Darren Redick (Planet Rock)

Darren Redick with Nikki Sixx

He’s a ballet dancing American who’s mates with Keith Emerson and who’s a Rush fanatic to boot! He’s also an experienced rock DJ who runs on enthusiasm and a love of the music, and you can hear him on Planet Rock almost every day of the week. He’s a man who knows his rock, then. He’s Darren Redick and he kindly agreed to take the Words and Music Q&A.

Hi Darren! Can you tell us what rock music means to you?
Everything. Less specifically, music in general means everything. But rock music adopted me away from a professional classical musician father. Rock was my small rebellion. My mother was a ballet teacher, so you can see that rock was all the things that were not happening in my childhood home.

Who was the first artist to make an impression on you?
Kiss! From the day I opened up the double gatefold of Alive 2, I was hooked! To this day I love any band who brings a big show and that still includes Kiss.

An album, song or lyric that means a lot to you?
Good work is the key to good fortune” from Rush’s ‘Roll The Bones’. It’s something I often say to my children. That, and ‘Rock, Rock Till You Drop’ by Def Leppard, of course!

An artist who has stayed with you over time?
Rush. My step-brother introduced me to their music when Hemispheres came out. That whole album is special to me and set me up as a lifelong fan of technical excellence and engaging lyrics. Oh, and that artwork! Come on! They have a naked man doing ballet on a brain! Incidentally I went on to work with the naked man! His name is Todd and he was clothed, mostly.

Dylan or Morrison?
Neither, thanks.

What do you say to a ‘rock star’ after you say hello?
Coffee? Tea? Nice weather? I once was having a very busy day and was waiting for John Wetton (Asia, King Crimson, UK) to arrive for an interview. I was rushing around, came out of the studio and tripped over something and shouted: “Fuck!” John said: “Fuck indeed! Never been greeted like that before!”

Your best encounter with an artist?
Drinking shots of tequila with Till Lindemann from Rammstein. Sharing a pie with Billy Sheehan. Any time spent with Alex or Geddy from Rush.

Darren Redick and Geddy Lee

Your strangest encounter with an artist?
I did an entire interview with Ian Gillan live on air where he wouldn’t look at me. Spent the whole thing with his head in his hands.

What makes a rock gig special?

Your most memorable gigs?
So many! I liked it when Jon Fred Young from Black Stone Cherry wore my band’s t-shirt at the London Forum. Introducing Journey, Foreigner and Styx onto the stage at Wembley Arena: “Hello Wembley!” Wow! And introducing Roger Dean and Asia onto the stage at the High Voltage Festival. Shame I was wearing a shirt that looked like it had vomit on it!

Sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll – jaded stereotype or the meaning of life?
All part of life’s rich rock tapestry! Not my thing, but I have dabbled.

Does the devil really have all the good songs?
The devil has most of the good songs. But atheists have the best ones!

Rock music – metal for the masses or a tribal affair?
Oh, it’s tribal! Especially when you add in the internet. I remember a time when you weren’t allowed to like Rush and Van Halen. I do not remember why that was, but that was an unwritten rule among my teenage peer group in the ʾ80s. I always liked them both anyway.

Rock DJs like Tommy Vance were tremendously important to my generation. How do you view the role of the DJ in the current era?

People like Ian Camfield, Daniel P. Carter and me are all fans of the genre. We live in the same world as the fans. We react the same way to events that affect the rock world. The DJs just have the opportunity to reflect that zeitgeist publicly. It’s important that we are in tune with what’s going on. There have been people put on air who have had no idea what they were talking about and the listeners smell that! And my Ged, they let you know when you get something wrong. Only thing you can do at that point is admit you got it wrong. The short answer is we’re lucky fans who get to sit in a room playing the music we love and comment on it to people who appreciate it.

How important are stations like Planet Rock to the future of rock music?
Planet Rock logoI think there will always be a place for stations like Planet Rock. It goes back to the tribal thing. People like radio because it keeps them company more than say, an iPod. Everyone’s got an MP3 player but they still come back. And it’s not because the presenters are awesome or are saying incredibly interesting or funny things. It’s because there’s someone who feels the same way about the music as they do and there’s a validation in that. Rockers have always been sort of an alienated bunch and Planet Rock et al allows, in some small way, a gathering place; a community. I recognise so many listeners’ names when they email or text. We get to know them, if only in a most cursory way. It’s an extended family. Dysfunctional to be sure!

So, what would you say to people who say that rock or the rock era is dead?
Dead?! No. But I think the people who long for the days of denim and leather and spandex and extended stoned guitar solos will be disappointed going forward. My experience has been that there is a big clan of rockers who are unwilling to accept the metamorphosis of rock, which is an inevitability. I can understand people not liking Muse, as an example, because they don’t like Muse. But to say it’s not rock is just plain daft. Artists like the Black Keys, Andrew Stockdale and Foals are where the genre is going, with or without those listeners. Rock ain’t dead, it’s just changed clothes.

When can people hear your radio show, and what else do you get up to?
I am on weekdays between 2pm and 6pm. I produce Alice Cooper’s show for Planet Rock, Listomania and work behind the scenes on many of the on air promotions you hear on the station.


Darren Redick on Planet Rock

Check out Darren’s show on Planet Rock

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1 Comment

  1. Phil Morris

     /  July 2, 2013

    No, Darren, not everyone has an mp3 player.

    Good to see Foals get a mention, however.


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