Road Diary

21 January, 2013

Work on new material continues to go well. We’ve got about 4 songs that will be ready for our up-coming show at the Boathouse in Kitchener on 15 February. It’s always exciting to play new songs and it will be even better since we have several new ones to showcase.

19 November, 2012

The show at the Boathouse was really fun—as usual. We’ve started working on new material (we played one new song at the last show) and hopefully a lot of it will be ready in time for our next show. Regardless of that, it’s great to get started on the new record. I’m not sure when we’ll be in the studio, but I’m not too worried about that right now; I just want to focus on writing great songs. I am very happy with what we have so far.

05 October, 2012

Europe was a blast, as usual. The Reeperbahn festival and conference in Hamburg was a great experience. Met some great people and saw some great acts (Jamie Harrison was wonderful!). Playing with Erica Buettner and Frankie Chavez was a treat as well. Berlin show was a wonderful evening with wonderful friends. And it was wonderful to be back in Portugal again, though it’s tough to see that country’s people—some of the nicest folks I’ve ever met—suffering under the neo-conservative fiscal policies of their current government.

The full Red Orkestra line-up will be performing a show at our beloved home-town haunt, the Boathouse, on 26 October. It will be a great evening (it always is there!). We will be playing a bit of new material as well, and that’s always exciting.

31 August, 2012

I’ll be heading to Europe again this fall for the Reeperbahn music festival and conference in Hamburg. I will be playing a solo showcase there and I will be playing other solo shows while in Europe; in Portugal and perhaps some other countries as well. Check out the Gigs section for details. I am excited to return to Europe once again. Hopefully next time will be with the full band again.

7 May, 2012

Red Orkestra will again be playing the North by Northeast (NXNE) music festival in Toronto, Canada this year. We will be playing at the Central on 13 June; other bands to be announced.

5 March, 2012

We had a great time at the CD release show at Maxwell’s on Friday. Thanks to everyone who came out to celebrate the release of Burning Little Empires. It’s always such a joy to release a new piece of art to the world and to have our friends and families on hand to celebrate with us. A big thanks, too, to Andy McGuire for opening the night with a set of his lovely music.

27 July, 2011

We arrived home in Canada last night after having played the Manta Festival in Guimarães, Portugal (along with 3 FNAC gigs throughout Portugal as well). Our time in Portugal was a great deal of fun and the shows all went really well. As usual, we met some amazing people and made lots of connections. The Manta gig was certainly the highlight, though, with a crowd of  500+ very energetic and responsive people in attendance. A huge “thanks!” goes out to the folks at Centro Cultural Vila Flor for inviting us, and to all the people who came out to the shows and made us feel so welcome. Obrigado!

 11 July, 2011

We’re just 9 days from our trip to Portugal for our headlining gig at the Manta festival. Everyone in the band is very excited about this festival and the other shows we will be playing around the date. I was in Portugal a couple years ago and I absolutely fell in love with the country and I am very much looking forward to returning.

The music for the new album is all done, mixed, and mastered, but we’re still looking at an October release. There is still much to do before it will be ready for release. I am really proud of this record and quite satisfied with the end result and I am eager to share it with the world. I was so happy to get the full band lined up for this album; everything came together the way it needed to and I think it was very much due to the fact that we have all played together so much in the past.


7 January, 2010

Well, it’s taken longer than we had hoped to get the record done (it always does, though), but it is finished, pressed, and ready for release. I’m really looking forward to the CD release shows in Kitchener-Waterloo and Toronto. I’ve started demoing tracks for the next album and I am hoping to get a proper start on the recording in a few months. But, I need not get ahead of myself. First things first, and I need to get the current record released and start playing more shows. We’re looking at touring in Europe this summer, and I think that will be a great time.

