Red Wanting Blue Makes Its Return to Youngstown

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Red Wanting Blue will wrap up its tour Saturday at Westside Bowl, marking the band’s first Youngstown appearance in over two years.

That’s a long time to be away from a city that has always been one of its strongholds, and drummer Dean Anshutz is especially stoked for the show.

“It’s going to be my favorite one,” said the Youngstown native.

Red Wanting Blue’s 20-city tour started in January in Buffalo, N.Y., then meandered down the coast to Boca Raton, Fla., before making its way north again. The band shook off its pandemic rust on the road swing, Anshutz said, noting it will be a well-oiled machine that pulls into Westside Bowl this weekend.

The band did play a few one-off shows last year, but it hasn’t been able to reach high gear until now.

“There is nothing like coming off four or five straight days of driving, playing and being in the grind,” Anshutz said. “We were feeling good three or four shows in, and after a month, it feels great.”

Anshutz said his bandmates are also excited to finally play Westside Bowl, which will be their first indoor show in Youngstown in about seven years.

Always a strong draw in Youngstown, Red Wanting Blue was among the first big concerts that Westside Bowl had to cancel when the pandemic hit in 2020. There were several attempts to reschedule it – including a proposed outdoor show in the venue’s parking lot last summer – but nothing materialized. The band last played Youngstown in 2019 at the Ribs N Rock festival at Southern Park Mall.

“It’s been a long time coming,” said Anshutz. As an operator of the used record shop inside Westside Bowl, he has a special link to the venue and an appreciation for owner-operator Nate Offerdahl.

“Nate is doing such a great thing for Youngstown,” he said. “The sound is great there, and he’s doing everything right.”

Red Wanting Blue’s current run has been dubbed the “Hey ’22 Tour” – a play off the title of the band’s new song, “Hey 84.”

It’s been an interesting experience.

“We played some different markets and had no clue what to expect because of COVID,” Anshutz said. Crowd sizes were a little low at some shows and one or two got canceled, he continued.

Red Wanting Blue formed in Columbus, but its members are now scattered. Some still live there, while frontman Scott Terry lives in New York and Anshutz lives in Youngstown. The drummer kept busy the last two years doing session work for other artists and working on songs remotely with his bandmates.

“We made 15 or 20 songs in our home studios,” he said. The band will take its time in recording them, he said, adding there is no timetable for releasing the next album.

“Maybe by the end of the year,” Anshutz allowed. The songs will likely be recorded in several locations – including Peppermint Records, the old-school studio on Youngstown’s south side.

Anshutz has long been an unofficial historian and archivist of music recorded at Peppermint, which is owned and operated by Gary Rhamy. Red Wanting Blue recorded an album there, “The Peppermint Sessions,” in 2019 that included new versions of songs from its 2018 album “The Wanting.”

For his next project, Anshutz is compiling an album of songs recorded at Peppermint by some legendary Youngstown bands in the ’70s and earlier. It will be released sometime next year.

“We’re going to put out some stuff that has never seen the light of day,” Anshutz said. “I’ve been in contact with some groups that recorded there, like Blue Ash.”

The project could spur an increase in rock bands recordings at Peppermint. The studio, which opened in 1971, produced albums for the likes of Left End and Poobah in its earlier days but has also been a home base for polka artists and pop vocalists.

“We’re going to bring a second wave to that studio,” Anshutz said.

Pictured: Red Wanting Blue will play its first Youngstown show in almost three years this weekend.

Copyright 2024 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.