Look, before we get started, I want you to know why I’m doing this, alright?
I’m old. Older than Methuselah old. I’ve been on this blue marble longer than most people can even comprehend and maybe it’s just me, but I feel like people have forgotten who I was.
I used to be somebody.
No, really, I was a somebody back in the day. People knew who I was the minute I came into town. It was great. The place would go crazy, I would go crazy, and when I left people would know that I had been there because…well, it was me! I was iconic! Sure, yeah, I had my competition with EVD and Karkinos, but it was a different time. It was a different place. What I had to offer was unlike anything else the world had ever seen before. And the places that hadn’t seen me yet? They would as soon as I finished my gig. They knew I was coming. I was unstoppable.
Every tired and worn out cliché about how the world was my oyster? Yeah, all true. I had everything that a gal like me could ever want. I had hundreds of thousands of people talking about me, wanting to know more about me, wanting to know how I knocked everyone dead!
My name was known throughout the world. Okay, that one is kind of a lie. My name doesn’t translate well at all. Seriously, it’s a mess. In France, I was known as La Femme, Spain called me Muerte, England gave me the moniker of The Touch. Everywhere else called me something else. Do you know what a pain branding is when your name gets mixed up across the globe? The inconsistency alone nearly ruined me.
But I’m getting ahead of myself.
My name is Red. I’m not very impressive at first glance. I’m small. The word petite doesn’t do me justice. I get ignored a lot because of my stature. But it’s when I get on the stage that I become bigger than life. See, when I was starting out, I was a no name punk who played out in the swamps. I’m not joking. I played in the swamps. Those were hard days. Between never being able to catch a ride anywhere to not having a decent audience, I was stuck.
At first, I thought it was me. Because, come on, it’s what every artist thinks when they’re not getting the big venues or moving up. I thought my set was no good. But then I experienced a big shake-up. The world that I was living in was changing. Pangea split up and everyone was going everywhere. I had to say goodbye to a lot of good friends of mine, but it was for the best. We all wanted to break out and become bigger than the stars themselves. EVD stayed closed by. Karkinos went east to Greece. Karkinos did well there but EVD remained an underground act.
I found a cozy spot in Madagascar.
Madagascar was good for me. I’m not saying that in terms of a tropical paradise but in terms of experience. I was able to spread out. I got more and more range for my set. I finally started to get an audience! People from Asia to Australia were coming to Madagascar to see me! I can’t even describe the high I got from that first performance. Then I got discovered. I left my little island and went to Africa. I hooked up with EVD for a little bit. He was happy to have me in his neighborhood. He was good to me. Showed me all the sights and the spots to hit. We collaborated. Released some great stuff together.
But EVD was happy being part of the underground scene and I wasn’t. Don’t get me wrong, I had fun, but the world is a big place and I wanted to see more of it. It was hard to leave, but I swore that I would never forget him. EVD gave me a little something to remember him by, his “Fever” album. It was one of his greatest hits.
I loved his sound and added it to my set. With a new sound, I started to hit up the tradeshow line going into Egypt. I wish I could have said that the tradeshows were good to me, but they weren’t. I had a lot of competition. There were big names doing big shows.
Lassa was the queen in the North.
Sump was big in central Africa.
H&A were unstoppable along the Ivory Coast.
Not gonna lie, I struggled. It’s hard to get your name out there when you’re competing with the big guys. I had to change up my routine. No more kid stuff. I got my shit together the second I reached France. It was everything that I dreamed it would be. France was the first place that I got a foothold in the world. They called me La Femme. It wasn’t the name that I wanted to use but my real full name is hard to pronounce. It didn’t matter much to me though. I was finally getting ready to have my big European debut.
And then I got upstaged by Phil & Sis. It wasn’t fair! It was my gig! It was my venue! I had a bunch of French soldiers in droves waiting to see me and….and then I was done for. They stole my show. Phil & Sis are hacks and you can quote me on that. They operated on shock and awe. They didn’t have any style or class. It was all gore and I don’t know about you, but I can’t stand that kind of stuff. They lacked artistic vision, but I didn’t. The people reacted to their stuff and I had to get with the times. I needed to be better than they were and shock audiences better than they could.
I worked on my set again. I refined and fine-tuned. I had EVD’s “Fever”, Karkinos gave me her “Anemia” album, H&A were kind enough to let me adapt their stuff as long as I always gave credit. I evolved from the no name loser in the swamp and I became Red.
I hit my stride in the eighteenth century. The world was my stage and I was the player everyone saw. I was everywhere. I was playing for some of the biggest crowds in history. Everyone caught wind of who I was. I even got to perform for royalty. Those were some of the best times in my life and then it all went to hell. Snow dropped his “Broad Street” album in Soho and that was all anyone talked about. Suddenly, there were standards. What we were doing wasn’t good enough to get noticed or play a single place.
It set a lot of us back. EVD and Karkinos were doing fine but everyone else? Shot to hell. We were screwed. It was back to the drawing board for me. I went South…waaaaaaay South. Hopped on a ship to South America and I stayed there for the longest time. I needed peace and quiet to find my true self, the self that I knew that I could be if I just found the right set.
I thrived in the South.
The places I played at weren’t as impressive as they used to be, but it got the job done and gave me more experience. I needed to be more versatile. I couldn’t stay the same anymore. In an industry where it’s change or perish, I needed to change. So, I did. I grew more complex in what I was doing. Where everyone else was going with shock and awe, I needed to work my way up to that. I couldn’t go and do a big show with one big number. I needed a series of serious power moves. It took me the better part of the nineteenth and twentieth century to do it.
In that time, my friends were breaking out and going toe to toe with the mainstream crowd. They changed as much as I did. Karkinos rebranded herself as Cancer. She had so many subgenres under her belt that I have to admit that I was super jealous. EVD finally broke out of the underground scene and decided to show the world what he could do. He changed his name to Ebola. Kinda weird but it suited him just fine.
But then get this, people started to get turned off of the mainstream scene. Like, they just stopped listening to it. It was alternative all the way. And with that came my comeback tour. People were practically asking me to do a revival.
How could I ever deny them? The dawn of the new millennium was my time to shine. The world was my stage. I played my set long and hard and I went viral. People never knew what hit them. I was knocking them dead. I was a somebody again.
My name is Red.
I am a virus. I am known for my remix of “Fever” and “Anemia” and my original hits of “Paranoia”, “Insomnia”, “Hypersensitivity”, “Hemophilia”, “Paralysis”, “Insanity”, “Necrosis”, and my personal favorite, “T.O.F.” aka “Total Organ Failure”.
I have played across the globe. There isn’t a single person who hasn’t heard of me and what I can do. It took me a while to perfect my set, but I did it. There is no cure for me. I am a killer.
Now, you’re probably wondering why I’m telling you this. My reason is actually really simple. Humanity is dying. Hard to accept, I know but I really did it! All on my own, I closed borders. I’m the reason mass graves came back into style. Humanity poured billions of dollars into discovering what made me tick. They removed their safeguards to get at me. Put up trauma centers at every hot spot I was at. Pandemic alerts were going off at every hour. I loved it. They announced my presence like a rock star.
And it still wasn’t enough to stop me.
Human experimentation? Culling livestock? Burning bodies? All that was fuel to my fire. I ravaged the earth. I brought governments to their knees. Everyone knows who I am now. And you, the last tiny vestige of humanity, are crawling into your grave. You should know that I consider it a high honor to be the person who takes your life. Out of everyone I’ve ever infected over the years, you held out the longest and I just wanted to say, you’ve been a great audience.
Thank you and goodnight.