Bay Area rockers speak no evil, dance no evil |

Bay Area rockers speak no evil, dance no evil

BRECKENRIDGE – Since its beginnings back in 1995, Bay Area band Vinyl has been building one large, particularly sweaty following – and taking a path that’s just a bit different than your traditional musical success story.Rather than worrying about perfecting a stage act that attempts to capture the nuances of the group’s studio albums and hit singles – a common strategy among musicians, especially those of the post-MTV generation – Vinyl remains a band focused almost entirely on live performance, with little care for individual songs.And as those who catch the multi-headed dance monster in action at the Riverwalk Center Friday at the group’s Blue River Series show will discover, not worrying about hits (or even vocals, for that matter) has made Vinyl all the stronger.”Vinyl is essentially a live band – that’s where we’re most comfortable,” says bassist Geoff Vaughan, one of the band’s original members. “That’s also where people seem to get the most out of us. So we’ve decided that it’s important to create CDs that capture that feeling.”Such is part of the explanation for the band’s decision to release its second live CD in less than eight years. The disc, which will capture the group’s sold-out November performances at San Francisco’s Great American Music Hall, is only the band’s fourth release. Vaughan says that the band has always had wonderful ideas for studio recording, but when it comes to capturing all of the manic energy and enthusiasm fans know from Vinyl’s live shows, the studio experience has never quite worked for the group. And with more than 1,000 live shows under their belts since 1995, it’s amazing they’ve had any time to hit the studio at all.”People really enjoyed “Flea Market,’ our last studio CD, but it was hard for a lot of people to understand that it wasn’t like the feeling you’d get at a live show. Live CDs are really more representative of us and might reach more folks.That said, the band’s upcoming live disc will feature a few of the guests who appeared on “Flea Market,” including Bernie Worrell and the WOO Warriors and – if you can believe it – fellow San Francisco native Huey Lewis.”It turns out that Huey actually lives nearby us and totally digs us. He says playing with us reminded him of what he was doing before he became successful – I guess it was a surprise to them that one day they were suddenly the biggest thing in the music business.”Vinyl’s own search for the heart of rock ‘n’ roll began in Mill Valley, an affluent Marin County community just north of the Golden Gate Bridge. Vaughan and seven of his friends began to concoct a sonic package that incorporated latin percussion, old school funk, R&B, reggae and rock into one high-intensity blend.They also completely opted out of using a vocalist as part of the band, deciding instead that a full-instrumental package would best serve the sound.”We’ve certainly had the discussion about including a vocalist at some point, but that’s just how the band evolved and we’re all happy with the chemistry,” Vaughan says. “There’s no doubt that a lot of people would like to have a vocalist included in the mix, and we’re not totally against it. Actually, if the right person comes along, we have an extra seat in the van.”Maintaining a steady lineup since the early days, the group’s recently had to find replacements for brothers Antonio and Sean Onorato, the percussion-playing heart of the Vinyl crew. Both have stepped aside to raise families; Vaughan says the band has been experimenting with different replacements throughout the summer.Over the years, Vinyl has shared the spotlight with Phil Lesh of the Grateful Dead (even performing as Lesh’s backup band) and acts such as Les Claypool and the funky Meters. This summer’s extensive Colorado run will see the group playing at the Aspen Jazz Festival, Nederland’s NedFest and in Telluride. Vaughan says the group shows few signs of slowing.”The current morale in the band is quite good. As we’ve tried to be more open and push new blood into our mix, we’ve been happy with the results.”Joining Vinyl at the Riverwalk Center will be Particle, a fellow California-based quartet whoseelectronica-infused funk has been deviously described as “space porn” music – a tag which seems highly appropriate for the Bonnaroo and Coachella music festival veterans.More jammy than Vinyl, Particle’s own musical travels have included collaborations with Robbie Krieger of the Doors, Page McConnell of Phish and Stefan Lessard of the Dave Matthews Band.Tickets to the performance are $25 at the door.

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