The Record Company to headline Belly Up Aspen
If You Go …
What: The Record Company
Where: Belly Up Aspen
When: Friday, Sept. 30, 9:30 p.m.
How much: $15
Tickets: Belly Up Aspen box office; www.bellyupaspen.com
With a reverence for classic American blues music, some fuzzed-out guitar and pedal steel, a hint of classic punk and some baritone vocals, The Record Company is making old-time blues new again.
“We’re a rock-and-roll band that cares a lot about the roll,” the band’s singer and guitarist Chris Vos said from home in Los Angeles before setting out on the fall tour that brings The Record Company to Belly Up today.
On the strength of its hard-charging live show and a handful of independently released EPs, the band earned a West Coast cult following (and placements of its songs in a handful of beer commercials and TV shows) in recent years. But 2016 has been its breakout year, with the release if its first full-length album “Give It Back to You” and a national tour that included a June show with Denver’s Nathaniel Rateliff at the Breckenridge Brewery.
Vos got hooked on blues as a kid. He recalled hearing Muddy Waters for the first time at 12 or 13, having his mind blown, and getting hooked.
“When my buddies were listening to indie rock and alt-rock, I was at home listening to Ray Charles and Jimmy Reed and Howlin’ Wolf and the Stones and the Stooges,” he recalled. “It just spoke to me. I loved the voices and the stories.”
He grew up on a dairy farm outside of Kenosha, Wisconsin — certainly no hot bed of blues. But, he recalled, all that time working alone outside ended up being a long immersion in the blues masters.
“When I’d go chop or bail hay or work a manure spreader all day long, I’d have headphones on and be listening to music, just imagining these crazy musicians,” he said. “It seemed very far away, but I loved it so much.”
Vos ended up playing lap steel and pedal steel in blues bands around the Midwest before moving to Los Angeles. He posted a Craigslist ad for musicians in L.A. that led him to bass player Alex Stiff and drummer Marc Cazorla.
The first night the trio met in 2011, they listened to blues records and talked music and sat on Vos’ porch in Los Feliz. They decided to record some music in the living room the next day, which produced their first demo and the formation of The Record Company.
“We shook hands on the back porch and said, ‘This is the band,’” Vos recalled.
All three are remarkably dynamic musicians — swapping instruments on their records and in concert and adding harmonica, dobro slide, piano and others.
On the fall tour, the band is showcasing songs from the new album — you’ve probably heard the single “Off the Ground” on KSPN or elsewhere — along with some surprises.
“We’ll play the record and a couple nuggets that sneak in there from time to time — either something we haven’t put on a record yet or we do a cover,” he said.
An unexpected cover from the blues band actually introduced many fans to The Record Company. Their swampy blues version of the Beastie Boys’ “So What’cha Want,” recorded shortly after MCA’s death as part of the web series “Jam in the Van,” quickly racked up more than 150,000 views in 2014.
“If you hear that we’re going to cover a Beastie Boys’ song your reaction would be ‘Are you serious?’” Vos laughed. “But we found a way to do that tune in a way that we felt good about. We were doing what we wanted to do to honor a guy that we really looked up to. … We just cut a version of that and it got around a little bit.”
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