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READJUSTING THE VELLOTONES 11-01-03 - Stoney
Come this saturday November 1st, Augusta's ever loveable blues rock cover guys will walk new ground yet again! First they slid into the original music scene playing covers, brought the world together with Musicians Night Out I, II and God bless 'em, III and now before you could say "what will those guys think of next", THE VELLOTONES will release their debut ALL ORIGINAL cd! "No Way!" You say! Well not only will these talented "mature" gents unleash a six song original cd on the Augusta masses, they will do it as only they can - Vello-Style! But to find out how this wacky group of blues rock musicians went from being the favorite cover band of Augusta's original bands to full on creative forces...you gots to read on!!
LL – I guess the question that’s probably on everyone’s mind is: After so much time performing as Augusta’s fun time rock and blues cover band, what has prompted the Vellotones to write and release an original cd?
A - We were inspired and encouraged by all of our friends in the local bands who were playing original music. People kept saying, "you guys need to do a CD, I’d buy one". Well, they now will get their chance.
LL – Why late 2003? What is so different now?
A – Luck is important but timing is everything - the timing was right for a DIY project to begin and to finish. Jimmy Archer had just purchased some excellent equipment and was looking for a band to record. We had talked about buying our own equipment and learning the art, but we decided to give it a go with Jimmy. Doug James gave us a lot of help at the end with final mixes and mastering.
LL – So the cd will have 6 songs on it. Did you write just enough for the cd or did you have an influx of tunes to choose from?
A – We have written more songs that will be on another CD when we buy our own equipment. Am guessing there will be another CD next year (we hope).
LL – Did you choose songs trying to keep credits equal or by vote of best songs?
A – We went into the hunt for songs and said, OK, whoever wants to write needs to write two songs. Mr. Vello, due to scheduling, was the only one that did not write a song this time. The other three of us each wrote two songs.
LL – So should I assume that the vocal duties were shared? If so, who sings on what?
A – Vocal duties would be shared if Mr. Donnelly could sing. Big Al sings on three, Zumaboy sings on two, The Distance (Mr D) sings on one (he wanted to hear himself on a CD so we only let him sing on one song).
LL – Onstage (bassist) Big Al is often referred to as the best guitarist in the band. Does Al play any guitar on the cd?
A – He IS the best guitar player in the band and plays lead guitar on his songs "Cast In Stone" and "Eyes of a Child". His ultimate plan is to play on all songs, drive the band van (if we had one), and do booking for "Big Al and the Vellotones".
LL – So aside from the traditional instruments, any extra things thrown in? Any lokal musicians make guest appearances?
A – Well, Zuma insisted on dragging out a couple of his acoustic guitars on a couple of songs, which you don't usually see at a Vellotones show. Other than that we are pretty traditional when it comes to instruments. Our good buddies Ken and Mindy Stephens (from LivingRoom Legends) provided great background vocals on "Eyes Of A Child" and Jimmy Archer provided some background vocals on "I Will Wait". We really wanted more folks that have encouraged us through the years to join in, so we asked them to help us with a music Video.
LL – In addition to the songs on the cd, you will have 3 videos. What will those be about?
A – We wanted more pressure for this project so we said, "Hey, why not make a music video and include as many folks in the video as we can". So we adapted the song "No Way" into a video and asked everyone to show up at the Soul Bar to help us. They did. The second video is "the making of the video" so you can see how it was done. The third is a very short tongue-in-cheek "Super Coups" cable TV commercial kind-of video. All the videos are included on the CD, at no extra charge.
LL – Word is the band had a blast filming the main video at the Soul Bar.
A – Coco graciously let us film at the Soul Bar one Sunday afternoon, the Dunderwerks crew of Dave Munoz, Brian Tyre, and Duan humored us by agreeing to film and produce the No Way music video. Video Bandmates, as we call them now, showed up from all genres of music including Andrew (Mr No Way) from Hellblinki Sextet, Travis from Horsepower, Jordan and Ike from Jemani, Lance, Joe, and Stak from Neato Torpedo, the women of the Rock Board (Elena, Snoopy), Coco Rubio of The Soul Bar, and Scott and Dee of the Playground and Crossroads. We brought five cases of Bud Light, and didn't have to worry about taking any of it home!
LL – Speaking of the Soul Bar, you will be having the release party there on November 1st. Any special surprises in store and what should we expect that night?
A – Well the first thing is we are having two shows, one at 8:00 PM for the, uh, "older" Vellotone fans that have stuck with us all these years, and a second show at 10:30 PM for the normal Augusta music scene folks and soon to be full-time Vellotonians. The second thing that we’ll do is play the three videos on the BIG SCREEN at the Soul Bar at both shows. Third, we will of course do our normal lame cover rock/blues stuff and we’ll play the songs on the CD.
LL – If someone would have told you a year ago that the Vellotones would record an original cd, what would your response have been?
A – "No Way"
LL – So how would you describe the overall vibe and sound of this cd?
A – We are all over the map musically, but settled back into rock and blues Americana-oriented cool vibes that groove all night long with a funk that can only be described as alternative-jam-band with hip-hop undertones.
LL – And what do you hope to accomplish with it’s release?
A – To get all the lokal musicians off our backs about doing original music.
LL – Any talks yet of the possibility of a follow-up?
A – Absolutely, we already are practicing new songs, we have a feeling that this is the just the start of scratching an itch.
LL – So what do the wives feel about your Augusta rock star status?
A – The wives are "down with that" and might even one day help us load up and unload the band van (if we had one).
LL – Will the new original Vellotones mean the end of the Legends shows?
A – You had to mention Legends - We're not sure the current rock scene is ready for the "Vellotones Legends of Rock N Roll" (last seen at Surrey Tavern circa 1999). Maybe we’ll dust that skeleton off and do it again someday for the BIG ROCK SHOW VIII. Then again...
LL – So if someone can’t make it to the cd release party, where will they be able to pick up a copy of the cd?
A – Well, other than at one of our gigs, they can pick one up at your Lokalloudness store downtown, probably at Borders, CD s & More on Washington Road, and other stores that support local musicians.
LL – Cool! A pleasure as always!
A - Thanks and thanks for supporting the Augusta Rock Scene for all these years. We'd like to remind your readers to keep up with us at our website, www.vellotones.com, and to e-mail Mr. Donnelly at firstname.lastname@example.org to get on our mail list.