Vintage Trouble have brought a youthful energy to the throwback ‘60s soul sound that’s in vogue right now. The exuberant quartet has already cultivated a stellar reputation among soul aficionados with their old school recording techniques, swinging rhythms, and James Brown-esque showmanship — and word is spreading quickly.
In addition to touring with legendary classic rockers like The Rolling Stones, The Who, and Bon Jovi, the group also got a boost after licensing their song “Today Is Pretty Great” for a Honda commercial. They’re currently splitting their time between opening for AC/DC and headlining their own tour to promote their third album 1 Hopeful Rd., which promises to be yet another breakthrough for the group.
Despite their busy schedule, these soulful showstoppers weren’t too busy to share their positive vibes and road stories with Ticketmaster in this installment of The Come Up.
TICKETMASTER: You’ve had epic performances on Late Night with Seth Meyers and The View. What’s it like to play for live television studio audiences? How does that compare to a concert?
In a TV studio performance, a good portion of the audience is not there to see the band per se, or are not really familiar with us. This is somewhat the equivalent of being an opening act in a live concert. The difference is that when you play live in a concert setting you have an entire set to affect an audience, whereas on TV you have one song that is usually sliced and diced to be even shorter to fit into a TV timeframe.
But (like a live concert) a TV audience is there to have an enthused experience in a heightened environment, so that usually keeps them receptive enough. Playing on TV is kind of about just performing the song as if the whole world were watching, even though you can’t see them. It really is lights—camera—action! You only have one quick song to get the job handled.
A live concert definitely generates a heightened energy in its own right, but it’s a bit more tangible to your senses as you can feel your audience in a less staged environment. At the end of the day, though, for both TV or live concerts, a musician simply has to do what he does—plow through each section of the music as if his life depended on it.
TICKETMASTER: You’ve been touring with AC/DC this summer, and you have a fall tour with a number of concert dates coming up in North America. What’s been the most memorable thing to happen so far on the road?
We are so blessed that every day has some sort of memorable amazingness in it. Yesterday, for example, we played Giants/Jets Stadium at the Meadowlands. Its Ty’s hometown show as he grew up right down the road from there. His family was there and there was great energy all around. His mother Nancy Lee had to be looking down on it all and smiling in spirit. How lucky are we? There are SO many things that we get to do and see that are memorable, some things we can’t even believe. And we’re there, haha. I think the key is to keep working at being as present as possible and enjoying it all to the fullest.
TICKETMASTER: Describe your strangest onstage moment.
There have been crazy moments, even in other bands. With Vintage Trouble, I wouldn’t say we have a lot of strange moments, but we have more than our fair share of deep moments. My favorite was seeing someone connect so much with a song we were playing, “Nobody Told Me”, that they fell to the ground crying. That probably struck me harder than any silly drunken fan moment would. That’s pure purpose to me and I love that we go after as many of those moments as we can.
TICKETMASTER: Are there any cities or venues coming up that you’re particularly excited to play?
To be honest, all shows are exciting to me. We are a live band and the excitement of standing in front of an audience is always a thrill. Of course part of this US tour will be opening for AC/DC, and we’ll get to do Dodger Stadium in our home town, Los Angeles. That will be very cool!
TICKETMASTER: Some fans might not have known your hometown is Los Angeles, California. Have you noticed any differences between your fans in LA and the rest of the US? How would you compare performing live in your hometown vs. other places?
Ty’s hometown is Montclair, NJ. Vintage Trouble’s hometown, however, is Hollywood. We just played a homecoming show at The Fonda and what I had forgotten to take into account was that our city claims partial ownership of our success. They are as proud of what we have accomplished as we are, so it makes LA shows feel like family reunions–and we’re the cousins that get up and perform.
TICKETMASTER: Are there any Los Angeles-based musicians/bands you think more fans should know about?
Surely way more than I have a knowledge of. Being on the road so much takes us out of the local scene. What was once known as the musical capitol of the world has perhaps waned just a bit. I have been in the LA music scene for decades and have both seen and experienced its flux. Pay to play (though nothing new) has killed organic scenes where real movements can thrive. Most promoters aren’t trying to create, they’re trying to get paid and move on to the next gig. EDM and club type dance music is also a factor, as it replaces the live music experience in so many venues. But LA is full of incredible players, crazy wild enigmas, bands of all genres, musicians of all styles that rival any city on earth.
TICKETMASTER: Can you give us a link to a YouTube video that you like or that means a lot to you?
This was our first show as a band and you can feel the intensity in the air. Shot at Harvelle’s Blues Bar in Santa Monica, CA by our friend Peter McCabe.
TICKETMASTER: What was the first live event or concert you ever attended?
RICK: My mom took me to a few concerts. I was just happy to go to, but the first one I did on my own was AC/DC and Yngwie Malmsteen. I just remember being blown away by Angus. Such a mind melt to have had dinner with him the other night and get to hear his take on those times as well. Again, how lucky are we?
RICHARD: Jackson Brown playing a free No Nukes concert in protest of the Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant. In true hippie fashion he got arrested afterwards. Great stuff!
TICKETMASTER: Can you share one picture with fans that’s on your phone right now?
TY: That time my friends Sara and Spenser taught to me how to breathe and spit fire.
TICKETMASTER: Are there any future plans or upcoming projects you’d like to share with fans?
We are currently touring with AC/DC and have been invited to continue into the near future. But we also have our headlining tour happening to promote our new record 1 Hopeful Rd. So both tours are happening, sometimes simultaneously.
See upcoming shows for Vintage Trouble.
TICKETMASTER: Please share a few songs that have influenced you as musicians.
“All Along the Watchtower” – Jimi Hendrix
So beautifully recorded and played. This should be experienced with headphones. Made me want to play guitar!
“Louisiana Blues” – Muddy Waters
So groovy and intense. It’s always on my playlists. Great recording. When I drive in my car, I usually turn it up really loud and just go!
Mine can change based on the day. Today, I’m feeling “Let It Be” by some band called The Beatles. It was the first time I think I ever sat with a guitar and picked out the melody. At the same time, the song made my hairs stand up from connecting with it. Both of those things changed me and sent me on a path I’m still chasing.
“Sweet Georgia Brown” – Ella Fitzgerald And Duke Ellington
The drum sounds in this are so pure and real, but even better: it swings like crazy!
“Back in Black” – AC/DC
Since we are touring with these cats, I hear this song and it reminds me of the rock ‘n’ roll rush it created through every bone in my body the first time I heard it. The hair on the back of my neck stood at attention when this song came on. So raw and simple, but so powerfully affecting.
Listen to Vintage Trouble’s new album, 1 Hopeful Rd.
Catch Vintage Trouble on tour this October.