West Water Outlaws Keep Vintage Rock 'n' Roll Alive and Well

Categories: Interview

West Water Outlaws / Jim Minma
West Water Outlaws
With a goal of playing 150 shows all over the country in 2013, Boulder-based rock 'n' roll band West Water Outlaws have come a long way from 2010, playing shows in singer Blake "Whiskey" Rooker's basement. The band's urgent message to keep vintage rock alive was heard loud and clear over the DJ- and Autotune-drenched club hits, showcasing such influences as the Black Keys and Led Zeppelin.

Guitarist Will Buck and Rooker used to jam during freshman year of college, and then reconnected when Rooker stumbled into the wrong class a few years later. At the time, Buck was mulling over who he could recruit to start a blues-rock band, and he recalled a time he played Tom Petty's "Mary Jane's Last Dance" on guitar while Rooker sang. After class the two arranged for a jam session, and they've been writing and performing ever since. After adding on drummer Andrew Oakley and bassist Vincent Ellwood, West Water Outlaws has shared the stage with major acts across the country.

Following the band's 2012 EP Real Killer is an 11-song self-titled debut album coming out on November 2, which keeps in stride with the band's diplomatic and open writing style.

Up On The Sun talked with drummer Andrew Oakley about his favorite songs off the band's debut, how funk music affects their style, and reaching their goal of 150 shows.

Tell me a bit about what people can expect from this record.
It's our first full-length album, so it's just showcasing our sound and the different aspects of our influences. It'll be longer than our EP, obviously, along with a bigger variety of sounds. We've been working on it for a while, so we're really excited.

What are a couple tracks off of the record that you are particularly excited about?
They all kind of have a special place for us. Our first single is going to be called "Caught in Headlights." It's super hard-rock and heavy, and the lyrics are really catchy, as is the chorus. We also branched out and used a lot of acoustic instruments, so the final track on the album is called "I'm Not Bad."

What are some of the obvious, and not so obvious, influences behind West Water Outlaws?
We all grew up listening to classic rock and blues, but we all have our own different influences that we bring together. You know, we've got some heavy metal and classic rock, but we also bring in jazz and country music. Funkadelic styles [are] probably not so obvious.

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