RIYL: A really good time

by Ryan Snyder


If it seems little bit unfair that the formidable Los Angeles rhythm and blues foursome Vintage Trouble can surge from demo-ing their debut to touring with the Who in a paltry two years time, consider their brisk ascension a return on time invested. In each member’s backstory is the saga of close calls and compromised paycheck gigs that dogs LA lifers; volcanic frontman Ty Taylor found adequate success in the early 2000s with pop-soul band Dakota Moon and upped his profile as a top also-ran on “Rock Star: INXS,” and later, he and guitarist Nalle Colt worked a number of high-profile assignments with the likes of Nile Rodgers and Jon Oliva, but it wasn’t until they began demo-ing with bassist Rick Barrio Dill that their niche was discovered. That niche, it seems, is predicated upon an explosive live presence that has catapulted them from flat-broke gig hounds to opening for the biggest rock band in the world this summer.

Y!W: The term “Vintage Trouble” is referred to on “Blues Hand Me Down,” but which came first, the name or the song?

Nalle Colt: The song actually came first. Some of these songs Ty and I had demoed before we got together, and “Blues Hand Me Down” was just a guitar riff, the one you hear first, which I sent to Ty. He had some lyrics and he had an idea to make a song about his dad and what he came from. The term “vintage trouble” came to him and he put it in the lyrics, and when we looked them over it occurred to us that Vintage Trouble was a great name. It stuck and it felt good. I don’t want to say that we’re a retro band, we’re just blues and soul fanatics.

Y!W: It’s a classic sound, but it’s hard to pinpoint just one source. I hear Jerry Lee Lewis on “Nancy Lee” and Jackie Wilson and Howard Tate on others.

NC: When we formed Vintage Trouble, the whole idea was to just let go and just enjoy ourselves. We’ve all been in bands where there we had to conform to certain directions and here, we all decided we don’t want to hold anything back. All four of us come from slightly different backgrounds, although we love a lot of the same music, and we’ve all experienced how hard it is to get four people together who can work together to create something we all want. We knew it after five minutes that it was really working.

Even if we’re all not coming from well-known acts, though Ty made a name for himself on the “Rock Star” show and before that in Dakota Moon. The rest of the guys too have all played in multiple bands and worked hard their whole lives. But we’re all slightly older guys and we knew what we wanted to do, and we knew how to do it. We just didn’t have any money. Now we own our own record label and run everything ourselves with a great manager named Doc McGhee.

Y!W: It’s easy it is to be star struck around guys like Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend, how much did you as connoisseurs of R&B geek out over touring with Pino Palladino?

NC: I love that you mention that, what a musician though. The first thing I should say is you can’t meet a sweeter guy who will take time out anytime to talk about music. It was cool to get to know them all, but he’s just very open. He’s a great guitar player, by the way. I met some guy who was delivering a guitar to him and he tried it out by playing this incredible classical music.

Y!W: You’re obviously not strangers to Greensboro given your stop with the Who, but you’ve made it a point to schedule club shows at many of the mid-sized cities where you just played arenas.

NC: That’s just who we are. This band was made in a sweaty blues club in Santa Monica called Harvelle’s and when we started we had no money to even tour, so we just decided to set up residencies in LA and just play all the time. We got the opportunity to play at Harvelle’s every week, so that’s where we’re always coming from. Even if we’ve been on these huge arena tours, at the end of the day, we love going back to a club and just burn out with 150 people. We might get 30 minutes opening for the Who, but we play for two, two-anda-half hours when we can.

Y!W: You mentioned the two of you — the band and Doc — and after that Who show, I saw all of you on the concourse together, signing and shaking hands, it’s a very united front.

NC: That’s another thing we talked about when we started up, doing everything together. Someone has to make videos and put them on YouTube, I design the album covers, we all have different chores. And then there’s the fact that we all just love to meet people. We try to jump off stage and meet as many people as we can at every show. We know we’re very lucky, and we’re just happy every day that this is happening the way it is.

Y!W: Your fans have been pretty quick to adopt a collective nickname — the Troublemakers — when did that first appear in the band’s vernacular and how did it proliferate so quickly?

NC: It’s actually a great story. In that club Harvelle’s, we played every Tuesday and the thing with Los Angeles is, it’s really hard to get fans to come down and support you when you play every week. We tried to turn our shows into more of a party, and everyone wants to go to a party, so we named our show Trouble Tuesday and that’s what it became. People would drink and hang out like in the old juke joints, and a friend of ours who was part of those people said, “We feel like we’re your troublemakers,” and that stuck. Our Troublemakers are worldwide now and it’s cool because it has grown into a really tight community.

Y!W: I heard what sounded like a lot of new music from your Coachella sets last weekend. Is there another album on the way?

NC: We have a whole record done pretty much, there are just a few tracks that need to get mixed. He have a couple of songs out there called “Run Like the River” and “Pelvis Pushers,” which we’ve performed on Jay Leno last time. We wanted to release the new record all ready, but we’ve had the opportunity with the Who tour in Europe and playing with the Stones in Hyde Park, which will be the first time they’ve played there in 44 years. For me I can’t think of anything bigger than that, to have the opportunity to be in front of so many people.

Vintage Trouble will perform at the Blind Tiger on Friday.