Record influence evident on Vinyl 

Who: Vinyl

Where: Boot Pub

When: Saturday, Nov. 22 & Sunday, Nov. 23

Tickets: $20

A band that draws from a musical bag of tricks that includes reggae, dub, jazz, hip-hop, Latin, rock, funk, blues and ’80s pop icon Huey Lewis on the harmonica has got to have some killer record collections behind it.

"Yeah, that’s kind of the reason we’re called Vinyl," confirms bass player Geoff Vaughn.

"The name comes from the record collections of the guys. You could trace all the band members’ influences just by looking at their record collections."

If there’s a few hours to kill before a show, bet on it the members of the eight-man groove band from the San Francisco Bay area will be in the nearest record store, combing through sections in search of musical jewels.

Of course none of the stores they find on tour are likely to equal their home turf: Village Music.

"It’s known internationally as an epicentre of classic vinyl from all corners," says Vaughn. "It’s like a museum."

Aside from their regular fieldtrips to the museum, Vaughn and the rest of the Vinyl crew have been busy since they last came through Whistler in late April. Johnny Durkin joined the group as a permanent replacement for outgoing percussionist Tony Onorato, and the band finished recording an album of live performances at hometown venue The Great American Music Hall. Slated for release in early 2004, the album features collaborations by approximately 15 different performers, some local, and some more well known, like Lewis, and Bernie Worrell of P-Funk and Talking Heads fame.

Three of the instrumental tracks include vocals, a bit of a departure for the instrumental collective.

"We’ve never had anything against vocalists, it’s more like we’ve been pretty happy with our own sound," explains Vaughn, "but it’s been a lot of fun to bring these singers on board."

Vaughn says the normal lack of a vocal focus allows for a more dynamic interaction of instrumental elements.

"The music gets opened up a little more. There are fewer boundaries and it lends itself more to improvisation. Playing as often as we do, it keeps the music fresh for us, and for everybody listening," he says.

"On the other hand, having a great vocalist adds tremendously to the energy and we recognize that. So the best thing is to have vocalists come down sometimes and spice it up."

An eight year history has earned the Bay Area groovemasters the right to have it both ways, just like they have earned the right to defy classification with their mishmash of genres, styles, and sounds. But dedicated fans that think they’ve finally figured the band out might be in for a surprise.

"There’s been sort of a rebirth in the band in terms of our energy level and our enthusiasm for what we do in the last few months. It’s very evident to all the people who have been seeing us for years," says Vaughn. "We’re having as much fun as we’ve ever had right now and that’s partly due to our new member bringing some really positive energy to the group. So I wouldn’t be surprised if the people who have seen us before in Whistler and had a good time, have a better time."

"Seriously," he pauses, "because we’re having a better time and that usually translates pretty well."

Whistler Vinyl fans get two chances to have an even better time this weekend. The San Fran groove collective comes by the Boot Pub on Saturday night and sticks around for another show on Sunday night. Tickets $20 available through TicketMaster or at the Boot Pub. Call 604-932-3338 or log onto www.upstreamentertainment.com for more information.

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