VAIL — While musician Dave Tucker has passed through Vail on tour a few times during the past few years, playing at spots such as Route 6 Cafe, Montana’s, Hooked and Agave, this is his first season playing the part of apres singer in Vail proper, he said.
You can find him Thursday through Sunday afternoons and evenings at Pepi’s on Bridge Street. Tucker’s apres show is a little different from anything else you can find in Vail this season in large part because he relies heavily on a loop sampler in his live show.
It’s a “sort of tape-recorder that allows me to layer sound on sound,” he said. “For example, while playing with a song like ‘Sweet Child O Mine’ I can ‘loop’ that iconic intro riff that Slash plays and then layer the bass line over it, followed by the chords; then at the end of the song I can play the solo over those looped chords and it really trips people out and makes me kinda like a one-man band. I’ve often billed my solo show using the looper as ‘Dave Tucker & His Imaginary Band.’”
Tucker is the first to talk about how many talented musicians are crammed in our small valley.
“I’ve been really humbled by the generosity they all have about ‘the stage,’” he said. “I’ve had the great pleasure of sitting in and playing guitar with Shawn Eiferman at The Red Lion, Rob Eaton Jr., Johnny Schleper and Scott Rednor at Shakedown, Jake Wolf, Tori Pater, Brian Adams at the Vail Ale House and Alex Scott down at Agave in Avon. To me, live music in a full band setting is a conversation had by the players on the stage, you know like a second language, and all those guys I’ve listed talk about much more than the weather, if you know what I mean.”
Tucker took the time to answer a few questions for the Vail Daily.
Vail Daily: How long have you been singing and performing?:
Dave Tucker: I began playing the guitar at the age of 12, writing songs at 16 and performing professionally at 21, so now that I am 32, I’ve been basically playing for 20 years and singing for 16.
VD: What brought you to the area to begin with?
DT: A good friend of mine from back east in New Jersey, Anna Fuchs, has lived out here for a number of years and has been a big advocate for the Vail Valley. An old roommate of hers, Lauren Estes, is a bartender at Pepi’s, and when the gig opened up she put my name in the hat, so to speak, and I began the conversation with the Gramshammers about coming out here to perform.
VD: Are you living here full-time, year-round now?
DT: I do live in East Vail full time, but because of my touring schedule, I’m not sure if I can make the permanent move here this year. I am very much considering making Colorado my home, though. Being that I come from a state that has a phenomenal scene for songwriters and performers, I already have gigs booked for July and August down on the beach in New Jersey. During the month of June, I’ll be driving cross country on a small tour heading out to L.A. to record a record with a dear friend and musician, Ted Russell Kamp, who I helped to build a studio with, kind of a barter deal.
I’ll tour to support that record in the fall and then head back here to Vail for next season. Also having dropped out of college after my freshman year, I’m looking into heading back to hitting the books at Colorado Mountain College and knocking out my core credits and working toward a philosophy degree. I would love one day to sit for the bar so as to understand what the movers and shakers are really doing in this crazy political world of ours.
VD: Do you still do carpentry or are you singing and performing full time?
DT: This gig at Pepi’s has really been a game changer for me and my pursuits in music. Although I am very blessed to have multiple skill sets, whether it’s carpenter, cycle mechanic, cook or bartender and all those things have financially made it possible to follow my dreams, they all pale in comparison to the gift of music.
VD: What do you think about the apres music scene in the valley?
DT: Having two months under my belt of wandering around the Vail Village and checking out my “competition,” I am flattered by the company that I get to keep (on Bridge Street specifically). All of us have very different approaches to the basic task that is entertaining people, and I think that’s really rather wonderful. I’ve learned that this year is kind of a shake up and change around for pretty much everyone, with a few exceptions, and it’s great fun to be a part of it.
VD: What’s the best part of your job performing Apres gigs, and the worst?
DT: I believe that music is the one thing that unites all of us at our innermost being, which means that when someone approaches the stage and asks for a song that they love, they are asking me to help them go back to that place where they first made a connection emotionally to that piece of music. To me, that’s the cherry on top.
The worst part has been the dry air up here in the mountains. I’ve been having a helluva time with upper respiratory problems, which then means my voice isn’t at its best which makes me self conscious, then I’m not as present to the audience … I then can’t deliver my best.
VD: Tell me about your most recent album, “In Kind.” Are you working on another one?
DT: “In Kind” has been out for a year now (available on iTunes, Amazon and Bandcamp), and it was an album that I got to record in a studio that I built in sort of a barter situation for my good friend and very talented writer-performer Wendy Waldman (“Save the Best for Last,” “Fishin’ in the Dark” among many others). Basically I sweat it out for eighth months and she made sure that I got an album that can stand up to any of the others on the major labels.
Musically it’s an album, not a collection of songs, meaning it’s a great little journey from beginning to end speaking to the triumphs and very real lows that life is great at dealing out. I’m a big fan of all styles of music, and I personally think this record showcases those interests, whether it’s a Leo Kottke-esque ballad or a Bo Diddley kinda party tune, there’s a little bit of something for all music fans.