and not letting anyone get in your way.”
The track “High Revoltage” was re-recorded, and it’s an “under-a-minute-long blast of stop and go thrash,” a song admittedly influenced by Minor Threat and 7 Seconds that speaks of mayhem and unrest, inspired by Jaworski’s sojourn to the suburbs. I was frustrated and wanting more out of life, wanting to get out of the house and tear shit up somewhere." “El Salvador” encourages you to be your own driven hero, set to a At-The-Gates-style beat, while “Shoot! Move! Communicate!” strikes a nerve with street punk kids a scene Red Tape is proud to have close affiliations with.
Over a 5 year period of existance, Red Tape has shared the stage with such acts as Bad Brains, 7 Seconds, Snapcase, Will Haven, Murphy’s Law, Death By Stereo, The Hope Conspiracy, Guttermouth, Botch, Atreyu, Sworn Enemy, Bleeding Through, From Autumn To Ashes, and many more. Winning over new fans and the respect of fellow musicians.
Radoiactivist has a distinct ‘start the pit!’ mentality, and is rooted in 1980s punk rock ideals. It’s thrash music with melodic singalongs and a moshy, metallic edge. The band makes designs its own merchandise, and still makes and passes out flyers at for their shows, ensuring that it’ll always keep a DIY ethic.