Red Sun Rising Wants to Talk About Suicide and Mental Health With 'Stealing Life' Video

Red Sun Rising
Shervin Lainez

Red Sun Rising

Red Sun Rising hits the road Nov. 2 in Waupaca, Wisc., with a fresh sense of purpose -- beyond continuing to promote its sophomore album, Thread.

Coming off a summer trek supporting Godsmack and Shinedown, the Ohio troupe's headlining shows will allow the quintet the opportunity to add more material to its set, notably including a first airing for the suicide awareness anthem "Stealing Life." Red Sun Rising's video for the song features people who have been impacted by suicide -- some of whom guitarist Ryan Williams met while in recovery provided by MusiCares; others in the video are PhDs with an expertise in mental health and addiction -- and the group will be donating a portion of its ticket sales to MusiCares during the tour.

"I think it's one of the best songs we've ever written, and it's just now getting its time in the light and it's doing really well organically, which is exciting," frontman Mike Protich tells Billboard. "On our social media we've encouraged people to share their stories and how (suicide has) affected them. We weren't sure how it was going to go, but it's been unbelievable how many people are saying, 'I've been there. I've been suicidal' and seeing other people comment on those comments, saying, 'Glad you're here,' and just people reaching out to each other.

"It's kind of started conversations on all of our posts and all of our platforms. Just seeing people be that open and public about it is really moving -- and that's what we wanted to do. It's debunking that stigma that you can't talk about it and letting people see there's other people like them that have struggled with mental health issues. I think it's important to just make that outlet available to people."

In addition to pushing those initiatives, Protich and company are looking forward to playing more of Thread, which debuted at No. 3 on the Heatseekers chart in March and No. 21 on the Hard Rock Albums survey. "It's the first time people had something to compare the first record (2015's Polyester Zeal)," Protich says. "It's definitely different than the first record. It's not Polyester Zeal and I think some people didn't like that and some people loved it, so it's been interesting." It's also been a challenge to turn the Thread songs into live performance pieces, he acknowledges.

"There's a lot more texture to this record, and it takes all five of us playing their part at all times," Protich explains. "On the first record it was kind of like, 'Here's the guitar tone, here's the drum tone, let's make the record.' This one we took every single song individually, so for playing it live we had to kind of sit down and work it out. We've added a lot of guitars to our arsenal, some amps, some effects. But it was fun because we're kind of gear nerds at heart."

Red Sun Rising will be on the road in the Midwest and South through Dec. 8. The group is also deciding on the next single from Thread, while 2019 plans are focused across the pond. "I think the one thing that we kind of neglected on the first half of the album cycle was international," Protich notes. "We went over twice -- meaning the U.K. and EU and Russia -- on Polyester Zeal and we haven't done anything yet for Thread, which we have to address. So I think in 2019 we're gonna focus on more international and get over there.