September 14, 2018 at 1:38 pm



code red

Rock band Code Red Riot’s music video for Slide. Slide tells, illustrating an ongoing and emotionally straining, toxic relationship.

Watch on YouTube NOW!

Slide was written by Corky Gainsford, a drummer-turned-frontman who played drums in OTHERWISE and Blue Man Group. After writing music independently and forwarding self-recorded demos to industry contacts, he received almost entirely positive feedback and was encouraged to create a new band.

Code Red Riot’s debut album Mask, was released on June 29, 2018, and illustrates Gainsford’s journey as an artist. While Gainsford has previously written music, his messages were always spoken by another. In becoming Code Red Riot’s singer and emerging from behind a drum set, he is removing a mask that he had been wearing throughout his musical career.

I spoke with Corky as the band embarked on tour this summer about the release of Mask, being in front of the kit, and how creating material for CODE RED RIOT was better than he imagined.

CB: Thank you for taking the time to talk with me on the phone, Corky! I know you’ve got to be busy with touring! Are y’all off today?

CG: No day off for us! We’re loading in right now, well the band’s loading in. I’m standing outside the venue right now talking to you! Thank you for the call and interview, I appreciate it!

CB: Let’s get right to it since I know you’re dying to go lug in equipment and help load in!! Ha!

CG: That’s the beauty of being in front of the kit – I don’t have to load in my drums and set them up like I had to. I just come in and check it out and wait for sound check if there is one!

CB: Such is the life of the frontman! No wonder everyone wants to be a singer! Just kidding! So, is it that different fronting a band than playing in one?

CG: It is much different. I felt like being behind the kit gave me an outlook that no one else had, even the others in the band. Like I saw everything that was happening on stage and in the audience.

CB: I never thought of it like that, you have a front-row seat to the show but as a member! What was that like, I’m sure like the other guys had their focus on their areas on the stage, but somehow watching it unfold from the drums seems like a better view in some ways, right?

CG: Ya, it’s weird because the other guys could move around on stage and they had their areas, sure. But it was sometimes surreal to watch them and the way the crowd reacted to different songs or the stuff we were doing on stage. I could really give good feedback when there was a setlist change, or we played a new song.

CB: Ya, I bet you could tell when or if a crowd lost interest or what song more people left the stage area. Pretty cool perspective.

CG: Right, I was able to not only see how the band was shaping up with different stage setups, but I could see when people would walk off. It was helpful to be able to tune up the list to maximize a show.

CB: You only have a certain amount of time up there, right? Better use all of that time!

CG: I don’t want to say it got boring, or sound like I was bored, never a dull moment up there (on stage). I just had a different perspective is all.

CB: Totally! Do you think this helped with CODE RED RIOT and this tour?

CG: Definitely. I know to listen to the drummer if he’s telling me something about a live show. For sure.

CB: How does it feel to have more input in the creative aspect of the band? Or do you share this now (in CODE RED RIOT)?

CG: Good! I like having more control or input I guess. We worked hard on the record and it’s nice to be able to have more flow or ideas that I can give instead of just playing what someone else wrote for me to play.

All of a sudden, I hear this loud AF screeching car tires and it sounded like the car hit something. I said,  “Corky?? are you there? are you ok?”…

CG: Holy cow! No, I’m fine. That was just a lady in the car on the road behind us or behind me, that slammed on her brakes and then another person I think ran over the curb. I’m looking for a car that was damaged, but the person kept driving.

CB: OMG, you should get off the street or at least away from break slamming cars!!

CG: No kidding! I’m not in the street – but I’m definitely moving closer to the club that’s for sure!

CB: Wow, ya get out of there! Well, you’re doing a summer tour, right for how long?

CG: Well, if I stop playing in or close to traffic..hahaha! No, we’ll be on tour from now until there aren’t any clubs to play in! 

CB: That’s the spirit! How have crowds been so far? Are they diggin’ Mask?

CG: I think so! There’s been a good response so far!

CB: Ok, one last question and we’ll call it for today so you can chill out before your show and try and chill from that freak show locking up their breaks and scaring us both! I can’t believe how loud AF that was!

CG: Ha! Ya, I’m sweaty. 

CB: Me too and I’m in my loft with the AC on cold AF! So, I gotta ask, getting in front of people with your material that came from your soul and your experiences, how hard was it to sing into the mic instead of beating on your drums?

CG: Ya, you know, it was hard at first. Just like when I first started playing drums on stage and touring, I had to build up a confidence level that I was comfortable with.

CB: It’s different singing about your feelings on subjects, huh? Yikes – I couldn’t do it. It’s like being exposed…

CG: Right! I felt that. I felt like there was nothing between me and the people in the audience. It didn’t matter if there were 3 people in the bar I was still scared that they might see the part I was singing about and not like all of the music, you know? 

CB: Totally, I know what you mean about being nervous in front of a few people – two seemed like 200! I dated a bass player that would play with his back to the audience and upside down, he was so nervous when he first started playing. Sometimes there was only me and the other girlfriend and the bartender and he’d still play upside down and backward.

CG: I get that. I’ve done that – not with the drums, that’d be pretty hard to do. I’m not that good or flexible! But I have played to the backstage and not the audience before, for sure. It just takes a little time to get used to being there in the moment. That’s what is important and understand that well, at least I’m not there to win everyone in the room, I’m there to do the best and be the person that people want to hear the rest of my music, you know?

CB: That’s awesome! You put it out there and they get what is needed – that humbleness will go far Corky. Rad!


After signing off with Corky and wishing him a great show, I got off the phone with a fuzzy feeling that comes along with having a conversation with a connection. That CODE RED RIOT and their music whether on tour or on my playlist, has a different feel to it. For me it seemed that despite the stage your band is in; beginning, reinventing, or seasoned player; feelings and emotions are similar and come at the times when the lesson we need to learn or understand comes at a time when we are receptive to it.

Look for CODE RED RIOT on the Cherri Picked Spotify Playlist and at online music outlets everywhere. You can also order from the link below connected to the web icon! Follow the band on all their socials too for more tour dates and other news from the band!

Til Next Time – MRML – Cherri




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