Tuned to a higher 'Frequency'
BY JENNIFER CHANCELLOR World Scene Writer
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
9/29/09 at 8:15 AM
When the Hanewinkels aren't nation-trotting, meeting and greeting everyone from Jack White — and members of his new band, the Dead Weather — to Paul McCartney's drummer Abe Laboriel Jr. and guitarist Brian Ray well, the Red Alert is busy working — and playing. Music, that is.
As the band gears up for its second full-length album release, "Audible Frequency," on Friday at the Marquee in Tulsa, the musicians keep busy. Very busy.
Hank, when not playing guitar or singing, is custom-designing concert tour posters for bands such as the Kills, Modest Mouse and Wilco. Sister Christy, 14, is a freshman at Broken Arrow North Intermediate High School.
When she's not blasting bombast from behind her drum kit or belting her trademark vocals, she's no slacker. She recently was awarded Student of the Year, and like her brother, she excels in art.
"My favorite classes are English and advanced art," she said quietly while sitting in a coffee shop on a rainy Tulsa evening.)
Uncle Phillip, on bass and vocals, 31, can also be heard performing with any number of local bands around town. For these rockers, making music is certainly a family affair.
"We're constantly doing
," said Hank, "and that something always seems to be music-related."
Stars and Stripes
Hank and Christy's father and producer, Hank Charles, can be found at his Tulsa studio, Valcour Sound, working with any number of musicians, from John Moreland and the Black Gold Band to Brandon Clark to Sam & the Stylees and Crooked X.
That's a lot of name-dropping. It's also a whole lot of work.
Sometime in 2003, an 8-year-old Christy and 14-year-old Hank saw the White Stripes in Oklahoma City. The pair were inspired by the "brother-sister" (actually, former husband-and-wife) setup and they started their own band: the Red Stripes.
They covered their idols. Before long, however, the siblings started writing their own music.
The duo got their first big break at a Satellite Battle of the Bands, hosted by the Tulsa World, in 2006. But two months before that, they received a standing ovation at the Tulsa World's Spot Music Awards show. (They won "Artist of the Year" that year.)
The reaction from peers at the battle of the bands might be the best "career moment" to date, said Christy. Hundreds of rabid young high school fans screamed for them. They won. From there, they landed a spot on the prestigious Vans Warped Tour.
"That was one of our all-time favorite shows," Christy said. Her voice echoes softly in the coffee shop where we met to talk. Thunder boomed outside and record rainfall poured down Cherry Street as all of Red Alert leaned in to be heard. Excitement dripped from Christy and Hank's voices.
"This new music really shows how far we've come," said Christy. Gone are the days of the "Hey look! They're kids!" novelty, she said.
Hank agreed with a laugh. " And it doesn't sound like the White Stripes any more."
The pair recorded "Audible Frequency" — the follow-up to 2005's "Put on Your Game Face" — over several years.
The lead track from that first CD, "Game Face," was played at every home Broken Arrow High School home football games "forever," said Hank. This year, it was also the highly visible song to the Tulsa World's Sports Extra promotions.
The lyrics may be about pounding through an unhappy relationship, but "it's always been associated with sports," said Hank.
The trio's newest, "Audible Frequency" vibrates with inspiration. The all-original tracks — 12 of them — sparkle with pop-rock fervor.
"My influences have expanded, and now everyone's big and bombastic," said Hank. And the live shows run the gamut, from the Cain's Ballroom to parades to Tulsa Performing Arts Center and even the upcoming opening of the Broken Arrow Performing Arts Center and perhaps even a tour with good friends The Kills.
"I really want to tour," said Hank. "I want to play music for a living for the rest of my life — and there are lots of ways to make that work."
Newest release propels
Replete with power chords,
sunny pop-laden vocals,
garage guitar solos, pristine
harmonies, hand claps and
even a string section, “Audible
Frequency” is so much larger
than the sum of its parts.
Its distinctive and eclectic
blend of pop and rock
harkens Cheap Trick and the
White Stripes and the Beatles
and even the Mamas & the
vocals echo the delicate and
flirty — and deceivingly passionate
— fervor that dances
underneath, much like Blondie
or Natasha Khan of Bat For
Lashes, or Belinda Carlisle at
the height of the Go-Go’s era.
“Memories Made & Money
Spent” bounces with bass
and poppy, retro-spectacular
vocal harmonies. Hank
Hanewinkel’s vocals in “On
Top of the World” dart between
and irony-weighted angst. “A
Dream Inside” evokes some
of the brightest, most jangly
moments in popular music
history — all it lacks, perhaps,
is a prominent tambourine,
but that comes in on the following
rocker “Forget Me.”
Guitars pounce and writhe
through all 12 tracks.
Taken on the whole, the
Red Alert’s second full-length
album liberates the young act
from its teen novelty past and
propels it into the now — and
on into a future loaded with
credibility and accomplishment.
THE RED ALERT WITH SPECIAL GUEST CROCODILE AND THE FOUR FIDDLERS OF THE APOCALYPSE
When: 8 p.m. Friday
Where: The marquee, 222 N. main St.
Admission: all ages. $5 at the door, or tickets available at tulsaworld.com/Ticketstorm, Starship Records & Tapes, under the mooch
Artist: The Red alert
Label: Carondelet Records
Release date: Oct. 2, 2009
Rating: 90 (out of 100)
Jennifer Chancellor 581-8346
The Hanewinkels — otherwise known as Red Alert — are Hank III (left), Christy and Phillip.
JAMES PLUMLEE / Courtesy