Hailing from King City in Monterey County, California, Amanda Zelina aka Red aka The Coppertone is an Artist/ Antique hunter/ Musician / Inspiration connoisseur & Bowling Champion. She loves music, art, spirit and a challenge.
Musicmuso met up with her at the Wildhorse Truckstop Cafe (50630 Mesa Verde Rd) for brunch, we ordered coffee (it was late morning so Red was able to partake) some pancakes and the traditional bacon and eggs (a firm English favourite too). the coffee arrived and we started to chat about music, supergroups and, er....The Backstreet Boys, here's how it went....
Please introduce your music in one sentence….
Badass blues rock babe music
Where did you record your EP ‘The Bakery’ and what made you choose that studio?
It was kind of patch work. I did most of it to tape at Elliot Smiths old studio called, New Monkey. The rest at home on my computer. New Monkey had a clubhouse vibe which I dug. We tracked 4 or 5 songs in one day live to the floor.
What is the reason behind the name of your current EP?
The Bakery, hmm I don’t know. It sounded kind of mafioso to me… Had a badass ring to it. Also the idea of freshly baked songs right out of the oven felt right. These were more pop hook oriented blues rock songs, sweeter but still bold in flavor.
You have been on hiatus since your 2011 release; can you explain what you have been up to in the time away?
I took a lot of time to re evaluate my life and my career. I really asked myself those questions that normally scare the shit out of anyone to ask themselves. Stuff like, Should I continue? What does it all mean? Why am I not inspired by what I use to be anymore? How do I move forward and say goodbye to pretty much everything I built up? What do I want? It was a few years of transition & reflection. I want to build an empire and be the best at what I do, that takes a lot of planning and learning. The Bakery is the last “The Coppertone” release for a while. I’ve started up a new project under a different stage name that I will be debuting sometime in the next year or so. Right now I’m working on that. It’s a far departure from The Coppertone and it’s exciting me.
It has been two years since you played live, since your arrival back on the live scene what have you noticed has changed?
I haven’t arrived back to the live scene just yet.
The first guitar solo you heard that sends shivers down your spine?
Ooooo god, good question. It wasn’t a solo but the first time I heard John Lee Hooker I nearly dropped to the ground.
‘Young Blood’ from ‘The Bakery’ is a great tune, what brought the inspiration behind this?
Thank you. Young Blood was inspired by what I was going through. I chose to leave my record label and management and move to California to start over fresh. At the time I hit a pretty damn good low in my life and knew it was time to grow up and surround myself with the right people. The song is about the reclamation of myself and my spirit. Picking myself back up and being an accountable human.
How has social media aided your music?
Social media has helped me gain exposure and communicate to my fans. It’s also helped me gain a better understanding marketing wise what has worked and what hasn’t. I like knowing from a business perspective what works and what doesn’t. I also like the direct line to the people who listen and care about what I am creating.
How and when did you decide that you wanted to be a performer?
I remember watching the Oscars one year as a kid and Roberto Benigni won for Best Actor ( for Life is beautiful) He got up and jumped across the seats of the rows and people in front of him to get to the stage. His speech and his passion hit me so fucking hard. I was only a kid and I remember being SO affected by that. I knew than and there that I had to be a performer. I wanted to feel what he was feeling.
What is the best advice you ever received and who was it from?
I was once told to “Stop telling your story”. Sometimes people use their wounds or their scars as badges of honor. As if all the negativity you’ve been through some how makes you deeper or more respected. When you do that you start to hold onto that story as your identity and you never move past it. I was guilty of that for a very long time. The negativity started to own me to the point that I had a real fear of healing because I thought I wouldn’t be regarded as tough or badass. I guess you could say I once was a perpetual damsel in distress haha.
I remember spilling my guts out to my life coach at the time (Stephanie Hanlen). I was almost impressing myself with all of my “poor me” life hardships. Like, Damn I sounded hard as fuck. I expected her to do what everyone else had done and take pity on me or at least think I was a fucking hero for living through what I have. Instead she cut me off and said, “ Ok, you done now? Let that be the last time you ever recite that…Stop telling your story.” In one swoop I was humbled and forever changed.
In your opinion, what is the BEST album/record ever released and why?
Wow. I don’t know that I can answer that. I love so much music and for so many different reasons and on different occasions. It’s impossible for me to pin down just one masterpiece. I will say Lauryn Hills 'The miseducation of Lauryn Hill' changed my life as a female artist. I breathed that record at one point. Front to back I know every word and feel everything I want to feel while listening to a record.
