VAIL - Johnny Schleper's teen years were an amusing dichotomy.
His dad, Buzz, owns Buzz's Boots and Boards, a ski shop in Vail Village. His sister, Sarah, was a World Cup alpine racer with the U.S. Ski Team. Brother Hunter is a big mountain skier.
"My dad always pushed for ski racing, but then he bought me my first guitar when I was 14," Johnny said. "He encourages me to practice in the shop all the time."
He practiced both, all the time, and when Buzz began encouraging him to practice his guitar and vocal chops in the shop while they worked - Johnny belting out tunes while Buzz tuned skis. Johnny's future took the musical fork in the road (tuning fork?).
These days Johnny's a guitarist and vocalist in MTHDS, pronounced "Methods," which stands for "Music That Heightens Different Senses."
They play every chance they get and everywhere they can. They just returned from the South by Southwest Music Festival in Austin, Texas. Their last tour finished at the House of Blues in Las Vegas.
When they were the Methods, they recorded some material that prominently exploded some F-bombs, as in, "Why would anyone want to f@*@ with the Methods?"
Well, it turns out there was Christian rock band that already owned the name, and had several very good reasons why someone would want to f@*@ with the Methods. So they became MTHDS.
In it for the long haul
Friday night the band headlines a show at the Sandbar in West Vail with opening act Air Dubai. And you won't be stunned to know that at almost every MTHDS show someone hollers, "Dudes, buy a vowel!"
They've been at this five years. They're working hard to be able to afford to buy a vowel and pretty much everything else they want. For now, though, all the money goes back into the band.
"It's a long road in a tough business, but we're all in it for the long haul. In the end it's all about creating and playing good music," Schleper said.
MTHDS is funk-driven rock/reggae/hip-hop. They formed in April 2007, in Vail, when Schleper and drummer were looking for a band, after theirs had come apart. The lead singer became afflicted with LSD (Lead Singer's Disease) and took off for Los Angeles.
They got together with some guys who were in Vail from the East Coast pursuing the life of a ski/snowboard bum. They jammed a little, liked what they were creating and the next thing they knew they were on stage.
Since then, MTHDS has played with acts such as The Roots, SOJA, 3OH!3, Talib Kweli, Ozomatli, the Living Legends, RJD2, Rusko, Major Lazer, Groundation, Greyboy Allstars, and have toured with Collie Buddz, Chali 2na and The Expendables.
Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 or firstname.lastname@example.org.