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"who ARE you guys?"

 RED HOT SHAME is a Northern California-based indie rock group fronted by singer-songwriter Xeff Scolari and his fluctuating lineup of musical cohorts. For their sensational new album YOU CAN’T MAKE ME, Xeff Scolari recorded with frequent collaborators Steven Pitsenbarger (vocals, percussion), Ryan Wilson (guitar), Spencer Kennedy (bass, drums, keys, vocals), and Mark Bennet (harmonica), a lineup that brings an energy and excitement to RED HOT SHAME that Xeff could not accomplish alone.

A resident of Eureka, CA, lead vocalist and songwriter Xeff Scolari has played in several other local bands including Colorblind, Acoustic Gypsies, Sugardaddy, and Chowderhead, the last of which was on the Magnetic Oblivion Recordslabel. Throughout 2020 he created and launched Shelter N Play, an online virtual open mic with musicians signing up to perform 15-minute sets from all over the country, a hugely valuable resource to the musical community throughout the pandemic. These also helped Xeff to further hone his own vocal and songwriting chops, and it was actually through the Shelter N Play open mics that Xeff met bassist Spencer Kennedy and guitarist Ryan Wilson, a fortuitous meeting indeed.

Xeff Scolari has been singing together with Steven Pitsenbarger for so long that it feels like instinct, a vocal blending that is rich with decades of collaboration and friendship. Steven Pitsenbarger was a member of the San Francisco bands RhythmChaos, and Machine Shop, and has been making music together with Xeff since the late 80s. The only core member of the band that doesn’t live near the rest, Steven collaborated on many of the songs via email, sending tracks back and forth to Xeff. Together they also have another band known as Vanity Project.

Guitarist Ryan Wilson’s inventive stylings bring the RED HOT SHAME sound to life. They call his pedalboard “the spaceship” because of all the crazy sounds he wields with it. He also performs with bassist and multi-instrumentalist Spencer Kennedy in another group called Stable Vices, who were regulars at Xeff’s Shelter N Play open mics. Mark Bennet and Xeff are old friends who met on the open mic circuit. They’ve performed together for years, and Mark is featured on multiple RED HOT SHAME tracks.

Over the years, RED HOT SHAME has included a range of talented multi-instrumentalists who add layers of sonic textures to the group’s releases, at times including horns, vintage mellotron, or even accordion. The group began in 2017 when it was just Xeff Scolari with a few guest tracks by some close friends like Steven Pitsenbarger and James Terris on the debut release Curiosity. In 2021, RED HOT SHAME released the follow up album Sounds Like, which also featured Chad Johnson. Their last album My Satellite (2022) also included Rick Fugate (drums) and James Terris (keys), starting with a literal bang on the opening track “Liftoff” and from there soaring into musical outer space.

Xeff Scolari recorded, mixed, and mastered YOU CAN’T MAKE ME at his own Shameful Studio collaboratively with the whole group. They tried some new things on this record to make it more representative of how the band sounds live; on some previous releases the material was developed largely in the studio, but on this new album they were able to begin recording with the songs already fleshed out and developed across months of performances. With less layering and more live in-the-room recording, YOU CAN’T MAKE ME better captures the wild ride feel of a RED HOT SHAME live show.

YOU CAN’T MAKE ME features striking album art by Jeff Jordan, known for his work with The Mars Volta. Reminiscent of Gulliver, the band’s signature giant chick is unsuccessfully tied down by likenesses of the band. Look closely and you’ll see many of the band’s friends and fans represented amongst the captivated onlookers. In fact, the album’s title YOU CAN’T MAKE ME comes from a playful joke between Xeff and his friend Linda (she’s the fairy godmother on the cover), who would taunt each other with the phrase.

Keep an eye out for a new music video for their song “Sophie” along with a four-song RED HOT SHAME EP in early 2024 tentatively titled “Scratched Tracks” and featuring one song from each of their four albums that was left off.

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