Q&A: Vintage Trouble on Touring with AC/DC and Feeling the Blues
Anyone who is in a band knows that the best way to build an audience is to load up the truck and gig until you can’t gig no more. In the case of modern rhythm and blues rock act Vintage Trouble, much of the band’s early gigging history has included an incredible number of theatre/club shows, as well as stadium performances with rock n’ roll giants.
Currently, Vintage Trouble – Ty Taylor (vocals), Nalle Colt (guitar), Rick Barrio Dill (bass) and Richard Danielson (drums) – is wrapping up its duties as the opening act for AC/DC‘s Rock or Bust worldwide stadium tour, before performing a number of more intimate shows throughout October.
Riffyou.com recently got in touch with Vintage Trouble’s Nalle Colt to discuss the band’s major label debut album 1 Hopeful Rd., appreciation for sounds of yesteryear, plus what it’s like to have AC/DC on your side.
RY: Firstly, congratulations on 1 Hopeful Rd.! With an album title such as that, I have to believe there’s a special meaning behind it. Care to elaborate?
Nalle: “Thank you very much! It’s the first line of the first song of the album ‘Run Like the River.’ We didn’t have a title for the album and Ty mentioned it in the studio while we were recording. We all thought it was great, being from the song and also the feeling that this band is on a hopeful road. We hope and dream as we walk down this road. We made it and address more for keeping it something you can see in front of you. Funny enough we found out later that it is actually an address.”
RY: 1 Hopeful Rd. is Vintage Trouble’s third release and first through a major label. Compared to your initial albums, how did you approach this one differently?
Nalle: “I don’t think we approached this differently than other recordings, of course having Don Was as producer really helped. We are four headstrong individuals so it helped to have him there as producer. We record our albums live, so his ears and his expertise really proved to be a winning formula.”
RY: You’ve proven over time the ability to successfully meld old school soul, blues and rock influences. When creating with so many cherished forms of music, how much thought is put into representing those sounds properly and not making your sound feel too cluttered?
Nalle: “Personally, I don’t try to worry too much about it and go with the gut feeling – usually that’s the right approach. Sometimes it does get cluttered and we really have to find ways to tweak it right. We have song ideas that sometimes have to go through many stages before we get it right. But, there will be songs that just call out for a very specific sound being soul, rhythm and blues or rock n’ roll.”
RY: Often times, Vintage Trouble has been viewed as a band that’s music is reminiscent of previous eras. Does that notion shortchange your band, or is there something to be said for re-visiting classic sounds and trying to modernize them?
Nalle: “I always loved a very timeless organic sound and not trying to rely on modern technology. In no way does it shortchange us. We connected as a band around the 1950-60s style of rhythm & blues, soul and rock n’ roll. It’s always been around us, so for us its natural direction.”
RY: Opening for AC/DC must be an absolute thrill! What does it take for a band to win over AC/DC’s rabid fan base?
Nalle: “It was huge honor to be asked to do this. Thru (our manager) Doc McGhee, the offer came to perform 14 shows as support for AC/DC in Europe. After five shows, AC/DC asked us if we could do the whole world tour with them! Amazing! We work hard. We know that most of the AC/DC audience has no idea who we are and we got to prove to them in 45 minutes what we are and what we do. I think they can see through a band that is not genuine, but I can honestly say their fans are so supporting of what we do. As different as we are as bands, I think there many similarities.”
RY: Considering AC/DC’s ability to blend blues and rock, how often has Vintage Trouble had the opportunity to pick the brains of those guys? What advice/knowledge have they shared with you?
Nalle: “We have a mutual love for early rhythm and blues, blues and soul music. They have been more then kind to us and we had the opportunity to sit down with them and talk about it. T Bone Walker, Muddy Waters, Little Richard all that great music that you can hear in their music. They just do it loud! The fact that we get to tour with them so much and see how they do the show, how it works…this is the big leagues and for us it’s a master class to learn everything they do. They’ve spent 40 years on the road they have much experience to share!”
RY: You’ve also opened for the likes of The Who, Bon Jovi and Queen’s Brian May. How intimidating/exciting are opportunities like that for a band still building its reputation?
Nalle: “When we got the call from Bon Jovi it was the first time we got to play on a stadium stage. It was a crazy experience! Suddenly you walk on stage and there is 55,000 people looking at you. I remember us just hearing the sound of our own instruments being amplified for the size of that venue. It was an adrenaline kick, almost sexual. I don’t think we ever saw it as intimidating; it’s a huge opportunity to reach so many people with our music.”
RY: You have a ton of touring committed to at the moment. Where do you hope Vintage Trouble is by the time that itinerary is complete?
Nalle: “We hope to be a better band and truly reach all the people we sought out to play for. We all care about this band like our own family and we’d like to continue. We want to make [the band] better, learn from our mistakes and make it what we want it to be. We are truly blessed that we get the chance to be on tour and play music all around the world. On top of the world baby!”