Pulling from the '60s garage-punk sound of tube amps, organs and sweat-drenched tempos, Colfax Speed Queen is one of the most committed live acts to emerge in Denver over the past few years. The band impressively brings its chaotic sound into focus on its full-length debut, Satisfaction Intended, sustaining a rideable melody without sacrificing the animalistic joy of the group's cadence and inflection. The outfit's kinetic frontman, Matt Loui, feels that rock bands could stand to spend a little less time on their musicianship and a bit more on the spirit driving the music. We recently spoke with him about this notion.
Westword: Your music seems so dependent on a kind of manic energy. Is it difficult for you to go to that place on stage while still maintaining the melody and structure of the music?
Matt Loui: I think a live show is more about the entertainment factor than just the songs themselves. I was a music lover before I started playing, and when I'd go out to see a lot of shows, it was always about how much fun it was rather than how well the band played. The bands that I loved — Suicide, New York Dolls, Bob Dylan — they didn't have very good voices. It's less about what kind of pipes you have, but [more about] what kind of feeling and charisma and style you have. I knew I wasn't phenomenal musically, but I knew I could manage the aesthetic end, the flavor and grittiness. We really go after it live; I'll convulse, headbang, fall over amps, off the stage.
Colfax Speed Queen
I often see bands caught up in complex instrumentation, often at the expense of the spirit and energy you're referring to.
I feel like that's very egotistical — bands that just stand there and sound exactly like the record. It's not just about the music. Your job is to provide entertainment.
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You open the record with an audio clip of Jimmie Snow preaching about rock music corrupting youth. It does seem that rock music leads kids to a sexual madness — but that's a good thing.
Yeah, I think that the music that I love corrupted all those people that he was talking about. Rock and roll changed their lives, and preachers were scared of that, because it was less control they had over people.
Ironically, the kind of atmosphere you talk about with a live show sounds like a Pentecostal church service or voodoo ritual.
Absolutely. I'm a firm believer in shamanism. And I've experienced that with rock music, the being baptized in the fire. Being young and thrown into a mosh pit, really losing control — it's like being exhausted after good sex. I'm all up here [taps forehead] a lot of the time, and the gift of being able to shut that off and let the primal brain take over is something I'm very grateful for.