Also of note this month, January 2010 marks the 10th anniversary of my joining Red Autumn Fall–a Calgary band that was transplanted in Toronto. They were pretty big for an indie band and really gave me a chance to get into the Toronto music scene faster and deeper than if I had started from scratch. With the departure of guitarist Rich Ragany the band reformed as Charmer, and I played with them for several years before leaving to pursue Red Orkestra. When I first joined RAF I was only 21 and really in awe of the older musicians around me. Now, I’m starting to feel like the elder statesman. A lot of the bands that were around back then have disappeared. It’s sad to see people give up on their music like that, but I guess priorities change for people. Well, I’ve no intention of hanging up the axe any time soon…

4 May, 2009

The record is almost done; we just need to finish up the mixes, have it mastered, and then send it to be pressed. George, Steve, and I played a great little house concert on the weekend that went fabulously well. A big thanks to Chris and Sharon for setting that up for us.

19 January, 2009

Well, the recording sessions for All’s Well in Heaven and Hell are going to be delayed a bit due to my suffering an injury to one of my hands last week. Hopefully things will stay relatively on schedule so that the album will still be released in March or early April. Other than that, the sessions have been going well.

4 January, 2009

The first recording sessions for All’s Well in Heaven and Hell went well and the album should be completed on time if everything continues to go as planned. It was great to be back in the studio again; it’s always such an exciting process.

11 December, 2008

Well, I am heading into the studio in a couple of weeks and I am VERY excited. I have completed the demos for the new album—named All’s Well in Heaven and Hell—and everything is set up to go. I am happy to be recording again and have really been in a very creative mood for quite some time now; lots of song writing and working out of ideas that I have been working on for quite some time. The nature of the album is rather melancholic (yes, even for a Red Orkestra record!), but I am pleased with the material; I can’t wait until it’s ready to release. It is very different from everything I have done thus far (thematically and musically), which makes it all the more exciting for me. Due to the personal nature of the material, I was sceptical at first about releasing some of these songs, but that has never stopped me before and I think they will stand on their own as quality pieces of song-writing.

As mentioned in the ‘News’ section, we have also been working on the next full-band album which is turning into a nice little collection of rock and roll and country-inspired songs. I won’t get into that too much right now seeing as I have a more immediate release to concentrate on.

I am also looking forward to getting back on stage again; I did not play enough shows—at all—this year and I am anxious to begin performing again; both with the full band and solo. After a bit of a lull earlier this year I have a renewed excitement about my music and am eager to begin sharing it with the world again (whether the world likes it or not!!).

3 July, 2008

I realise that there has not been much going on lately in the world of Red Orkestra and I thought I should just mention that things have been really busy for me as of late, leaving me no time for Red Orkestra shows or recording. I have been writing a lot, though, and I am very excited about some of my new compositions. I am hoping that by the end of summer I will be able to start recording in earnest and playing shows again. I am toying with the idea of recording two albums basically at the same time, but I still have some figuring to do. Keep patient and I promise we’ll have something for you soon.

16 April, 2008

Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds’ newest album “Dig!!! Lazarus Dig!!!” has been playing steadily on my stereo this week. What a great record, and the packaging is really well done and adds so much to the overall experience. I love that band.

22 February, 2008

We’ve been invited to play the GO! Music Festival in Waterloo again this year. I’ve got the line-up filled-out now with George Bettencourt standing in on bass and Vince Wardell sitting in on the drums (Stephen is still playing guitar, of course). It’s great to be playing with a full band again (it’s been quite a while!). Practises have been a lot of fun and I’m looking forward to the GO! show; it should be a lot of fun.

I’m doing a lot of work on demos for the new record. I’m not rushing anything, though, as I want to make sure things are done properly. I don’t expect the record to be done for a while yet; it’ll be worth the wait, though.

11 November, 2007

I am back from Europe. The tour was…well…interesting. We had lots of fun as per usual but the weather did not cooperate with us at all. Rain in Italy, Holland, and Switzerland, and snow and cold in Sweden and Germany. Ironically this is the first time that I have been to Austria and it didn’t rain…ha! Certainly not the financial success I was hoping it would be, but success can’t always be measured in dollars (or Euros in this case).

