Great Vintage Trouble Article

nakedeye10 at nakedeye10 at
Sat Mar 30 03:05:52 UTC 2013

I learned a lot from it.

Thanks to Brian C.

Quote from Roger:
"Roger pulled me aside at one point, and told me 'Thirty years ago, I'd have quit my job and followed you guys around the country as a fan."


Jay Miller's Music Scene
Jack-of-all trades Jay Miller writes about boxing, high school sports and music.

Updated Mar 02, 2013 @ 09:02 AM
Vintage Trouble takes off
By Jay Miller
Vintage Trouble is probably the most dynamic rock 'n' soul band of the last decade, so it's no accident that they've spent the winter opening The Who's American tour.  The Who, after all, once dubbed their own music "Maximum R & B," and were always known for their incredibly dynamic shows.

So perhaps The Who's perspective on the new band is valuable.

"Roger Daltrey and Peter Townshend couldn't have been nicer to us," said Ty Taylor, singer/guitarist with Vintage Trouble, just before the tour played its final date in Providence last Tuesday. "Roger pulled me aside at one point, and told me 'Thirty years ago, I'd have quit my job and followed you guys around the country as a fan."

Vintage Trouble, which only formed in Los Angeles in 2010, affects a lot of people that way, which is why they've become such a sensation. They're also hard workers, and two days after the Who tour wrapped up, they embarked on their own club tour, which hits T.T. the Bear's in Cambridge this Tuesday.

"We want to stay out there," said Taylor. "We're lucky enough that there's demand for this music, which is also our hobby, and we are loving getting the chance to do it as much as we can. We also decided really early on, to be really smart about this and make everything count. When we were at home in LA, just starting out, we were doing four residencies every week at different clubs, which some people thought was crazy. We were all over town, and we started working pretty fast after we got together."

It has been a rapid rollercoaster to the top since then, with the band's debut album "The Bomb Shelter Sessions" released last April, and a hectic touring schedule that brought them more than 200 shows in 2012. They became big in Europe even before they started to hit in the United States, and have opened tours at large venues for Brian May (Queen), Bon Jovi, Joss Stone, Lenny Kravitz, and The Cranberries. Vintage Trouble has played almost all the latenight tv shows, after a breakout performance on Late Show with David Letterman that saw the host call them back for a rare encore. The quartet's music has appeared on several tv soundtracks, and now they also have a couple of tv commercials featuring their music too.

But if it seems like an overnight sensation, as so often is the case, Vintage Trouble is the result of four musicians who've labored long and hard in the business.

Taylor had been the frontman for the band Dakota Moon, which released a couple albums, and before that had appeared on the tv show "Rock Star: INXS," and previously been part of the band Ghost Hounds. Taylor is a graduate of Carnegie-Mellon University in Pittsburgh, where he majored in music and drama, and before heading to LA to follow his musical dreams, he'd appeared in a host of Broadway plays, including "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat," Pippin," "Grease," and "We Will Rock You." 

Guitarist Nalle Colt had been in a couple bands with Taylor, and spent much more time jamming and brainstorming with him about the type of band they wished to have someday. Bassist Rick Barrio Dill was a friend of both Colt and Taylor, and drummer Richard Danielson was a busy LA musician who knew the other three from the local scene. When they finally got all four together, the group sound coalesced quickly.

"The bands I had been were all rock and pop-based," said Taylor. "Dakota Moon, which was signed to Elektra Records, played in a style like a soulful kind of The Eagles. Rick had been in every kind of band from funk to modern rock. Richard was in Southern rock, and the heaviest rock bands of us all. But there was always a lot of blues playing in all our different bands. The cool thing about us coming together was that we had so much genre history, so that we can be specific about exactly what we wanted to play."

"We found we had all done the same common things before, and really wanted to step back, to be really authentic," said Taylor. "We all loved the late 1950s-'60s r & b, and blues, and rock, when you might hear Etta James, Ike & Tina Turner, Chuck Berry, and Little Richard on the radio. Back then you couldn't define rock, or rhythm and blues, or soul, because it was all wrapped up in one. We loved that synergy between the styles, and felt like we wanted to be right there in the middle of it."

By now it is a part of their lore, but Vintage Trouble gelled so quickly they were playing shows two weeks after forming. Not long after that, they were in a recording studio.

"Oh, yes, we were working two weeks after we got together," Taylor chuckled. "After about three months, we went into the studio, and spent three days there. We weren't going in there to do an album initially, but we thought maybe we'd get an EP out of it, and we wanted something to sell at our shows. But we just kept coming up with material, and when we listened back to it all, we's an album! We were so new to the band and each other, but that record really captured that time."

Almost all of the Vintage Trouble music is credited to the whole band, although Taylor admitted he writes all of the lyrics. But that spirit of four-way collaboration is one way they manage to churn out plenty of new tunes.

