Polytoxic returns to Vail on Friday
Vail, CO Colorado
VAIL, Colorado – Polytoxic tried to break up. But inevitably they got back together for one reunion show, and like old lovers, they were soon back at it.
“Every time we got together to play music the venue would be packed and people would be really excited to see us play, so we figured we’d keep playing until people stopped coming to see us. So far we’re still playing,” said CR Gruver, who founded the Denver-based band in 2003 with Tori Pater.
The group began getting attention for their “album of the month” club, where they’d cover an album in its entirety, be it The Grateful Dead, The Neville Brothers or the Police. That led to The Last Waltz Revisited show, an annual event that benefits The Denver Rescue Mission. The last show took place right before Thanksgiving and included a full horn section and more than 50 guest musicians from Colorado’s music scene.
For years, drummer Chadzilla was part of the group but he left last year so they’ve been bringing in guest drummers like Willie Green of The Neville Brothers, and Terence Higgins from The Dirty Dozen. On Friday night the group will play at the Sandbar in West Vail with percussionist Scott Messersmith of The Motet. Gruver took the time to answer a few questions for the Vail Daily.
1. Vail Daily: How often have you guys been doing gigs lately? Do you have a lot of shows lined up for the summer?
CR Gruver: We do a run of shows about every three months. We perform The Last Waltz Revisited – a reenactment of The Bands Last Waltz – every year in Denver and Boulder just before Thanksgiving. We do a Blues Brothers Revisited show every spring in Denver, and an annual benefit for the Parkinson Alliance in the summer (including one on Sunday in Denver). We are playing a run of shows in August called something like “Juice’s Polytoxic Mardi Gras Revue.” The band Juice from New Orleans will be coming up and melding with Polytoxic for a short tour of mountain towns, including The Sandbar in Vail, putting on a show leaning heavily towards New Orleans funk and Polytoxic originals.
2. VD: What keeps you guys interested in playing together?
CG: We come from different musical backgrounds and sensibilities, so we’re always pushing each other to try different approaches. More than anything, though, the real reward is playing together in Colorado. The Colorado music scene is very underrated, and there is a strong community of musicians here in Denver and the Front Range. Polytoxic has made a career out of involving fellow musicians to be a part of their big shows every year, so in a way Polytoxic is not just Tori and CR, but a platform for many musicians to be a part of the fun.
3. VD: Over the years you developed a solid fan base in Denver and surrounding areas. What draws people to your music?
CG: We try to bring a party wherever we go – and people really feel that when we play. There may be some political or social messages in the lyrics, but we don’t beat them over your head. We just play fun music, keep it fresh, and provide a place to party and forget your problems for a little while.
4. VD: How do you describe your music?
CG: The name Polytoxic really sums it up. We tend to draw from any musical genre from blues and jazz to rock and funk, and make sure we leave no stone unturned. Our music would best be described as an eclectic mix of groovy tunes for the party people.
5. VD: Have you performed in Vail before?
CG: We used to play there a lot, in fact we even had a feature on Plum TV back in 2005 that was partially filmed at The Sandbar. We haven’t played there in a while, so we’re excited to get back to Vail.
6. VD: What can people expect from your show tonight?
CG: We have a very special guest coming – Scott Messersmith (from The Motet) on percussion. He was born and raised in New Orleans, where I live now, and brings another level of expertise to the table. It’s going to be an acoustic set, but don’t let that fool you into thinking it’s gonna be a mellow folk show. We’re gonna bring out a bunch of New Orleans music, some funk and rock, and really try to get the crowd going.
7. VD: What do you think about Colorado’s overall music scene?
CG: I think the music scene in Colorado is one of the best in the country, truly. There is a plethora of great bands of many genres out here, and the venue selection offers everything from a small 80-person room to a 5,000-seat theater. Every national band tours through Colorado on their way to the East or West coast, so we constantly have the nationals coming in and offering opening slots to local bands.
High Life Editor Caramie Schnell can be reached at 970-748-2984 or email@example.com.