WHEN an American legal team threatens to sue you because your band name infringes copyright, you know you’re getting somewhere.
The Red Telephone, sorry, Ring Ring Rouge as they are now known, may have been forced into a monicker change-up but they are more determined than ever to get their new name heard – even if it did start out as joke.
“The name change thing happened around two months ago,” explained lead singer Gary Starr. “We were contacted by a solicitor working for a US band called The Red Telephone. Soon afterwards we were served with a cease and desist letter for trademark infringement because we were using their name. They were a fairly big band in the 90s apparently who were signed to Warner Brothers and released one album. They pursued us quite aggressively.
“We did know there were other bands out there with the same name but we never thought it would be an issue. It only became an issue when we released our first EP on iTunes.
“In the end we thought it would be easier just to change our name. Ring Ring Rouge came about when one the band, Clive, couldn’t think of the French for Red Telephone and said ‘ring ring rouge’. It just stuck and we had actually been using it as our Twitter name because The Red Telephone was already taken. It has caused a few problems but most of them have been resolved and it’s better in the long run.”
And what better way to get the name Ring Ring Rouge rolling off the tongue than by signing for a label and re-releasing their debut EP, which came out last Monday.
“We self released the EP eight months ago but decided to repackage it and release it again with a few changes and now with the backing of a label. The label deal came about four months ago. We’d played an 18th birthday party and a gig at the Woodman and then the following week Jack To Phono contacted us. A friend of the label had seen us and recommended us. The owner rang us, said he had listened to our music, wanted a few details and it went from there.”
It went straight from there to the capital, where Gary (who also plays guitar and bass) along with Michael Connell (guitar, drums/percussion, keyboard, backing vocals), Clive Durkin (bass, drums, backing vocals) and Shaun Starr (guitar, bass, drums) have been frequent visitors in recent weeks.
No time for rides on the London Eye or strolls across a certain zebra crossing in Abbey Road though. Ring Ring Rouge are there on business, getting their first album recorded business.
“It’s been coming along nicely,” revealed Gary. “We’ve recorded a rough sketch of the album. We’re now working with a producer to polish the sound and tidy it up. We play our stuff to the producer, he gives us advice, then we work on it. Hopefully in the next few months we’ll have it finished. We want to get it finished and then get out and tour it. We’ve been on BBC Radio Lancashire recently as well playing live and getting more radio exposure is also something that’s important to us.”
The live circuit remains just as important to the band, though who under their previous Red Telephone guise made quite a name for themselves across the North-West – not least because of their on stage instrument swopping.
“Creatively it works well because we are all able to help each other out and offer advice about certain parts. There are certain problems with it though. It can take time on stage between songs and it’s a nightmare for the sound man trying to work everything out.
“We’ve started playing a few covers now, which we didn’t use to do, and just embraced it. A lot of people who come and watch us now know the words to our songs though. Nobody has to come out and watch us and so it’s our job to make sure we entertain the audience.”
To see just how well Ring Ring Rouge are doing this job get down to the Woodman, Todmorden Road, on Saturday, March 17th for St Patrick’s Day – a gig, a Guinness and a guaranteed good night all rolled into one.
For more on Ring Ring Rouge check out www.ringringrouge.com, like them on Facebook or follow @RingRingRouge on Twitter.