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BiographyFormed in the banner year of 1978, New London, Connecticut's Reducers can honestly lay claim to being one of America's original D.I.Y. bands. Guitarists Peter Detmold and Hugh Birdsall formed the nucleus of the group in 1977 when they embarked on a beer soaked journey through the pubs and clubs of London. The Sex Pistols, The Clash, The Jam and a hundred other punk bands were seen that summer, but from the very start, Peter and Hugh brought another very English influence to their music -- Pub Rock bands like the Ducks Deluxe, Rockpile and especially Dr. Feelgood inspired the boys to form their own rockin' outfit.
Tom Trombley and Steve Kaika were next to join. Both were employed as the rhythm section in the Bob Bridgeman Band, a country rock outfit ahead of its time by at least 15 years. "Boy, did we get paid," claims drummer Tommy of his country punk days, but somehow he, along with Steve were wrested from their steady cowpoke gigs, and thrust into the somewhat rougher and uncharted territory of the burgeoning indie/punk/new wave scene.
In 1980, The Reducers entered the studio for the first time to record their debut single, "Out of Step/No Ambition". After finally selling out their initial pressing our favorite foursome decided that it was time to present the world with a full fledged LP. Rather than spend the hard to come by cashola on the frivolous extravagance of a recording studio, the band decided to release the demo it had recorded a year after their initial recording session. The band's rehearsal room then began serving double duty as the office and storeroom of the Reducers' private label, Rave On Records. They did it themselves.
The Reducers was the smashing full length debut of a band that played with the fire and urgency of The Clash, but with humor of the Feelgoods or The Kinks. Already hot on the New England College Town Tour Circuit, The Reducers' debut started the inevitable "next big thing" buzzes in the dorm rooms, clubs, bars, and A&R desks of a population starved for a no-nonsense rock and roll band. Unfazed by their mounting popularity (and pay stubs), The Reducers returned to the recording studio a mere 3 months after the release of their debut LP to record what would become their signature song.
Let's Go! was a hit right out of the box. Picked up immediately by college and alternative commercial radio, the title track brought the band immediate national popularity, top 10 chart action, inclusion on an Epic Records LP titled "Epic Presents The Unsigned", and the dubious moniker of CMJ's "Best Unsigned Act of 1985" award. Wealth, fame, a top contract with a major label, and all the glories of rock stardom seemed imminent for the boys from New London, and with a self assured swagger, they returned, worn from touring, to the studio.
Cruise To Nowhere was the result of two weeks in the studio with a handful of songs, some finished, most unfinished and some unwritten. The resulting LP was surprisingly consistent given the haphazard nature of the recording, and college radio once again picked up on the album's standout track "Fistfight at the Beach." Another regional tour followed, and the wear and tear of the road soon shown its strain on the boys from New London. It would be another 3 years until The Reducer's next release.
One unreleased live LP, one collaborative EP, a few compilation tracks, and a couple of singles later, and a 29 song retrospective CD (Redux) to tie it all together, The Reducers entered the 1990's. No member changes. No major record deal. No world Reducer army. Just a band with a rabidly devoted following, piles of press clippings and a repertoire of great new songs that deserved to be heard. Time to put out the new record.
Rock Stardom. Who wants it? The Reducers do, of course, but lack of a major record deal or six figure advertising budget is no reason not to rock, and Rock and Roll is what The Reducers do best. While songs about alienation, apathy, loneliness, and the urge to skip town have long been central themes in the Reducers canon, Shinola's 15 songs find the band exploring new territory, lyrically and musically. Far and away the Reducers' most ambitious recording, alternately sparse and dense musical arrangements accentuate the themes of violence, betrayal and injustice that have seeped into many of the band's lyrics. Its not all gloomy, though. Far from it. The fact is that most of the songs on Shinola concern themselves with what the Reducers have always written about - having a big time in a small town.
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