This past Friday, July 24th Red Line Chemistry released the long awaited official and special edition release of their 2006 album “Chemical High and a Hand Grenade” via Pavement Entertainment. I had a chance to speak with singer Brett Ditgen a few days before the release of their album. Check it out below.
Dante: Why the remix of Chemical High & A Hand Grenade?
Brett Ditgen: It was the first record we ever recorded. That was back in 2005 we were just a local Kansas City band just trying to make a name for our selves. We were trying to move up to a regional band. We put out a couple thousand copies of it and then we of course moved on with other material and once we got signed we had moved on with Dying For A Living and Tug Of War. We seen some national exposure with those records in the last five years and we feel that Chemical High is a collection of songs that is a huge part of our history as a band. The songs were just sitting there and we wanted to shine a light on this collection of songs because we feel it is a great record and to be honest ninety percent of our fans most likely never heard the songs other than what we have played live. Because it was never put into that spotlight. We split with our label in 2013 right in the middle of our Tug Of War record and that was a pretty big hit for the band and set us back. We had to come home and re evaluate and reset. We took a hiatus and kind of stepped away from everything. We were uncertain how we were going to continue with everything. And then the opportunity with Pavement Records happened. We have talked about putting a new record out and that is something we and Pavement are looking to make happen but as a band we were not ready to jump in and start working new material so we presented this album to the label and they liked it and it was a go from there. We went back to the raw tracks and looked at what was there and reinvented the album so to speak.
Dante: Your first single Meds For The Hypocrite how is that going over?
Brett Ditgen: Meds For The Hypocrite is our first single from this album it has been at radio for a few weeks now and is approaching the top 50 on mainstream. The response has been great and it has been getting good feedback.
Dante: How has the over all response been to you putting out Chemical High & A Hand Grenade?
Brett Ditgen: Even through we had some national exposure there are still a lot of people out there for us to reach. I am doing interviews with people that have never heard of Red Line Chemistry and Chemical High & A Hand Grenade is the first record that they ever heard from us. And it’s cool hearing the perspective from someone who has never heard us and being supportive and really liking what we do. For us that validates this record and we feel it stands up to Dying For A Living and Tug Of War and what is out there today. It is a relevant part of our history and it shows a side of us when we were young and hungry and we didn’t have that industry experience. We were just a young band writing a record and that is it. It’s cool to finally get this stuff out there.
Dante: For most fans who have not heard this album how would you compare it to Dying For A Living and Tug Of War?
Brett Ditgen: The songs are the songs regardless of what was done to them. But when we went back and checked out the raw tracks we started asking each other “why didn’t we do this or why didn’t was use that”. If you are already a fan of Red Line Chemistry you are going to get what you always have gotten from us. And that is focus on musicianship, focus on vocal harmonies, our focus on driving melodic rock and also our focus on a full album with peaks and valleys. It might be a lost art but we still enjoy that full album concept. Where you can sit and listen to a full album and go on a journey. We have songs on this record that we have never stopped playing live. Meds For The Hypocrite and Home are the two best examples. People come up to us and say where can I get those songs. And we have to tell them “ it’s from our first record that was taken out of print and you can’t get it” It became a underground kind of notion that the album did exist but no one new where to get it. The was a time when I was getting emails from fans and I would just say give me your address and burn it and mail it to them.
Dante: Considering you made this record before you were signed is the song writing different than what is on Dying For A Living and Tug Of War?
Brett Ditgen: We always had control of our song writing. We worked on Tug Of War with Nick Raskulinecz. I guess you could say he joined the band as a 6th member but we had gotten our ideas through along with his as well. We all collectively got our ideas through and made that record. But over all we have always been the driving force behind our song writing. It was never a situation where we got signed and we had to play what we were told. That’s what I am getting at when I say with this album you are still getting who we are and the musicianship that has always been there.
Dante: Did you loose your rights to Dying For A Living and Tug Of War?
Brett Ditgen: Well those records kind of got tied up in the bankruptcy of the label and those albums are being sold on Itunes and we are not seeing any money from those records now. It’s unfortunate but that’s the way it is. So we are moving forward with Pavement and it was a no brianer to release this album and re-engage with our fans and look to our future.
Dante: What’s up with touring? Anything in the works yet?
Brett Ditgen: We are not going to be able to do allot of touring right now because it cost money and we are not looking to borrow any money. We will most likely get some regional stuff going, but we just don’t have the budget to do a full tour. We are going to look at our options and see whats going on. We missed festival season this year. So who knows. We are in a different place right now and we also have other priorities as well. But that does not mean we can not get back out there on the road.
Dante: Is there anything you want to tell your fans before we wrap this up?
Brett Ditgen: I like to thank everybody that has supported us over the years. We have allot of die hard fans and that means allot to us. Please check out our new record or our old record depending how you see it. I just encourage everyone to keep up with us.