Vintage Trouble: Preserving Rhythm and Blues Is "a Mission We'll Gladly Wear"
The soul-rock-blues quartet Vintage Trouble see themselves as not just practitioners of what they call "live-wired, straight-shootin', dirty-mouthed, pelvis-pushing juke music," but protectors of a long and fruitful legacy.
The band of veteran musicians -- Ty Taylor on vocals, Nalle Colt on guitar, Rick Barrio Dill on bass, and Richard Danielson on drums -- that formed three years ago in Los Angeles didn't set out to play a specific throwback style, saying instead that the sound found them.
"More than a particular sound, we were going for a particular feel. We live in LA and we've all grown up around music and we've done so many things. When we got together, we wanted to find the most open and sincere and honest form of music," Taylor says. "What rang loud and clear to us was a style and a time in music that combined abandonment with a skill set and we just leaned into that. We just told ourselves to stay out of the way."
Vintage Trouble started gigging at a series of weekly residencies around LA, cut what they intended to be a set of demos in three days of studio time for less than $1,000, then headed out to test their fortunes in the UK. After an April 2011 performance on the influential Later . . . with Jools Holland show, the band hit it big.
Since then, the band has opened a July 13 show in London's Hyde Park for the Rolling Stones and played on for The Who, in both the UK and U.S., and Brian May and Bon Jovi in the UK.
"The cool part of the '50s and '60s is everyone [saying] 'Let's put it all together.' You had soul and rhythm and blues, which were combining with this wilder format that rock 'n' roll brought," Taylor says.
In the midst of the band's UK barnstorming, BBC Radio 6 DJ Eddie Piller dubbed the Vintage Trouble "the heirs of rhythm and blues."
"What's so cool about that is he's saying it's not about creating a style, it's about carrying on that style. If we don't take it on to be heirs of that particular kind of music, it will become obsolete and people will forget that it even happened," Taylor says. "It's a mission we gladly wear."
Making a run at the UK before touring more extensively stateside was part of a strategy laid out by manager Doc McGhee (KISS, Bon Jovi and Mötley Crüe.)
"There was a time all the Stax artists went overseas and the reaction was incredible," says Danielson. "We understood and found out that our music can be universal and it will go further than our own backyard. They're very smart listeners in Europe and they have such a rich understanding. It was a nice marriage."
At an early show in York, the band felt the buzz growing and the gamble paying off.