I am currently refilling the band roster to prepare for the next record, which we should be able to start soon. Hopefully we’ll be looking at a 2008 release for the as yet un-named record, but that will depend on a few things working out well for us. I’m not sure what 2008 holds in store for Red Orkestra, but if it’s anything like 2007 was, it’ll be an intersting time : )

24 October, 2007

Well, as of tomorrow I will be on my way to Europe for my second tour there this year. I am, obviously, excited to be going. The “Enola” EP is done and will be available on tour, and will be available in Canada and online when I return. On the road again…

11 October, 2007

Only two weeks to go before I leave for Europe. I am so excited to be heading back to Europe again; especially because I get to see a few countries to which I have never been before. That’s not to say, of course, that I’m not thrilled to be returning to countries that I have toured in already (I still love you Germany…ha!). I’ve got a few more new songs that I will be trying out on this tour; songs that I am very pleased with. Overall, I’m not sure that I will play much in the way of older material this time around. Basically, I am playing the new–as yet unrecorded–album this time around. I’m also looking forward to seeing some friends and fans that I have not seen in a while (or ever, in some cases).

30 August, 2007

Well, I’ve been demoing a few new songs and playing some shows lately. I have decided that I am going to wait a bit longer to start recording my new album, as I am very busy and there’s some work I want to do on the new material, and honestly I’m not 100% sure of the direction I want to take with this next record. The fall 2007 tour is starting to take shape, which is, of course, very exciting. We’ve got a few dates booked and there will be many more to follow.

25 June, 2007

Recorded two new tracks this weekend past; I think they turned out pretty well. Hopefully the recording sessions for the next Red Orkestra LP will commence pretty soon. There’s still some writing that has to be done, but the album is slowly starting to take shape. It’s always so much fun to get back into the studio.

21 June, 2007

Looks like I will be heading back out on tour again in the autumn. Again touring with Neil Leyton, the proposed tour will include dates in Denmark, Slovenia, Germany, Austria, and Italy. Life on the road is good…

12 June, 2007

Well, the tour is over, and by most accounts it was a great success. Memorable times were had, wonderful people were met, and music ruled the day. I’d like to thank everyone who came out to the shows and the promoters and venues that helped make everything run so smoothly. A DVD was recorded in Rostock (during the G8 summit) that will hopefully be released soon; I just haven’t decided how best to release it. During the tour I also stood in on bass for Neil Leyton when his bass player had to go home to Sweden half-way through the tour; that was so much fun (even if I’m not the best bass-player the world has known!). I can’t wait until the next tour.

1 June, 2007

The ‘Hyperventilating Tour’ is going very well. Shows have been going well and Germany has been a lot of fun so far. I’ve played shows every night that I have been here so it has been very busy (hence having no time to update my blog) but it’s good to be busy. We have a couple days off in a few days and I think a little rest might be order…maybe. More to come…

15 May, 2007

One more week until I fly out to London on my way to tour across Germany. I’m really looking forward to seeing some friends I haven’t seen in a while (Neil Leyton, Rich Ragany, Jim Clements, Sly, etc), which is such a great added bonus to the tour itself. We’ve got 14 shows in 16 days–which is a bit crazy–but I think it’s going to be a blast. I was in Germany last summer and I loved it and I can’t wait to see more of the country and to experience its rock n roll culture and night life. I’m not entirely sure what to expect, but I’m sure looking forward to whatever it’s going to be.

2 April, 2007

I’d just like to say how impressed I am with the new Arcade Fire album ‘Neon Bible’. It was a tall order to release a follow-up to ‘Funeral’, but they did it extremely well. I think I’ve listened to it about 30 times in just a couple weeks.

27 March, 2007

I’m working on a bit of recording with George Bettencourt this week. I’m not sure what the end result will be, but it’s just good to be back recording again. I love working with George because he’s got lots of great ideas. I’m hoping to be back on the studio proper some time later this year.

