Scotty Stoughton’s Bonfire Dub breaks onto Vail’s music scene |

Scotty Stoughton’s Bonfire Dub breaks onto Vail’s music scene

Charlie Owen
Vail, CO, Colorado
Special to the Daily

Scotty Stoughton’s plan to record a solo album somehow turned into the formation of an eight-person band. Every time Stoughton would collaborate with another artist on his album, that artist would be added to the lineup. That’s the short version of events that led to Stoughton’s band, Bonfire Dub, coming together. The reggae ensemble, which features a Frankenstein’s monster-like collection of solo artists, DJs and members of other bands, has been a slow transformation from labratory experiment to musical creation. But according to Stoughton, it’s been worth the wait. He and seven other long-time local musicians, including members of Little Hercules and Stoughton’s old band, Sucker, make up the new group. Scotty Stoughton’s Bonfire Dub has already played one show at Samana Lounge last month and will play there again Wednesday night.

“I’ve always wanted to do a reggae band, because my favorite kind of music is reggae and dub,” Stoughton said.

Stoughton, who plays percussion and occasionally sings in the band, said that the collective musical experience of all the members is about 100 years. He hand picked “the best possible people to do this project,” he said.

“It’s definitely an exciting compilation of local talent and people that have really put a lot into the music community around here,” Stoughton said.

“Pretty crazy” is what Jeff Armistead calls his life right now. He plays keyboard for the local jam band Little Hercules and his wife recently delivered triplets, so what does he gain from taking on the added weight of playing in one more band?

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“It’s been really refreshing to totally take a different approach to the music,” said Armistead, who plays keyboard and shares vocal duties in Bonfire Dub.

Friends for 10 years, Armistead and Stoughton spent roughly six months collaborating on tracks before they played a live show together. With all the new changes and challenges in his life right now, Armistead said he’s enjoying Bonfire’s slow evolution and down-tempo sound.

“I love reggae music, I love dub music, I love ambient techno,” Armistead said. “It was nice to be able to just touch upon something new.”

And, surprisingly enough, Eagle Valley’s lack of any local reggae bands sets Scotty Stoughton’s Bonfire Dub up as a singular entity ” something that Scott Peterson, aka DJ Weez of KZYR the Zephyr, is sure the band can capitalize on.

“I thought it was a great conglomeration of very talented musicians who I’ve been enjoying for many years here in the valley,” Peterson said. Peterson attended the band’s opening show.

“Generally mountain communities embrace reggae and it’s always been kind of a mystery to me how we didn’t have a reggae band we could say was our own here in the valley and I think … with the talent that they have in that group, I’m thinking big things for them.”

Recording a digital album to be independently released online, playing some gigs on the summer festival circuit and continuing to write new material are just a few of the band’s goals, Stoughton said. They’re also opening for Leftover Salmon at Dobson Arena on Dec. 12 during this year’s Snow Daze music festival.

“We’re about the art of the music,” Stoughton said. “Come in and enjoy the music. The kind of vibe we want to create is (for) people that want to share and experience the art with us, and it’s been happening.”

Stoughton said audiences can expect a blend of original tunes as well as some cover songs by Bob and Ziggy Marley, The Doors and London trip-hop unit Morcheeba.

“It’s very much the vibe of … camping around the bonfire and playing acoustic music and bongos and congas and singing together and drinking whiskey, that’s what it’s all about, that’s the vibe. You like that stuff ” come see us,” Stoughton said.

High Life writer Charlie Owen can be reached at 970-748-2939 or

What: Scotty Stoughton’s Bonfire Dub.

When: Wednesday at 9 p.m.

Where: Samana Lounge in Vail.

Cost: $5 at the door.

More information: Call 970-476-3433 or visit

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