Vail: Just what the doctor ordered |

Vail: Just what the doctor ordered

Nicole Inglis
Vail Valley, CO Colorado
Special to the Vail DailyDr. Awkward started out playing parties in West Vail

VAIL VALLEY, Colorado “-April is an awkward month in Colorado’s Vail Valley. Skis are put away after a season gone by too fast, there’s no work to be found, and it’s still too muddy for some to mountain bike.

Enter Dr. Awkward, Vail’s own jam funk band, and their aim to cure the world of awkwardness with their instruments. It’s a lofty goal and they’re starting with a free show at Mango’s in Red Cliff on Saturday.

Eric Cregon, a co-owner of Mango’s who organized the show, said he wants to give Vail residents once last chance to celebrate the end of an epic season.

“For the people who are still stuck here in the valley, maybe doing cleanup or still working, we want them to have one last end-of-season blowout,” he said. “It’s going to be a great time and the band is awesome.”

Dr. Awkward came together through what else ” music. Kevin Heinz (guitar, vocals), Dan Keel (bass, vocals) and Ted Welles (drums, vocals) met on stage while playing open mic nights around the valley. Eventually the group “brought the jam home,” to refine and rehearse the songs they had come up with.

Dr. Awkward started playing parties around the Matterhorn neighborhood, which they call “Matterhood.”

“We’ve played on the mountain, in people’s backyards, and on their decks,” Heinz said. “On 4/20 we played an outdoor BBQ at Matterhood, and it was nice just having neighbors hanging out, enjoying the beautiful day, hearing the sounds bounce off of the natural features. We like to throw our music out into the peaceful, natural environment in which we live.”

Heinz said the group has an affinity for jam bands but their often blues-infused jam-funk is influenced by everything from Jimi Hendrix and John Scofield to Umphrey’s McGee and Medeski, Martin and Wood. Dr. Awkward uses improvisation as the basis of their composition, refining and rehearsing songs that were created in free form.

“The jam is like speaking words, but it’s like, ‘this moment we’re going to speak with our instruments,'” Heinz said. “Like when we met on stage I introduced myself with my guitar, and they replied with their instruments.”

Those who have supported Dr. Awkward since their inception a year ago are beginning to ask for their favorite jams, knowing where the band can take them. Dr. Awkward also covers everything from blues to rock to Daft Punk, introducing a little bit of dance rock into the mix.

“We just want to get people dancing and moving,” Heinz said.

But the beginnings of a touring band aren’t all sunshine and on-mountain parties. Heinz described the dynamic as akin to that of any other relationship.

“We have serious talks like ‘where are we going with this, what do we expect from each other, how serious are we about this.’ But right now we’re still on the fun new band groove,” Heinz said.

“We want to stay serious about the band, but have fun with the music at the same time. When we’re on stage we take it as a job, we are entertaining them. But they’re only going to have as much fun as we are having up there.”

Despite the fact that Dr. Awkward is still in it’s honeymoon phase, they are seriously looking into their bright future. They want to continue getting everyone to move and groove as they play more gigs along the Front Range and eventually tour through Colorado this summer, curing awkwardness one venue at a time.

But does the doctor need a taste of his own medicine?

“Yes, we are awkward,” Heinz laughed. “Everybody’s awkward; it’s unavoidable in this life. And that’s why you come see the doctor.”

Who: Dr. Awkward

What: End-of-season blowout at Mango’s

When: Saturday, April 25, 9pm

Cost: Free, drink specials

More info: or 970-827-9109

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