The gents in Vintage Blue have been busy—real busy. With the album Strike The Mics giving the band momentum and their song “Amazing Grace” being plucked out for use in a short film of the same name, the group found it a fine time to get out and tour. The Chicago group has developed quite a following in their hometown and are making friends across the States.
And who wouldn’t want to get to know these guys. This is a band that presents itself as humble and genuine in a foundation of classic style rock numbers and contemporary rompers. The album is wholesome and honest in that it’s hard to imagine this band coming from the third largest city in the United States.
The band will be performing at Birdys, Friday, May 17. For more info, check out Birdy’s website or the band’s outlets:
You have quite the summer planned out. Tell us a little about what’s in store for the band?
We are definitely really excited about this Summer. We have done a ton of work networking, playing and meeting Chicago music people to allow us to get some of these excellent festival gigs. One of our guys even volunteered at one of the festivals a few years ago in an effort to meet the decision-makers and figure out how to get us in. We are playing a handful of Chicago festivals, but are most proud of playing the Taste of Chicago down in Grant Park on July 13th, and also playing Worlds Largest Block Party on June 28th at Old St. Pats sharing the bill with Blues Traveler and Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes. We also are waiting to hear on our bid to return to Milwaukee’s Summerfest after opening for Fitz & The Tantrums last year.
As your debut was released last year, what is the band up to? Are you working on new material and if so, are you playing anything new by the band out on tour?
Unlike many bands who can tour full time and constantly get in the studio to create new material, we used our first record to introduce ourselves to Chicago and now to places like Indianapolis, Nashville, Cleveland, Milwaukee, as we continue to expand our reach. We did just release a single of the song “Amazing Grace” that we recorded for a short-film being released by a Florida film company called Stars North. In addition we have been testing out new material for the past few months and will be playing at least 2 or 3 new songs this summer before we enter the studio again in August.
How did “Strike the Mics” come about and what was the recording of this album like?
Our band, years ago, was originally a cover band. When we all had been together a while we started writing and incorporating our own material into our cover sets. We recorded an EP under the old band name out of a good friend’s home studio. Then about a year later we started working on a new record and in the middle of the recording we were introduced to Jamie Candiloro, who became our producer. Jamie had worked extensively with REM, Ryan Adams and Luscious Jackson and immediately made an impact on our project. We did the record in about 8 days and some long long hours. We wanted a record that was not over-produced and that sounded like we do live. Jamie drew the best out of us, even if it meant doing take after take to get the exactly right piece.
Where does Chicago fit in for a band like Vintage Blue?
Chicago is a great great music town. While it generally gets a bad wrap for being a “pop punk” town, there are so many bands here that are excellent entertainers and work very hard. For us Chicago is our home base, which is also great because we are in the middle of the country. It has allowed us to get out to shows in Los Angeles, Pennsylvania and Georgia all without too much crazy planning. Chicago also has the added bonus of having Lollapalooza, which brings bands and music fans from all over the country and gives Chicago a chance to show off its’ bands and music.
The music you write seems anti-metropolitan with songs like “Just Breathe,” a song that feels like it fits more in the countryside. But thinking about a song like this, it could be about anything from outward perspective on issues like war to getting through internal issues. What does this song mean to the band and is there anything in particular you wrote it for?
Anti-metropolitan, I like that, never heard that before! A lot of people think this song is about love, just because the word is contained in the song, but that is not the case. I actually wrote the song when I was really down about a lot of things in life. My job, music and love were all in difficult spots and I wrote this song as part of a message to myself about relaxing and realizing that everything was going to be okay. Just recently there was a blog that shared the song in the aftermath of the Boston bombings and I was happy to see that someone had picked up on the real message that I was trying to convey.
Are there any other songs on the album that are constructed in a similar fashion?
Well, in a literal sense, “California Road” is about an old dirt road in down-state Illinois near Pekin, where one of our guys grew up. That song is about searching through your past to find a path to the future and is probably the most comparable to “Just Breathe.” Another that may be similar is “Great Divide” which is about overcoming obstacles to get to something or someone. It is definitely the most heartfelt tune on the record with a string section and very little instrumentation.
Going back, how did the band form and what was your initial intention versus the state of the band after getting through your debut release?
Well, originally we were a cover band and loved hanging with our friends and playing crazy ranges of songs from Dean Martin to Van Halen. We really had a blast doing that but it just is not that rewarding. There is something entirely different about having a crowd cheer a song that you poured your heart into. Once we felt that, we knew that was the way to go. If you asked the band they’d probably tell you a bunch of different ideas for where we are headed now, but if you ask me I want to make music a career. I want to tour, play festivals and meet people that really love and respond to meaningful and quality music. Getting prepared for this new record, we want to make sure we make something worthy of that goal.
What do you hope people will get out of this band?
Our goal from our earliest day as a band was to have fun. We want the same thing for the people that pay their hard-earned money to see and support us. Musically, we hope people will find our music to be fun, energetic and something that they hopefully take some deeper meaning from. Personally, we strive to meet every single person that comes to a show. We like to build friendships with anyone that we come across. We often can be found jamming out to the other bands on the bill and chatting up the room at gigs and we hope to be doing it for a long time. SEE YOU AT BIRDY’S!!!