Guitarist Tony Pacello was sixteen years old when he met drummer Jeff Jani and bassist Hunter Roberts, both fourteen at the time, at a contest sponsored by 103.5/The Fox. They had each won spots to perform in a seven-piece sixteen-and-under band. After that group dissolved, the three stuck together and started up a blues-rock trio called the Running Wild Band. But almost as soon as they chose the name, Pacello says, they began to hate it.
In the five years since forming the band, the guys have kept their blues roots but have branched out into more groove-oriented territory. During that time, they also chose a new moniker — the Big Motif — and added saxophonist Sam Crowe, who, though still in high school, is steadily gigging with a number of bands in the area.
The Big Motif recently finished its five-song debut EP, which features mostly tunes written over the past year. We spoke with Pacello about the band's evolution and the name change.
The Big Motif CD-release show, with Shakedown Street, 7:30 p.m. Saturday, March 27, Quixote's True Blue, 2151 Lawrence Street, $10, 303-366-6492.
Westword: How would you say your sound has evolved over the last five years or so?
Tony Pacello: It used to be more blues and blues-rock kind of stuff. When we changed the name, we realized we didn't want to be seen as a blues band, but as more of a blues-influenced kind of funk band — or a groove band that kind of fuses everything together, from reggae to rock to a lot of jazz, but definitely keeping the blues element in the songs.
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So the reason for changing the name was the different sound?
Yeah. I think we just wanted to go in a different direction, sound-wise, and where we were playing. It seemed like we were playing a lot of the bars, which was fun and good money and stuff. But we didn't want to be seen as the Running Wild Band, which sounded like, and looked like, a kid band from Parker that played the bars on Friday night. We wanted to go a little bit further and be seen as a little bit more serious of a band. So that's where the name change came from.
Do you guys stretch out and improv during shows?
We like to switch it up and try new things every time. It's a good thing and a bad thing. It's mostly a good thing, because it's always new and it's always changing, which keeps us from being bored with the songs. A lot of the songs we play we've been playing for years. We're trying to write as much as we can and as many songs as we can right now, just so we get the new sound dialed in — you know, the sound that the band wants, and the direction we need to go. I think that when we experiment live, it shows the direction we want to go and the vibe that we want to give off.