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Vintage Trouble learns to be fearless in any musical situation

Digital First Media, @GraffonMusic

Posted: Monday, September 7, 2015

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If Los Angeles' Vintage Trouble faces any actual problems in its still-young career, it may be juggling too many good things.

The rock, R&B and blues-blending quartet's track record includes touring with The Who, Bon Jovi, Lenny Kravitz and Joss Stone, as well as what bassist Rick Barrio Dill calls "all the other crazy little one-offs," including playing on the same bill as Metallica, Slayer, Megadeth and Antrhax. Currently Vintage Trouble is supporting AC/DC on its Rock Or Bust Tour, playing stadiums around the world to the end of the year.

"How lucky are we?" Dill, 43, gushes by phone from Montreal. "I mean, we did a tour with Brantley Gilbert, who's as pop-country as you can get. We've opened for Kiss, in front of Bootsy Collins, death metal acts...You name it we've done it.

"We've been very fortunate to be put in so many different situations. It's really taught us to think on our feet."

To hear Dill tell it, however, Vintage Trouble already knew how to do that before the big names came calling. Formed by seasoned musicians on the Los Angeles scene, the group cut its teeth at clubs and after-hours parties where it played multi-hour sets. "That's what gave us the swagger," Dill says. "We'd do four nights a week and the same people would come because we mixed it up and kept it different and fresh, and people noticed."

That got the group a high-powered manager (Doc McGhee), while a sojourn to London quickly landed an appearance on "Later...with Jools Holland," a breakthrough that got the attention of Queen's Brian May, who took Vintage Trouble out on tour during the spring of 2011, with Bon Jovi grabbing the group shortly after that.

The AC/DC tour, however, is a kind of coup de grace.

"It's a tremendous honor," Dill acknowledges. "And we're not too different from each other really. I listen to AC/DC and it's just Chuck Berry turned up really loud, and that falls in line with our thing, too.

"I mean, their stuff is timeless, you know. It's just guitar, bass, drums and vocals -- not that different than what we are. It's so stripped down. So to see them doing it and getting these massive audiences is really inspiring for us."

Dill and his bandmates figure it may bode well for "1 Hopeful Rd.," Vintage Trouble's third album and its first for a major label -- Blue Note Records, run by Detroit native Don Was, who produced the album as well.

"Don's whole thing to us was, 'We don't want to change a thing. Let's make the best record we can, the best 12 songs that take you on a journey,' " Dill says. "And props to (Was) for having the balls in the modern marketplace to do that with us, 'cause you won't find very many guys who will.

"I remember he said to me in rehearsal once, 'I don't know if an album is even gonna be a thing two years from now, but let's make a great one right now.' So we picked the best 12 songs out of about 37 and went for it. And hopefully all these people at the shows will like us enough to check it out."

AC/DC and Vintage Trouble

7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 8.

Ford Field, 2000 Brush St., Detroit.

Some tickets remain at $85 and $45.

Call 877-212-8898 or visit detroitlions.com/ford-field

Web Site: ww.detroitlions.com/ford-field

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff


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