"I was seriously obsessed with music, but until Red Hot, I'd
never worked in the music industry," says Paul Heck, the 28-year-old
co-producer of Red Hot + Bothered, the sixth project from the Red
Red Hot + Bothered is designed for a sexy young new generation
less interested in old definitions of straight and gay life.
Eschewing the hit-them-over-the-head approach to AIDS issues -- "the
issue is hard to deal with straight on," says Heck -- quality music
with a message is a red hot priority. Eighteen new groups including
Freedom Cruise, Liquorice and Built To Spill provide the bothered
music. Careful attention to the lyrics of "Empty Yard" with the
Grifters is revealing. "If we wait for others to remember there'll
be no one left." Their Memphis musical heritage, mixing otherworldly
guitar scrapings, cello and overlapping vocals, makes for a haunting
message of awareness and responsibility. "Rex's Blues" (an old
Townes Van Zandt song performed by duo Jay Farrar and Kelly Willis)
is a slow, elegiac folk blues of farewell which implores: "Tell my
brother to watch his own."
Singer Lisa Germano, whose smoky-voiced delivery is reminiscent
of Warhol star Nico, is a standout. "The Mirror is Gone" is the
voice of a vulnerable teen: "Would you like me more if I gave and
gave, would you like me then?"
Next up for the group is Red Hot + Rio, because, says Heck, "We
want to be responsive to the path of the epidemic." The album is
inspired by the bossa nova and will reflect the situation is Brazil.
"I wish we could do one that would address the issue of AIDS in
Africa, a record with African musicians who are there," says Heck.
"And I just love African music."