Red Snapper On Unknown Sundays 09-2016

I miss the ability to have several old school record store choices in Western New York. I used to love taking a side trip while making sales calls for the day in Rochester, New York (I think that one was called Fantastics), or making a jaunt downtown (Buffalo, NY) to New World Records (which had an import selection, new and used stuff), and now it’s pretty much just Record Theatre (now they’re gone) and Friz B’s. Not that there is anything wrong with that, but it’s just the diversity of what was coming in and available in used records and in over-stock was much better. This allowed me to just throw caution to the wind, diving into the used bins for an hour–striving to find that something different, special, or just left behind. Putting faith in the name of the album or the songs on the back, or even the cover art was my only possible gauge (we didn’t have phones back then to give us instant knowledge).

This is how I discovered Buckethead (becoming associated with the likes of Buckethead before most in the record industry who now might hail him as one of the best guitarists in the world had ever heard his name). While his album Colma is still considered my number one find of all time–$1.00 people–I have a number two, that blows my mind. Red Snapper, and their jazz, trippy, blast of an album, Making Bones, from 1998. This record started it all for me with them!


When I saw it, the name of the band caught my eye, and then seeing the songs “Bogeyman” and “4 Dead Monks” sealed the $3.00 deal. The pioneering acid-jazz band from Britain came tripping through my car stereo with a free, flowing, sophisticated electrical–acoustical precision that I had never heard before in a jazz environment. At the time, I had no idea they had opened for The Prodigy along with Foo Fighters. Nor did I have any idea that they were already in process of dissolving the band. Damn, right?! Well, I can only assume it was because of the lack of record sales…because when I find a great band, like all us music junkies–I go looking for more, and I’m willing to pay full price, of course. But, there was nothing on the shelves–anywhere. It is always discouraging when you hear such proper, loose talent like this and you can’t get access to more of their music (remember the internet wasn’t your greatest sales tool back then). I was able to secure
Our Aim Is To Satisfy, and it did just that–thank the luck of the record browsing gods.They reformed in 2007. Giving us A Pale Blue Dot, and just recently (remember this is an archive post) Heyna, all of which continued the radically talented musicianship that I had come to play religiously in the background. I don’t know what’s on the horizon for Red Snapper. They certainly don’t get much attention here in the United States that I’m aware of, nor do I see them heavy on the record store shelves, which are usually a bit more stark these years. There’s an album called Key from 2011 that I’ve been unable to rightly procure, but I’m sure that I will, when it’s suppose to.

Red Snapper utilizes guest vocals and musicians to keep their music as diverse as their acid jazz. From the trippy-funk tracks to the soundtrack styles, instrumentals wrapped in boogeydown cellophane, there’s something that just gets your toe tappin’, your heart pumpin’, and your mind inspired.  If you’ve never heard of Red Snapper beyond the tasty fish that you’ll find on the specials lists, then get out your best musical fishing rod and cast deep into the used records under “R” and yank out anything they got–you’ll be hooked.


Red Snapper Albums in my collection:   Prince Blimey (1996), Making Bones (1999), Our Aim Is To Satisfy (2000), Red Snapper (2003),  A Pale Blue Dot (2008), Hyena  (2014)

This “Unknown Sundays” was done back on February 29 of 2016, and yes that was a leap year post!  I’m still searching for other albums as they have a few more I’ve yet to snag, including the newest of the bunch, Everybody Is Somebody (2022), which as of this day, I have yet to listen to.  Oh hell, it’s going to get spun right after I post this, who am I kidding!?  I still stand by my convictions that this band will hook you!  Looking back in regards to mentioned record stores:  Hi-Fi Records, which came to being after Record Theater closed, and Friz Bs (still around today, Jeff even owns the plaza now), are my local record stores!  While the resurgence of vinyl is encouraging, the availability of good quality, Beyond Your Radio used CDs seems to have slowed, I still continue my chronic browsing with hopes of pulling up one or two more to finish the collection!  – Mark Kulgowski  [May 7th 2023]

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