“Lil Red” is our mascot and fearless leader. The logo was created in 2002 by Wade Hampton (Wichita, KS) and has been plastered on everything from dolls, bobbleheads, guitars, non-animal tested lipbalm, temporary and REAL tattoos, stickers, picks and drumsticks etc. We call our eco-bus “Lil Red #1” (homage to Wille Nelson’s Honeysuckle Rose 1-3 tour buses) and Lil Red is prominent on all sides of the bus. We are slowly but surely building an entire world of merch for Red on our site, and nothing pleases us more than seeing the fans come up with their own uses for the logo.
Growing up at KISS concerts it’s no surprise I am a total merch whore. But as fun as it is to see Lil Red sightings around the US, there is some thought behind the logo. We have always felt that the center of what any band does is passion. Even before the songs, before the shows. before 3 or 4 people decide to live the prime of their lives in a van down by the river, the passion is what drives the machine forward, and what calls fans to pay attention to a band in the first palce. It’s that whole in the heart feeling that causes any young musician to try to think beyond the tactile world and create something from nothing. That driving force that wants to see energy exchanged between the band and the crowd, that we can all escape for a couple hours at a show, and as grand as it may seem, that we might even be able to learn or FEEL something BIGGER together though sharing the experience of music. Maybe ever make things better in this world. There is also plenty to whine and cry about and none of it’s gonna improve til we actually put our shoulder against the wheel and move in the same direction. Reminiscent of the old bluesmen discussing going down the the crossroads, we like to say “Play so good you make the devil cry”. The idea is give everything you got…to the show..the the listeners…to anyone that has helped you along the way.
(This tagline and belief system actually became the hook of a song “Make the Devil Cry” in 2010 that has been heard on FOX and for the promos for “Criminal Minds”. These placements sure help the circus stay on the road…)
Now let’s hear it from the man who put the logo down on paper in the first place. Here’s Wade Hampton responding to a woman who’s little boy asked Wade why Lil Red is crying 🙂
“Lil’ Red was designed a long time ago to go on the cover of a GOODING album that was going to be called “Travels”. And I designed this little devil, and he was carrying a suitcase. The tear was suppose to represent the “weary traveler” or “life on the road” (especially as a rock n’ roll band). But Gooding changed the title of the album to “Life Itself” and Gooding still wanted to use the little devil, so we just lost his suitcase. It was Gooding who had the great idea of making devil that the band’s logo and mascot. I gave him the name Lil’ Red. So the tear just represents the fact that we all have some tough times and moments in our life but we just power through. So tell Ephram that Lil’ Red has a tough life life sometimes but he is ultimately very happy. Sometimes the tear is because he’s sad, but mostly, they are tears of joy.”