We caught up with guitarist Nalle Colt to reflect upon a huge year for the crack American Rock N Soul crew.
rushonrock: You’re back in the UK on your biggest headline tour yet after a terrific 2011 – do you ever think that the bubble might burst?
Nalle Colt: It’s true that success has come very quickly this year but that’s coll. We’re a very simple band and that obviously appeals to a lot of people. We have a straight-up approach to music and I think that’s what people like. Coming back over here there’s always so much fresh expectation but we can only do our thing. People will like it or not. On the night it’s down to our energy whether we pull it off – how we approach the show makes or breaks it. It’s just amazing that we’re getting to play this music our way.
rushonrock: Each time you return to the UK you play bigger and better venues – do you ever miss the tiny club shows that got it all started?
NC: We try to approach every show in the same way whether we’re playing in front of 100 people or more than 50,000. We played here with Bon Jovi in the summer and the biggest gigs were in front of more than 70,000 fans. Our approach is this: no matter where we’re at we’ll stay together and keep it tight. But of course we’re huge fans of the small club venues and we love to feel that close to the people out front.
rushonrock: Is the band’s US profile getting bigger or is Britain still your core market?
NC: We still haven’t released a record back home and The Bomb Shelter Sessions isn’t due until January. But before we came over to the UK we were on the East Coast opening up for a whole bunch of different acts just tom play in front of as many new people as possible. The feedback’s been great but it’s kinda odd that we’re pretty much unknown back home. Our sound is very down to earth and simple and I suppose there aren’t that many bands who play that kind of music in America. We’ve opened up for the Bangles and a few country artists but most of the music out there is very different to what we do. But I think that’s great. We play with a lot of energy and I don’t think we’re a throwback band as such. But I admit all of us love the likes of Litte Richard and Chuck Berry.
rushonrock: With so much demand for your live show is there a new record in the pipeline?
NC: It is tough to do everything. But our manager just said to us a few weeks ago that the world is a big place and so far we’ve only scratched the surface. We fell in love with the UK straight away so of course we’re trying to come back here as often as possible. We already have so many fans over here and it feels great. The people in the UK just seem to get music. They catch on to what’s happening so much quicker than anywhere else in the world. In the US people need to be told what to like first – here fans like to find out before anyone tells them what’s happening! We do have material for a new record and we’ve been playing a few new songs on this tour. But we also filmed a documentary while we were on the road earlier this year and that’s due anytime.
rushonrock: New single Nobody Told Me is already a firm fan favourite – tell us about that song…
NC: It’s pretty interesting actually! We were about to go into the studio before we did The Bomb Shelter Sessions. It was just supposed to be an opportunity to lay down some demos and we had no intention, at that point, of making a record. We’d gone through all the tracks we had and we just started playing the intro riff to what would become Nobody Told Me. I knew Ty had been messing around with lyrics to fit this type of song and he just fitted them to the riff. The whole song took about 15 minutes to write from start to finish and it was two days before we went into the studio. That’s what I like about this band. There’s a lot of spontaneity and we like to get things done fast. But that doesn’t mean we skimp on quality – the lyrics to Nobody Told Me are beautiful. Ty could tell you more about the lyrics but the whole band loves that song because it was one of the first we wrote together.
rushonrock: When you joined Vintage Trouble what were your realistic hopes for the band?
NC: In terms of playing music we just wanted to let go. We’d all been playing and working as musicians for many years but Vintage Trouble was an opportunity to express our freedom. Ty and I have a pretty long history and we played in a band called Ghost Hounds before Vintage Trouble. It was a big band and it was difficult to move forward with it. There were so many different personalities and there was so much gear! I remember saying to Ty ‘let’s just drop it’ and ‘let’s make it easier’. So we went back to the traditional set-up of a guitar, bass and drums. With Ghost Hounds people wanted to hear a hit song but for me it was just boring. We set up Vintage Trouble to have fun and we didn’t have any plan to take over the world. But I always knew Ty had something special – he was raised in a church environment and has always had that gospel energy.
rushonrock: Does the chemistry we see on stage genuinely exist off it – are you all good friends off stage?
NC: Absolutely. And that’s connected to the previous question because we wanted to be part of a group of people for whom making music and being in a band was fun. We went looking for people we liked and people we enjoyed being around. We hoped things would happen and that we’d be spending a lot of time together so we had to get on. The last time we hit the UK we were here for four and a half months and we more or less slept on top of each other for the whole time. We’re generally vey understanding of each other’s needs and how you see us on stage is how we are off stage. Hopefully we’re an inspiration to a lot of other more mature bands out there. Normally you see musicians get to our age and they give up. I was a little shocked we did what we did but we’re all loving every minute.
rushonrock: How does Ty rate as a vocalist?
NC: On a scale of one to 10 he’s a 15. I’ve worked with a lot of singers in my life and the first thing you tend to find is that they’re often prima donnas who think they’re a little bit more special than the rest of the band. Ty has never acted like that. I find it amazing that his voice is so strong day in, day out. The rate at which we work would be too much for most singers – we have 36 or 37 dates in the UK this time – but it’s nothing to Ty. On the last tour we played every day – sometimes even twice a day – and he always maintained his standards. I think it comes from singing all his life and looking after his most important asset – that voice.