If you had a chance to put together your own ‘super group’, who would be in it? (Only living members please)
My “living” super group: Eminem, Billy Gibbons, Lauryn Hill, Quest Love, Booker T, Flea & Myself
Who designed the artwork for your EP cover?
First gig you ever went to?
This answer was really cool to my 13 year old self… The Backstreet Boys.
What question have you never been asked, but would like to be asked...also what would the answer be?
What is it like to be a middle of the road musician as a full time job? I’d like to be asked that because I’d like the opportunity to set some records straight.
First of all, I have such a high respect for those of us who are busting our asses off on the daily to try and sustain as artists. There is a strong public and surprisingly sometimes even an industry misconception that being signed as an artist makes you privileged or even rich. In fact, until you reach the tipping point as a popular artist you are more than likely scraping by and millions of dollars in debt to your team. It’s a long and arduous process that has beautiful and magical moments that keep us focused relentlessly on the goal. Most days can be spent thinking “ What in the fuck am I doing?!” Feeling like you are banging your head on the same damn doors and nothing is happening. The thing is, that in music there is no formula to a hit song (as much as a lot of shitty pop radio that all sounds the same would make you think that there is) For a true artist choosing the entertainment industry as means to survive and maybe even flourish is all a big risk. We take the risk because there is this intangible drive within us that somehow gets us back on our feet when we fall straight on our faces in discouragement.
I find it fucking appalling that our society on a whole disregards everything the artists do behind the scenes daily when they download a song for free. I know this rant is an old topic but to every active musician today it is still relevant.
The sad thing is that it’s now accepted and people are desensitized to what type of colossal effect downloading music for free has on the artists. I feel like as a whole we have lost the WORTH of a song, an album, an artist. I remember when Napster came out and how alluring it was to be able to have all the music you ever wanted AND you can have it now because its FREE. It was the fucking jackpot of all jackpots. But like all everything immediate it quickly looses its luster.
You could argue that Madonna or Adele or Black Sabbath don’t need the money and you know what? maybe you’re right, but reality is that they earn it. And more than that, all the rest of the musicians who are on the radio or not, those artists you love and covet and brag to your friends about, the ones who haven’t quite cracked Grammy Status yet…. They not only earned the right to be paid for what they have worked tirelessly for but they NEED to get paid for it. You wouldn’t dare going into the Doctors office (something that we as a society can agree betters our lives) and expect to leave there without a bill. Let’s face it without art or music the world would be a dull place not worth living in. If we keep ignoring the facts and choosing to stay ignorant about these issues soon the whole industry will die off because it wont be able to sustain itself.
So where do we go from here? That is the question every single person including myself in this industry asks ourself and is haunted by every single damn day.
What advice would you offer to an upstart musician concerning signing with a record label?
Ask yourself what they can do for you and what you can do for them.
I notice you have some Ink on your arm, des it represent anything and where did you go to have this done? Plans for more?
I plan on being covered. I love tattoos. They pretty much all have meaning to me. I’ve got most of my ink done in California & some back in Toronto.
Name three people (alive, dead or fictional) that you would like as dinner party guests?
Right now I’d like to pick the brains of these geniuses: Iyanla Vanzant, Sofia Amoruso, Seth Godin.
If you could describe your music in the form of a fictional character, who would it be?
My music is so autobiographical that I don’t know that I could.
Do you think we can ever live in a world where a chicken can cross the road without having its motives questioned?
Ha! I literally just saw that exact phrase on a tin sign in an antique mall coming back form Wyoming somewhere in Utah!
What are your plans for the remainder of 2014?
Finish my new record and introduce it in a big way to the world.
The bottomless coffee was a godsend, we went through at least 4 cups and ordered more food in the form of 'Chorizo Supreme', unsure if this was such a great idea but hey ho.....whilst we were waiting for the next round of food to arrive, we threw in a few quick fire questions for Red to chew on.....
Coffee or Tea? Coffee in the morning, Ice Tea during the day.
Coke or Pepsi? Classic. Coke.
Email or Hand Written letter? Email for business handwritten for loved ones
Drum machine or the real deal? Both.
Mac or PC? Mac
Guitar solo or Drum Solo? Depends who’s playing
Lemmy (Motorhead) or Ozzy (Black Sabbath)? OZZY
CD or Vinyl? Vinyl
Car or Motorbike? Knucklehead
Acoustic or electric? Electric
Hand shake or a hug? Hug
Shower or Bath? excuse me?
Tattoos or Piercings? Tattoos
Robert De Niro or Al Pacino? De Niro
God or Google? God