"Some songs we work out in the studio," Taylor noted. "Someone might bring in a cool drumbeat, and the rest of us flesh it out from there. We spend time apart as well as a lot of time together, so sometimes one of us will bring in a fairly complete idea. I do a lot of the melody and all of the lyrics--I have to believe in what I'm saying up there, what I'm singing. But it's all a group effort. We might be gathered at a restaurant, and I'll hear a sentence or a phrase someone says, and ask them to repeat it, and use that as the focal point for a song, or relate a story someone told to a song."

"We have recorded another record already, and then some," Taylor added. "If we have three days off at home, we can go in the studio and do twenty songs. We never intended to have spare time, when we weren't busy. And we feel the music is just funneled through us, from a higher being, so it's just a case of getting it down as quick as we can. We like to record like there's a fire under us."

Like more than a few bands these days, Vintage Trouble favors recording the old fashioned--i.e. non-digital--way.

"We record our music as it used to be," said Taylor. "It's all done on tape, with no computers, and we're all in the same room. The fact that it's done like that on tape makes you concentrate more, and rely on each other as a band. It forces us to know the songs better, and of course you get a more vintage band sound.'

But ultimately the biggest factor in the band's success has been Vintage Trouble's amazing live shows, where Taylor's unflagging energy, Colt's room-filling guitar lines, and that turbo-charged rhythm section makes it seem like a much larger group is onstage. Classic r&b fans might compare the sound to Otis Redding, Wilson Pickett, or James Brown, but it brought the quartet almost instant notice in LA, as well as an accomplished manager.

Music business veteran Doc McGhee heard the band once in LA, and was hooked. He suggested a different way to hone their performance and grow their audience: going to Europe and the United Kingdom to conquer those fans first, before trying to break through in the States.

"Of course we wanted to go to Europe," said Taylor. "We all romanticized those early-'60s bands and concerts, and remembered that Stax Records had taken their best acts to Europe back then. There's something about the way American r&b and soul is received over there--those audiences are really crazy for it. We decided to try the same thing as those old Stax acts had done, and we were lucky in that several music magazines over there were overly nice to us early on. Almost as soon as we arrived, we were the sixth most-tweeted thing in Holland."

"Those people were just so excited about our shows," Taylor noted. "We released our album over there first, and at one point we were number one in the U.K. r&b charts, and number two in rock. Brian May found us and asked us to open his tour, and that was great, and then Bon Jovi asked us to open for them, and we were playing in front of 50,000 people every night." 

Taylor is such an energetic performer, whose vocal skills are matched by his physical presence, that you have to think he must've been pretty compelling on Broadway.

"I think that my Broadway experience helps me everyday with my performing," Taylor said. "There are certain techniques, certain elements of performance that I would not know without that Broadway background. But I also feel that a major feature in my performances is my background going to church as a youngster, where I got to see so many preachers talk to their congregations. I'd see how they made a congregation rise and fall emotionally, and bring a whole group of people on a journey. I'd notice how they hit all the different angles of the stage, so that they made sure everyone in the audience was involved and felt they were being directly spoken to."

"I think one big thing I brought from my Broadway experience was stamina," said Taylor. "I was used to doing eight two-hour shows every week. Now with the band, when we finish I may be sweating like heck, but I feel like I could easily do another hour."

Vintage Trouble has no qualms about leaving the arena and stadium circuit, after opening all those high-profile tours, and returning to the more humble club scene. In fact it plays right into their guiding philosophy for what they always wanted their band to be.

"We've been trying to play club shows whenever we had days off from the big tours," said Taylor. "Our music is meant to be fun, and playing clubs reminds us of how our music is meant to be."

"I think there is a real movement in popular music right now," Taylor added, "where people are reblling against the whole idea of 'music has to be perfect.' If the music is perfect, that's okay. But other types of music get in your bodies more--music is supposed to be visceral. I think groups like the Black Keys, Jack White, Mumford & Sons, and Alabama Shakes are all part of this style of music like we are; where we're bringing back a type of music that was almost forgotten. It doesn't matter if it's imperfect, the more important thing is being dedicated to banging it into people's heads and moving them in some way."

Don't go to hear a Vintage Trouble concert expecting to just hear the album either. They're constantly bringing out new tunes, and have always featured lots of unrecorded originals every night.

"We've played everything, recorded or not, from the beginning," Taylor laughed. "Strike Your Light' often closes our shows, and another live staple is 'Run Like the River," and both have never been released. It's more about what songs we want to play to represent ourselves that night. And we don't worry about larger capacity clubs, or where we play. It's not about capacity, it's about a movement, building a community. There may only be 200 people at T.T.'s but we'll make sure they go home and tell all their friends to be sure to see us next time."

"We call our community of fans 'Trouble Makers," Taylor added. "And we want to make sure they all leave that show with their hair on fire."

More information about the TheWho mailing list