Colfax Speed Queen Got to Talk To Your Doctor With a Little Push From Its Friends

Colfax Speed Queen is releasing its sophomore album, Talk to Your Doctor, through Heavy Dose Records on Friday, November 11. The Denver-based rock band started in 2010 as a college project for singer/guitarist Matthew Loui, who had only recently started playing guitar. Loui had been doing DJ nights with keyboardist Rob Halgren, and Colfax Speed Queen became the lifelong friends' new endeavor.

Loui and Halgren were both athletes and didn't grow up playing music. “My parents were surface-level music fans at best,” says Loui. “So I kind of had to discover all the cool shit myself. In doing so, you graduate from Dylan, Hendrix and Led Zeppelin to David Bowie and all that stuff. When I heard the Velvet Underground, the Stooges and MC5, I thought, 'Wow, I could just about do that.' Instead of Jimmy Page's thundering solos, that was stuff I could understand and comprehend and do. I think sports gave us the confidence, the audacity, to think we could do that. When we started, we were horrible at it.”

“But [it took] lots of practice,” says Halgren. “If you like what you're doing, it helps. Even if people don't accept it, it fulfills your inner ambitions.”

“We have crazy brains,” says Loui. “We're not all right up there. Music helps you deal and release all that anxiety, anger and sadness. I like art of all kinds, but music seems [to be] what I'm best at. If I was good at painting, that would be my thing. The community and culture and the experience of being at a live show made me want to do it because I want to make people feel the way I do at the great shows. To get people out and away from the monotony and bullshit even for an hour is great.”

Colfax Speed Queen's 2011 self-titled EP reflected an early phase when the band had long, eclectic compositions. But by the time it released 2013's Satisfaction Intended, the group had honed its sound and ideas. Colfax Speed Queen didn't fully fit in with the garage- and psychedelic-rock mold of the time. Its imagination and instincts went further afield, and its songwriting transcends the prevalent garage-rock movement, opening up fans' minds to something a little different.

Neither of the band's first two releases captured the sound and energy of the live performance, so for Talk To Your Doctor, Colfax Speed Queen recorded the music live and tracked the vocals afterward, and in doing so, better captured the spontaneity of the live show. The band credits its live power to the gentle pressure of respected peers like Ned Garthe Explosion, the Blue Rider and Dirty Few inspiring the musicians to go further than they thought they could. And vice versa. “Ned came up at the same time as us, and they got better because of us, and then they got too good," says Loui. "Ned is better than us now, so we challenge ourselves to be as good as them.”

“It's friendly camaraderie,” says Halgren. “They really kick you in the butt.”

“Without those bands, we wouldn't be as good,” says Loui. “No fucking way. We're competitive people. We don't want to be shown up. We want to be better ourselves, not to save face. There's no spite or jealousy at all. They inspire me to do better. That's it.”

Colfax Speed Queen album release, with the Golden Apples of the Sun and Serpentfoot, Friday, November 11, 8 p.m. doors, Lost Lake Lounge, 303-296-1003.

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Tom Murphy is a writer, visual artist and musician from Aurora, Colorado. He was a prolific music writer for Westword and a documenter of the Denver music scene.