5 Questions for The Get Hot
There's a new band on the rockabilly/swing circuit in town and it's The Get Hot.
The band, which has just issued its first CD, includes four veteran musicians that have worked in a variety of local groups and is now firmly focused on blending the best of American roots music – from blues to rockabilly to western swing to jazz – into a toe-tapping sound designed to get you out of your seat.
You can get a taste by downloading the band's seven-song, 20-minute, self-titled CD at its website thegethotband.com. Then you can see them Sunday, March 16 at Kochanski's Concertina Beer Hall at 2 p.m., at the Grafton Blues Challenge, March 22 at the Circle B Recreation Center in Cedarburg, and May 9 at Kim's Lakeside in Pewaukee at 8 p.m.
In the meantime, we caught up with singer Chuck Doughty, guitarist Marc Jost, bassist Jim Vailliencourt and drummer Pat Schroeder to find out more about this new local band.
OnMilwaukee.com: Give us the history of The Get Hot. How long you've been together, how you got together, etc.
Jim Vailliencourt: We got together in early summer of 2013. Wait, I have to back up before that. Chuck and I used to work next to each other in The Third Ward, in 2005-06, I think. I watched the movie "A Mighty Wind," which turned me on in a huge way to that style of folk music it was portraying – Kingston Trio, Rooftop Singers, Serendipity Singers, that kind of folk music.
So I got a hold of a bunch of CDs from the library, and I showed them to Chuck, who I knew played guitar, and I was like, "We should learn a bunch of these songs and play them out, nobody is doing stuff like this, it'd be great." So we started practicing, along with Chuck's future sister-in-law, in one of the warehouse floors in the building we worked in. Things were going well, but then around summer of that year my wife and I were in the process of buying a house, moving, and having a baby at all the same time, Chuck was engaged, so we shelved the folk band project.
Then, around 2012, another guitar player and I from a surf band we were in were leaving that band to start up a new surf band. Sometime prior to that I had run into Chuck at one of our shows, and he mentioned he was playing bass but asked me if I could do some repairs on it. So when we were looking for a bassist for a new surf band, I thought of Chuck, and I was like, "oh, you're playing bass now? Hmmm..."
Chuck Doughty: I'm pretty sure we covered some Prince, Pixies and Kinks tunes, too. We figured out that a banjo can transform any song into a folk tune. We never played out or anything. It was just for the shared love of music and friendship. There is something great about sharing music with friends. After that we moved in different directions starting families and getting new jobs but we stayed connected. Jim went on to play guitar in a local surf band and ended up calling me when he was looking for a bass player. So for about a year we played surf music in Jim's basement. That's also when we met Pat.
After our surf band started approaching low tide we decided to try a different musical direction ... and became The Get Hot. We decided as a band to harness the energy of jump blues, the predecessor of rock 'n' roll, and create The Get Hot.
OMC: Some, if not all, of you guys have been in other bands, too, right? Can you tell us which ones?
CD: Growing up in Hanson, Mass., home of "The Voice" contestant Kristen Merlin, I was involved in musical theatre at a young age and later played in some punk bands. I remember playing Conrad Birdie in "Bye, Bye Birdie" and wearing a metallic gold suit. I wish I still had that suit. Sigh, it would really come in handy now.
JV: I used to play lead and rhythm guitar for the surf band The Revomatics, from 2010 to 2012. Before that I lived in the Fox Valley and contributed soundtrack music for a Michigan-based cable access show and no-budget film some friends from college made. Before that I played in some college punk and acoustic bands in Michigan.
Pat Schroeder: The Farwell Kings and The Heart Trust, with Francis Graf. Marc has played in the Huge Beaumonts and is still active in The Rattle Can Kings.
OMC: The CD has mostly covers, but I hear you do some originals, too.
Marc Jost: All of our songs are, in fact, covers at the moment. We do have some originals in the works. A lot of the songs we cover were intended for a slightly larger band usually including sax and keys. We changed the arrangements to work for a four-piece band with harp and guitar taking over the sax and key lines. I think this is what gives the songs their own "original" feel and also gives The Get Hot an identifiable sound.
OMC: Is the band a serious, heavy gigging project or something more for fun that you guys do
MJ: We definitely do this for fun but we do have goals set. The band has jobs, families, etc. We do hope to gig as heavily as our schedules allow us to. For us it's about watching people have a great time dancing while getting to play music together that we all really enjoy.
CD: Our intention with this band from the beginning has been to bring this music and experience out to people. The groove and energy of this stuff is just too good to keep to ourselves. When you see us live you'll know how infectious it truly is.
OMC: What's a Get Hot gig like?
JV: It's hot! I like to think that we're shedding light on a style of music that sort of fell through the cracks of history. A lot of the stuff we play is taken from a little slice of time in between the big band era and early rockabilly, I like to think.
PS: Back in the day, "get hot" is what you would shout to encourage dancers to tear it up on the dance floor. It's all about energy and motion. It's up-tempo blues tunes that make you want to jump on the dance floor and cut loose. We often attract members of the local swing dancing clubs, so the dancing is as entertaining as the music. By the end of the night, we all go home exhausted.
CD: Please make sure, even if you had no intention of dancing, that you warm up with some light stretching before our shows. We don't want to see anyone get hurt and we know how hard it is to resist the need to move during the show.
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