:: supporting The Who ::
By Timothy Dwenger
When The Who roll into town this month for their highly anticipated gig at The Pepsi Center, the names on everyone’s lips as they walk into the arena are sure to be Townshend and Daltrey, but there is almost no doubt that the name of the opening band Vintage Trouble will be rolling off tongues on the way out. Not even three years into a very promising career as a band, this Los Angeles quartet blends soul, funk and rock and roll with electric stage presence to create a sound that could have been pumping out of the studios of Stax and Muscle Shoals back in the late ’60s and early ’70s. It’s raw, it’s inspired, and it’s real.
“The thing about The Who is that they’re an old time rhythm and blues band. That’s how they started out and that’s the music that they loved, so I’m sure there was little of that going on when they heard us,” said Vintage Trouble drummer Richard Danielson when The Marquee caught up with the band on a conference call from their hometown. While there’s almost no doubt that’s true, another thing going on was that the guys in Vintage Trouble had done some work with Roger Daltrey’s Teenage Cancer Trust in the U.K. But as lead singer Ty Taylor was quick to point out, they did that way before they even knew about The Who getting back together for this tour. “You try and do so many things in your life to help these organizations, and a lot of time you do it out of your own heart; you do it because it makes you feel good and then it’s odd when you actually end up seeing a reward for it,” Taylor said. “There were literally a stack of CDs that were on their desks and when it came time to decide, we had done something right, something good with them. So it wasn’t just based on musical merit but it also had something to do with the humanity of it all. It was nice to do something a year-and-a-half ago for the Cancer Trust and it’s probably one of the reasons we’re on tour with The Who.”
Whether it was their music, their philanthropy, or likely a combination of both, Vintage Trouble also had the advantage of having broken in the U.K. and Europe before the U.S. “I think for some reason the U.K. has a deep connection to rhythm and blues and they have a real hunger and thirst for it. And they’re smart! They really listen to the music and they want to pick it apart and tell you what parts reminded them of what eras in history. I think it’s just something really sexy to them,” Taylor explained. “America’s kind of catching it, though, because we do have a lot of rhythm and blues and soul acts on the scene right now — of course they’re only being played on Triple A radio as opposed to pop radio, but at least it is one step forward.”
Vintage Trouble’s debut album The Bomb Shelter Sessions had its European release in the summer of 2011, but wasn’t released stateside until spring of 2012. As Danielson explained, the album unfolded so seamlessly for the group that it is almost now dictating that they give it more time before releasing more material, which they already have recorded. “There’s something kind of beautiful about it because we were barely a band, and we realized in retrospect that everything kind of happened in threes. We had our first gig as a band after only being a band for three weeks. We recorded our first record in three days, after only being a band for three months. So a lot of things just sort of happened in this really great way. And here we are two-and-a-half years later and even though we’ve recorded two more records worth of material, we’re still on that record because there’s songs that we feel haven’t seen enough light. So, we’re really, really proud of that snapshot that was us three months as a band. That was basically just a demo,” Danielson said
Taylor added that while they do have material all ready to go, it may be some time before it’s actually released. “I think the plan really is to let this music have a life cycle. We’re not going to set a date until we feel like this album [The Bomb Shelter Sessions] has had its life. So the idea is to just keep recording the music as we write the music and then if we feel like we want to put out a whole album — because I’m not really sure if everybody agrees with the whole album concept anymore — but when it’s time to put out new music we’ll do that. For us, we had the honor of going to Europe first in the U.K. and really making this album live for the first year-and-a-half. So even though some people have had the album for a while, for us, this album is just starting to see its life now here in the States. So, we’ve got a while,” Taylor said.
The U.S. has been seeing a resurgence of these kinds of acts recently, but Vintage Trouble is poised to blow them all out of the water. Not only do they showcase well written songs, drum-tight musicianship and magnetic hooks, but they are also fortunate to have a true showman as a frontman in Ty Taylor. He dances, gyrates and spins on stage as if he were channeling the likes of James Brown or Billy Preston. It’s truly something to witness and if you’ll believe the way he tells it, it all just spills out naturally.
“I guess I’ve been doing spins since I was a kid,” said Taylor, who has inspired a video compilation on YouTube, titled “Ty Spins Out of Control.” “It wasn’t really a thought like, ‘Hey, I’m gonna do the spin things.’ We’d been together for a year and we were going to do “The Jools Holland Show” and when we were at a sound check I was really just joking around and started spinning around on the floor. When we did the first taping I didn’t do any spins but then one of the guys who works with our management company took me aside and said, ‘Do the things you did in rehearsal!’ And I was like, ‘Dude, I was joking around.’ He was like, ‘Do The Spin!’ So the first time I ever did it was live and on camera in front of millions of people, which is probably why that day I did the most I’ve ever done. I didn’t know how to stop. I was just spinning and spinning and spinning, and then it became a thing.”
It may be their “thing,” but it comes off as genuine as any of the legends that preceded him when Taylor steps away from the mic, clicks his heel on the stage and vanishes in a blur of coat tails. Though some may call it a gimmick, they’ll be hard pressed to find a band delivering soul music with the power and authenticity that Vintage Trouble serves up night in and night out.
Through the haze of searing guitar riffs, bouncing bass lines and call and response choruses, this band is a glorious reminder that soul music was born right here in America and is just as relevant in 2013 as it was in 1968. “We’re men and we’re in a world where we walk around and see things, and we do things, and we party at night and come back, and we see a flower, and we get into a fight. So all those things are inspiring our music,” Taylor said, before Danielson chimed in to say, “Roger Daltrey paid us the most amazing compliment. He said that if he was young again and following bands, that Vintage Trouble would be the band he would be following.”
:: Vintage Trouble ::
:: supporting The Who ::
:: Pepsi Center :: February 12 ::
Recommended if you Like:
• James Brown
• The Black Keys
• Billy Preston