On the Record with Zach & David: The Red Petals

By: David Landry and Zach Dahmen

Colorado's newest blues band sat down with us for records and a chat.

On the Record: Where David & Zach sit down with musicians, listen to records, and bring you their conversation.

The Red Petals choices for this session were: 

  1. Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young - Deju Vu
  2. The Beach Boys - Pet Sounds
  3. My Morning Jacket - It Still Moves
  4. The Everly Brothers - The Very Best of
  5. The Band - The Band

House Choice:

  1. Ryan Adams - Rock n Roll

Newly formed blues band The Red Petals walked through the door and went straight for the records; that’s JC McKim, Matt Lowber, and Austin Pacharz. Their story goes likes this: JC and Matt both grew up in Alaska and played in rival high school bands before they both ended up in Boulder. The two played together in a local project, Slanted Jack, but that eventually came to an end.

The Red Petals.

The Red Petals.

In late 2015, JC wanted to start a new project and Matt was itching to play more after a stint of shows playing percussion for Na’an Stop. And that is where Austin (Cold River City) comes in. Na’an Stop happened to need a temporary bass player for a couple of shows and Austin got the gig.

One night, while loading gear, Matt was talking music with the guys and that’s when it happened, the “Hey Austin, want to start a trio with JC and I?” And Austin, “Yeah!” So the three met up in Lyons, the mountain town that Matt calls home, and started to jam old blues and soul standards. It was fluid from the start, and not a lot of questions were asked.

From the beginning, Austin and Matt locked in playing together, and that’s a good thing because it allows JC to dance. JC plays a red, semi-hollowbody guitar, which drives the sound of the band. JC describes the guitar as “flashy blues”, and it’s made him want to play just that.

The three-piece are influenced by 50s and 80s blues, but still allow pop elements to fold in. Each member has their own influences too:

“Funk, jazz, reggae, and hiphop [are] a huge part of my drumming, and my musical approach to drumming.” said Matt.

Austin, on the other hand, is more into the great Pino Palladino (JMT, D’Angelo) and Chris Wood (Wood Brothers). Said Austin, “They know when to hold back and when to push the music further out into space into something cohesive.”

With all of these influences, The Red Petals form a blues power trio, like the greats Stevie Ray Vaughn, The Jimi Hendrix Experience, and even the John Mayer Trio. Being a three-piece lets every instrument have its own space, but blend well together, giving the guys a rich, full tone.

Watch a video about The Red Petals formation:

After their experiences in other projects, the guys decided to go into this one with a different approach: have a solid foundation and act like it’s a business. Which is why they went straight to the studio to record singles before playing shows.

“Knowing we want to approach this professionally means that we have more than just the music to worry about,” said Matt.

And so the guys went to Andrew Oakley’s (WWO, A Shadow of Jaguar, Cold River City, BANDITS) practice space, a spot well seasoned and setup for recording. After tracking their first single, “Ruby Sky”, and an old Robert Johnson tune, “Come On In My Kitchen”, The Red Petals headed to Coupe Studios, where Greg McRae helped engineer and mix their sessions. The trio already has plans for more recordings too, and music videos to help push their vision forward.

Currently, The Red Petals are gearing up to play their first live show in Boulder at the Bohemian Biergarten this Thursday, March 31st, with a hometown show for Matt the following day in Lyons at Pizza Bar 66. In the meantime, keep up with the band here and get a taste of The Red Petals' music on their website

-David and Zach on the record

All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artists featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

On The Record with Zach & David: The Un- "Branding" of BANDITS

By: David Landry and Zach Dahmen

BANDITS rebrand and talk to us about their history and their horizon.

BANDITS.

BANDITS.

One night over whiskey and records, we came up with a cool idea: we wanted to sit down with musicians, listen to music, and just talk about how they got to where they are. For our first interview, we jumped on Boulder’s own BANDITS. John and Lulu Demitro walked into the Gingerbread house and the first thing they both said to us was: “Nice- Rubber Soul is on.” That’s when we knew it was going to be a good evening, with The White Stripes and The Greenhornes to follow.

So let’s just start with the fact that the BANDITS are opening for fucking HEART tonight- yes Barracuda at the Budweiser Events Center. But how did they get here?

The BANDITS are a Boulder band through and through. Though they don’t play here often due to Boulder’s lack of hard rock venues, their family started here, with their grandfather being one of the first Colorado University students to attend school for bass guitar. He even owned a music shop, located where The Riverside is today. So the Demitros grew up here and still love it. John embarked on his first band (Baseline) when he was 17 and started out on bass guitar. Baseline began as a four piece, fresh out of high school; a rock band playing 21+ shows for pennies and no tab because they ‘couldn’t’ drink. John has always been influenced by the heavy hitters of rock and roll, like Zeppelin and Sabbath. Trying to fill out the sound of the band, he looked to his sister Lulu to play keys. Lulu started playing piano as a toddler and taught herself how to read music by playing Beatles songs over and over. But with John being the older brother, it took some convincing for her to even come to a practice. Eventually, she joined the band.

Rock and Roll.

Rock and Roll.

Baseline played some gigs to empty basements but nothing too serious. Together, the group’s first gig under the moniker Branded Bandits was opening a show at The Fox Theatre for West Water Outlaws, and with guns blazing the Branded Bandits kept playing. When the guitar player left the band, John told Lulu, “You will have to learn bass and I am going to learn the guitar parts.” And so they did. Non-stop practicing made their shows go smoothly from there, but what really came from the change was that they liked their new three piece outfit. Compressing the band changed the sound, and all they wanted was a badass rock band.

“The thing about rock and roll [is] there are no rules, you can do anything you want.” -John

Andrew Oakley.

Andrew Oakley.

Finding new influences like Queens of the Stone Age, The Kills, and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club showed Bandits that they really didn’t need a lot to sound heavy. Working on finding their own sound made drummers come and go, but finding current drummer Andrew Oakley (formerly of West Water Outlaws) was a sign that they were moving in the direction they wanted. They felt more at home with Andrew on the kit. They were trimming off the extra and creating BANDITS.

“[Andrew] is a pocket drummer and we needed that; he’s all about the song and the collective.” said John.

Added Lulu, “With Andrew we were falling into our sound.”

The unbranded BANDITS quickly started working on new songs and hopped on the road. A touring rock and roll band in their early 20’s brings debauchery, and they have stories to tell. They stayed on the road as much as possible and then jumped into the studio to record. For the first time ever, they got to record like their idols. They taped and pressed a 7-inch.

“It was the first time we got to see how recording a tape worked.” they told us.

BANDITS Bring It.

BANDITS Bring It.

Which brings us to now, with BANDITS opening up the Heart show tonight. BANDITS were contacted a few months back about the show, but didn’t hear much until two weeks ago when they got a call that said, “You’re in.”

“They are the female Led Zeppelin, such a unique, powerful, and original sound,” Lulu smiled, “Two leading ladies: one plays guitar and they write their own tunes. [When it comes to our set] we are going to do what we are going to do and have a good time doing it.”

Spoken like a true rock and roll band. If you are seeing Heart tonight, make sure you get to the show early to see this fantastic three piece. Or you can catch them around Colorado- they play the Snake River Saloon this Saturday. Keep up with their performances here.

Listen to a Bandits track here:

-David and Zach on the record

All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artists featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.