Valley Noise: Red Tank! is The Underground Foundation's most visible offspring​

Tempe-based garage punk band Red Tank! has been a mainstay in the local music scene since 2011, known Valley-wide for its high-energy live shows and irreverent stage antics. 

Lead singer and guitarist Clipper Arnold said he started the band at the same time he helped start The Underground Foundation, ASU’s leading advocate for underground music and art. He also helped organize the club’s first Clusterfest five years ago.

“I was playing in a different band at the time, and Red Tank! started off as a side project,” he said. “One of my friends who was working with TUF asked me to play a solo set. I was working on some new material and I was like, ‘Well, I could do this solo or I could add drums and stuff.’ The other band fell apart, so Red Tank! became my primary project.”

The name “Red Tank!” reflected the material, he said, as the lyrics began to take the sound into an unexpected direction.

“I was playing in an indie-rock band before, (but) the stuff I was writing was more aggressive,” Arnold said. “We wanted to encapsulate that. The reason that we chose it initially because red is a very powerful, strong, vibrant color and a tank is an aggressive military vehicle, and then the exclamation point for emphasis.”

Since the band’s formation, Arnold said Red Tank! has put out two full-length albums, an EP and a split EP with Leonardo DiCapricorn.

In August 2014, the band brought in a whole new line-up, which included guitarist and back-up vocalist Jeff Habgood.

Habgood called this period the band’s “renaissance,” as Arnold began taking Red Tank! more seriously with the addition of new members.

“Clipper started revving everything up as far as amounts of shows played, and the attitude toward the band,” he said. “It was when we started playing every week again. We recorded our first studio album and started going on tours. Since then, that’s how Red Tank! has been." 

However busy as its schedule may be, Red Tank! always finds time to perform at Clusterfest every year, having played at the festival for the fifth year in a row.

Habgood said Arnold sees Clusterfest as “important,” not just because of his role in creating it, but for the values the festival espouses.

“For him, it’s this reminder of a tradition that was started by the people, for the people, of the people,” Habgood said. “It’s really populist, it’s really popular and it’s really something that’s unique to ASU.”

He said Red Tank! will release a new album this summer. The album was recorded at Audioconfusion, a studio run by Jalipaz Nelson (whom Habgood called “a legend and a mentor”). The studio has worked with other renowned Arizona bands such as AJJ, Playboy Manbaby and Diners.

Red Tank! will perform at Indie 500, a two-day event at Trunk Space on April 23.

Related links:

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Reach the reporter at idickins@asu.edu or follow @sailormouthed92 on Twitter.

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