Bass / Vocal – Hajji Husayn
Drums / Vocals – Richard Joachim
Lead Vocals / Guitar – Douglas Burns
Guitar / Vocals – Ruby Sparks
Before moving to Amman, Jordan in 2001, Hajji Husayn made a pact with Douglas Burns to do a band together. The project would be called Red Dons. It took five years for Burns and Husayn to follow through with that agreement as they both lived in a number of different places over that time (Portland, Washington D.C., Germany, Jordan, Thailand, and Seattle). They both also played in other bands (The Observers and Clorox Girls). In 2006 Burns and Husayn finally assembled a line-up for the Red Dons in Portland, Oregon. They however, did not stay in Portland very long. By 2009, Husayn had moved to London, and Burns to Chicago continuing a nomadic trend that has become a theme of the band. Longtime drummer Richard Joachim has remained in Portland. Despite having members spread out between Europe and the United States, the band has continued to tour and record together. Red Dons have released at least one record every year since 2007.
Along with Burns, Husayn and Joachim, the Red Dons feature a rotating cast of members and collaborators. Ruby Sparks of The Stops currently plays guitar for the group. Zach Brooks (Piss Test, Soda Pop Kids, Scott Baio Army), Will Kinser (No More Art, Born/Dead), Andy Foote (No Secret Between Sailors, Physical Challenge), and Justin Maurer (L.A. Drugz, Clorox Girls) have each been Red Dons guitarist. TV Smith (Adverts) wrote lyrics to and preforms lead vocals on A Vote for the Unknown. David Wolf (Daylight Robbery, Endless Column) is a featured guitarist on the Red Dons album The Dead Hand of Tradition. Derek Willman (The Estranged, From Ashes Rise, Hellshock) has preformed live with the Red Dons and also plays bass on the Pariah 7”. Jonny Cat (Chemicals, Triggers) and Jim McCann (Tyrades) have both recorded vocals with the band. However, those recordings are currently unreleased. Jesse Michaels (Operation Ivy, Classics of Love), and John Nuclear (The Insaniacs) have both contributed lyrics to the project. Derek Skokan (Revisions) was the drummer in 2006 and appears on the Escaping Amman EP. Burns, Husayn, and Joachim all play together in The Revisions, and are also original members of The Chemicals; fronted by Jonny Cat. Joachim and Jonny Cat both continue to play in the Chemicals in Portland. Hajji Husayn plays bass for the Role Models in London. Douglas Burns plays guitar and sings in Endless Column from Chicago and has worked on a project with Avi Gunda in Boston called The Butlers.
The band is named after a group of highly respected British Intelligence Officers who were later revealed to be Soviet spies. Kim Philby, Anthony Blunt, Guy Burgess, and Don MacClean all meet as students at Cambridge University in the 1920?s. At Cambridge, professors are referred to as “Dons”, thus Red Dons became a moniker used by the British press for the spy ring. Historians more commonly refer to Philby and the others as the Cambridge Five. What is known about them publicly is cloudy at best, but it is suggested that during World War II they were responsible for passing misinformation to the Nazis. During the Cold War it is suspected that they passed valuable information to the Soviets. Despite having close ties to the Queen and the British government Burgess, MacClean, and Philby all eventually defected to the Soviet Union adding more intrigue and mystery to their story. Learn more about the original Red Dons by clicking the link below.
Please visit FORMSPRING.ME/REDDONS if you have any questions regarding the band.