9 March, 2007

So, Life with the Machines has been out for about 9 months now and we’re pretty pleased with the response so far. There’s a few new reviews that I’ll post that are quite complimentary, and we’ve been getting a fair amount of airplay, especially from CBC Radio One. I’m very excited to be opening for Neil Leyton during the German leg of his European tour in the spring of 2007; that should be a great time. Check out the Gigs section for details.

7 March, 2007

I’ve been working on tonnes of new material and I’m hoping to have at least something small released this year with and eye on 2008 for a new full-length studio album. Check back for updates as I’ll be updating this site on a much more regular basis now that I can do it all myself (thanks James!).

15 June, 2006

Well, Steve Payne and I put the finishing touches on the final mixes today and the end is finally in sight. I’m very pleased with the results, and all the bumps we’ve encountered along the way now seem very worthwhile as we’ve got a good little record here. I’d like to say a big thanks to everyone who had a hand in the creation of this record, and to all those around me who kept me motivated to complete this album. Cheers!

24 January, 2006

Well, after a number of setbacks (scheduling difficulties, injuries, etc.) the new record is finally being recorded. It’s been a bit of a frustrating go since I was really hoping to have the record out by now, but I’m just happy to be back in the studio again. I’m really excited to find out how the new material is going to turn out. The songs are starting to take shape, and the album should be markedly different from the last without betraying my roots at all.

3 April, 2005

Well, now that I finally have a full band again, I can start playing full-band stage shows again. I can’t wait. Unfortunately, George Bettencourt will not be along for the ride. I am very pleased to have Steve Parkinson onboard, though, as he is a very exciting guitarist to both listen to and to watch live. The direction that George and I were taking the band will more or less be the direction the band will continue to take, and some of the work we did together will likely appear on the next record. Demoing continues, and I am very excited to be heading back into the studio. It’s the live shows that I’m really looking forward to right now, as I am itching to introduce the new material to the world. I am very proud of it.

6 December, 2004

George and I have begun making demos of the new material, which is sounding really good. We’re still searching for a full-time rhythm section, and hopefully we’ll find it sooner rather than later. I’m very pleased with the direction that the music has been taking as of late. George and I seem to bring out the best in each other. The next album will be as lyrically evocative as the last but will far surpass it sonically. I feel as if I am really starting to come into my own as a songwriter.

14 October, 2004

The new material is sounding great. George and I are planning to start work on some demos later this month. The search for a rhythm section continues; we have some leads but nothing concrete as of yet. George and I went to the Morrissey concert in Toronto the other day and it was wonderful. Moz sounded great, and it was a truly inspiring performance. It was great to see so many friends that I haven’t seen in ages (since the last Morrissey show I guess). The opening act was the Dears from Montreal who are a great band in their own right, and one of Canada’s finest musical exports by my reckoning.

19 September, 2004

So, as reported in the News section of the website, my good friend George Bettencourt has agreed to join the Red Orkestra as a full-time lead guitarist. This is a very exciting announcement for me as I have always been a great fan of George’s work ever since I first played along side him when we were both involved in the Neil Leyton project. We have begun having sessions, working on what will become material for the next recording. I have never been so excited about a project as I am about this one right now. We will be starting our search for our rhythm section as soon as George returns from Boston. In sadder news, I have just been informed that Cambridge rockers, and friends of mine, The Candidates have announced that they will be breaking up. Hopefully they will find separately that which they were unable to find together. Cheers lads.

25 August, 2004

Welcome to my web log. I, Johnny Charmer, will be keeping a journal of all the goings on in all matters related to the Red Orkestra. Things have been a bit slow lately but will be picking up in a few weeks when we begin our big promotional push this fall. I am very pleased with the way that the web site and our new promo kits have turned out. I’m really looking forward to this fall, and getting the lads back playing with me as it has been a bit lonely playing all these solo shows lately!

Leave a Reply