Vail band holds CD release party |

Vail band holds CD release party

Caramie Schnell
Vail, CO Colorado
Special to the Vail Daily/Eryn StorerThe band MTHDS got its start in Vail two years ago. The band's first album, "THE METHODS," was just released.

VAIL, Colorado ” Modesty might not be MTHDS strong suit, but really, what rock band isn’t a touch cocky?

“We’re getting pretty huge, yeah,” bandmember Nick Dillen said when asked about two shows last weekend ” one at Mahogany Ridge in Steamboat and one at the Gothic in Denver.

During a recent joint speaker-phone interview with Johnny Schleper, the band’s lead singer and guitarist and Dillen, whose resume includes “rhymes, yelling and round-house jump-kicks,” there were only a handful of straight answers. The rest were either funny, sarcastic or involved made-up words.

Take a question about their sound.

“We’re an unclassified genre. We’ve tried to find bands close to us and still, two years later, I don’t know one band we can really genrify ourselves with,” Schleper said.

When asked if “genrify” is indeed a real word, Dillen, who’s known as Dilly, quickly piped up.

“Yes, that’s a real word. I used it in Scrabble the other night and it got me 48 points.”

And really, they’re right ” not about genrify, which isn’t a real word ” but about their sound. There’s not one word that really sums them up. It took Dick Dime, the talent buyer at the Sandbar, 25 words to peg them.

“The MTHDS combine the fury of punk, the street-wise soul of hip-hop and funk with an over-the-top bombastic roots party groove,” Dime said in an e-mail.

Listen to the MTHDS’ ” which stands for Music That Heightens Different Senses ” latest songs and it’s clear that while they may excel at silly banter, these guys are serious about their music.

The band, which also includes Lawrence Kerr working the rhymes and melodies, Chris Chipouras on bass, Neil Yukimura on congas and acoustic guitar and Dustin Zentz on drums, has been working hard and evolving since they performed their first show two years ago at the Sandbar, when they “made (DJ) Weez make a spot for us during his reggae show,” Schleper said.

It’s fitting then that the band’s first CD release party is taking place Friday night at the Sandbar, the place that first took a chance on the fledgling band, in the town where the band was born.

“The MTHDS are an anomaly for a band from Vail, they have honed their craft over time and have been able to parlay their success to other markets along the Front Range and beyond,” Dime said. “They are not the first to do this, however in my opinion, they may have the most success.”

Dime met the band nearly a year ago, when he took over booking the music at the Sandbar. Since then Dime and the band members have developed a strong relationship.

“I’ve watched both their songcraft and their stage performance improve dramatically since then,” Dime said. “What has been particularly impressive is their extreme dedication. They are beginning to understand just how important the do-it-yourself ethic really is. Even though they have secured strong management, which hopefully will result in a recording contract soon, the boys have not rested and have really branched out their marketing efforts gathering fans regionally and nationally.”

In the past year the band’s opened for The Roots, Asher Roth, Ludacris, Eek-A-Mouse, Afroman, Collie Buddz and more.

And just how do band members describe their growth since that first show?

“Back then we came to play together for music, jamming, and were throwing stuff together. Now we have definitely tightened up our set with more than 350 shows in two years. We’ve written a lot more music, and tightened it completely,” Schleper said.

“We probably did suck pretty bad then,” Dillen said. “But we’ve been practicing since then though, and we’re definitely reaching a new level lately. We’ve got some new surprises in our set that most of our fans from Vail haven’t heard.”

The band is headed to California in July, where they’ll perform four or five shows and later that month to Minnesota to perform at Buzzstock 2009, a festival named after Schleper’s father, Buzz, that he started throwing on his father’s land 10 years ago.

“We’re expecting like 5,000 people,” Dillen said.

“More like 500 people,” Schleper corrected.

The band’s new album, called simply “The Methods,” arrived on Dillen’s door step this week, he said.

“It’s pretty creative, right,” Dillen said, referring to the album name. “It took us like six months to come up with too.”

The band began recording more than a year ago, at Colorado Sound in Denver. The process took awhile because they only got into the studio every two weeks or so.

“It’s expensive,” Dillen said. “We’d try to save money, borrow money, and go in as much as we could. It’s been a long process and we’re looking forward to getting it out there.”

High Life Editor Caramie Schnell can be reached at 970-748-2984 or

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