● Rick Shaffer is a founding member of the Philadelphia band, The Reds©, whose first album on A&M, self entitled THE REDS, was produced by David Kershenbaum. It highlighted the band's impressive sound — a blend of Rick Shaffer's guitar and Bruce Cohen's keyboards into an interestingly textured drone, short guitar and keyboard figures, rising then disappearing back into the drone, while Shaffer's voice provides the punch and definition for their overall sound. The album was supported with live appearances with The Police, Joe Jackson, Blondie, The Ramones, The Psychedelic Furs, and Public Image. An EP, GREEN WITH ENVY, followed featuring The Doors song, "Break On Through," which suggests some of the band's roots. (Universal Music digitally re-released The Reds, and Green With Envy, August 2012.) In 1980 A&M released a compilation album, Propaganda, that included tracks from The Reds, The Police, Joe Jackson, The Granati Bros, Bobby Henry, Shrink, David Kubinec, and Squeeze.
● They next recorded a tense and powerful album for Sire/WB entitled, SHAKE APPEAL (digitally re-released by Warner Music, April 2013), produced by Mike Thorne (Blur, Soft Cell, Wire). This forcible record led the band to work with director/producer, Michael Mann. Mann incorporated numerous songs by The Reds® into episodes of Miami Vice, then hired Shaffer and Cohen to write songs and score for two motion pictures, "Band Of The Hand" (Tri-Star) and "Manhunter" (De Laurentiis), based on the novel "Red Dragon." Soundtrack albums from both films were released on MCA, a Manhunter CD, with an added Reds® track, “Jogger’s Stakeout,” was released in 2010 by Intrada Records, followed by Universal Music digitally releasing both albums in 2012.
● In 1992, the Reds® next album, CRY TOMORROW (Tarock) reunited them with British producer Mike Thorne. It captures the driving intensity of earlier albums and the ambient, atmospheric feel from their film scores, resulting in a stark, surreal album, with a sense of mood and mystery. The pulsing opening track, "Terror In My Heart," was featured in the film, "Nightmare On Elm Street 2" (New Line), directed by Jack Sholder. Along with a searing non-stop groove of the Stones' "Gimme Shelter," the introduction of various percussive elements, and a diversity of background vocals, all create an experimental and manic energy that reaches inside your head and won't let go. In 2004 Shaffer wrote and recorded, "Looking For Right," for director Michael Mann’s film, "Collateral." In 2007, FUGITIVES FROM THE LAUGHING HOUSE was written and produced by The Reds®, it’s a straight forward raw nerve reflection of life in America. The Reds® 2009 release, EARLY NOTHING, was also written and produced by Shaffer and Cohen. The album has a hypnotic quality, that leaves the listener free to let their subconscious play itself out, no matter where it goes, while maintaining the simplicity of the moment. The Reds®, shamans of dark, brooding, loud rock continued to explore and define their sound.
● Studio work for Shaffer includes recording guitar tracks on a Marianne Faithfull album (Island); Hilly Kristal's, "Mad Mordechai" (Stereo Society); Peter Murphy's, "Holy Smoke" (Beggars Banquet/BMG); and Marc Almond's, "Fantastic Star" (Some Bizarre/Mercury); as well as writing, producing and recording, "Looking For Right," for the film, "Collateral," directed by Michael Mann.
● Shaffer’s 2010 first solo album, NECESSARY ILLUSION (Tarock), is a ten song neo-sixties, garage blues excursion, with a Joe Meek and Excello Records production style. The album’s sonic signature is a raw, swirl of distorted guitar, atmospheric percussion, stark droning hill country blues, in a mix of “Excello Records” style reverb.
● His 2011 second solo venture, HIDDEN CHARMS (Tarock), has a sonic blueprint of proto–garage rock/blues, distorted guitar, with melodies buried beneath a mash-up of unadulterated garage vibe. Inspired by Link Wray’s Swan Singles Collection, early Stones, and heavy doses of Mississippi Hill Country Blues Bop, the basic track sound is a simple, but steady primitive hypnotic beat and percussion, ultra distorted guitar, and aggressive raw vocals with intense personal lyric content. British director, Peter McAdam, created a video of “Buy And Sell,” shot on location in the UK.
● In 2012, Shaffer’s next solo album, IDIOT FLATS (Tarock), is built on a garage/blues framework, Mississippi Hill Country rhythms, a garage/blues framework , and a mash-up of a ‘60’s psychobilly/R&B sounds. Idiot Flats’ lyrical and vocal tone takes on the packaged commercialized plague, asking the listener to live free in the moment, instead of in the past or the future.
● Shaffer’s 2013 release, STACKED DECK (Tarock), continues the "sonic minimalist” blueprint of his previous solo albums. The sound combines hard fuzz guitar driven garage-blues, a blues edged two step, lazy insistent rolling beat, new colors in the harmonica and spoons style percussion, along with an unadorned and unaffected blues narrative.
● Shaffer’s 2014 album release, MISADVENTURE, has him back in the garage again, with some of his best songs, performance and production to date. The ragged edges, room echo, distortion, great hooks, and underlying menace are right in place for some compelling tension and adrenaline drenched garage blues.
● In May 2014, Shaffer released a bonus single, LINK, focusing his talent beyond his five garage rock solo albums, to boost the garage rock genre with a Link Wray, and swamp blues inspired instrumental. This was followed by another single in August 2014, HARD TIMES SIXTY, a mid-1960’s British R&B rocker, similar to the Rolling Stones, The Pretty Things, and The Yardbirds, featuring 1960’s style harmonica.
● Shaffer’s sixth solo venture, JITTERBUG SHAKE, was released June 2015. It features the fast, excitable sound of garage blues that digs deep into his early R&B/rock & roll influences. The album was recorded with almost every song and instrument pushing the needle into the red (i.e., overload). Normally, that would be a problem, except for the fact that the repertory was written and conceived by Shaffer, with the likes of Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley, Slim Harpo, and early British Pretty Things and Rolling Stones in mind. Get set to rock it to the max.
● Shaffer’s latest 2016 release, OUTSIDE OF TIME, has Shaffer reaching minimalist garage rock perfection, capturing excitement and emotion in a proto-punk sound, laid down savagely in Motor City Detroit. Outside Of Time bleeds blood on these tracks, in a soul, glitter, sin drill-press bamalama, that’s structured like classic Detroit Rock — simple, hard driving, and ultra high energy.