Vintage Trouble wrapped up their biggest UK headline tour to date in London this week. RUSHONROCK editor Simon Rushworth caught up with frontman Ty Taylor for an exclusive chat.
RUSHONROCK: Is 1 Hopeful Road, the title of your new album, an idyllic place that exists within the band’s imagination or is it based on reality?
TY TAYLOR: 1 Hopeful Road certainly exists in our minds but when we Googled it we realised it does actually exist! We found it in Alabama and stopped off there on the last leg of our US tour. I suppose it has different meanings to different people but it’s a figure of speech. When we were thinking about album titles and song titles we wanted something that might make people feel like this might be their chance.
RUSHONROCK: Is it an album rooted in optimism?
TT: The further we dug into it the more we realised that all of the songs on the album – even some of the more serious songs – offered some glimmer of hope or some semblance of hope. And we’re so into making ‘happy’ the new ‘cool’ that it seemed like a really great title for a Vintage Trouble record. We’re on a mission and it’s a mission that might be necessary. If we could do anything that might prevent somebody slipping into a state of depression or contemplate committing suicide then it’s worthwhile. We’re fully aware that hope is a big word and an even bigger concept. We know people face some very difficult circumstances and the more we can massage the hope muscle the better.
RUSHONROCK: Your second album has been a long time coming – how much of a relief is it to be in a position where you can finally play all of your new songs live?
TT: It’s pretty amazing to have all of our new songs out there now. People have wanted to hear them for some time. We were at a show last month and we were playing Soul Serenity at the end of the set and this one woman knew every word. I could barely hold it together. In fact all I could do was hold her hand and get close to her and try and feel her emotion. It was the wildest thing. It was an amazing empowerment moment. And when you get so close to someone who knows your songs word for word it suddenly gives your work an added authenticity.
RUSHONROCK: Can you describe just what if feels like to have a capacity crowd singing every word of your songs?
TT: Sometimes when you hear someone else singing your songs it suddenly makes what you’re doing seem so much more relevant. Sometimes I even forget that it’s something I wrote in the first place! You’re like ‘oh my God, I actually said that!’. I know how cool it is when I’m listening to the music I love and I start to use the lyrics in my everyday speech. That’s started to happen with us. There are Troublemakers who are using words I’ve written in conversation. It means something to them and it means so much to me when my writing becomes part of the vernacular.
RUSHONROCK: You’ve spent most of the year on the road with AC/DC – was that tour everything you hoped for?
TT: The AC/DC tour proved to be far more than I ever hoped or imagined it would be. I had no conception of just how emotional it was going to be – the fact that their crew welcomed us into their close knit community, looked after us and supported us every step of the way. They just blew us away with their hospitality. Then there were the times when we got to sit down and have dinner with the band and talk about music. To have them physically shake your hand and thank you for playing on their tour was an incredible experience. Then there were their fans. They took us to their hearts and accepted us more than I ever thought was possible – or had been led to believe they would prior to the tour – and I was so grateful for that. To perform in front of masses of people like that every night and make a connection with hundreds of thousands of fans was something very special. So many people never get that chance.
RUSHONROCK: Did you feel a duty to repay that faith and friendship each night before AC/DC came onto stage?
TT: Whenever there is unreserved floor standing at a stadium gig there’s a good chance that it will fill up nicely for the support act and AC/DC fans wanted to get into the venues at the earliest opportunity. Their fans want to get the best spots possible and we needed to deal with the fact that most venues were 80% or 90% full by the time we stepped on stage. Every night I looked out and there was a raging, huge, colossal, mass of an audience and we needed to be at our very best. We couldn’t just come out swinging from the start because the people who had never seen us before needed to know we were authentic, the real deal. We had to be grounded but, at the same time, give it out best shot. Our attitude was that if AC/DC didn’t come out for whatever reason on any night then the majority of people at the show would still feel they’d seen a great gig.
RUSHONROCK: Two albums in do you feel Vintage Trouble can be considered a success story?
TT: The first day we met we were a success story. Success is based on joy and creativity and being proactive. That’s Vintage Trouble. We were a success story as soon as we got together in the studio, as soon as we wrote our first song together and as soon as our families understood that what we have is something special. It’s even a success when we argue because it shows we trust each other enough to say what we think and believe in what we feel.
RUSHONROCK: What’s the best thing about being in Vintage Trouble right now?
TT: The best thing about being in Vintage Trouble is seeing people’s faces who are being challenged to step outside their boundaries at one of our shows. It’s so fulfilling to see people who have been hearing and reading about the band finally make it to one of our shoes for the first time and start to understand what the Troublemakers are talking about. Watching people right in front of us party like they’ve never partied before is an incredible feeling. To see their faces light up and realise that, in these tough times when we’re told it’s all doom and gloom, they are just dying to celebrate is amazing. Everything seems so heavy on the outside. To be in a band where you see people in a joyous mood and see people sweat and even see people cry – that’s the best thing about being in Vintage Trouble.