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Origin:
San Diego, CA, USA
Decades:
1984-2003, 2007-present

Red Flag is a synthpop band founded in 1984 in San Diego by brothers Chris and Mark Reynolds. After growing up in Liverpool, the brothers, following their father's itinerant job, moved to locations such as Montreal and Seattle; in 1979, the family settled in California, arriving first in Los Angeles, then San Diego. The brothers first started playing electronic music in 1982, when Mark Reynolds bought a Roland Juno-60 synthesizer over a guitar on a trip to a music store. The first song they recorded, "Distant Memories", under the name Shades of May, was selected for a compilation album, Local Heroes, by San Diego radio station 91X in 1984. Shades of May subsequently received offers to play live, and the brothers began to study music and computer technology seriously in turn. In this interim, the band also changed its name to Red Flag; later, the name would frequently be associated with the red flag iconography of the Soviet Union, though the band insisted that it was taken from a warning signal used in surfing.

Later, in March 1988, they performed at a party for Resource Record Pool, a record pool based in Southern California, at the Mannikin club in Pacific Beach. There, the band was noticed by Synthicide Records (a subsidiary of Enigma Records) head and producer Jon St. James; after their demo tapes were reviewed the following day, the band recorded their first single, "Broken Heart" (as well as its B-side, "Control") at St. James's recording studio, Formula One, a week later. St. James, best known for his work with singer Stacey Q, co-produced the record with her; she also provided backing vocals and coached Mark on his singing.

"Broken Heart" was released in July 1988; the single was printed on 12" clear red vinyl, and received airplay on both 91X and the influential KROQ-FM.That month also saw the band play at larger venues, such as Videopolis at Disneyland. Their first album, Naïve Art, was released in 1989 under label Enigma. Released at the time of seminal synth pop group Depeche Mode's greatest success, it drew comparisons as being stylistically similar to that group's recordings, featuring extensive use of synthesizers and dance beats, and vocals that were generally deep and gloomy in mood. Several singles from the album charted highly on the US Billboard Hot Dance Music/Club Play charts, such as "Russian Radio" (#11) and "If I Ever" (#12). Red Flag went on to appear on American Bandstand, and the video for "Russian Radio" was played by MTV's 120 Minutes. Notable producers who worked on Naïve Art include Paul Robb of synthpop band Information Society and Joseph Watt of remix service Razormaid. Naïve Art remains the only full album Razormaid ever produced.

Red Flag toured frequently, playing at first as opening act to New Wave and synthpop artists such as Devo, Thomas Dolby, Book of Love and Real Life.

In 1991, Enigma Records closed, and the duo signed on with I.R.S. Records and released "Machines" in 1992 before leaving the label in 1993. The brothers then founded an independent record label, Plan B Records, from which they have released all their subsequent recordings. Red Flag tracks have appeared on numerous compilations, including several put out by Razormaid.

By 2000 and the release of the highly acclaimed dark album, The Crypt, the brothers were performing with European electropop and futurepop bands like Dance or Die, Melotron, Mesh, T.O.Y., and De/Vision.

On May 17, 2002, Red Flag performed for an audience of nearly one thousand at a concert at the Museum of the Nation in Lima, Peru.

Mark Reynolds committed suicide on April 7, 2003.

In 2007, Chris Reynolds relaunched the band's official website, announcing plans to record a new Red Flag album solo. The newly released album, titled Born Again, which marks Chris Reynolds debut as vocalist, has captivated fans in the dark industrial and goth genres. Chris Reynolds also revealed plans for a winter 2007 release Christmas-themed album and possibly a best of album in the coming year.[14] Red Flag's comeback tour will be kicked off by shows in Chicago and will include festival performances at Dark Arts Festival 07 and Gothicfest 07 and Gothic Cruise 08. Paul Fredric of Asmodeus X and Phase Theory currently fills in on electronic percussion.


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