By JAMES COOK firstname.lastname@example.org
Traverse City Record-Eagle
---- — TRAVERSE CITY — What twin brothers Anthony and Randy Armstrong studied in college is not what they’ve ended up doing for a living.
But that wasn’t the plan anyway.
Built like linebackers, the pair went to Penn State — known as Linebacker U. in sports circles — but not to study music or athletics.
“When we went to college, we always knew we wanted to go into music,” said Anthony Armstrong. “But we always said we had to pick something we liked and enjoyed. In your creative brain, you really have to focus on something you love. Especially when it comes to homework and school. It’s sometimes a struggle for guys like us, because we’re so focused on the creative brain — painting and drawing and making music and playing sports, that sort of stuff.”
Anthony studied public relations, while Randy started out in meteorology before switching to management and statistics.
“I enjoyed my college career, because it was just a matter of going through classes I enjoyed and it made me focus more,” Armstrong said. “I started out as an art major and I just didn’t really vibe with the program, so I switched over.”
All along, the pair intended to get into music, and their band, Red, has produced four major label albums and eight U.S. Mainstream Rock top-40 songs. The group is playing tonight at Streeters Ground Zero, along with opening acts We As Human and Southbound Fearing. Tickets are $12.
While their hard rock style — often labeled as “post-grunge” — might say otherwise on the exterior, they’re heavily played on Christian rock stations and have had 18 No. 1 singles on the Christian Rock charts.
With the brothers manning the guitars, Red is touring in support of its most recent album, “Release the Panic.”
“We’ve been pretty much attached at the hip since birth,” Anthony Armstrong said.
The two were roommates for four years at Penn State.
“One thing we’ve always had a passion for is music,” Anthony Armstrong said. “It was a no-brainer type of transition to being in a band together, touring around and writing music together.”
Red just toured as part of the WinterJam 2013 Tour, and only had a 23-minute set each night, which included just two new songs per show. Traverse City is the third stop on their headlining tour, where more of the new album will be unveiled.
“Perfect Life” is currently in the top 25 on the U.S. Mainstream Rock charts.
The new album showcases some of Red’s typical styles. The electronica elements are more of a focal point this time around, whereas “Innocense & Instinct” was more string-based.
“It’s not necessarily more,” Anthony Armstrong said. “We’ve always had a lot of that kind of stuff, but it was more buried. As far as the sonic landscape of Red records, we’ve always had those elements happening, but we brought it more to the forefront.
“It was just the vibe we were going for. We’ve had so many different sonic elements on our records, but we decided that things were getting kind of static for us and we wanted to change it up and create a new atmosphere with this record.”
The deluxe version of the album includes two additional new tracks, as well as remixed versions of “Death of Me” and “Hymn for the Missing” and an acoustic version of “Breathe Into Me.”
Doors open at 7 p.m., with the show starting at 8. For tickets, visit groundzeroonline.com or call 932-1300. The box office opens at 3 p.m. today.