Since the release of 1 Hopeful Rd in 2015 Vintage Trouble have been making waves worldwide, and they’re about to embark on their second Aussie tour in two years, having been invited back to Bluesfest by popular demand.
As well as discussing their festival stint next month, the sharply dressed members of Vintage Trouble stopped to chat about new music, those sought after jump shots, getting too high before a flight to Aus, and supporting much loved Aussie rockers AC/DC.
What should you never do before boarding a flight to Australia? We chat to Vintage Trouble before their 2017 return Down Under.
HAPPY: Vintage Trouble have been invited back to Bluesfest for the second year in a row, due to the loving reception you got at last year’s festival! What are you most looking forward to about playing the festival again? Is there anyone on the line-up you’re excited to watch?
VT: The festival last year was so great to be at just in general, everybody was so cool, it was so nice to hang out. We get to play a lot of festivals but it’s definitely a special one, there was great energy and everyone who was working with the festival was super nice so we’re really looking forward to getting back there. We have some friends that will be playing, Beth Hart’s going to be there and she’s a friend of ours. It’s funny because she’s basically our neighbour here in Los Angeles but we see her more out at festivals then we do at home! So, that will be a nice reunion. Then there’s Booker T doing the Stax Revue which I think is going to be really exciting, and he’s a friend of ours as well, someone we’ve actually been able to spend some time playing with, so that I’d love to see. Then there’s the Zac Brown Band which are a fantastic band, filled with great musicians from Nashville and I suggest everyone gets out to see them! Those are my top three.
HAPPY: You guys will also be playing a few headline shows here in Aus, do you have any on tour rituals?
VT: We have a few rituals that people seem to pick up on. Right before we play we like to all get together centre stage, shake each other’s hands, and we all look each other in the eye and we just try to come together before we play, and exchange a little magic between us so that we can go out and create magic. That’s become something that we’ve done every show since the inception of it. It’s a ritual we do, a sort of coming together of spirits.
HAPPY: Wonderful! And do you have any crazy tour stories?
VT: On tour stories? When we went to Australia the first time it was such a long flight, we thought we’d experiment and eat some amazing pot cookies before our flight so we could get all nice and stoned for our trip, but we got so high they almost wanted to throw us off the plane! We were sitting on the tarmac at LAX and they wouldn’t let us go, it was horrible, but we made it in the end!
HAPPY: Sheesh, at least you guys got here! Now, the last record you released was 1 Hopeful Rd in 2015. Are you currently working on any new music? When can we expect another album?
VT: We have a song that we’ve just released called Knock Me Out and it’s surrounded around the John Varvatos campaign that people can get right now, and by the time we get to Australia we might have some new stuff coming out. So, we’re just sort of releasing something about once every month or every six weeks, doing it in a slower way but there’s new music backed up and we’re just really in a writing mode as well since we’ve been home for a while. If people stay involved and keep in touch they will have new music from Vintage Trouble periodically, and hopefully by this summer that will equal a whole record.
HAPPY: Awesome. You guys supported legendary Aussie rockers AC/DC on their Rock or Bust tour, which exposed you to a whole new fan base. What was that like? Can you tell me the story of how that came about?
VT: I think originally they were playing here at Coachella, and they had put out there that they were looking for a band to support them, and somebody showed Angus a video of us playing on David Letterman a song called Blues Hand Me Down and apparently he really, really liked it. I know we play quite different music but the roots are very similar, it all comes from the blues, those guys were really influenced by that. So, they gave us a chance they said ‘let’s try them out for five or ten shows’ and we got to meet them, did those shows, and then they offered us the whole tour, and we ended up doing around 50 shows with AC/DC and it was unbelievable in every way. We played for millions of people, broke records for audience attendance in Europe, and played in Italy for almost 130,000 people, it was incredible. They couldn’t have been nicer or more supportive, it was one of those boy’s dreams for us to experience the unbelievable energy that their fans create in the stadiums. We’re all going to remember that tour forever.
HAPPY: You guys have had some amazing opportunities in your career so far… what has been the highlight?
VT: That’s a hard question, a great question but it’s so hard, and each one of us would probably answer that differently but you know we used to say it felt like Christmas every day in a place called Troubleland, which is Vintage Trouble land. We’ve got to open for some incredible acts around the world, AC/DC like you said, The Who, Lenny Kravitz, Brian May, so many different types of acts. To be looked at by your peers in such a way is really an honour so I’d say the company that we’ve been able to keep has been a real highlight.
HAPPY: You guys are known renowned for your retro attire, and sound… where did your love affair with vintage begin?
VT: There’s a style that was there, and a quality that was there, and there was a swagger that was there in a lot of the times that we like so that kind of changed the zeitgeist in a way that it hasn’t been changed since, everybody sort of harkens back to something that they liked about days of old. Think about it, people these days say ‘would Stevie Wonder even get heard if Songs in The Key of Life came out today?’ So, there’s something about that kind of music, and the style that we love, and I love the fact that we’ve gone through everything since then and so many hybrids of styles and fusions of different things trying to create something new. All great forms of art are some form of thievery, as Beethoven said. So for us we even had a saying early on that was ‘we borrow from the things of the past, because those are the things that seem to last’ but at the same time, I think there’s a lot of new stuff that’s coming out now that’s leading the forefront whether it be style or whatever, and it may not be necessarily trendy but it’s the new vintage. It’s all around us.
HAPPY: Words of wisdom indeed! One thing I recall from your live show is the fight between the photographers to get the best Ty jump shot… Did you consciously decide to make that your signature move or was it an accidental recurrence?
VT: For me I just pray a lot and plan ahead of time. The last couple tours everyone was trying to get the shot with the mic chord, or sometimes it was me leaning down the back of the microphone. One day it was about planning and now they’re fighting for the jump shot so I’ve got to find something else, I’ve got to be done with the jump shot and move on because now that everyone’s expecting it, it’s kind of boring!
HAPPY: What makes you happy?
VT: I’m already happy! But what makes me happy is music, sex, food, friends, travelling, audiences, learning new things, and learning instruments, studying spirituality, becoming a better person makes me happy so studying stuff and finding stuff out about myself. To see music, and be a part of seeing people enjoy music, there’s nothing better than being on the stage and seeing people get together and be connected with it, it’s an unbelievable joy. Also, I just wanted to add that we’ve just got into the studio again, and being there and the concept of making music is absolute bliss, so add that one to the pile!
Vintage Trouble’s Aussie tour kicks off on April 9th in Melbourne. Catch the dates below, and head here for tickets.
Apr 9 – 170 Russell – Melbourne
Apr 12 – Oxford Art Factory – Sydney
Apr 13 – Byron Bay Bluesfest – Tyagarah
Apr 15 – Byron Bay Bluesfest – Tyagarah